Evening Ferry by Katherine Towler

The following is an excerpt from Evening Ferry by Katherine Towler, forthcoming from MacAdam/Cage in July.


Wind gusted over the deck as the ferry pulled away from the dock and swung into the channel. The surface of the water shone in the sunlight. Rachel gripped the warm metal of the railing, watching for the place on the horizon where the island would appear. Behind her, Nate sat on a bench, leaning back, the leg encased in the cast stretched in front of him. The crutches they had given him at the hospital were propped against the cabin wall. When the ferry was under full speed, Guido came down from the wheelhouse and handed Nate a cigarette. He struck a match, lighting the cigarette Nate held to his lips with a shaking hand.

"How long you gonna have that thing on?" Guido asked.

"I don't know. Damn doctors don't tell you anything."

"That was a close call."

Nate shrugged. "If your time is up, your time is up. My time wasn't up yet."

The men went on talking, going over Nate's accident and his good luck. Up in the wheelhouse, Keith, Guido's assistant, guided the ferry into open water, scanning the bay. Tony Mendoza, the old captain, had died in January and his son, Guido, had taken over the business. It was strange to see someone else up in the wheelhouse. For Rachel's entire life, Captain Tony had been the one to steer the ferry across the bay from Barton to Snow Island, peering through the clouded glass, his hat pulled down on his forehead.

Gradually the island came into view. As the ferry chugged closer, the trees became distinct, rising on the hills, and shapes of houses dotted the shoreline. Rachel found the white square of her family's house above the dock, surprised to discover, as always, that the place had gone on existing without her.


From the book Evening Ferry by Katherine Towler. Copyright (c) 2005.  Reprinted with permission from MacAdam/Cage.