Just go

December 2022

By David Roper

From the upcoming book, “The Ghosts of Gadus Island”


August 11, 1967 – Morning, Day 1
A Remote Island Off the Coast of Maine

A tall teenaged girl moves close to the cliff’s edge, looks out to sea, runs her hands through her long, windblown, strawberry blonde hair. She’s wearing a black and white plaid backless halter top and white denim cutoff shorts, which are dirty around the pockets from where she’d stuffed some rose hips and fiddlehead ferns picked earlier that day. She’s hot and winded from the climb, and anxious about her surroundings.

Cautiously, she backs away from the cliff edge, and glances behind her at a grouping of spruce, as if expecting someone or something to jump out at her. At that moment she hears a shattering sound, like the breaking of glass. She stands, moves back carefully toward the edge of the cliff, and looks below. It’s that boy! He’s there! She backs away quickly. Stands in the middle of the clearing. Turns in a small circle while rubbing her hands together. What to do?

She’s filled with uncertainty. Should she go back? Yell down? But then what? She inches back to the cliff edge and peers below. He appears to be speaking to someone, but she sees no one else, hears no response. He’s holding a green bottle in one hand and a short piece of stick in the other while walking along the stone beach toward one of the high sides of the cliff that border the cove. He places the green bottle on a crude table of driftwood slats laid across two large rocks at the base of the cliff. More driftwood boards lean against the ledge behind the table. A spear, like a javelin, only thinner, is imbedded in one of them. He bends down and pulls it out of the board, looks up, and seems to speak in the direction of a few scraggly spruce a few feet up the cliff behind the target. She can’t hear what he’s saying. Then he nods, as if receiving guidance or instruction, before he returns to the spot where she’d first spied him.

Facing the new bottle on the flat rock, which is about thirty paces away, he clasps the short stick and the long, thin spear together over his head, puts a foot forward and leans back. He’s like a baseball pitcher in windup, his throwing hand holding the spear above and behind his head now, and then, with a grunt and a great snap of his wrist, he throws the spear, the shorter stick somehow catapulting the feathered end of the spear even faster at the final arc of his throw, distorting its shape as it sails through the air toward its target. The green bottle shatters, the spear passes through it and sticks to the driftwood board behind. She is amazed. Before she realizes it, she begins clapping. The boy looks up. Stares at her. She stares back. Frozen.

“You should not be here. You should not stay on this island. Go,” he says, forcefully.

“I…I just wanted to say, ‘thank you’. For today, I mean. For pulling us off the ledge.”


She backs away a bit, but stays in sight of the boy. She gives a smile. “Well, you’re sure a good shot,” she says, nodding. “What you’re using there, is that some kind of—”

“Go!” he yells, then moves to pick up his spear before turning and heading away from her, down the beach, moving in the quick, surefooted manner of a creature in its natural habitat.

David Roper’s upcoming novel, “The Ghosts of Gadus Island,” is scheduled for publication next year. Dave is the author of the three-time bestseller “Watching for Mermaids,” as well as the sequel “Beyond Mermaids” and the novel “Rounding the Bend.” All are available through Amazon.com or roperbooks.com.