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The International Writers Magazine: Life Stories

Chris Castle
He looked down at her in the bed; He woke her and dressed her and together they ate breakfast. He carried her to a chair and walked out. After a while he stole a car from the street and drove it back to the house.

girl by sea

He carried her to the car and drove them onto the motorway; ten thousand cars trailing everywhere. He looked in the mirror and checked the blanket was not slipping. He drove until he ached until they reached the beach.

He took two pills from his wallet. Meant for Youth. He sat in the back seat next to her and put the pill to her mouth, brought the water bottle to her lips. He did the same and waited for the both of them.

When it came he felt the rush pour through his skin and he took her hand in his. The feeling channelled through their hands and into their eyes. They looked out and saw the trees and the people and the flowers. A girl in a floral dress lifted from the grass, wrapped in music tape and trash and it was the most beautiful thing they’d ever seen. One by one they lifted from the grass and into the air, the clouds, the sun and the trails of smoke left behind by airplanes until the sands were empty.

He lifted her up and the two of them sat wrapped in blankets on the roof of the car. He looked over to her and saw her smile. It was as if years had slipped away from her. He pulled the hair from the collar of her coat and she said thank you; the first time she had spoken for a long, long time. Instead of more words they simply kept smiling, to each other, away from each other and out into the space spread out before them.

They watched the empty beach and she spoke again. She told him how his father and called her the most beautiful underwater girl in the world. He’d watch her submerged in the bath, here in this sea, this coastline and he’d say it every time she burst out of the water. The most beautiful girl she repeated and patted his hand.

The rush came over them again and again, breathing in time to the waves, sometimes rippling, sometimes crashing. They sat, lost in daylight dreaming, until the sun fell away and the dusk and the night took hold. But they didn’t move from the blanket and they didn’t shiver or think to move. Instead they simply sat watching the sky change over and began to watch the stars. They ate from the bag, drank from the flask then returned to holding hands. The night was beginning to fall away by the time he carried her to the back seat.

He drove back in a blur, Godspeed and half closed eyes. He parked the car in a street close by and carried her back to the house at dawn. The streets were still empty as he carried her and he felt the sun rising and climbing across his back. He walked up to the door and he carried her inside.

He laid her down not in her bed but on the sofa, so the sun could rise all over her as she closed her eyes. He took a step back and looked at her; she looked peaceful rather than tired and the sun did all it could to keep her as radiant as the sun and the sand of the beach hours before. He edged back further, careful not to obstruct any of the light that was meant for her. Instead he simply sat in the shadows and watched her turn into the sun. Then, finally, he let his eyes close and he fell in just as deep as sleep as her; maybe even colliding into the same, shared dreams. Both happily defeated and ready to start falling under the sun and the burning new day.

© Chris Castle Juen 2010

Cymbaline on the CCTV
Chris Castle

Lana stood by her best friend, Karolina, holding her hand and made her decision. When the funeral service was over she would start. She took her turn looking down at her god-daughter and made a promise to her. So beautiful and so perfect. How a twenty one year old girl would look if you asked a child to imagine a princess. She held back her own tears, stronger now with the promise growing inside of her.

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