The Boy from the Sea

The Boy from the Sea

A Story by bba
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A distressed woman trying to take care of her delusional mother.

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I hate Sundays, Rachel had only realized as she watched the water pour into the glass in her hand how true this had become. Has it always been this bad, she thought, this once a week obligatory visit to mother? Her visit to the hospital only lasted an hour, but that one hour could drastically affect her whole day. She thought of stopping her visits but she might never be able to live with the guilt. She had not been comfortable admitting her mother in this hospital and letting others take care of her; it would kill her if she abandoned her mother completely.

She had no choice now, however. She could not take care of her anymore. Her mother’s delusions were becoming worse, and it would be better to leave her in the hands of professionals who thoroughly understand the disease.

And so every Sunday, Rachel became the stranger who visited Juliet in her small white room. The stranger who listened to Juliet ramble on about being forced to abandon her life as queen, about being taken away from her kingdom to be imprisoned in a white-walled cage.

Rachel’s heart broke every time she heard the story. She had even become foolishly upset when her mother omitted her in the story; the queen was childless, her mother’s story went. But she could not blame her mother. How could she? It was not Juliet’s fault to forget her only child, or her whole life for that matter. Juliet became a different person when the disease had seized her.

Rachel felt the water spill and stopped pressing the water cooler faucet. Would she suffer the same fate as her mother? Would she forget friends and family and live with her delusions? She sighed despairingly and went back inside her mother’s room.

Juliet stared at the blankness of the white wall, oblivious to the world around her. Her frail hands lay on her lap as she sat motionless on the soft armchair. Her silver-white hair tied at the back of her head to a neat bun; Rachel couldn’t remember if her mother had worn her hair another way. She was snatched from her reverie when Rachel placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Thank you,” Juliet said, taking the glass of water from Rachel. She emptied the glass without pause then looked back at Rachel, water dripping down her chin.

“Can I have another one, please?” Her eyes glistened as she pleaded like a child asking for a toy at Christmas.

“Later, Mama. You’ve already had three glasses.”

“But I’m still thirsty,” she whispered.

“No Mama, later.” Rachel took the glass from Juliet and put it down on the side table. She heard her made a faint moan. Rachel hated hearing that sound.

“Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?” Juliet voice quivered. “Please take me back home. My kingdom is waiting for me. And I know my king is worried. Please take me back home.”

Rachel took this as her queue to leave. She could not take another round of her mother’s delusions. She called in Nurse Peggy and asked for Juliet’s meds.

After a few minutes, Juliet sat calmly on her bed, her worries forgotten for now. Rachel kissed her mother and left the building.

She sat in her car for a long time. Her eyes fixed on the gray wall of the parking lot, and her hands turned white from clutching the steering wheel hard. She could feel her throat burning as she fought to stifle a sob. She needed a glass of water. She turned the key in the ignition and drove away.

 

The tides wiped away the two pairs of footprints in the sand. Two children, a boy and a girl, walked hand-in-hand along the beach. A slight breeze caressed their faces. The ebbing sea played a lullaby in their ears.

The boy had a round face. His skin, deeply tan, hinted at long hours under the sun. His curly hair matched his brown eyes. Around the boy’s neck was a string of seashells, each piece different from the rest. The boy’s mother had weaved the necklace by hand.

The girl, on the other hand, had a pale skin. She was a few inches taller than the boy and had luminous green eyes. Her long black hair rested on her shoulders like a nun’s veil.

They had been walking for quite some time. Behind them, the girl’s house could barely be seen. The girl stopped and looked back the way they came and to her house.

“You can come home with me,” the boy said, sensing that the girl wanted to get back home. “You won’t have to see your mother anymore.”

The girl gave a faint smile and shook her head. She was upset with her mother but running away from home was a little too harsh of a punishment for her. She only said she did not want to see her mother anymore in the heat of the argument. She and her mother knew she didn’t mean it.

“We’re a bit near my home,” the boy pointed at the middle of the sea. “Don’t you want to come home with me?” the boy insisted, desperation laced his voice.

