Cartwaith was a simple man of little import in the town of Vestil. He spent his time with his two lovely children, Smaeth his son, and Blith his daughter. They wanted for little and thought about the world outside of Vestil not at all. Carwaith’s wife, Nilth, was the elected speaker of Vestil, popular and paid handsomely for her services, as she was known in the region as fair when fairness was required, shrewd when negotiating on behalf of Vestil, and compassionate when understanding the plight of others. That all changed when the stranger came to down.

She came to Vestil on one of those new-powered trollies. The ones that glowed with the red light from the rear end and emitted loud roars when attempting to climb hills, their wheels slipping and kicking up dirt like a horse or mule never could.

Cartwaith Was with Smaeth and Blith near the brook that flowed past the western side of Vestil and down from the hills that were covered in thick forest. Cartwaith wasn’t the only parent playing in the brook with his children that day. A cacophony of laughter, shouts, splashes and whoops filled the air. The day was the first truly hot one they’d had in months and all the children (and many of the parents, too) couldn’t resist to wade into the slow brook and splash each other. Cartwaith was dangling his feet from a rock and into the cool water, watching his children play with their little friends, most of them under the age of 10, when a whining and grunt broke the lazy sound of the flowing brook and the laughter and hoots of children and parents alike. Over the rise to the west and along the road that led from the town the trollie appeared, bucking and jolting, a rosy light gleaming from it’s rear, even in the bright of the sunny day. A top the trollie road a woman with a wide brimmed at, black as night, though ornamented with red stitching, her flowing dress looked a light fabric for hot days, yet was a similarly black and red design. Her hair was cedar and her skin a lush gold that marked her as a resident of the southwestern city, Pulido. It was said all Pulidians took in the color of the land their city was built on and nobody in Vestil was in a position to dispute such rumors.

Free write 1/5/21

The ferryman looked back across the river. Then back at the man in the car, the woman in the passanger seat beside him, the little girl in the back seat of the citroen.

“Not over there, you don’t,” said the ferryman.

“What?” asked the woman. “But doesn’t this ferry lead to Hadsund?”

The ferryman looked away again. But not in the direction of his boat and the other shoreline, but rather up to the clouds. Rain plunked his face. He gave a sharp breath through his nostrils.

“Maybe it would have lead to Hadsund. On a different night, under different stars.”

Now the Englishman sounded a little annoyed. “It’s raining,” he said, pointing up to the sky with a finger.”

“And due to this you do no know what waits on the other side,” said the ferryman. “I am sorry, but you will have to wait until morning, at the very least.

He walked away before the Englishman and woman could protest. He boarded his ferry and went back across the river that didn’t buck or sway, didn’t chop or churn, just continued its slow crawl east, no matter the weather, no matter where it was, the ferryman went. The weather be damned, he thought, the river was as still as glass.

The weeks leading up to my dad’s three-part play was filled with inexplicable noises coming from the basement.

On multiple occasions, Dean and I heard talking, conversing, multiple voices, though nobody had called that day at our door.

Free write 1/4/21

Outside rain came down. It fell in sheets and wind howled about the man’s head, pushing back his hood.

He walked with purpose toward a slow-moving river. A ferry dock was on its bank and in the doc was the smallest ferry. its total capacity was five cars, given their size, and it had no engine or motor but was instead pulled from one side to the other by a winch that pulled a large chain bolted to the hull of the ferry.

The ferryman looked across the river and saw the headlights of a car shimmering through the rain. He sniffed and smelled desert sands and humid air, and knew he’d have to turn them away, no matter who they were.

Still, he climbed the stairs to the cockpit and stepped into the cabin and out of the rain. He pushed the buttons and swiveled the nobs that would release the ferry from the dock and with a grown and buck the ferry began to inch across the slow river, that, despite the wind, had not a ripple upon its surface.

Within minutes he was to the other side.

He walked briskly to the car, noting that its engine was running. It was cold out, there was no doubt of that. When he got to the car, a man rolled down the window.

“How much to cross?” he asked in English.

“No crossings tonight,” said the ferryman.

“What?” asked the Englishman as though he hadn’t heard. “But we have reservations just across the way.” He pointed as though to his accommodations.