The tower was shorter than I expected, only a bit taller than it was
wide. The entrance was on the side away from the sea. We went in and
started up the winding stairs. We passed the entrances to various rooms
containing relics of the visitation, but we felt an odd compulsion to
make it to the top of the tower before doing any investigation of them.
At the top of the tower there were a bunch of people, men and women in
their thirties and forties mostly, sitting around in chairs and
chatting. It was still windy, but the sky had cleared, and it was
actually fairly pleasant. We sat down and relaxed.
After a short while the guide nudged me and pointed out towards the sea.
A truly gargantuan wave was coming in--it broke over the top of the
tower, soaking us to the knees. I was impressed. "Big wave!" I said to
the guide. "Oh, that's nothing," he assured me, "we get bigger all the
time." "When I'm on top of a fifty-foot tower, any wave that gets me
wet I consider big," I replied. He shrugged, indicating that maybe I
had a point, when an even larger wave hit.
I was lifted off my feet and immersed in roiling water. I quickly
reached down and grabbed my coat, irrationally concerned that I might
lose my camera.
Supposedly you can hold your breath for forty-five seconds before you
have to breathe again. I started to count. After ten seconds I
realized I was being an idiot and let go of my coat. I felt someone--my
mother as it turned out--grab my leg and together we struggled for the
Once the wave had gone out again we discovered that the entire tower had
been destroyed. Perhaps it was divine displeasure at the uses this site
of holy intervention had been put to--rumor had it that it was one of
the spots lovers often used for assignations. But everyone in my
family, though perhaps not in a state of grace, was all right, and for
that we were grateful.
"Multiple exclamation marks," he went on, shaking his head, "are a sure
sign of a diseased mind."
(Terry Pratchett, Eric)