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The Misanthropist

by Con Thornbury

About the Author: Con Thornbury was born in 1966 in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Ireland. He is currently doing a PhD in Creative Writing with Queen’s University Belfast. He lives with his wife Theresa in a small village called Derrymacash in the North of Ireland.


A TV4 film crew arrived Saturday, the day after Juno Cahill disappeared. The reporter was a windswept Nuala O’Byrne, who looked for all the world as though she would rather be anywhere else.

‘Thanks Miriam,’ said Nuala to the newsreader in the warm Dublin studio. A gust of wind swept through. Nuala grimaced and leaned into it. The lapels on a flimsy looking jacket flapped around her face. Invisible raindrops hit the microphone and sounded hard, like grains of rice. ‘Yes, I’m here at Ballybogue harbour,’ she shouted, ‘where, yesterday morning, local man Juno Cahill set out on one of his regular fishing trips. It was a pastime he enjoyed. Yesterday’s trip, however, did not go to plan.’

The camera panned away, and across the seafront. A tin can clattered across the empty car park. Leaves, rounded up by little localised whirlwinds, huddled in mounds at the base of the sea wall and gathered in the corners of a bus shelter.

‘Mr Cahill never returned,’ continued Nuala, off camera. ‘Local priest Father Patrick Mackin raised the alarm late yesterday afternoon but at that stage it was too late to mount a sea search. The wind had already started increasing in strength. Darkness was closing in.’

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