Above the town, at the top of the hill, in the copse of trees where nobody goes, there’s an old wooden boat, upside down and abandoned about as far from the sea as you can get round here.
Eleonora has no idea how it got there, or whose it is, or how old it is, or how long its been there. It can’t have been too long, in that though the paint’s all peeled away, the wood hasn’t rotted through, and it’s not sunk down so deep into the mud yet that it can’t be moved.
Yet still it looks to Eleonora as though its been there forever. An ancient tomb of kings and queens, buried beneath their ships at the high point of the town.
On days like today, when there’s nothing she wants to do but cry, and nowhere she can bear to be without screaming, she climbs up here, and crawls under there, and lies down in the dark, her eyes closed now as she listens to the sound of the wind and the sound of the rain and the sound of the world going on perfectly well without her.
And by mechanisms she does not know, using powers she cannot understand, as she lies there in the dark, beneath the boat, in the copse of trees, on the top of the hill, as far away from anywhere and everywhere as she can get round here, the cat always finds here, and joins her, and sleeps on her chest for as long as she pleases, for as long as she needs.
They don’t need anybody else. Together they will live forever.
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