T H E I S L E O F D E T H R Y
THE SIPHON AND THE EYELET HA'
THE TRAILIN' RAGS
the hush a' dethry
The Isle of Dethry was originally a mere hallucinatory device, delivered to fishermen by a Pagan prophet in early 1986, a man by the name of Randolph Stuart. He claimed to have been born on Dethry, and from his visions, he claimed to be able to remember exactly how one might sail there, from the very rag tail of Lewis. The bloodshot deadbeats that lay strewn about the harbour bar were a vision all their own, and over spicy ale and stale Marlboro, the Captain arose , and agreed to ferry him, by a method as near as possible to that which he desired, to the wet patch of nowhere on the map he had specified, for a paradoxically small fee.
"I wish, to sail, by yacht, or by tug, for that is how my vision ordained it must be", sputtered Randolph.
As a wily compromise, a hardy though rust-fucked trawler, the Bellentreig, cast-off from Castle Bay the next morning, and later the same day was lost with all hands but one, its Captain: Hamish "Hammy" Morar. The precipitous shore of a distant isle had been seen, yes, and though fog-cloaked it was clearly extensive. The sun was obscured, and in the direction of the towering shore, the light appeared greenish, as if diffused through a canopy of Ash and Elm.
It had not been long after landfall was sighted, that Randolph Stuart, who had, up until that point been diligently directing the first mate, slipped quietly from the deck into the sea. Without a word, and without uttering a dismayed cry, he did not attempt to keep himself afloat. The clarity of the water was such (like green bottle glass) that many watched him sink slowly below, his eyes open, his expression calm.
Bizarrely, it was then that a series of seemingly unrelated sounds were heard to emanate, initially from the direction of the shore. Firstly, the soft tinkling chimes of an ice cream van, very, very far-off but clarion, explicit. They could even fancy they heard the excited chattering of children securing their delight. This slowly faded to the almost inaudible soughing of the barely stirring sea. The sad, sweet, soughing, of a sad sweet sea.
Then began "the tolling of a great bell, though sloppily, sleepily rung. The sound seemed wet somehow, as if the great bell's reverberations were synthesised with the lapping of water being stirred through steeping hides or soiled linen"
There were many fires lit onshore as daylight first became discoloured, and then ravenously devoured by famished shadows. Suddenly, above the sound of the tolling bell, there arose "a ghastly humming, such as that one would hear if he came across the glistening corpse of a deer calf freshly slain, bobbing among bluebells" Though, quickly, it began to intensify far beyond that which could have been created by even a storm of flies, seeming to come from all directions, even that which lay beneath their feet. The sea was utterly, and eerily, calm, even permitting an ornate moon its delicate pull.
Suddenly, the Captain was aware of being carried aloft, surrounded on all sides, by a "tumultuous wall of writhing flesh", of a "blackish grey and pink" colouration and rising so quickly, he did not draw breath. The ship and crew were splinters entwined, and blessed, the Captain lost consciousness, before awakening in the dead of night, washed ashore, on Harris, as luck would have it. "Stripped of every scrap of clothing, blood -drenched and heavily grazed over every inch of skin, and staring hypnotically, yet oddly calm as if in the midst of intimate reflection."
Once the Captain had been brought to his senses with copious sips of bramble brandy, cigars and sweetmeats, he was again able to mutter incoherently. It turned out that he had conversed closely with Randolph Stuart, over the previous morning and early afternoon, and so had managed to glean a vague history of Dethry, and it is partly from this account that the other entries shown here have been transcribed from memory. And partly not.
Latterly, from names mentioned in the Captain's tale, others were consulted, and new, convoluted tales were spun, concocted and contorted. Like candyfloss shorn, and melting on the tongue. Until nothing was sure. Such is the way of this world.
Though it was clear that they had lived, and experienced truly all they'd seen, I cannot claim it was anything other than a dream, and as such, utterly real to you and me.