When Icarus Fell

Madeline Rebber lives on the South side of the fence of her split nation. Her everyday life is affected by the threat of violence from the North of the country, but people have tried to make their lives as normal as possible considering the circumstances. Madeline wishes for an escape but can only dream of a future far away from the South. Until one day, a creature falls from the sky and dies, leaving behind the mystery of what it is. Madeline is drawn to this creature as he dies by her side, in a way that she can never know. But the mystery of this Icarus is only the first step in a line of events which would change Madeline's life for ever.

For the Sony Movellist of the Year competition, first 3 chapters.

2Likes
4Comments
942Views
AA

3. The Sea

That’s what the government called him – Icarus. I wasn’t required for the investigation after that night. I only received updates on it through the news and I felt left out of the picture. I hated not knowing if he’d been buried. I knew one thing though, if he existed, then there would probably be more. I could hardly sleep at night, staring out at the stars for as long as I could keep my eyes open.
          Life went on, the initial gossip and whispers about my involvement in the Icarus fall had died down at school and Icarus suddenly had the interest of our split nation. For the main part, they were working together and it was going well so far. It felt strange to see foreign television cameras in the space between the fences. But eventually all the hype died down and life returned to pretty much normal.
          Eleanor was worried about me but was more interested in the way things were progressing with Noah. Phoebe and Grace met the news that I had discovered the body with shock but it was okay. They’d all known me long enough to know I would be fine after the shock of it had gone. Here I was, sitting in Phoebe’s back garden with the girls while the sun shone. Spring was blazing into summer with every day and it was getting lighter in the night. The air already felt different as the day melted away as the sun was dangerously close to dipping behind the horizon. I wanted to get home before it got completely dark and there was something that made me want to go home. I tried to ignore the nagging feeling in my stomach that something wasn’t right and enjoy the peacefulness of the day with my friends, but the urge was too great. I had to go.
          Giving the girls hugs and when I got my bag, gave Phoebe’s mum a kiss on the cheek, I headed out over the hill, chasing the sun.
          It bled tonight, like it normally would in summer and it turned the passing clouds a deep pink. It looked peaceful tonight, which didn’t match the confusing feeling inside me. I didn’t know what to make of these unnerving feelings inside me.
          I spotted a figure with a familiar posture and gait kick up sand along the beach, like they too were troubled by distant thoughts. Even though I’d never thought about being with Noah before now, I could hardly imagine the time before he was here. I passed over the sand dunes, rising and falling as the long grass brushed my knees and I skimmed my palms along the tops of the plants. By the time I’d made it on to the beach, Noah was sitting with his back to the country and the troubles as he looked out towards the dipping sun. I sat down close by his side and he put his arm around me. I kissed the corner of his mouth before settling against his shoulder as we watched the sun pull up the stars. I didn’t know how long we stayed out, sitting on the sand together and watching the stars above the sea, but it could've been a aeon. As I watched the world turn dark, I slowly forgot about the uneasy feeling in my stomach. I knew it was going to be a job trying to find our way back. I wished I could stay out here all night, under the spell of the sea, crooning its forever lullaby.
          Noah looked down on me, “Hello you,” he whispered. I smiled up at him.
          “Hello.”
         He kissed me and the world continued to turn. The sea was our witness, the stars were our crowd, if we had them, we would never need anything else. The simple things in my life were the things that I wished I could bottle up and keep forever because I was never as happy as I was now.
          “Do you think,” I whispered to Noah, “that we will leave a mark? Do you think that we’ll even dent the surface after we’re gone?”
          “I don’t know about everyone else.” He smiled down at me. “But I know for sure that you will.”
          “You really believe that?”
          Noah tipped my chin up to meet his eye. “I’m certain.”
          I kissed him again, then stood up and offered my hand to him. If I were to make a dent, I’d make him one too.

