the island

Once there was a girl who lived on a boat. The boat had no sail; she went wherever the water took her. She didn't mind following the vagaries of the current, though they sometimes led her to strange places. The girl tried to keep up a spirit of adventure, even when what she really felt was fear.

One day she spotted an island on the horizon, lush and welcoming. It was quite a ways off, but since there was no wind to fight her, she lowered her oars into the water and pulled. She pulled and pulled until she reached clear blue shallows, then jumped out and dragged her boat ashore. The girl, weary of drifting, was happy to be on dry land. She decided to stay for a while.

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The island was small but plentiful with things the girl could use. Palms heavy with fruit fed her, and she fashioned crude tools from shells that littered the beach. Every day she followed a simple routine, gathering food and supplies until dark, then falling asleep by the warmth of a fire. She was alone but not lonely. The girl took pleasure in exploring the coastline, in long walks across cool sand at dusk. Occasionally she'd sit and gaze at the sea, purple-black, endlessly open, and be glad for the shelter and comfort of the island.

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A fortnight passed, then another, and the island came to feel like home. The girl never saw another soul, so when she woke one night to the distant sounds of music, of drums and laughter and song, she thought her mind was playing tricks on her. She sat up, shaking off sleep, and listened. There was no question, though: she wasn't alone on the island.

(TBC)