Gospels clambered to his feet, dusted himself off, and then turned to Smoke, “And a monk I still am. I have Teirt.”
“Your offices?” Smoke was surprised, “Gospels, who would know?”
Gospels laughed, “. . . he asked the hermit.” Gospels turned to the path that led back to the little compound. “Do hail the boat if you see it. If it leaves us, we will be eating little bits of dried fish for a long time.”
Smoke looked back to the sea. There was no sign of the boat that Gospels had assured him would come. It was a beautiful day, sea birds danced on the breeze and Smoke took pleasure in watching their play. “Wouldn’t it be best to be like a bird? Free? There in the sky are sailors in truth, who ride the sea winds and touch the sea only when they want,” thought Smoke. The sun was warm on his face and he lay back against the stone for a moment to enjoy this gift as well.
Smoke started awake to the sound of a laughing gull. He was chilled with the wind against him and the sun blocked by a passing cloud. He did not know how long he’d slept.
Below, on the waves, was a small dinghy, smaller than his before it was shattered on this isle. Both prow and stern rose from the gunnels and for a moment Smoke feared it was leaving. The oars rose and fell, sparkling in the sun as the sea water fell away from them to plunge back into it for another stroke.
Smoke leaped to his feet and picked his way down toward the moorage, such as it was. Soon enough he realized that the boat was approaching. Smoke sighed his relief as he slowed. He glanced back up toward the hermitage and saw Gospels high on the cliff, he waved when he saw Smoke looking back for him. Smoke glanced back to where the little boat struggled toward the safety of the little cove. There seemed plenty of time so he decided to wait for Gospels to catch up to him.