Δ

          The lights were all on when we approached my house which made me frown. Mum normally wasn’t home for another hour and a bit from the factory. Our house wasn’t huge, but it was ours. I loved my little slim house on the corner. And to make things even stranger, there was a car parked outside our gate. No one owned a car, for the lack of fuel and the expense of running one. I didn’t recognise the car, but I doubted I would. Our street didn’t even have any road, it was just levelled mud. Everyone walked here.
          Noah noticed the car too. “Whose is it?”
          I shook my head, “I haven’t a clue.” But something didn’t feel right. Who would need a car? Who would want a car here? Cars were pointless and I couldn’t think of a single person who would even think of purchasing one.
          “Are you okay? Do you want me to come inside?”
      I squeezed Noah’s hand and gave him a small smile, “I’m sure it’s nothing.” I kissed him again. “See you tomorrow.”
          The house was quiet when I entered, like there was something unspoken in the air waiting to happen. I called out and my mother appeared at the kitchen doorway, her face lined with tears and worry. I immediately ran to her side.
          “What’s the matter? Is Aaron and Jamie okay? What’s happened Mum?”
          “Oh Madeline,” She whispered, taking my hands. They were shaking. “Oh Madeline.”
        Someone cleared their throat loudly from behind her in the kitchen and I turned the corner to see a man standing there, in the same uniform that the North army was issued. I’d never seen him before in my life. He had a buzz cut and shoulders a mile wide. His brown eyes were serious, troubled – he’d seen a lot. He looked so out of place in our kitchen, too tall to stand up straight and too wide. I frowned at him.
          “Who are you?”
          His heavy eyes flickered to me and then back to the floor. Who was he? Was he there at the crash site? Did he see what happened to Icarus’ body? He ran a hand through his fuzzy hair and let out a breath.
          “Matthew Rebber.”
          I looked at him, really looked and found myself almost believing him. But it couldn’t be – Matthew should’ve been in prison for another ten years. Why had they let him out? Why was he here of all places? I didn’t understand; I just stared.
          “You’re Matthew.” I managed eventually. “But you were in jail.”
          “Was,” He said, “I was in jail. They let me out early as I did as I was told and kept my head down. And now I’m here.”
          “But why?” I asked and heard my mother protest quietly. I carried on, “Why are you here? I don’t know who you are any more, you abandoned us.” I was angry, shaking with rage. I hadn’t thought about my distant brother in months and here he was, a man who looked like any other soldier. Why had he come back? Could he really expect everything to be rosy after his absence? If he’d cared a spit about what Mum felt, he would’ve left us alone. Jamie and Aaron didn’t need this, they didn’t need a stranger messing up life when things were the best anyway. Why did he come back? Why?
          Matthew looked at the floor, scuffed his foot a little on the tile, like I so often did. “I didn’t think back then, I thought life was boring, I thought I’d be making a difference. I’ve changed.”
          I raised an eyebrow. “Yet here you stand in a North uniform. You made your mistake and we all had to pay the price for it. After Dad left, we all looked to you, I looked to you. I don’t even remember you.”
          “Madeline.” Mum begged me to stop but I couldn’t now I’d started. How could he expect things to be as they always had after all these years? How dare he think that life would pick up from where it left off? He was nothing to me, he was nothing to my life.
          “Things were beginning to look up, all because we’d had to make do ourselves. You weren’t there when Jamie started to crawl; you weren’t there when Aaron fell out of a tree; you weren’t there to save us. You have nothing to do with this family.”
          I was shaking so badly that I wanted to either punch him or burst into tears. I had to get out of this house, I had to leave. I couldn’t go to Eleanor, as her mother would just send me back. Phoebe’s house was too far away and it was best not to be around Grace’s for too long. I couldn’t stay here, not while he was living under the same roof. My mother may’ve pined after her lost son but now he was here, there was no room. I would not change my life around a stranger. I just couldn’t do it.
          I fled from the kitchen, ran as fast as I could into my room and began picking out essential clothing. I was not going to sit here and wait for someone else we trusted walk out on us. I’m sure he had changed, but we all had and all he’d do was leave again. I couldn’t trust someone to just disappear. I needed . . . I didn’t know what I needed. Air maybe, to get out of this house definitely. I would talk about it at some other point, but not tonight. Too many things had happened at once.
          With my bag packed, I took the stairs two at a time and was walking out the door before I could change my mind. I knew I was being irrational but I couldn’t deal with it at the minute. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, I needed to get out.

