- Vol. 07
- Chapter 01
I, the island
I have always lived here. Sometimes this embarrasses me; I have no knowledge of elsewhere, no experience of foreign ways. Sometimes it fills me with pride to say: I am an islander. People gather to listen to my words and the way I speak them, my foreignness their entertainment like a Twitcher would gather the discovered foreign stray into his rare bird directory. Did they own me once they’d heard me? Would they capture me and put me on file? I stayed silent. I would not perform in company. But now they invaded my beloved headland.
The headland was formed of a stone that even the greatest drills couldn't penetrate; they say the headland was that shape because no erosion ever took place. I’ve known it to be a close friend since my words took form.
It fascinated me.
I knew every inch of it.
It was me.
I imagined taking fallen pieces and preserving them by carving them into brooches and trinkets over several lifetimes. Smoothing them into sensuous rounds and globes, so silky, people would pay to touch them, museums would want to house them, own them, steal them.
Eventually the Engineers found a drill harder than the stone. I grimaced at the news. There was much excitement and newsreels. We saw footage of grinning men in suits, the gleaming drill bit shooting lens flares all over the TV screen. The drill was so close to the stone that the island inhabitants held their breath.
Then the drill entered the blessed surface with a howl. It was only a test they said, smiling. That evening, when they’d retreated to their lodgings, I walked on the headland, the dust shavings from the hole collected in the tread of my boots; I couldn’t save it.