Sorrow Beneath Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 05, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 05, 2018



Prologue: Droplets of cold rain collided with tears as they slowly waltzed down an older man’s cheek. His soft, green eyes swam in pools of red from crying for hours, wisps of dried grey hair swept gently over the frames of his glasses. Weakly clutching a young girl’s hand, he drew in shallow breaths and knelt down beside a worn slab of stone, engraved with tarnished letters too weathered to read. The girls face was showered with sadness as she bent down and gingerly placed a bouquet of carnations beside the tombstone, leaving her fingertips to linger for a few seconds more. Voice quivering with sorrow, she quietly asked the man “Why don’t you ever tell me about this person who died? Were they a good friend, Grandpa?” A small smile tugged at the corner of his face, bluntly revealing a withered appearance. “Yes, a great friend indeed, the best…” Her lavish brown eyes sparked with hope, while she grasped her grandpas hand in hers and squeezed it tightly. “I wish I knew them. Could you tell me a story? I think it'll cheer us up.” she asked, cheer seeping into her tone. The tan features of his face instantly lit up as he stood to his feet, gently brushed the dirt off his jeans, and took her hand. “There once were two young boys…” His aged voice gradually trailed off as the young girl and frail man quietly walked further from the old tombstone, leaving the grave to be swallowed by the dense jungle once again.

Chapter 1 (The only chapter)

The sky was enveloped in stars, opaque with shades of cobalt while a sliver of the moon swayed endlessly through the night. Shadows quickly danced across the dense shrubbery as two young boys ran seamlessly through the Brazilian jungle, winding in and out of paths. They soon came upon the waters shoreline, small waves lapping at their sandy feet while the aroma of sea salt hung in the air. The older boys gaze fell silently over an object perched on the sand a few feet away. A sailboat. “Are we going away from here, Kai?” the smaller boy, a toddler, asked. A grunt came as a response followed by a few reassuring words. “Anywhere’s safer than here, Sebastian.” replied Kai, quietly. A fierce wind blew around the two as they strenuously moved the old sailboat out towards the whisking tides, finally placing it completely into the water. Kai reluctantly climbed aboard the thin floor of wood and helped his brother up afterwards. With his hands grasping the thick ropes suspending the sails, Kai was prepared to release them when sudden shouts could be heard weaving through the jungle. “Boys! Get back here now, otherwise I'll have to teach you another lesson!” screamed an older man's voice. Abrupt gunshots echoed through the trees and towards the ocean, causing Kai to hastily drop the sails and with heavy breaths, push the boat away from the sand. The small sailboat instantly began rocking upon the choppy waves, splashing ice-cold water onto both boys, feeling like cold fingers crawling across their bodies. Out of the myriad of jungle trees and vines, in the distance, emerged a withered man with a stoic appearance and an unwavering expression. Incoherent cries were being made by him, a double-barreled shotgun fiercely waved in one of his hands until the vivid image finally melted away with the rest of the horizon. A sigh of relief escaped from Kai’s mouth and Sebastian reluctantly whispered, “Why did Daddy disappear?” The answer stuck to the back of Kai’s throat, a burning sensation of dread overwhelming him until he eventually succumbed to his brothers sadness, lightly placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. He replied with, “We had to leave that place. It’ll be better now.” His baby brother’s deep brown eyes flickered momentarily with understanding then were reduced to glowing embers of sorrow. Tendrils of curly chestnut colored hair cascaded over the sides of his small, tan face accompanied by a warm smile. “Now try to get some sleep, okay? We have quite a day ahead of us.” Replied Kai, wearily. The toddlers dark face, as if on cue, filled with drowsiness and he attempted to stifle a yawn, but to little avail as he slowly collapsed to the floor into a heavy sleep. Kai laid still on his back, gazing across the vast expanse of stars above him before closing his eyes and moving with the undulating waves against his body. He awoke to the conversations of seagulls, lush hues encroached the