Δ

     I had only met Noah’s adopted dad, Jack a few times since he was here. He was an older man in his sixties with a white beard and hair. He grumbled to himself a lot and was always wearing braces every time I saw him. He was a man who’d been working all his life and his skin was leathered from the sun. He was a man of few words.
          They lived in a small lone cottage which Jack had proudly announced had been in his family since it was built. Battersby Cottage was in the marshes, in the centre of the woods. It was pretty and quaint, but looked like it had grown out of heather, the way buildings should be built. It looked a part of the wood as much as the ferns. It was the sort of place you’d expect fairies to dance about at midnight.
          I stumbled my way through the woods, my determination spurring me on. The woods didn’t scare me the way it did for some – these were my woods. There was nothing to be afraid of here. I carried on until I spotted the large oak which Noah and Jack had engraved their address into the bark. The cottage came into view, ivy climbing over the white-wash. The garden was the heather and thicket. I loved it here.
          Once I’d reached the door, I grasped the big iron knocker, hoping that it would be Noah to answer the door. I needed to clear my head and it seemed like I could only do it if Noah would be there. I needed him.
          Noah’s head poked out from behind the door and his face lit up. He let me in and held me at arm’s length. I let out a sigh and hung my head, realising how irresponsible I’d been, how selfish and how stupid. What was wrong with me? My mum had never been the same after Matthew was locked up and now he was back. Why did I do this to her?
          “What’s wrong?” Noah put a finger under my chin and made me look up at him. I leant my head on his shoulder, ashamed for running off. I didn’t even let Mum know I was gone. God I was so stupid.
          “Matthew’s back.” I whispered. “I told him I didn’t want anything to do with him. I couldn’t breathe Noah, I couldn’t stay there.”
          He hugged me close. “Don’t worry, you’re here now. Are you sure it is him?”
          I gave a weak laugh, “Of course it is. I’ve been such an idiot Noah. The things I said to him.” I shook my head. “I just don’t want to trust him for him to just walk off again. He wrecked my mother’s heart after he was jailed. I don’t know, Noah.”
          He looked down at me, “Do you want to stay here tonight? I’ll be with you and we’ll think of something. I’m not leaving you.” He vowed and I kissed him before jumping as someone cleared their throat loudly.
          Jack was leaning in the doorway to the living room, arms folded over his stomach, whitening eyebrow raised. I blushed like crazy while Noah grinned, pulling me to his side. As always, Jack was wearing his dark green braces. I tried to hide behind my hair but it was too late.
          “Well, you two are getting on mighty fine.” He mumbled but he was smiling. Noah laughed and I relaxed at his side. Jack seemed alright but I had never known where I stood with him. Seeing that he accepted this change instantly made me sigh with relief.
          “You don’t mind if Mad spends the night, do you Pa?” Noah asked, the corner of his mouth turned up. He’d always called Jack Pa, as I suppose he never knew his real dad in the North. I wondered if he ever thought about the family that he never knew.
          Jack waved his hand dismissively. “’Course not. As long as you’re a gentleman and treat the lady with respect.”
          I laughed a little and gave him a grateful smile.

Δ

          I was curled up next to Noah on the sofa, feeling incredibly glad it was Friday and I had the weekend to make things up. I’d told him everything and was now trying to think of things to say to make amends instead of causing any more damage.
          “If I go back tomorrow and apologise,” I whispered, my head on Noah’s shoulder. “Then maybe it’ll be okay. If I try and start anew. God I feel awful, I didn’t think. If he has changed then he deserves a chance.” I shook my head, trying to muster my thoughts. I could do this - it would just take time, like everything else. It did make me incredibly tired as I hadn’t been sleeping much lately. The violence between the fences seemed to have ceased for the minute but I wondered how long that would last. The Icarus story had pretty much died out as no one knew what he was. Of course, there were still discussions between worldwide scientists televised late at night about what he could be. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw his, full of joy and life despite his failing body. I hoped he was at peace, wherever he was. It didn’t matter if I ever found out what he was or not, I watched him die and he deserved to be at peace. Icarus in my mind would be a celestial being, whether from heaven or not, he still flew and fell. He changed the way I saw things, made me mindful. I was forever reminded of his eyes whenever I closed my own. His image was burned into my memory for good.
          Noah took my hand in his and smiled a little. “I’ll go with you if you want.”
          I kissed his cheek and smiled back at him. “I think I’ll be okay. This time I promise not to turn up in the middle of the night with my bag.”
          He gave me a levelled gaze, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
          “I think so,” I replied, answering him truthfully. “There’s just a lot running through my mind at the minute. I don’t really get much sleep.”
          Noah played with my fingers for a little while. He suddenly looked up, his expression deadly serious. “Do you think about him?”
          I frowned, feigning ignorance but I knew who he was talking about. “Who?”
          “Icarus?”
          I nodded, weary again. “I see him every time I close my eyes.” I closed my own eyes, pinching the bridge of my nose. “I can’t sleep because I just end up chasing him, running and running, as if there is no end or I just imagined him. But once I find him; he pleads to me; he speaks to me; he holds my hand. And he dies, every night, over and over again.” I pushed my fingers through my hair. I would do anything not to see his face for one night, not see those piercing blue eyes. “I fail him every night. I don’t know what to do and I watch him die. Every time.” The last word was a whisper – I didn’t even think it was my voice any more. I clung to Noah with everything I had as he pulled me closer. Just one night of not waking up guilty, feeling like there could’ve been something I could’ve done. Icarus died every time I closed my eyes.
          “I see him too.” Noah whispered into my hair. I raised my head to look at him.
          “Really?”
          He nodded, “I chase you, call your name but you’re not there, you’ve disappeared. I run through the dunes but it’s too dark to see the ocean but its still there; I can hear it. Suddenly this creature falls in front of my eyes, smiling at me and pointing to his feet.” He took a shuddering breath. “You’re the one in the crater, the one who fell.”
          I pressed my face into his neck. “But they’re only dreams Noah, I’m still here.”
       He looked at my upturned face and he touched the corner of my mouth. He tried to smile a little but it was hollow. I felt similar inside. I was lost amongst the stars, spinning and turning, not knowing what was following me or what was ahead. I thought of all the things that made me smile, the people I loved, the happiness we’d made from this hostile world we were born to. They tug me back to Earth and I know what I’ve got to do. Better to make amends than to hold onto angst.
          “What do you think he was?” Noah asked, pulling me out of my epiphany. I was going to make things right, but it would wait till the morning.
          “Honestly,” I said, “I think he was a miracle.”
          Noah smiled and kissed my forehead while we got comfortable and fell asleep side by side, our hearts synced.

