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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2. Parting ways

Swimming, she had almost thrown herself, head on, into the side of the ship. A rope dropped over the side. She grabbed it, tying it around herself with fumbling fingers. People unseen hauled her aboard where she dropped to the deck like a fish dragged out of the water. Flailing, fighting rough hands. Shouts constantly sounded around her, simply noise for the half-drowned girl.

She panicked. This was the way her mother had died. Her dad had told her that he was holding her in his arms while she choked on the sea.

Despite her struggles, they soon pinned her down. A pair of hands pushed at her chest. Swallowed seawater rushed back up her throat, almost suffocating her before she thought to turn her head and spit it onto the deck.

Heaving breaths returned air to gasping lungs. She was released. A towel was draped over her shoulders. She looked back at the island, allowing a small, victorious smile play across her features. She saw the landform that had trapped her. It was the only flaw on the face of the sea in sight. Depressions and caves created shrouding shadows on it's sides, it's sharp edges making it seem to frown. Among the cliffs, the nests of seagulls was prominent, though the mass of circling gulls above was by far most striking.

"Why do I need to learn to read, dad?"

"That's because we will be leaving this place soon. We will go live with other people, in a city. And you, chiisana kira kira, will need to read and write in a city."

"But why do we have to move? This is our place, dad."

"I don't know. But we will leave. You'll love it. Out there is an entire world we can explore."

He'd be proud.

The girl stood, hands clinging onto the railing to gain a precarious balance, watching as a group of gulls came near. Lazy beats of their wings made them glide on the wind, effortlessly overtaking the heavy vessel.

The girl waited until they hung in the air just in front of her. The ship turned then, a lighthouse rounding the side of the island and entering plain view.

Images of blood, death, days spent in hiding, hatred.

Her eyes enlarged. Emotions tumbled, choking her as the seawater had before. She spat into the sea, trying to rid herself of the memories, a small payment for the debt of blood that she owed the island.

The seagull, the one the girl called Chick, fixed her with its gaze, curious and comforting. And cawed. Once.

"Sayonara yujin," the girl said." Anata subeki genzai modoru." goodbye friends, you should go back now. She tried to keep the image of the seagulls in her mind as she turned and faced the confused expressions of the seamen.

She was led to a corner. Swaying on her feet as the men padded the place with a waterproof covering.

She slept, but not before the harsh voices of the men started to prattle, no doubt, about her.

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