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.


5. Two strangers

"Look, miss. Fred down there tells me to tell you that you ought to stop coming down here." The words poured out once they had sat onto the benches, the girl caught more than a few eyes staring at the man.

"Nashi. Watashi wa rikai shite inai," she said, afraid that he too would start yelling at her.

She noticed without meaning to that the beads of sweat on the man's skin glittered in the striped sunlight, which were pried unwillingly through the boards of the deck above. His black hair hung in stringy strands down to his shoulders and a rough stubble covered the lower part of his face, making him look weathered and crude.

That effect, however, was countered by a pair of large, honest eyes that were staring at her intensely. His head was tilted slightly, the same thing that seagulls do when they are confused. 

"Nashi?" he asked.

"Nashi," the girl replied, shaking her head.

"Nashi," the man said, mimicking her shake of the head. "Nashi," he shook his head again. "Does that mean no?" the girl nods, smiling.

"" her voice cracked as she said it, but it was still comprehensible.

"So you do speak English?" the man said, halfway between a statement and a question. His surprise made her smile again.

"Yes..." her accent gave her speech a tilt. She paused, a frown furrowing her brows. Then added, "Slow."

The man nodded slowly. The sounds of the boiler below and men conversing filled in the gap while he sat, staring at the wall blankly, apparently lost in thought.

It was then that, looking around, she noticed that every man in the room was staring at her. It lodged a kind of instinctual terror in her.

"You are not like them." she said, hoping that the other men would stop if she pretended not to notice.

He seemed to wake.

"Huh? No?" he blinked, trying to understand. She repeated the statement. "No, I suppose not." His smile was more like a wince."Well, for one I am more handsome."

His claim made her chuckle with amusement, once she caught on to his humor.

"How you look, how you act, not like them?" she turned the phrase into a question.

"I... I suppose I was just born like that."

"Born... Like that?" 

"Yeah, you know, genes."


"Okay." he chews on his lip when he thinks, dad did that."Do you mean that I'm Chinese?"

"Chinese, that is thing?"

"No. Um... Well, it means I was born in China, that's a country next to Japan and Korea..."

"Japan? Japan. I know it."

"What— "

"He, dad!" the girl exclaimed."He is from Japan!"


"Mum, She is from Dutch."

"You mean the Netherlands?"

"If that is dutch, yes."

"The ship's going to the Netherlands, if that's where your mother was from you probably could live there, maybe with family."

"Yes... I think I like that." The man grunts, and smiles slightly.

"I remember. In the dining room, yesterday lunchtime. Some superstitious sailors thought that nashi was some kind of hex or some other unnatural magic that makes you swim like a fish."

And the girl laughed.

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