Monday, March 15, 2010


Louise Dragon

With mounting sensations of dread I watched the spring rains gush over the Maine countryside—cropping the banks of the Rainbow River with each surge. Flooding became more eminent as the minutes ticked by.

Returning to my desk, I forced myself to concentrate on the briefs before me. My wife Marilyn had left for work an hour ago.

“Children have to learn, Gary, even if it’s raining.”

Worrying was my bag. I worried about Marilyn out during the flood watch, I worried about the river overstepping its banks and flowing into our living room.

I’d be worried about selling another house, or people watching me if it wasn’t raining.

Marilyn, forever scientific, never worried about anything.

“Nobody’s watching you,” she’d admonished me often, “why would anyone be watching you? Do you think you’re the center of everyone’s universe? Or possibly you’re slated to become the next alien abductee?”

Sarcasm was another of Marilyn’s traits.

As I glanced out at the turbulent waters, for about the tenth time, I felt familiar stress building behind my eyes.

What if our house washed away?

Where would we go? People would come and look. Complete strangers looking, watching.

It’s happened before, why back in ‘eighty-seven . . .

As if to punctuate my thoughts, an island drifted down the Rainbow River headed for shore at breakneck speed.

Islands don’t float, do they?

This one hovered about thirty feet offshore. It was quite large, about the size of a baseball diamond, and sported spindly growth, like pins and needles, over its surface.

I tried to go back to work, but the island drew me to the back door repeatedly. Against my better judgment, I walked along the Rainbow’s shore in my yellow slicker trying to get a better look at the island. As the rain turned to a drizzling patter on my face, I decided that with the flooding possibilities dropping: I could probably row over and check it out.

But what if . . .

The “Tom Sawyer” hidden inside me took over, shoving Gary Denton—shy, mild mannered Real Estate Agent, to the back of the boat.

I should be working, but the island loomed before me.

Like an amusement park waiting for patrons, it was silent and ominous with little tendrils of ground fog rising toward the swollen sky. Not an expert rower, I counted on the current to help with the work and wasn’t disappointed.

Oh, hell, I’ll just explore it quickly and then go back to work.

I knew the rain could pick up anytime and wash the island away, so I wasn’t planning to stay long.

A ribbon of sand, three feet wide, circled the island. Fifty yards along, I picked up a path leading into tangles of brush in the island’s center. A nugget of worry slid down my spine like an ice cube. Where were the animals and birds? Not a twitter of sound could be heard. The island seemed clean, no dried leaves, no insects; the branches and brambles had a waxy feel, almost synthetic.

When I reached the center I was surprised by a cabin, tucked neatly away in the brush. It held an air of newness as if it had grown there: not your everyday Maine shack.

Could someone live here?
Continued in my next post

Shutter Island

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