Avery Island

The waves were strong today, crashing tall against the isle’s cliffs before sucking back out to sea. But Billy’s dinghy sailed true, riding waves and skirting rocks as he approached the crack in the cliffside. Today was the day, there was no mistaking it. Turning sharp to avoid a rock, Billy surveyed the island.

He was close enough. Jumping off the bow of his boat, he swam to the cliffside, clung to a rock, surveyed his approach. His wife hadn’t wanted him to go today. His son - he was so young; how could he understand? If there were just a little more time -

Enough. Up onto the rock face, sideways into the crack.

Beyond the crack, a cavern, wide open. Salt stalactites hung pendant from the ceiling, dripping water, reflecting cerulean light from the pool further down the pass. And then came the skeletons with arms raised high, each salt-encrusted bone doing its part to support the world above.

Here was Billy’s father, small pieces of meat still stuck to his ribs, his spine. Here his grandfather. Generations of patriarchs lined the passage, each having obeyed the call in turn. It was the family business - when the island called, you went.

He was at the pool now.

His wife hadn’t wanted him to go today; his kids - would his son know to follow, know how to hear when it was time? If he could have just another year, another month to spend with them -

Enough. The island was calling.

Drinking deep from the pool, he felt the salt in the water begin to stick to his bones, took one last look towards the sunlight.

Arms raised and among his fathers, Billy surrendered himself, became one of the bones of the island.