Δ

          I was walking back to my house, the air warm with the oncoming storm. The clouds were white and there wasn’t an inch of blue sky to be seen anywhere. The sea was a dark and dangerous grey, there was a tempest brewing under the currents. I walked home, trying to figure out what I was going to say to Matthew, how I’d apologise and be as friendly as possible. I opened the gate and let myself in.
          “Mum?” I called out and I heard footsteps approaching from the kitchen. My mother pulled me into her arms and held me tightly, making me feel selfish and stupid and guilty all over again. I whispered how sorry I was to her and hugged her back. I felt awful for running off like I did.
          “Where have you been? I’ve been worried out of my mind!” She kissed my cheek, holding my face in her hands. I was at eye level with her now and I kept saying how sorry I was.
          My mum pulled me close once more before letting me go and taking my hand. “Don’t you dare do that to me again.” She threatened. I nodded, anything to have it forgotten about. “I’m being serious Madeline – nothing gets solved by running away. We’ll talk and get through it.”
          “I’m so sorry, Mum. I was stupid.” She took my hand and led me down towards the kitchen where I heard Jamie humming softly. I felt guilty that I wasn’t there for my brothers last night. Jamie didn’t normally sleep well by himself, especially if he had a nightmare. Mum was here last night, I reminded myself, he would’ve gone to her.
          Aaron had his head resting on the round table which stood in the corner of the kitchen, dead to the world. I’m guessing he didn’t get much sleep last night. Jamie was poking him and when Aaron made no indication that he’d felt anything, he continued with his experiment. I smiled at them and Jamie spotted me, ran at me and wrapped his legs around me. I tipped him about lightly, making him giggle. He would soon be too big for me to do this, I thought wryly as we spun about the kitchen. I couldn’t imagine Jamie any bigger than he was at the minute.
          I stopped spinning just as Matthew walked into the kitchen, looking a little sheepish and I felt bad for going all ugly on him yesterday. I cleared my throat and clutched Jamie to me.
          “I’m sorry about last night.” I said, looking down at the tiled floor. I scuffed my sock against the slab. “I didn’t mean what I said. There’s just been so much stuff happening recently and it took me by surprise.”
          When I got no reply, I looked up at him and he smiled reassuringly at me. Despite the army appearance, he had my eyes and freckles. He shrugged, “Don’t worry about it.”
          I smiled a little, feeling strange. “Thanks. I thought I’d have to beg and grovel to be let back into the house.”
         He smiled ruefully and I realised that we also smiled the same way. “You don’t strike me as the kind of girl who’d grovel.”
          I raised an eyebrow, “You haven’t seen Mum in a mood - Scariest thing ever.” I winked at my mother and she pretended to look pissed off at me but she couldn’t help but smirk. I’m glad I’d seen sense and not ended up saying something that would really pull the family apart. Maybe things were getting better after all. The house felt full again, my mother’s frown lines disappeared and there was happiness in our kitchen. For the first time in a long time, things looked brighter.