sky and the sharp scent of wood hung around them. Sebastian’s head lolled gingerly to each side before awakening with awkward gasps of air and casting an unimpressed stare towards his brother. They both gazed across the vast expanse of ocean, the first glints of sunrise streaked through the morning as a quilt of stars began to slowly recede into the horizon. Furiously blushing bouquets of crimson and papaya, the early morning sky resembled a kaleidoscope of nature’s beauty. The tranquil silence was suddenly broken as Sebastian’s stomach released a low growl, which was met by many worries from Kai. “I’m so hungry, let’s please eat…” Face painted with fret, Kai answered, “I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet.” Moments unsteadily passed, Kai methodically traced the crevices of the palm of his hand with his fingertips until birds screamed loudly at one another and he was stricken with an idea. “Hey, break a piece off one of those wooden boards!” he exclaimed, tongue ridden with excitement. “But wh-” “Sebastian! Just do it, i've got an idea.” The young boy mustered his strength and, with a grunt of strain, ripped a sharp, thin stick of wood off the floor and passed it to Kai. Breaking the stick in half, Kai started to untie the shoelaces of his threadbare moccasins, then tied them to one of the stick’s ends. He whispered a hush to his brother before steadily balancing on the edge where crisp, cool waves met the saturated oak wood of the small boat. Poised on the heels of his feet, Kai dipped the shoelace-knotted end of the stick into the water, holding the other half just above. Minutes seemed to bleed into hours, each one more hopeless than the next as both boys sat staring wistfully at the cold waves where the stick still swayed, untouched. At about that time the sun had risen to its peak in the sky, emitting sweltering heat with the dry, stale taste crowding the air. Kai slowly sank down for his body couldn’t handle much more until an abrupt splash and tug of the stick shook him upright, spearing the animal almost instantaneously. Using his hand, he ripped the fish off the wooden spear and proudly announced to his whimpering brother, “Well, we’re having fish for lunch.” Eyes clouded with joy yet complimented with sadness, Sebastian replied “Poor thing, i’m so sorry we had to hurt you.” A snarky grin spread across Kai’s face, “Do you enjoy eating?” “Well, yeah.” “Do you want to starve?” “Of course not!” Kai took a huge bite out of the fish’s side, blood streaming down his wrists, and tossed a moist chunk across him to Sebastian. “Then eat the stupid fish.” Surrendering to defeat, Sebastian reluctantly picked up the piece, popped it in his mouth and chewed gradually. “This isn't really bad,” his smile revealing red-tinted teeth before suddenly giggling, chestnut curls bouncing happily around his face. Not able to resist, Kai soon joined the laughter until both boys were rolling with delight. The echoing sounds of laughter danced throughout the sea, carrying it's music on the wind as the tiny sailboat floated gingerly over the rippling waves. As the sun rotated throughout the sky, transitioning into late evening, a meager few bones were basking upon the wooden deck while the two young boys were sitting by each other. Kai’s calloused feet drifted slightly in the water, Sebastian’s hanging inches above. Spiraling charcoal colored hairs fell over Kai’s face, temporarily hiding his piercing green eyes from view, as he quietly sat, condensed with thought. Sebastian perked up and insisted they do something to take his mind off the situation. “We can tell stories, Kai. i’d like that alot.” Finally pushing away the strands of hair from his face, Kai reassuringly placed a hand on his younger brothers shoulder, a beam of satisfaction on his lips, “If we must.” Upon hearing the beginning words of the story, Sebastian crawled onto his stomach and thoughtfully rested his head on his hands, intently listening. Kai began with “The cold, sapphire waves brushed up against Jack, a scuba divers, face as he was slowly pulled down into the deep ocean. The metal cage tightly wrapped around him shook endlessly as he exhaled heavy, panicked breaths, watching the bubbles rise upwards. Something caught his vision in less than a second, a grey mass darted in an out of sight, slowly growing closer to where Jack sat suspended. Suddenly, a piece of metal breaks off and floats towards the surface, leaving a wide gap in the cage! Jack screams for help but nothing escapes his