cliffside school


On a tourist ship in the northern seas. With my mom and grandmother. We are on our way to a historic island to see something interesting. The waters are a deep icy black, not so much opaque as crystal black. We take a touristy photo of ourselves at the railing of the boat with the island fortress in the background.

We make landfall and the others hop off just fine, but I almost slip into the waters as the boat dips its stern below the water. I slide. Somehow, I manage to hop onto the rocks and scramble on up. I have a toothpick in hand. I chew it and curiously eye the waters, considering just tossing it in, but that seems wrong. There is an active school building built into the cliff face landing. The building is dark and comfortable. It has a stairwell atrium, and a larger lecture hall with bright sunlights set in the roof a little ways in through some classrooms. The windows are the only light source, but they make the place pleasantly dim.

They raise chickens here. Wandering on up through the school, many birds in various life stages peer curiously, or come up and give a few cursory pecks.