Our island, Mills Island, sits in a spot where currents collide, ships crash and sink. We’re surrounded by old bones, death. We’re used to it. We remember our grandfather, the lighthouse keeper, telling us stories of bodies washing up on the beach in multitudes, victims of shipwreck. The storms have only worsened over time, we’ve seen to that. With a gathering of eyebrows, the clenching of fists, and the whispering of words collected in our book, we keep people away from here, away from our boy. It was a dream that provoked her passage to the past, her return to her childhood home on the island. Deep in sleep, her mind produced images of a terrible storm, the Mills sisters’ darkened house, Henry standing in shadow. Cassie’s heart exploded in joy as she held her small, unchanged brother. The house shuddered around them. The floor split beneath their feet. The walls cracked and groaned and disintegrated. They were falling, falling. Finally they hit ground. The wind became unbearable. An enormous wave rose up and caught them and the bones of the house, pulling it all No. 115 out to sea. Cassie and Henry bobbed at the surface for a time, then sunk, bound together, slowly descending to the ocean floor. She was not afraid. Cassie fought through the pounding wind and rain, finally arriving at the house. She easily recognized its shape, although covered in vines and other decrepitude, set back from the overgrown trees, settled in tall whipping grasses. She turned the rusty key and the weathered door swung back, hitting a wall. She paused in the doorway, the stuffy, familiar smell stopping her in her tracks. Entering fully, she ran a hand along the hall table, inspected the dust appearing on her pointer finger, glanced up the darkened stairway. She stopped in the kitchen, lit a cigarette beside a cracked window, simmering in disbelief that she was actually here in this house, on this island. Heading to the second floor, she approached the stained glass window on the landing, a lovely floral design her mother made. She peered out its colored panes to view a large field, and beyond that, the Mills House perched high up on an opposing cliff. N I C K F L O O K , O U T L O O K - @ F L O O K O

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