Probably the most frightening and mysterious place on Fervor is the High Barrens. It is the one place on the island where, after the second exodus, none of the children, not even the Keepers, are allowed to go – at least not as long as they are obliged to follow the Directives. Prior to that time, it was supposedly taboo, but as Sam unravels the mysteries surrounding their circumstances, he discovers that some of his cohorts have been to the High Barrens in the past, and are aware of its hidden secrets. The High Barrens are not the most inviting or welcoming of places:
There was a part of Fervor that did not have sandy beaches and rocky shores and it was called the High Barrens. Instead, along that stretch of the island there were sheer cliffs that dropped off into the ocean. It had always been off limits to the children because it was considered to be too dangerous a place to venture.
Sam does eventually head out to the forbidden place and searching for something he knows must be there, but not quite sure what he will find. The landscape there is as barren as its name suggests:
From what Sam had seen through the fence, the area had offered little in the way of scenery. The ground was rocky with meagre foliage. It was bare of trees, exposing it to harsh winds and salt spray from the ocean, allowing for little to actually succeed in growing there.
I borrowed the name High Barrens from a road located right across from my real house in Sambro, Nova Scotia. This truely was a case of art imitating life. I have never been up that road, but I tracked down a picture of the view at the top of the road and it resembles, strikingly, my description of the High Barrens on Fervor. As close as it may be in appearance, however, I’m sure it does not share the secrets of the taboo place from my book.
Next Week: Royce’s Hide-out