Whatever happens in the Outside world anymore, it doesn’t matter to
him. This place, these people, they are not coterminous. Ahead lay the Bridge at
Mackinac; the way in and the way out. And beyond that, an Otherworld.
The Only world so far as the Soldier is concerned, full of its own truths and myths
and unurban legends. He is reminded of one such as he passes a roadsign. So unlike
those more tangible cities to the south, ahead there was Canada. That Hyperborea. That
mythical utopia to that lay to the north. And on the Border is the Sault, nothing more
than a lost colony on a River Styx. But the Sault as a people are an amalgam, a people in
transition waiting in limbo to cross Styx into Elysium.
Leaving behind the semi and the death in its wake, he believes himself to have
penetrated the barrier as he drives onto the Bridge at Mackinac. He has heard it to be a
beautiful place in the summer, a resort, a reserve, from the rest of the world. Yet, in all
his experience in this place, summer itself remains as elusive as myth. And the iced-over
Straits clutching at the underside of the Bridge do nothing to shift his mind from this.
As he reaches the Gates of Saint Ignace on the other side, the Bridge takes its toll
to enter this Peninsula and the gatekeeper mouths something inaudible to him. Instead he
hears a familiar set of words in his mind, not from vibrations of sound in the ambient air,
but if spoken by what she would call her One True God, yet feeling more ancient than
even that. “In here lies a tragedy . . .” He has heard this construct of words before,
legends of it being inscribed somewhere in the copper shell that makes up the Bridge; an
epigraph, a final hidden warning to those entering the Peninsula and a welcome salutation
to those who found their way out.
-Excerpt from ‘Four Years Before’
For a more realistic take on the Straits of Mackinac, Click Here.