He must see my worry because he squeezes my hand and smiles. ‘It’s fine – I’m a bit tired and hungry, that’s all. I haven’t got used to the commute yet. These are pretty,’ he says, looking at the daffodils.
‘One of our neighbours dropped them in.’
His smile fades, replaced by wariness. ‘Oh, yes?’
‘I caught her taking photographs of the bedrooms.’ My earlier outrage stirs again.
‘What on earth for?’
‘Well, I don’t think it was the Ikea furniture she was interested in. She was on a bloody ghost tour of her own making.’
‘Jesus,’ he mutters.
‘She seemed to remember you.’
All good stories start with bad decisions.
This is the questionable mantra I repeat in my head as we watch the boat come in. It’s a beautiful vessel, so unlike the plain wooden canoes that always flock Atera’s river docks. The hull is glass, and through it I can see the dawn and the orange sands of the desert; the water and the reed-choked shore. As it draws nearer, the sun ignites along its edges like fire, the deep blue canopy above seeming to flutter in the heat. Guards with golden leopard masks and sickle swords patrol its railings, and in the river, the magic propelling it glows like a trail of fading stars.
It is a ship where legends are made.