Δ

Matthew melded back into our life again. It took a few weeks but we all got on well and I didn’t butt my head against his too much. I’d always wondered what would’ve happened if he’d stayed and now I couldn’t really remember what it was like in the house without him there. He got a job in the local army base, though he mainly did talks around schools, teaching. He taught primary children the history of our divided nation and how important it was that the decisions past and current governments have made shape the future. Despite his old attitude about school being a waste of time, he’d completely changed his tune and enjoyed his job.
          He didn’t abandon us; neither did it look like he was going to do anything stupid any time soon. I trusted him and things began to settle into a routine. I suppose living in a country where change rounded every corner you learnt to adapt quickly. Matthew was finally home and I was glad.
          I was sitting under mine and Eleanor’s tree as she was telling me about her current romance. She swears he is The One, but she said that about the last three.
          “Oh he is so dreamy.” She sighed and I laughed at her drifting expression. One of these days she was going to swoon, I swear. “Do you know he called me beautiful like, three times,” She sighed again.
          “Well,” I said, smiling, “I have a feeling this is it for you, Elle. You’re in love.” I winked at her and she smiled, pulling strands of her blonde hair out of her mouth as the wind picked up. I nudged her with my elbow, “Hey, do you think it’ll be a proper summer romance?”
          Eleanor sighed again and stared out, imagining, “Long walks along the beach.”
          I translated for her, “Getting crapped on by seagulls; losing a shoe in the mud; chased by dogs – sounds like the perfect date.” She stuck her tongue at me and I pulled one back at her. I leant back against the tree and closed my eyes, enjoying the first warm day we’d had. Summer was coming with each day, the flowers blooming and the birds singing. The buds were about to burst above our heads on our tree and late snowdrops were clustered together. I loved spring - it was a rejoicing after the long winter.
          “I would marry him now if he’d asked.” Eleanor was still daydreaming. I rolled my eyes at her and let the warm wind embrace me. The weather was gradually getting better day by day and I’d always loved the sun. It was too cold in January and February – the days dark and the wind biting. I loved the sun, loved being able to walk along the beach in bare feet and the sand to be warm. It held promises for such bright times.
          “What do you think we’ll be doing in ten years’ time?” Eleanor asked, raising an eyebrow at me and smiling softly. I shrugged.
          “I don’t know, hopefully something productive. I’d like to travel but I doubt that’s going to happen any time soon.” I gave a forlorn sigh, wishing I could explore the world; see different cultures; be amongst different people. I couldn’t think of anything better.
          “I’d like to have a house by the beach,” Eleanor announced, “But not this beach. It’d be a perfect little cottage, with no one else around for miles. I would spend all my day tending to my garden - I would be self-efficient. I could spend all my life there.”
          It sounded pretty tempting. “But what about Mr Perfect?” I teased.
          Her bright blue eyes lit up, “Of course, he’ll be there with me and we’d watch every sunset together.”
        We laughed, the promise of better days sounding like a guarantee as we talked about our futures that would hopefully be ours one day. I would do anything to know my future could be anything I wanted it to be.
          One day, I’d be free.

Δ

School was drawing to a close for another year. I was sitting in a stifling classroom, my black blazer around the back of my chair and my white shirtsleeves pushed up my arms. Only half an hour until the end of the day and I wasn’t the only one watching the clock. We were all desperate to get out of Burning Hell. All the windows of Mr Jackson’s classroom were open wide, the sun showing how grimy they were. They were the most useless windows in the whole world, as they let out too much heat out the winter and kept the heat in in summer. Mr Jackson was pacing in front of the white board, frantically pointing to his poorly draw diagrams of the Witches from Macbeth. We were supposed to be thinking about how disgusted the Shakespearian audience would’ve been with the sight of witches plotting.
          I was twirling a pen through my fingers, thinking of a good time to head down to the beach. It would probably be wise to go down to watch the sunset. I’d promised Jamie that Noah would come with us and Aaron had perked up when he heard that he was coming also. Summer nights were the best with Noah.
          Mr Jackson’s voice was just a mummer at the front of the class as he’d gone back to talking to himself. He did this whenever we were studying Shakespeare, having discussions with himself. No one complained.
          Noah was picking the leather bands at my wrist as I twirled my pen, stringing lyrics together in my head. Once it had a chorus, I decided to figure out the chords when I got home. Playing the guitar on the beach sounded like a paradise compared to the stifling air in my English classroom.
          “What are the chances of Mr Jackson realising that no one’s listening?” Noah whispered in my ear and I smiled.
        “I think the little men in his head would have to be gagged to make him remember he was even teaching a class.” I retorted back and Noah laughed loudly, causing some glares from the freaks at the front of the class who were scribbling down our oblivious teacher’s every word. It was mostly gibberish anyway but they were writing with such a furious determination that I thought they’d damage something. Laury Palmer was hunched over her work, her tiny, pointy body poking through her uniform which swamped her as she listened to Mr Jackson’s words like he was a preacher. I glanced at the clock again, fifteen minutes.
          Once we’d been saved by the bell, Mr Jackson seemed to come back to himself enough to remind us we had an essay on Macbeth which was to be completed in a week. I rolled my eyes at his timing and got out of the heat before I was stewed.
          I decided to take Noah down onto the beach as we walked home. I’d taken my shoes off and enjoyed the warm sand between my toes. I loved summer. I closed my eyes and lifted my face to the sun. Noah had walked off a little in front of me and I launched myself at his back. He spun us around and around and all I could think was I love my life right now because everything was perfect. He had me crying out for him to stop and it wasn’t until I covered his eyes with my hands did he come to a standstill. He stood up straight and I thought he was going to drop me. I squealed and laughed as he hopped and sunk into the sand dunes until the houses came into view. I pressed my face into his neck and refused to get down once he’d stopped at the end of my row. With Matthew back, it did make Noah uneasy being in the same room as him, as Matthew would do a sort of warning glare which didn’t waver. I felt bad for Noah as Matthew could be scary.
          “Come on, monkey girl.” He said, letting go of my legs but I just clung tighter to him. I was intrigued to see what he’d do and I wasn’t planning to let go any time soon. Noah turned his body around twice and laughed again, thinking. I kissed his neck, trying to distract him but it was too late, he was waiting for something. The moment I’d taken my lips from his neck, he suddenly sat down and lay back on me, squashing me. I squealed and wriggled, trying to push him off me but it was no use. I refused to make any noise indicating that he was constricting my breathing because then he’d have won.
          “You okay back there?” He mocked and I poked him in the ribs. We wrestled for a bit, kicking up the dried ground. By the time I managed to get out from under him and sit on his chest, we were both covered in red dust, our uniforms not going anywhere but the wash. I was smiling at his dusted face and he smiled back at me. I gave him a kiss and then got up, holding my hand out for him. Noah was grinning from ear to ear and I swear it would soon walk right off his face. We walked with our arms around each other to my house.

