Slowly he unfolded the map; the sea breathed noisily in the distance, sighing. The ancient paper felt soft, furry, beneath their calloused fingertips. An emerald sea stretched out before them, the wind carving eternal waves through the long grass as they traced impossible paths into the interior. The map whispered as they turned its ancient paper, joining with the muttering of the waves and the shrill warning of the wind, together they whispered the old promises of exploration – fame, glory, escape.
As if there could be an escape.
He turned to face her, and the pain written across her face fluttered before she looked away.
The sun set, dropping into the sea, extinguished.
A light blazed above them while the landscape faded to black, and still they pored over their map before, begrudgingly, they slept.
Dawn broke, and again the sun sprung up above the sea. No songbird greeted its passage. They woke, together, at the same moment, and the day’s silence began again. He caught her hand as she stood, imploring her to wait, to stay. They couldn’t, and he knew it. Soon the snuffling would begin again behind them, soon the Island’s paths would replant themselves, tracing new courses through the blue moors. And so, on again. They moved, still-soft feet aching, complaining with each step.
“I love you,” he whispered, to her back as she stalked the chalk-paths rising into the highlands. “I love you,” he whispered, his voice the droning of bees. She smiled, briefly, before putting her finger to her lips. Theirs was a jealous God, which is why they walked this Purgatory alone, together.
His gaze swept out across the bay, and in one motion he leapt, taking flight, momentarily, above the crashing blue-white death below him.
She sighed. Now tomorrow they would have to begin again.
Written for this weekend’s Flash! Friday, although I’m about 50 words over the limit…Comments and criticism always welcome!