04 - 16

کتاب: واشینگتون سیاه / فصل 47

04 - 16

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 2 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

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16

HE LED ME BACK to the passageway I’d come from, through the twisting, fragrant halls of the house and into the courtyard outside.

It took my eyes some moments to adjust to this new darkness. And I glimpsed in the courtyard, rising blackly into the sky, the shadow Tanna and I had passed upon first entering. It had been uncovered, and squinting, I could just make out a tangle of wood and cloth and metal rods. And then at once I was struck silent.

For there, lying sideways on the pale ground, was the elegant shape of a small two-man boat. Its strong white masts rose at a slant towards the sky. I saw, stretching from either side of its hull, wings of prehistoric proportions—the wings of a creature frightening and mythic.

I stood aghast, the masts thrumming above me in the high wind.

“I have been constructing this some years now,” Titch said, frowning up at the masts. “I still mean to cross the Atlantic. I had been thinking, actually, of Barbados as a destination. It would seem to me fitting to take the craft to the shores there.”

I stared at him, and every account of his madness came flooding back. And yet I knew he was not mad—I knew he was simply re-enacting his past as a form of comfort, conveniently forgetting all that had been bad and wrong about it. And I understood too that he was setting himself up for a second failure, that this craft would not take him even halfway to that lost island, that he would either have to give it up or die in the trying.

As I peered at the glorious white masts, the hull’s dark, polished wood, the wings splaying from either side, I felt again the wet winds from the turquoise sea, the touch of the royal palm’s leaves in bloom, the fine, dry grass under my heels. I felt the damp of cane toads and leaf-toed geckos in my fists; I smelled the hot rust of machetes in the heat; and a bright pain came into my head then, filling it, so that I grimaced and shut my eyes.

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