That evening we sat in the courtyard of the hotel once more, watching the sun sink below the western isles. I told Alexi what had happened that day. I fancied I could glimpse the grey stone wall of Lismore House on its island hilltop, the red light of the setting sun glinting from the windows, and from there the wasted frame of Jonathan Blake gazing out across the sea, on nothing, his boy waiting for him to die. But it was my fantasy, simply the image on my mind, like the image burned on to your eyes when you have stared too long at the sun, the passing footprint of a creature long gone.
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One morning, as he sat at his desk, he heard the sound of a horse's hooves on the path outside his house. He stepped out on to the verandah. There, on a tall grey horse, sat Morgane. 'I've come to have my picture painted, ' she said. She took off her hat and her long black hair cascaded below her shoulders. 'You said you would, ' she added, before dismounting. She wore a pair of moleskin jodhpurs and a white shirt, open at the neck. Her skin was radiant from the African sun.
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