The Salt of the Ocean

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about Human Nature.

Submitted: July 19, 2015

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Submitted: July 19, 2015

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The Salt of the Ocean

Disease spreads through the body like the salt of the ocean. It clings to anything in contact, with absoluteness. In a time where sickness and plague grew faster than medicine, many inhabitants from across the land lost many loved ones. The never-ending cycle of parents praying for their kin, and those same children praying for their parents.

When does it stop?

One day, a radiant woman born from ambiguity, stood on the outskirts of the world's largest ocean. She stood on the highest rock jutting out over the salty waves of constant movement. This was her path. As she stood there, disease and plague began to lift from the world around her. Her radiance spread from land to land. People rejoiced as their loved ones' health returned.

Will this last forever?

Sickness across the world began to disappear. Fear of premature death evaporated from the people's minds. As long as the Woman stood upon this rock, there would be no sickness anywhere. The world was undoubtedly in her favor.

How does one truly repay someone who has power above common conception and grasp?

The populace from across all lands ventured to pay gratuity to the Woman. Rich folk alongside poor folk from distant ports, bustling metropolises, and small villages. Everyone had something different to offer. Some would give her the sweetest fruits from their farm's largest tree. Others would give gold and riches, and garnish the rock from which she stood with sparkling jewelry and magnificent murals. Folk with nothing of monetary value danced in her honor. As much as she appreciated the gifts and patronage, the most heartwarming encounters she had, were the simplest of folks who had nothing to offer, but a simple “thank you,” and the tale to come of how they will get to see their child grow up, and make a difference in this world.

Will that difference be for better or worse?

Crowds would come together and spend many nights on the beach. The Woman smiled as stories were written right in front of her on that coarse sand. Relationships forged from the peace of mind she has given this world. She admired their simplicity and dreams.

“Dreams.”

Could a Woman without an unchanging destiny have dreams if she never closed her eyes?

As much of a part of these gatherings as she was, she couldn't help but feel outlandish. She had no stories to share except for the stories of others. The Woman hated this feeling. Torn between the shackles of this rock as a pillar of light, and the adventures that lay beyond the vast land far over the darkened distant mountains.

Was she a pillar of hope the masses would continue to admire and accompany, or was she a statue destined to be forgotten and become eroded from the unstoppable destruction of the ocean waves?

The Woman did not like these new thoughts that filled her head. She buried them deep within, and they were easy to ignore as she met many new people from all walks of life.

How long will this last?

Eventually the gifts, the garnishes, and the dancing stopped. Even the ever so simple “thank you” was a rarity. Like many appraised phenomenon in this world, it slowly came to an end. The people forgot why they came to the beach. They forgot why this Woman stood upon this rock. They forgot about a life with disease, sickness, and plague.

Is history written so that it could be lost in time?

The Woman never did this for the praise and admiration, but she couldn't help but feel displeasure. Maybe all she ever wanted was the appraisal. Many moons passed over with no one to surround herself with. No new stories of what lies beyond the world she was entrapped in. No new personalities to instill hope of a growing world. She came to hate what she represented. A symbol of loneliness.

If disease returned to this world, would it be so bad?

The Woman watched the ocean over many sunrises. A fury began to burn within her. The tides grew and crashed harder than ever. Every time a wave passes over another, a new sound is created. Never in history are the sounds of two waves colliding, the exact same. As the fear of losing herself was replaced with umbrage of being forgotten, the ocean became restless. For the first time, the salty breath of the dark blue splashed onto her foot. She gasped at the feeling. Never has she felt anything, but the smooth stone underneath her feet. She wants more. She looks at the golden grains of sand that was once populated by her “loved ones.”

Could she have loved ones of her own?

The Woman stepped down from the rock. The sand on her feet was euphoric. The anger began to dissolve as a new life was ahead of her. She closed her eyes as the sun glistened off of her hair. She danced a dance with the freedom of burden. The ocean calmed for a second, until she stopped and looked around at all the once prominent gifts. Most have been buried by the sands of time. The rage built again within her. She remembered how she was once a symbol the people looked up to.

Was she angry at the people who forgot her, or at herself?

The Woman threw the gifts into the now vengeful ocean. She didn't want to remember what she was. She didn't care where she came from. She wanted a new purpose and a new beginning. Red tears streamed from her eyes as she let the darkness swallow her.

Could she finally close her eyes and be awakened by a dream?

Disease returned to the world instantaneously. Plague spread across the land with vengeance and determination. People lost their loved ones. It has been so long that only a few began to remember why the disease had left. Instead of feeling regret, their hearts flooded with hatred. They sought out in search of the Woman. They did not care why she left the ocean's rock, only that she returned so they could have their life back without fear.

Why fear the natural course of life and death?

The Woman ventured through her new life, still alone, but with a new purpose. What she saw, was beyond what her imagination could conjure. The grandiose mountains stabbing out of the ground, the galloping of wildlife through vast plains, and at night, the absence of everything. The sound of silence was a mystery to her. She always had the waves to keep her company.

After a life of unblinking servitude, if she fell asleep, would she wake?

That night, in a cave at the base of beautiful snow powdered mountain, the Woman fell into a deep sleep. Her mind took her into a place shrouded in darkness. She watched herself lay, unable to move or reach out. A direct spotlight on her stagnant body. The Sun from the East, and the Moon from the West shined on her. Out of the darkness came disfigured faces with hateful intent. Their malicious nature was permeable to the Woman. She could feel their desire to torture. Blue tears rained from her eyes as she stared up at the Sun and Moon light.

Is this what everyone dreams of when they close their eyes?

The Woman awoke to the sounds of the Ocean's breath. For a moment that should last forever, but only ever lingers for a sliver of time, she was happy. She was back where she belonged. She lay on the rock, but something was different. She couldn't move. Her body was chained to the smooth stone. She arched her neck to see a crowd of people on the beach. They had come back, but were not dancing in her honor. Their gifts were replaced with pointing fingers and words steeped in vengeance.

“That's where you belong.”

The Woman struggled. She was no longer providing the world with a pillar of light, but she was buried in a fissure of darkness. Her screams were neglected and her cries of anguish were disregarded. The salty water became unforgiving and began to swallow the beach. The briny deep, tsunami-ed over the Woman. She gasped for air in between every grand wave. The vicious spectators backed away from the sea. One last wave that slowed time and lasted a lifetime finally retreated back into the ocean. The Woman was gone. Swallowed by the blue breath that clings to everything it touches. Plague, yet again, rampaged across the land.

How do you cure the inevitable essence of what makes a human being?


© Copyright 2019 Charles Stulck . All rights reserved.

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