‘Leap Of The Foal’s’ is my second novel.
Here’s a short extract-
The world’s sitting heavy on me today. I’m looking out over the drab buildings that are shelves of cracked pottery, all soaked in grey and leaking. The wind has been hacked by corners and doesn’t get a clear run and you only have shadows of sky glimmering like shards of glass through the concrete. The city doesn’t allow winter to be itself. It blocks it, locks it, traps it, tames it, before letting it limp through streets shorn of its lustre.
The nurse has been and gone. I didn’t turn to look at her. She was talking away behind me as if there was a child in the room. She left pills that’ll lighten the weight of the world but I won’t be taking them. You’d be grand on the pills for a while but they’d have you falling further afterwards. You have to find another way. Something permanent. In the mornings when I wake, thoughts seem to have been rutted out overnight and loose in the head like blighted potatoes. I go to the window then and look out over the tops of buildings for a piece of sky that’ll be a magic carpet to bring me back to all that was last winter.
On Bridget’s weekend, the Cailleach went out for wood and then dug in again. Brutal storm systems gathered out in the Atlantic and galloped in to maul the coast, a cavalry of winds, knocking walls and cutting down trees, leaving them strewn in fields like slain crusaders. Then came the infantry, walls of water, lusting for territory, moving inland at will with gargantuan swells and tides. Great black clouds colonised the sky unleashing torrents of rain. It was glorious. The land was helpless. The sea had enough, she’d been wronged for so long now and was letting it all out, cussing and ranting, spitting back bottles and plastic bags, vomiting car tyres and traffic cones and if you listened you’d hear her say, I don’t want this shit, take it back you dirty, polluting, ungrateful fucks.
Folks were giving out mad about the disruption, but stooping a bit lower too, like they were inside of a walled town about to fall to barbarians. They mumbled about climate change and global warming, they were getting a hint that the world has no special regard for humans, getting a taste of their ridiculous helplessness when faced with nature’s wrath.
But this was our time, Romy and I, and on these colourless city days when things aren’t great in the head, I gaze into my piece of sky, and I see us, all through those weeks, cold, numb, lips and fingers blue, the Irish winter living inside us, seeping into our very bones, into our veins, cold blood pumping blue hearts. And we were hunters, on desolate cliff-tops at dusk or dawn, hurricanes howling around us, the rest of the country warm in their beds, crossing bogs and fields down to deserted storm beaches, skipping our way across deadly reefs, tiptoeing out to ledges and throwing ourselves over and over into the seas. And instead of necking pills, I think of us out there in the half-light, at first light or last light and the storm is resting its head on its elbow, looking down on us where we float on a bed of sky-filled silk and from the sea the earth has shrunk, sandwiched between heavy skies and swollen ocean and as we watch the land is swallowed whole, leaving just water and cloud and Romy and I in between.
‘Where’s the world gone?’ Romy asks.
‘It’s just water now,’ I tell her.
‘And everyone else?’ she says.
‘We’re the last ones.’
‘Is it happening?’
‘It’s always been happening,’ I say
‘It’s kinda cool to be the last ones,’ she says.
And when she says this I remember the day I got lost in my head in school and found myself in front of the big windows watching an empty yard but this time I feel Romy’s hand slip into mine and it’s ok.
‘I’m glad it’s you,’ I say.
And she says, ‘I’m glad it’s you too.’
And then the storm stands up and whistles and we’re on the waves again, surfing over great sunken cities, submerged forests, flooded slums, looking down through the water at all that once had been and over time we see the great buildings collapse and seaweed growing up through cracks in highways, basking sharks flattening whole suburbs and fading family photographs floating to the surface.