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To See A Distant Shore by Nils Durban
SUMMARY: working title for a work in progress.
I was one hundred and twenty moons old when my father delivered me to the Overseer's House. He had spoken barely a word to me that morning and, as I watched him make his way back down the street towards the harbour and the Tradesman's Quarter where I had grown up, he had never once looked back. My mother had been distraught and had wept constantly for days, haranguing my father with what he referred to as her 'mad ideas', the most frequently aired of which was that we flee aboard the Watchman's Eye, his vessel, never to return. It was an honour, my father constantly reminded her, that had never in history been bestowed upon his family, a summons that could not and should not be ignored. On the morning that my father and I climbed up through the cobbled streets of Iss, she had locked herself away in the pantry, wracked with her sobbing and unable to cast her eyes upon me, her only daughter. Sons she had aplenty, but they were already grown and at work, either alongside my father or else on other ships. The Overseers had taken me in, closeted me away in a tiny bare room, fed me and had me dress in a plain white gown. That evening, amidst their holiest of prayers, they removed my eyes, and thus saved my Sight.
The gift had not come to me early, as it did to most. Indeed there had been much debate at first upon whether I was gifted at all, or rather, perhaps, inflicted with some malady of the brain. As a small child I had cavorted about the harbour with my peers, once my chores were complete, of course. But as I grew older, perhaps seventy or seventy-five, I began to have the strangest of sensations on a more and more frequent basis. My vision would appear somehow split. I could see what was before me, obviously, but, overlaying that, were other scenes, moving images that were similar to my normal vision but, at least initially, nothing more than the faintest of outlines. Most alarmingly, it soon became apparent to me that these images were of my own future, instances that would occur to me, normally, only moments later.
It became increasingly disconcerting and confusing to glimpse these forward flashes. Especially at first, when they would cause me to falter or stumble. I would be caught mid-sentence, unable to continue, or else would appear ignorant of a question asked directly of me. However, as I became accustomed to this bizarre affliction, and as the images grew more distinct, I found myself, upon occasion, using it to my advantage, often without even thinking of it. Once, having run an errand to the harbour-master's tower, the delivery of a sealed missive from my father, I was overcome by vertigo as a vision of myself falling headlong down the steps of the tower came over me. I recall clinging to the rusted railing as I ever so carefully climbed back down to the quayside. Upon another occasion, whilst making my way around the Head towards the little beach that my friends and I liked to imagine was our own private and secret place, my normal vision was quite suddenly supplanted by a picture of the rotting carcass of a mermion, washed up on the rocks.