Gulls

A girl was found on an island by a passing cargo ship, she does not speak the language of her rescuers and seems to be able to talk to seagulls. Sorry if my use of Japanese is incorrect, I am only just learning the language.

This was written for an image prompt competition. It is my first story and any comments would be welcome.

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6. Her eyes

"No," the girl said.

"What do you mean?"

"You had asked if I meant you being Chinese."

"Yes?"

"I say no."

They waited as Jode tried to think of a question.

"Why would you want to come down here?" Jode said, gesturing to his surroundings.

"Thanks. Thanks?" the girl was almost asking herself. "That is word?"

Jode nodded his confirmation. Then asked,

"How is it that you ended up on that island?"

"I..." her brows were drawn down and her rapid blinking, he was sure, now had nothing to do with the burning coal below.

"Look, if you're uncomfortable talking about it, that fine with me." The girl shook her head, still frowning.

"Ship?" she said after a time. "Ship break on rock. I small. I do not remember. Dad said."

"Mum, die in break." Jode heard that her voice was level and even, it surprised him. After all, she was talking about the death of the person who had given her life.

"Your dad? We didn't leave him at the island did we?"

Jode saw that her chest had stopped expanding in mid-breath. He felt the first pangs of regret as she stood. She had almost made it all the way to the engine room door before Jode realized that she was no longer beside him.

Jode ran, in a stumbling manner, to the top of the stairs. At the bottom of which stood the girl, her hand on the handle.

"Wait! Please!" Jode called out as she was in the doorway. The escaping air fabricated a breeze that lifted her long, matted hair away from her face.

"I didn't mean to alarm or upset you in any way. Please! Could we just sit down and talk? I won't ask again."

As she stepped through the door, Jode was about to say what he had meant to say at the beginning. That Fred would not let her down there, into the engine room anymore. He needed to say it. "Miss! You—"

She turned to face him, her face striped from the plank boards above. Those eyes, they were sunlight playing over the ocean surface. Creating the illusion of a flat, level expanse. As, the light had only shown what it chose to. Only revealed how little it had revealed. But, he knew— the light knew, that there was a presence biding there. A thing that had never before felt the warmth of the sun.

How could he have ever mistaken those eyes for puddles?

Her gaze was enough to make his resolve buckle. He felt something melt inside of him, it was a wall he had not realized he had put up.

"You—" he repeated." do you think you could teach me more of your language?"he asked, grasping for the first thought that had come to mind, hopefully a safe topic.

"Yes."

She looked into him. And she must have seen something good, because her shoulders relaxed a little and her mouth had eased out some of its taut hardness.

Just as she turned to close the door, a thought struck him.

"I do not know your name, miss!" her head turned to regard Jode once more, and maybe it was a trick of the light, but her eyes seemed to be smiling.

"I. I named Kaiko Okita"

"Pleasure, Miss Okita. I am Jode Hé."

She bowed, saying, "Hajime mashite," and closed the door.

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