 

          The beach was quiet when I eventually managed to get my brothers out of the house. Jamie was up on Noah’s shoulders – his favourite place to be. Noah hadn’t changed in my brothers’ eyes now Matthew was back. Noah had spent almost every day with my brothers, seeing them when he visited me or on walks like this to the beach. He was a part of the family.
          Aaron was in an equally good mood and was proudly announcing the drop goal he’d kicked in his rugby match. I was only half listening, looking out at the summer’s day. It was beautiful, the wild coastal outline a dark giant against the pink sky. Soon the sun would be gone and the world would be plundered into darkness. The sky was clear with only slight wisps of clouds drifting across the fuchsia sky. The sun its self was a brilliant orange orb, saying its last good bye to the world until dawn.
          We headed towards the lighthouse, racing down nearly vertical sand slopes and letting our toes sink into the soft, crumbly sand. If the sand dunes were my kingdom and the lighthouse my castle, I could live contentedly for the rest of my days. The dipping sun made everything rose tinted and I knew I was going to remember this for the rest of my life.
          We spent the last daylight hours kicking sea water at each other, laughing in the warm breeze. Jamie tried jumping the waves and Aaron managed to convince a starfish to let go of a rock it was clinging onto desperately and it sat on his palm, a tiny pink thing surviving the currents day by day. He put it back where he’d found it, in a little rock pool around the base of the lighthouse.
          “Let’s make a dent.” Noah said, taking my hand and pulling me from the sea. He led me to a clear bit of sand where no shells or pebbles lay. Under Noah’s instructions not to move, I watched with a smile on my face as he picked up a stick and began to write in huge letters: We were here.
          I shook my head at him and took the stick off him once he’s finished. These words would be swallowed up by the sea and taken all around the world. I liked the thought of leaving something for the sea after this beautiful day we’d had beside it. Days like this made a future seem possible.
          So with the stick, I wrote: And we look towards the sun as it fades.
         
Aaron came over and with his own stick marked the sand: For many more sunsets and sword fights.
       And happier days,
Noah wrote, concluding our little poem. I wrapped my arms around my family and we watched the sun disappear below the horizon.

