So apparently it's Mardi Gras? Or rather, Pancake Tuesday here in the UK. It's rather a nonevent here; I would have forgotten had I not been talking to my friend who goes to LSU. Enjoy, all!
Midterms are next week, so between that and the traveling I haven't gotten as much writing done as I should be. I have, however, spent a lot of time staring out of train windows watching rolling hills and seeing the cliffs fall away into the sea. Yes, it was Scotland, not Ireland (I'm going there too, never fear!) but it feels so nice to know my setting firsthand for a change. I've seen more or less exactly what Maire is seeing here, and I can see why she would feel this way about it, even though I love the spacious feeling she hates so much.
The sun had risen by then, the grey sky replaced by gold-tinged blue, a clear day as far as she could see. There was no wind on the waves, no rolling clouds on the horizon, just endless green beneath her and endless blue above, a disorienting span of lifeless nothing that whisked by instant by instant. She wondered if he had calculated this route, this sad and hopeless path almost completely devoid of trees or houses or barns, on purpose. He had no need to create a labyrinth and lock her away in it – he only needed to ride, in a straight line but very fast, past nothing at all.
It was terrifying, that emptiness. Terrifying and infuriating. The wide expanse of the sea was one thing – perhaps it was still a straight line to the horizon, but the water moved and changed, the breeze brought new scents from the ocean, from the docks, from the ships themselves. But here, only a few miles inland, it was empty. The ground had failed them, and Providence abandoned them – Maire and everyone she knew and thousands she did not know were left alone in the dark to make something out of nothing, and they were finding that they could not. She clenched her hands tighter in the horse’s coarse black mane, making its ears flick backwards but not caring. She wished she could strike at the nothingness she had been granted, to throw stones or curses, but she did not even have anything at which to aim.
If it all came to nothing, where did this strange, devilishly persuasive man think that he was taking her?
And then, just at the crest of a hill, they stopped. The man yanked back on the horse’s head so hard that the beast reared up, causing Maire to slide half out of her seat. When the horse’s front legs hit the ground again with a resounding thud, the man let go of the reins with one hand and dropped his arm to his side – the arm that had been, until then, supporting Maire in her tenuously upright position. She fell, tumbling out of the saddle and onto the ground, covering her face in dirt and only just managing to roll away quickly enough to avoid being trampled into the earth as well as caked in it.