The rain fell in fat heavy drops that splattered into puddles on the muddy ground. I leaned into the wind, holding on tightly to the railings. My hair was whipping around my face. I guess I looked crazy to anyone watching.
“Hey, Sade.” James walked hunched up to me, the gravel squelching under his feet.
“Oh! Hey James!” I called, leaning back so I could hear him over the roaring wind. I looked him over quickly to make sure that he wasn’t injured or anything. It was weird that he’d asked me to meet him all the way out here at half ten at night, let alone during the summer holidays when the dorms were practically empty.
“So what do you need?” I smiled, looking up into his eyes. He shuffled from foot to foot nervously.
“Ah, I just thought we could talk.” He shrugged nonchalantly, taking interest in the sepia gravel. I nodded and turned back towards the sea, a storm had been slowly gathering on the horizon all day like an invading army.
“I was going to watch a movie later if you want to pop by?” I asked, trying to keep my voice from degrading into a pleading whine. I heard James laugh. It sounded like a calm spring breeze or the silence in the eye of a storm.
“Sure, what me to bring the popcorn again?” I turned my head and raised an eyebrow. The promise of popcorn was a rare gift, and if he was offering then I wasn’t going to turn it down.
“Pillow and blanket fort too?” I giggled, our eyes locking for what seemed like an eternity. My cheeks bloomed like a rose.
“Yeah if you want. I need to say something…” I smiled hopefully, maybe today was the day. Snuggling in a pillow fort with popcorn and a movie, it’d be the perfect way to ask me!
“We... me and Darcy have been uhh…dating for a while now.” He almost mumbled the word dating, it was almost like he was ashamed. I looked up at him. My eyes widening with realisation.
“And we’re um making it official tomorrow…” He smiled fondly. I listened to the wave’s crash roughly against the rocks far below us, it was the only thing breaking the oppressive silence that has come over us like thick fog. He looked sideways at me. I looked away, a pain was building up inside of my heart.
“I-I wanted you to be the first one to know.” I bit my tongue so hard a sudden taste of metallic blood flooded my mouth. He was dating her. I couldn’t speak lest I scream at the injustice of the world, but I couldn’t stay silent either.
“I’m happy for you, if you’re happy.” I said with a fake smile and fake happiness. Like a plastic doll, I watched as he nodded.
“I’m going to head back, want to walk together?” James smiled, as if relived I didn’t go crazy. I shook my head slowly. I watched as he shrugged. I watched as he turned and walked away. I watched as the sun was extinguished by the oceans embrace. Tears fell slowly down my cheeks like salted stars rolling across the sky.
The sea roared against the wind and rocks that trapped it, just like I howled against my own scorned heart. I leaned into the wind again, letting it rob me of my hearing. The dark thrashing ocean felt as though it was beckoning me with the stormy waves. I leaned further forward, my arms straining at the weight of my body. I could feel the railing I was sitting on pressing painfully into my thighs.
The thoughts came like sharks to blood in the water. Wouldn’t James be better off if I wasn’t there? Wouldn’t I be better off? My fingers started slipping while I stared into the black vortex of raging waves. The stars were reflecting like fireflies over the water. I let go with one of my hands to trace the waves as the storm calmed. One more, my heart raced softly, just one more and you’ll be free.
I let go.
The sound of air rushing past my ears drowned out my sobs. I closed my eye, half bracing myself for the impact of the freezing water. The water rushed over my body as I slammed into the sea. Each movement I made brought me further down, the oxygen being slowly sucked from my lungs. My eyes snapped open. I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t hear anything, when I tried to smell water invaded my nose. My skin was alive with pins and needles. Pain made my vision explode with burning scarlet.
Then nothing. Then a woman.
She had red lipstick on, like the kind Marilyn Monroe wore. She looked wild and untamed. Her hair was the colour of shining gold. Her skin was so white and pale she looked deathly. She reminded me of Life-In-Death from the rhyme of the ancient mariner. If it wasn’t already, my blood froze.
“Ah you’ve realised who I am.” I didn’t really hear her voice, it was present in my head.
“I have no idea who you are.” I blurted the words out. My mind was whirling away connecting dots I didn’t know existed. The woman made an impatient clicking noise with her tongue.
“I may…have some idea of who you are. But why are you here?” As soon as the words flew into the air I regretted them. Her face lit up with a ghostly joy.
“Well my dear, I’m here because you’re a very lucky girl.” Life-In-Death smiled as she spoke to me, I rolled my shoulders and watched the bubbles rise from the movement. I’m still underwater. How am I even speaking? She saw the confusion on my face and gestured up towards the distant churning surface. I started swimming up without thinking about it, it was like I was just gliding though the water, without it offering any resistance. I broke the surface of the water, the moon glowing though the clouds while fat droplets hit the water around us. I turned to Life-In-Death again, the more I looked at her, the more unnerving she became.
“You’re lucky because I took pity on you. You would’ve died because of him, and now you can allow him to repay the favour.” My eyes were so wide I thought they’d burst. The last thing I wanted to do was ever see James again. Let alone kill the bastard!
“Wha…what makes you think I’d want to kill him?” She threw her head back and laughed heartily.
“Oh you will do. Enjoy un-death my dear!” I stared at her as she disappeared under the stormy waves. The realisation hit me like a tidal wave. I was dead, but not dead. I hadn’t been breathing. Upon that realisation I felt the need to suck in as much precious air as possible, it felt so wrong to not breathe. My body responded by coughing up all of the water I’d inhaled. My breathing was forced at first but slowly settled into a rhythm, much like that of the waves. The crescent moon was far above me. A singular star was shining in front of the tip. With my breathing now settled, it was time to start sorting out the next issue. I had no idea how long it’s been since I left the dorms, let alone hat time it was now. I moved to the boat ramp at the side of the harbour, swimming slowly while trying to work out what my next step was. I hauled myself out of the water and on to the stone ramp. The cold gusts of stormy sea air were doing little to dry my soaking clothes off, or in fact my skin. I wasn’t entirely sure how much I could currently feel, either way my skin was too numb from the icy waters I’d drowned myself in.
I let out a heavy sigh as I rested my head on my forearm. The thumping of heavy footsteps ricocheted off of the tall stone walls and into my ear, whoever it was I wasn’t in the mood for it.
“What the…” A familiar northern accident exclaimed as the pelted down the hill. My gaze flitted upwards in annoyance. The tallish figure of Peter was quickly descending to my level. I let a disgruntled moan out into the still air of the night. Peter had a serious white knight complex, and this was giving him the perfect opportunity to act out his delirium. Peter crouched down next to me.