Δ

          We were at Phoebe’s house, consciously for the first time trying to play as a band. We’d all messed around before but there was a concert coming up and Eleanor had decided to sign us all up. I didn’t mind, though the thought was a little daunting about performing in front of the whole town. The town’s summer fete was not something that was taken lightly, with Clayburn Higher School parading along the beach and an open tent concert to be held on a makeshift stage at the edge of the town’s boundary amongst the sand dunes. People would travel far and wide to see it. I’d never thought to put my name down to perform until now and I only agreed because Eleanor had already done it. Backing out was never an option.
          So we were slowly rifling through Phoebe’s mum’s old song books for something we all could play. Grace was on the drums after Phoebe had begged her brother, Daniel to teach her to play properly. Grace was over the moon with this arrangement and had come to love these lessons with Daniel more than she loved to dance, which was saying something. She was still besotted something stupid over Daniel.
          After flicking through the sixth book in the pile by my feet, I sighed and gave up, tired of looking at chord after chord. There was a peace that I felt when playing that never happened at any other time. I picked something, not really paying attention to what I was playing. I soon fell into a comfortable run with a simple tune and started to hum.
          Phoebe’s head snapped up and was listening to me instead of looking at me. I kept playing and she listened once more before turning back to the piano. She played a melody, something slow but meaningful. It accompanied the guitar well I thought as I continued to play. This sounded like it was going to be it, but I didn’t get my hopes up too much. I focused on playing and heard Grace tap out the beat, quietly at first but getting louder and more sure with every hit to the drums. It was a simple, sweet song but it was effective and I found myself smiling as I picked the strings. We all experimented for a little while longer until I was sure this would be the one we’d play. If we didn’t write it down somewhere, it’d be forgotten later. We sounded good, even if I said so myself. Eleanor was smiling, scribbling what I hoped were lyrics down onto the back of a sheet of music she’d pulled out of a stack. This was the way things worked with us as friends, we all joined as one, making the individual something incredible.
          Maybe this summer fete wouldn’t be as bad as I’d first thought. There certainly had never been anything like this in a long time. It would also give us a real chance to perform in front of strangers and a nervous excitement tingled through my fingers.
          We wrote down the chords and notes on anything we could find. My chords we smudged because I couldn’t find any pens and there was only Eleanor’s charcoal pencil she’d been using to sketch. This was going to be the song that would have my full attention for the next three weeks.
          I headed home with a smile on my face, swinging the guitar case back and forth even though my arm ached in the process. The world was shining and it felt like anything was possible – we just needed to want it enough to make it happen and I wanted this.

Δ

     I woke up with a start, instinctively pulling Jamie closer to my chest. He would always end up back in my bed and I didn’t sleep well without him here. Something must’ve woken me up but the world outside was quiet. The moon shone through my window, big and bright. I tried to remember the last time it had seemed so big and it was that day - the day Icarus fell.
          I hadn’t dreamt about him for months and the memory was hazy as I recalled it. It worried me for some reason, like because I was forgetting his face it made him more like a dream. But he’d been real, I’d seen him die, there’d been reporters from all around the world there. I couldn’t have made him up – my imagination wasn’t that good.
          Just as I was drifting back to sleep, a loud crack sounded from outside. I sat up, trying not to wake Jamie up as I listened to shouts and beams of light bounce around outside my window. I crossed to the window, frowning as I pulled on one of Matthew’s hoodies which I slept in when it was cold. The searchlight beamed on our side of the fence, roving up the dunes and to the shore. I didn’t understand it, what were they looking for? Was it a person? Had a prisoner escaped?
          “Mad?”
          I spun around to Jamie sitting up, looking dog tired and he lifted his arms for me to pick him up. I held him against my hip as the searchlight illuminated the lighthouse and made its way back again. Jamie set his head against my shoulder and I was desperately trying to see where that crack had come from. None of it made sense, as there had been no gunfire or violence from the other side in months. I didn’t know what to make of what was happening.
          I jumped as someone knocked on my bedroom door and I tore myself from the window overlooking the dark sea. Matthew stood in the doorway, still half asleep but his eyes were concerned. He gave me a quizzical look and I pointed to the window at the end of the landing. Matthew crossed wordlessly and his frown matched mine when he saw the wandering searchlight.
          “Something’s really wrong.” He whispered to me and I nodded, still too lost in my own thoughts to answer properly. I was trying to think of something that would explain this strange and rather frantic behaviour. This wasn’t some sort of drill; I couldn’t remember them ever doing it before. Matthew’s face was all the answer I needed to confirm that this wasn’t something that the army usually did.
          “What’s going on?” Mum came out of her room, her hair frizzed up on the side she slept on. I moved out the way so she could see out the window and handed Jamie to her, careful not to wake him. Something was unsettling about the wandering light. We all jumped when there was a knock on the front door.
          I followed behind Matthew, hiding my hands in the sleeves of my jumper as someone knocked again, slightly more frantically this time. He opened the door and I heard Eleanor’s frightened voice as well as her mother’s babbling. Mrs Peters, Eleanor’s mother, was a close friend of my mum as they’d grown up together. Mrs Peters never babbled to anyone and never once had I seen her cry. I watched as they came into the hall, Eleanor’s older sister Sadie silent as always, but this time there was raw fear in her eyes. I caught Eleanor as she practically fell on me, sobbing hysterically. I stroked back her hair, trying to calm her down enough to talk. Mum had just come down the stairs and Mrs Peters took her hands tightly in her own trembling ones.
          “There’s another one,” Sadie whispered, as she looked like the only one who could speak. “It’s happening again. No one knows what to do.”
          “What are you talking about?” Matthew asked, taking her arm. “What’s going on?”
          She looked up at him with shining eyes, “There’s another creature on the beach, walking out of the sea.”
          Everything seemed to slow down – I could think or see straight, but there was one thought going through my head again and again until it was a chant: Go to the beach, go to the beach, go to the beach. I was out the door, running through the dunes, the summer’s wind tugging my hair and hitting my bare legs. I ran barefooted towards the sea, unable to hold any reasoning thought in my head enough to register what it was. I had to see, I had to see him again.
         I crested the dune which let me see the whole scene. There was about thirty soldiers all facing the sea and because I couldn’t see anything, it looked like they were waiting to battle Neptune or Poseidon. The searchlight continued to scour the sea front but there was nothing but the receding tide. Without warning there was splashing and several shouts and swear words flew into the air. I crawled on my elbows and hid behind a large clump of grass as I watched to see the spotlight suddenly swing to five or six soldiers walking backwards from the sea. Something pale and ghostly emerged from the waves.

