Departure


ago
2 min
15
readings
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The water rolls gently against the shore, not even cresting as it lazily runs up and down along the sand. I've never seen the ocean this calm. This island is still. Out in the middle of the ocean and not a hint of swell or breeze. The lethargic water touches my toes and shyly retreats. I can hear myself breathing, my heart beating beneath my skin. My chest moves with my lungs more than the sea moves with the waves. The clouds seem to have never existed here. I can't tell what color the water really is. It's as glassy as a mirror and just as reflective. It's hard to know if it's really this blue, or if the pale sky just likes to look at itself. The sand sighs as I adjust my stance slightly.

This place is quiet.

I hate it.

A part of me wants to try again. To scream, to splash at the water, to shake the trees, anything to make a sound on this cursed piece of land. But I know there’s no point. This island is relentlessly patient, absorbing everything I do and returning to its quiet state. So I stand there, unmoving. Something holds me, keeping me from making any other sound besides my slow breathing and placid heartbeat.

Something wants that to stop, too.

I can't tell if that something is me or not.

The water touches my feet again, closer to my ankles this time. If I move slow enough it doesn't make a sound. The ocean used to feel cool, clean, washing the sweat from my skin. Now it's an extension of me, the same temperature as the air, embracing my leathered skin. The water snags the hem of my threadbare clothes and makes them heavy as I move towards the horizon. Small ripples stem from my slow-moving legs, briefly disturbing the glass surface of the ocean before disappearing into some unknown. My feet can barely feel the sand under me, so fine that I could be walking on the water itself. My hands drift behind me as I move farther from the shore. The horizon is unmoving and bright. Beckoning. The sand is soft, my feet unfeeling. The water rises steadily around my shoulders, around my neck, as I move slowly forward. My breathing is loud. Disruptive. The horizon stands steady in front of me. Quiet. Still. My breath rasps through my dry throat, in, out. In, out. In...

The sand disappears from under me. My feet reach at the emptiness beneath as my arms float to my shoulders. The ocean fills my ears and everything becomes muffled as the water slips over my eyes.

The water actually is the same color as the sky. Pale blue and clear enough to see for miles. The surface of the water distorts the sunlight that filters through it, sending shafts of light down into the water beneath. Everything is muted, slow, barely moving. It's... different here. The island was quiet, but this...

This is silence.
2

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