Lonan started in the direction of the jeweler’s house, drowning out anything said behind him with the sea-sounds. Wood splinters and glass shards lined his way. Hung linen had fallen in the dirt and been left. A few doors were open and abandoned. The silence gaped.
This was the Serafina that Lonan knew best—the Serafina after the Porfirios died. Afraid of its own coasts but too poor to move. Dreading the change of seasons. Quietly taking Mistress Leroy’s sleeping herbs and forgetting the names of its dead.
Lonan’s door was one that had been left open. Hands in his trouser pockets, Lonan drifted to peer in. Like it was a stranger’s home. Like it was the jeweler’s old house, the way he insisted everyone call it.
Inside, his maps and sketched were spilled out over the floorboards. His bag had been split open, its weathered strap broken, and a shattered well of ink soaked huge black patches over his work. It had been sitting on the paper so long that oily blue edges bled from the stain.
Lonan knelt and fingered the corner of one ruined sketch. Where did he even start? Picking it all up wouldn’t fix anything. The salted fish had been taken, the shelf only clinging to the wall by one nail. Even Shay was gone. The helpless emptiness of the space around him press down on his shoulders.
It reminded him of the first full day he’d lived here alone. Small enough to disappear. Aimless as a rudderless ship.
–Elyan White, “To Those Who Seek Sirens”