The girl shook her head again. She did not want to disappoint the boy, but she did not want to leave her mother either.

“I need to get back home,” she said to the boy.

The boy’s round brown eyes started to glistened. He bent his head down and looked at his feet.

“Don’t be sad,” she placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “I will always be your friend,” she assured him.

The boy looked up saw the girl smiling at him. He lifted the corner of his lips and made a faint smile. He nodded at the girl and she nodded back.

The boy grabbed his necklace and took it off his neck. His curly hair tangled on the lace as he slipped it off over his head.

“If you change your mind and want to go back home with me, just wear this.” He gave his necklace to the girl. “I will come and get you.”

She moved close to the boy and kissed his beautiful lips. Then she turned around and walked back home; the necklace dangled in her hand.

The girl looked back to wave goodbye but the boy was no longer there. Even his footprints were gone.

 

Rachel parked her car under the shade. She took the bouquet of flowers on the passenger seat and got out of the car. Then she walked slowly through the pathway of the cemetery.

The cemetery was empty; it had always been every Sunday. Rachel wanted it exactly that way. She did not want anybody see her cry when she visits her son’s grave.

Rachel’s son died three months ago. Juliet was still living with them then. Rachel could not afford the hospital fees, what with her son’s school expenses. So she tried to take care of both her son and her mother by herself.

It was a Sunday afternoon when Juliet found her grandson in the bathtub. Rachel was cooking dinner, and Juliet came running in the kitchen, screaming. Everything happened like a dream.

Rachel relived that Sunday afternoon in her mind every day. She wanted to see every detail, every mistake that happened, and thought about the things she could’ve done to prevent it. She tortured herself every day, obsessing with the memory. She knew it was a terrible accident; but deep in her mind, she always blamed Juliet for her son’s death. Could her son be alive if she had brought Juliet to the hospital when the early signs of the delusions had occurred?

Rachel knelt down the grave and placed the flowers on the ground. She traced her son’s name with her finger, Charley, on the slab of gray cement. Cold, painful tears rolled down her face.

 

Juliet had trashed her bedroom. She ripped her pillows open and pushed the mattress to the floor. She yanked the drawers of her side table empty, the contents - her nightgowns and dresses, letters from old friends and families, the Holy Bible, papers and receipts - strewn across the floor. She was looking for something, and she wouldn’t stop until she found it.

Nurse Peggy rushed to the room and tried to calm her down. She dragged Juliet to a chair and brought out two white pills from her pocket.

“Where is it?” Juliet screamed. “Why do you keep taking it away? It’s mine! You stole it! Where is it?”

Nurse Peggy knew what Juliet was talking about. She had gotten used to seeing Juliet in this fit every time Rachel leaves her. She still wondered, however, how the disease could change a sweet old lady. She seemed like a toddler throwing a tantrum.

“It’s alright, Juliet. I didn’t take it. You let me keep it, remember? Here drink this up then I’ll give it to you. Here we go, open wide.”

Juliet swallowed the round pills and stared at Nurse Peggy; her luminous green eyes welled up, begging.

Nurse Peggy reached down inside her pocket and placed the beautiful necklace of seashells on Juliet’s hand.

 

The smell of wild flowers pervaded the garden under the sweet summer afternoon. Some of the patients bathed under the sun, sitting comfortably on the stone benches edging the grounds; some, mesmerized by the dancing leaves, stared at them unblinking and stone-still; others whispered secrets to the fluttering butterflies that were taking refuge in the garden after their long migration.

Juliet sat next to the shallow rectangular pond, holding her seashell necklace to her mouth. Nurse Peggy decided that Juliet needed some fresh air as she fixed up the mess Juliet made in her room.

“I missed you,” Juliet whispered to the necklace. “I will never lose you again. I promise.”

She stared down the pond. The colorful fishes lifted their mouths out from the water, babbling soundless words.

“Charley shouldn’t have died, you know. I wanted you to take him home but he didn’t want to wear the necklace when he swam. No, Charley shouldn’t have died.”

