30 stories, 30 days

Day 22, story twenty-two: Death & the Ocean

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Day 22

Death & the Ocean

There is a girl called Moony who lives in the desert. She was born in the desert, she grew up in the desert, and she died in the desert. She lived there with all of her family: parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. They lived together in a tiny town with several other families, and none of them had ever left the desert.

When Moony was eight years old a van came to their town with a truckload of books of every kind. She and her cousins climbed through the piles of books, reading them, throwing them, stacking them, hiding them. Among these Moony found a book of photographs of the ocean. As her siblings and cousins ran around her she looked through it, transfixed by the photographs of the blue, sparkling, rippled surface, a new hue and endless ripples and waves breaking in every picture. As she turned to the last page her eldest cousin tore the book from her hands and tossed it to another cousin, and Moony broke into tears.

From that moment on she held those images of the ocean in her mind, imagining the sound of it, the feel of it, the small and the taste of the waves washing over her. The ocean was like a beacon within her, and whenever she was sad or afraid she would lose herself in her mental picture of the vast blue space above, below, and all around her. She resolved to see the ocean, and did everything in her power to convince her family to take her there, but it was very far from where they lived in the desert and her family saw no reason to leave. She grew older and older, having children of her own, then grandchildren, moving through her life dully and with no magic.

One day she woke up knowing that it was the last day of her life, and she wept because she would never see the place that she had dreamed of her whole life. She rose from bed, put on her clothes and shoes and hat, and walked out into the desert sunshine. She walked away from her house, into the endless desert, and she kept walking until she couldn’t any more.

Death found her in the early evening, lying on her back watching the stars as they appeared.

I have come to take you.’ Said Death into her mind, and she replied.

‘There is a place I need to go first. Will you take me there?’

Death shook its head and reached for her. She closed her eyes and imagined for the final time the broad expanses of glittering blues, the sky meeting the water in a perfect line, the strange eddies and patterns of the wind and the currents, and when she opened her eyes she was standing in the sand. Death stood beside her, scratching its immaterial head.

Well I suppose we will be making a stop then.’  It said, annoyed.

Moony pushed her toes into the sand, so different from the sand she had walked over her whole life. The wind wrapped around her soft, sagging skin, and she tasted salt in the air. Her end was complete.

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