          I needed a closer look, I had to see this. I was close enough so I was still in darkness but I could see everything clearly. The being which was apparently walking from the waves was long and pale, with skin that looked like paper and limbs too long to be a human’s. Its skin clung to its large head where straggly bits of what could only be called hair hung wet and matted and there was all manner of sea creatures and urchins upon its skin. It didn’t look like my Icarus, except for the eyes, which I could see searching the rows and rows of men. It didn’t look like something of this world.
          Starfish and barnacles covered most of its skin like it was a rock. Seaweed was caught in the pale strands of hair and there was a beast in its eyes as it looked over the soldiers who were trembling now but desperately trying to keep their calm. I could see the pure terror on one man’s face as his lips moved in a silent prayer. I couldn’t take my eyes from the beast emerging from the sea in front of me.
          The creature began to grin, a horrible, sinister thing showing off a mouth with no teeth. The soldiers lowered their weapons. I took a quick gasp of air – something was going to happen.
          It bellowed, the beast did, it bellowed into the night sounding like nothing I’d ever heard before. It made me cover my ears and I could see I was not the only one who heard it. It was so loud I could hardly stand it. It was like the creature was screaming right into my ear, like it was standing right beside me. It stopped suddenly and even the sea was silent.
          As if my body wasn’t my own, I stood up, forgetting about hiding and began to walk in a daze towards the sea, towards the beast. I clenched and unclenched my fists with every step I took, the sand still warm even though the sun had long gone. All eyes had turned to me and I kept walking, wishing that I wasn’t so damn curious. They said curiosity killed the cat, we’d see how true that funny old saying was now. But it wasn't just my own curiosity, it was something else embedded into my head that had made me move. There was no turning back now, I was in the spotlight.
          The beast, the creature, looked at me, turning its ancient eyes to me. The blue swirled, unwavering, unblinking and I couldn’t look away. There was no joy in these eyes, there was only something cold and dark, much like the ocean in which it still stood, seaweed twirling around its ankles. I let out a shaky breath, everything was quiet, my lullaby silenced. It raised its hand slowly, one long finger outstretched. It pointed at me, trying to convey something I didn’t know how to say in words. My mind was blank, nothing there but white space.
          The creature, the beast, slunk back into the sea, its eyes never leaving mine. It stepped back a foot at a time until there was nothing but its eyes above the black water. It paused there for a second and I felt my head spin as it slipped back into the waves, leaving not even a footprint to prove it was there.
          The world we lived in was not the world we thought we did. Here beasts and creatures fell from the sky or wandered out of the sea. Here we were all caught in the crossfire of a war between the sky and the sea. We were pawns, witnesses to deaths we grieved but didn’t understand. Our country, so divided by hatred it was split in half and yet there were things far bigger than anyone knew about happening right on our doorstep. It was not so much the dark that scared people, but what was in that darkness. Somehow, I’d seen Icarus fall, watched him die by my side. Somehow, this beast who was similar and yet more sinister, who’d mastered the sea and the waves, had seen me and given me something. I felt different, strange, dark.
          That was it, no matter how long the sun shone, no matter how many lights were turned on, no matter how much we tried to escape it, there was the dark. At the end of the day, there was only the dark.

          Colours ceased to have names as everything around me fell into that resolute darkness.

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...