Juliet slid out from the seat and settled on the edge of the pond. She looked at the necklace she was holding and then back to the water. She slipped the necklace over her head then lay down at the bottom of the pond.

Juliet could not hear anything. The water pressing into her ear wiped out every sound except the slight gushing of the pond. Everything was distorted and unclear. It was like looking into the glass mirrors one finds in amusement parks.

A man walked to the edge of the pond and bent down close to Juliet’s head. His long curly hair dangled on the sides of his head and his brown eyes twinkled at Juliet. He smiled down at her. She smiled back at him. The man dipped his hand into the water, grabbed hold of Juliet’s shoulders then pulled her out of the water.

Juliet stood up, and the ebbing sound of the sea filled her ears. They were standing on the beach. Not a soul could be seen except for the two children, a boy and a girl, their hands entwined.

Juliet smiled at the boy, his curly hair moved slightly with the wind.

“I thought you wouldn’t come,” she said.

“You wore the necklace, didn’t you?” he smiled. “Are you ready to come home with me?”

Juliet nodded.

The two children walked towards the sea, their hands never left the warmth of the other.

As the cold water reached Juliet’s waist, she stopped and looked at the boy.

“What if your mommy doesn’t like me? She asked. “What if nobody in your kingdom would like me, Neptune?”

Neptune smiled at Juliet so wide his brown eyes crinkled at the corners.

“Down there, you will be queen.”

 


The End

© 2011 bba


My Review

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Featured Review

This was truly an enchanting tale, and well written. The details were superb, and your style kept the story flowing nicely.

For the sake of eliminating distractions, I would read the story aloud to yourself and make everything past tense. In a few places, the verbs suddenly switched to present tense, and it threw me off. It's a simple fix to make this captivating story even more fluid.

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

I have to agree with Tomislav Petricevic by keeping us guessing until the end.you mentioned Juliet's "luminous green eyes" then I was like, "It's her" before that I assumed it would be Rachel. I never would have guess Neptune was the little boy.

The ending seems open to interpretation in my opinion. Did she die? or Did the world actually exist? Even if it exist to her, why is she in a hospital? This is what I perceived at the ending although I could be wrong, but it was my impression. Interesting read!

Posted 7 Years Ago


This is a magnificent story. The idea is original and entertaining, and I like it how you didn't explain everything but instead let us think about the whole thing for a bit.
Good job.

Posted 8 Years Ago


A that was great. Juliet got to go back to their kingdom after all. Very nicely writen. I loved it

Posted 8 Years Ago


a

Posted 8 Years Ago


That was an amazing story! Each emotion stood out perfectly, and the plot was just amazingly created. Did Charley die? Did she become young again? What happened to Rachael?
We wanna know!

Posted 9 Years Ago


Very, very, very, very, very, well- written. There was some mistakes with tenses and it got a bit redundant near the end, but otherwise a spectacular story with prose that reads like a dream.

Posted 9 Years Ago


An engrossing story. So many emotions portrayed beautifully. You related the carers struggles in a very realistic way. Thankyou

Posted 9 Years Ago


I love the secrecy in this! It amazing! It has a very great twist, and the ending left me with awe and wonderment! Love it! :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


This was totally amazing. What exactly happened at the end? Did the mom like become young again or what? I'd love to know. Could you message me with the answer. That was seriouslly good though. I loved it. How did Charley die? Could you message me with the answer to that question too? Personally I just loved it. I've read some really good pieces and this is getting added to the list.

Posted 9 Years Ago


wow, this was truly amazing! The ending was so sweet and yet heartbreaking. I got completely taken in by your beautiful imagery and flow (:

Posted 9 Years Ago



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1326 Views
15 Reviews
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Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on December 18, 2010
Last Updated on February 11, 2011
Tags: Flash Fiction, Fantasy, Mother, Neptune, Sea, Beach, Necklace, Delusional Mother, Brian Ayson, I really don't know how to tag m

Author

bba
bba

Philippines



About
I write short stories mostly, somewhere within the realms of horror, fantasy, drama, dark fantasy. Please feel free to read and write a quick review of what you think of my stories. Any comments gr.. more..

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