Of Mer and Men (Sheith RP)
@DuperOrdi & @FalkiThomas
It’s the second time he’s been to the ocean. The city was the furthest from being silent, but it all paled out to white noise whenever he reached the sea. The water is and has always been different. He can feel it under his hands when he sits on the beach watching it. The waves are deceptive, quiet. Their white foam edges chase up the shore, grasping and hissing before they slip back, casualties of gravity, pulling all things in after them. He has the irrational fear that if he’s careless, if he lets them lap at his feet, they’ll pull him in, too. But whenever these thoughts get to him, he's left with only the thought of the way the sand would let out a soft sound whenever he sat. As if welcoming him.
After a month, he's getting the gist. Sometimes when he's sitting on the beach, there's a sense like the ocean is holding its breath for him. And sometimes when he walks up from the dock, he gets the cold, phantom drip of water down his spine that makes him feel like he's being watched.
But it's quiet. No one ever comes out this far.
The cliffs above the sea are white chalk and steep, but there's a trail from the shack he's living on his own in that he can pick his way up, lined in tall grass and little glassy flowers that cling to the rock with long tendril roots. He likes hiking. There's a studious care to it that means he can't think too deeply about anything but where to put his feet, and he's good at that. Or—he was.
He goes up to see the sunset. His dad talked about it once, the way the sun met its reflection in the waves and how if you were lucky and if the sky was clear and if you didn't blink, sometimes you could see the sun on the waves and then through them. Green fire, and the most beautiful thing he ever saw. He doubted anything else could ever top it. Nothing this universe could provide, at least.
By the top of the hill, he's more than out of breath, but it's old news. The sun is dipping toward the horizon when he starts; by the crest, it's low and bloody. He clears himself a spot in the rock and grass to watch and wait and breathe. He focuses on the sun and lets it burn against his eyes. The light starts to fade out on the horizon, a hemisphere of perfect light that glitters in the water. It sets without fanfare, a little, slow death. No green, but he didn't really expect it and the disappointment doesn't bite. It was worth it just to stretch his legs. And he did. Hours stole hours that stole hours and soon, Keith had gotten his fill and walked back to the shack, determination filling him.
He was going to pick up the supplies he'd need for fixing his dad's long forgotten boat from Kolivan, venture far into the sea. And maybe, just maybe, he won't go back to the shack. He'd find an island, live on it for the rest of his life. Surrounded by the tranquilizing sounds of the sea. It was everything he needed, perhaps more. Though, for the night, he decided to walk back to the beach, cares far away from him.
The beach stretches for miles. He walks as much of it as he can. The tidepools could probably keep him occupied for a full day. Most of his time is spent on the dock, reading. After Kolivan drops him off he grabs an apple and the wrinkle-covered and dog-eared tome he's been working his way through and heads out. It's a short walk: straight out the door and down the old wood stairs to the beach. There's peeling white paint on everything; it was a beautiful home once, though he was too young to remember it.
His hip smarts on the walk down, some other bruise making itself known. It distracts him until he’s almost to the dock, and then he glances up and his breath catches in his chest.
There’s something there, glittering against the wood. Keith can make it out as he gets closer: a line of sea glass, pebbles of blue and green and amber laid out in a row along the edge. He stops. It’s his dock. No one else uses it. No one else comes this far out. His mind scans through every possibility and comes up blank. Keith picks them up, rolls them between his fingers. They’re smooth in his hand, like little, frosted stones of perfect glass. They’re lined up one every few boards, all the way to the end of the dock. He starts gathering them, making his shirt into a makeshift basket. It’s only when he gets to the last one, perched on the final board of the dock that it occurs to him what he looks like: a child following a trail of candy, right to the spot where something can grab him.
But that was silly. There was nobody around. His mind was playing tricks on him.
Maybe he just needed sleep.