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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7. Old ghosts

"Mmmm," I am smiling, finding joy in warm fire. We never can have many fires, only once a year, on my birthday. It is a small fire, made from boards from the wrecked ship. "Dad! It's yummy! Where did it come from?" of course, all we say is in Japanese.

"Made from love and dreams, chiisana kira kira." dad calls me that, I am his tiny sparkle.

A grunt from the side. 

"Don't forget sweat and blood. Took us a lot of trouble to get a hold of that. Eat up!" Uncle Haruto watches while I eat. Eyes half lidded. A cat sunning.

"Uncle Haruto! You will tell me what it is!" I order after gobbling up the last of it.

"If you must know, it is an egg."

"Haruto!"dad has a gruff voice. Low, deep, but coarse. Sandpapery.

"A seagull egg, too." 

Cold. Food sits in my stomach like heavy stones. 

"Baby seagulls?" tears in my eyes."Dad! Baby seagulls?"

"Chiisana kira kira, don't cry."

"Say its not true!" tears fall. I wait. Seagulls cry outside. I cry inside. "Say its not true." dad stares at table, I stare at him. His knuckles are white, his fists clench. 

He knows how I love the birds. He does not look at me because he can't stand the sight of my tears.

My eyes fall to the wedding ring, I see how it bites into his forth finger. A plait, of three parts— two silver strands and one gold, seamlessly connected, but made for a finger smaller than his.

Mother's.

She had given it back to him at her death, and he had worn it always. I don't think it can ever come off. I have tried.

I want to take it away. He treasures it more than anything. It will hurt him like how he hurt me.

I force him to look at me.

"Dad..."

 

Nothing. Rock against hands, under feet. Looking. Searching. Seeing nothing.

A long breath is let out. I climb down. Handholds and footholds set in memory. Walk backwards into darkness.

Heart races. Stomach growls. Hands cold. Feel nose, nose colder. Fresh breeze, salt stinging. Blow on hands. Rub nose.

Screaming.

A little is my screaming. Above, noise. Crumbling. Man.

Man drops, screaming. Sees me. Screams become yelling. I press back against hard rock. Safe under outcrop. Safe high up on cliff. Man cannot get me.

Tumbles, twists, falling on his back. Man lands in sea, still looking at me. I shiver.

Waves throw him onto a ledge. Coughs. Shudders. Looks up at me. Man starts to climb. Up, up and up. Eyes fixed on me. Reaches up to get another hold. Licks his lips, anticipating. I wait for him.

He is small. Dot under me. Cannot hurt me. Cannot reach me.

I wait for him. I can wait forever.

He climbs, he falls, he climbs some more.

Man stops. Staring up, searching around. Nowhere to go, no handholds. Brings himself close to cliff face. Looks at me again. Angry eyes.

Man jumps. Reaching, grasping. Pulling, slipping. Falls. Down. Down. Down.

Becomes smaller. Crushed ant. Head is halved. Limbs splay. Twitch. Twitch. Die. Die. Dies.

Time speeds up. Seagulls come. Body rots. Flesh tears. I watch. Hardly blinking, barely breathing. I watch.

Seagull come to me. Seagull has bright red beak. Seagull holds scrap of flesh in bright red beak. Hover in front of me. Cannot see man. Do not see seagull.

Seagull drop meat. Large chunk on my lap. Take it without looking. Raise my hand...

Throw. Throw it hard.

After all, why bury a memory when you can drop it into the sea? I keep on staring at the dead man.

 

The door creaks.

No, no...no. A thought. Completely ignored. Utterly pointless. I am not in control.

A gloomy room. The air is heavy with insanity and tinged with the scent of blood. My eyes dart around. I feel uneasy. I hesitate. I know where to look. But I avoid looking there.

My dream will only proceed once I am looking there.

A force not my own drags my mind's eye to the scene under the window. The pounding in my ears is louder than my footsteps. There. The shape. The memory that I fear.

"Hello? Hello!" stupid, stupid me shouts. What I might have passed if I had just stayed quiet.

The shape splits into two. A hunched figure and another. Moonlight from the window outlines the hunched one. I see that it is looking my way.

It rises. The crescent moon seems to have remade itself in it's face, with every hollow crater accounted for.

Glittering catches my eye. Where the second shape lies, a plait of three parts— two of silver and of gold.

I run. Almost before I can remember why.

But not before the hunched shape leaps for me. I twist out of its grasp. The door is open and I run.

I remember that I had looked back. Then, I saw in the night behind me a thing with hungry eyes. It smiles to reveal red teeth, blood dribbles down its chin.

"Come now Kaiko, child. You know me." it says in a familiar voice. "Uncle Haruto, my dear Kaiko. Let us stop this. You could help me prepare dinner just like we did before." No! No! "Let us stop all this running. My old bones can't take it!"

"No! You! You are dead!" I scream at the thing while I run. "Dad said you had died!"

"He lied, child. Just like when he made you eat that egg. He lied."

"You monster!"

"Me?" it laughed a sound that no man could make. "Oh no, child. Not me."

"What did you do to him?"

"Your father? Why, nothing at all. We can go back, he will tell you the same. Let us stop this nonsense!"

I ran. I wouldn't stop. No. I couldn't stop. The sharp stones cut my feet. Dad...

"There is nowhere to run on this island, Kaiko. Nowhere to go. I will catch you."

I cried and I ran. Dad!

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