mouth. Soundless. At that time a large, razor-toothed shark swims ferociously towards him and-” Kai’s words were abruptly interrupted by the screams of thunder, early formings of electrical fingers reached out across the sky. The deep blue waves danced with roughness, and a violent wind eventually picked up, blowing the small sailboat to rock unwillingly across the tide. Tears began to well up in Sebastian's eyes as he froze with a look of dismay, glancing at Kai for answers. “Why did it get so dark, so cold…” “I didn’t even realize the storm blowing in. I guess I was too distracted to notice.” responded Kai. He grabbed his younger brothers hands, clasping them in his, and held him close while the wooden floor shook fiercely over the water. Drum beats of thunder bombarded in waves like ripening fireworks, rain cascaded down on them, drenching their clothes as the storm grew ever closer. Both were shivering and wrapped in each others thin arms when a sudden tidal wave, a bottomless stampede of navy blue, charged towards them, Kai gaped up in horror. “Hold on!” The scream made little sound at all as the wave crashed down endlessly over the sail boat, ripping chunks of oak from every angle, thrashing the boys around like ragdolls. Cries of terror were filling the gaps of air, in and out of breaths. Vigorously, Kai held on to the remaining wooden strips that continued to stay intact, yelling for his brother to grab ahold. Sebastian’s deep brown eyes drowned in fear as he gasped for oxygen, flailing above and under the cold waves. His small hands dug into the oak wood, attempting to cling on until his fingernails were slowly ripped away leaving dark red pools flooding into his face. Sliding down faster into the water, Sebastian screamed with utter terror one final time. “Please help me, Kai! I Can't hold on! Please-” His words were cut short and inaudible noises erupted underneath the floor. Kai frantically ran towards the edge, stumbling with exhaustion until a floorboard broke away, tripping him as he slammed his head against the oak. Unconsciousness seized him, leaving the world a black, noiseless mass. Torrents of sunlight poured into Kai’s vision, he slowly lifted his head and moaned in pain. For minutes he sat there, rubbing the back of his head with bruised fingers and unable to think about last night's events. He glanced towards the red stained wood while clenching his fists, and, like a river run full, thick streams of tears swam down his pale face. The familiar squeals of seagulls engulfed the area, the ocean swayed calmly carrying bits of debris in the distance. He sat motionless, head buried within his knees as quiet crying noises escaped his mouth. The sounds were interrupted when the rushing of water came closer towards the small, wrecked sailboat and Kai hesitantly lifted his gaze. A large, black-striped war ship plastered with the South american flag released a loud, ear-splitting horn while sailing a few hundred meters away. Steeling himself to stand upright on his weak legs, Kai yelled in their direction and waved his arms, voice soaked with desperation. “P-please, I’m over here! I need help!” Several young military officers loomed over the deck of their ship, portraying hand gestures and motioning towards Kai. He collapsed with joy onto the floor, anxiously awaiting his rescue as the ship steered its course towards the small, damaged sailboat gently floating over the sapphire-hued waves. 53 years later… A man, ripe with age, slowly made his way deep into the Brazilian jungle of sun-dappled trees and hummings of wildlife. He walked hand-in-hand with a young girl, her hazelnut eyes flaring with intrigue towards everything. Soon coming upon a tiny clearing overgrown with ivy-vines and dense vegetation, an eroded slab of stone came into view. Bending down, her shed tears fell silently into the tombstone as she placed a bundle of flowers beside it, then solemnly asked the man a request. “Could you tell me a story? I think it'll cheer us up.” A quick glimmer of happiness burned within his aged, green eyes and he soon wore a warm smile. He began, “There once were two young boys…” The pair continued walking out of the thick jungle, leaving the tombstone to bask under the rays of sunlight as the old man, Kai, remembered his brother’s name formerly engraved in it. His expression grew soft while he reminisced about past memories; ones of adventure, love, and hope, and how they all started with a small sailboat.


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