The Mists of World’s End: The Date

It just wasn’t going to work.

Tugging his hair back into a small blue hairtie, Kiyoshi threw his pencil down and growled. He couldn’t focus on his work because he couldn’t stop thinking about Shelly Gwynne, name purposely misspelled because—well, I don’t have a good reason. I just know I misspelled it on purpose. Getting to his feet, he crossed the cabana to the refrigerator and tugged out a cold bottle of water. Cracking it open, he tapped the power button on the speaker plugged into his iPod. Seconds later, he smiled as his favorite song began to play, “Be Still My Beating Heart” by Sting.

As he sang along with the Englishman, he muttered to himself, “A fool indeed, Kiyoshi, if you don’t get this done because of a man who doesn’t exist.”

But he does exist. He does, and I feel it in my bones that when we dive, I will find something that proves it.

A knock came at the door and he glanced over at the clock, cursing under his breath when he saw that it was 5.37. “Shit!”  Grabbing his white sparkle lip gloss, he lifted his eyes to his reflection in the mirror as he quickly applied it before grabbing the bottle of water and pouring some in his hands to rake them through his hair in attempt to give it shape.

Looking down at his clothes, Kiyoshi shrugged. “It’s not like he’s going to decide he wants forever tonight, right?”

Opening the door, he lifted his eyes to the man on the other side, sporting long sun-streaked brown hair and a thin beard. He held out a white daisy. “For you, beautiful.” Kiyoshi noted that his date also wore shorts and a tee-shirt with an open short-sleeved Hawaiian snap button shirt over it. On his feet were flip-flops and over his shoulder was a beach towel.

Taking the flower, Kiyoshi smiled shyly and motioned to his clothes, “I hope that you’re okay with me wearing this.”

The man, whose name for the life of him Kiyoshi couldn’t remember, reached out to tug Kiyoshi against him as he rasped, “I think you’re cute. I want to get to know you. I want to kiss you. I want to hear you laugh. I want to watch you peel your clothes off by the light of the moon—”

Jared. His name was Jared, he remembered suddenly; he’d met him at the new tiki bar close to the site. “Uhm… I think that I should tell you now that I don’t get naked on the first date. Sorry.”

“Oh, come on… you’re a gay man—”

Kiyoshi nodded, extracting himself. “Yeah. I am. And not for all of us is fucking how we say hello.” He handed the flower back to the man. “Think I’ll stay in, order takeout, and work on my book instead, Jared. Good night.”

Shutting the door, he locked it and turned to lean against it as he sighed. “Well… guess there’s a reason I lost track of the time and didn’t dress to impress.” Turning his eyes back to the drawing half-finished on the table, he shook his head. “I am never going to get you out of my head, am I, Shelly?”

Kiyoshi gazed down at the high cheekbones and slender nose, the dark brows and the full lips that had spread into a wide smile, framed by a thin dark beard and moustache, eyes wide and expressive and if he could give them color, they’d be a rich chocolate that had golden flecks that sparkled in the sunlight. “Wish that you were real, and not an invented person with the face of lovely Emrys Marlowe, though…” He looked hard at the drawing, the startling realization coming to him that he’d taken certain liberties with his favorite actor’s visage, that Shelly was Shelly, not Emrys as Shelly.

Sitting down, he got back to work, a smile touching his lips as he tapped the face of his phone to call Krissie. “Hey, can you call and order my usual? I sent Jared packing and I’m staying in with Shelly tonight.”

The Mists of World’s End: The Diary of Shelly Gwynne

Day Forty-Two, The Island:

 

I figure that I am in a place that no-one can touch. I have made meself a cottage from the stone that become unearthed when the earth shook. What remained of the tarp after that storm I keep furled above the windows in the case it rains hard like that again, however, since that day, there’s been nary a cloud in the sky.

I also built meself a forge and cut meself a path from the cottage to the forge. I found fresh water and I tapped into it both at the cottage and at the forge, built a water wheel that serves two purposes. One is water for the forge and the other is a place to hang me swords.

Me beauties… nobody will ever see them again, save meself. ’Tis a pity, because they are right beautiful creations, if I do say so meself.

I placed the new blade in the water, the comforting hissssss as it quenches down sending a smile to my lips. My new home is cause for much rumination and I couldn’t stop thinking about it and how it works, who it is what might be taking care of me. Everything changed, just about the time I’d get used to it, it changed ever so slightly. I found something in the forest one day, and the next, its location would be just slightly different.

The well, I thought to myself. The well at the heart of the forest. The well with the Asian characters on it. Stepping out of the forge, I took a deep breath of fresh air as I looked towards the deep roses and golds with which the setting sun had painted the sky. I decided that a bath was in order and I ducked back in to thoroughly check the new blade’s cooling process. Removing it from the water, I wrapped a towel around it to dry it before setting it on my work table. Exiting the forge, I moved quickly to the cottage to grab the soap I’d made from sandalwood and coconut oil before taking the trail down to the stream. I slipped my clothes and stepped into the cool water, ducking under its surface with a smile, and for a long minute, I allowed the water envelope me and soothe me. Planting my feet in the silt-covered bottom, I stood up to begin my bath. As I lathered my skin, I glanced to my left.

I gave a dry laugh as I said aloud, “Well, I see ye’ve moved again.”

Finishing up in a hurry, I stretched out on the bank to dry and took my book, quill and ink out to sketch the well and the symbols, wondering what they meant. I moved my hand over to touch them, jerking back as it brought to mind my first memory of this place.

Coughing and sputtering, I lifted my head as I turned over to see a large funnel made entirely of water, stretching from the water to the heavy clouds, mere feet from me, and I skittered backwards in a hurry, not wanting to get caught up in its wrath. Strangely, I didn’t actually believe my fear, but somehow knew that the funnel guarded me until my eyes opened.

Shaking my head at the illogical statement, I watched as it began to move outwards, towards the horizon, and I would’ve sworn I could see a face in it.

Thinking on it, I looked towards the horizon and watched the last bit of light fade. As I stood and gathered my clothes, book and writing supplies, I wondered just what had stumbled onto me.

The Mists of World’s End: The Diary of Shelly Gwynne

Day Eleven, The Island:

 

I have never been so tired in me whole damn life as I am right now.  Even scribing these words into the book I’ve found in the supplies wot just keep appearing out of the ocean, as if the god of the ocean finds me to be of some great import. I cannot say what it may be, but it feels as though something is coming, some portent, some wyrd I cannot make heads nor tails of… and I feel as though I should be frightened, but strangely, I find meself excited—

A thunderclap jolted me, and I looked out the makeshift tent I’d erected between three tall trees just up the beach, having strung up a net in hammock form between the two biggest. Tucking the book and quill in my vest, I grimaced as I walked over to the palm tree leaves that made an awning of sorts over the opening, watching the lightning striking the ocean not two miles away from the shore. Taking a thick stick and stirring the coals, I added a bit of kindling, ill-prepared for the tremors I felt shuddering beneath my feet. Seconds later, everything shook and I wrapped my arms around the trunk of the palm closest to me, grabbing the rope that held the hammock bed and tugging it loose. I shimmied up the palm until I could grasp the leaves and I tied myself to its top just as enormous waves crashed below me, taking out the makeshift home I’d made and leaving me with nothing once more. I leaned my forehead to the tree, holding on tight as the storm raged, hoping to the gods that I’d survive the night.

I’ve survived worse or ain’t that apparent? I thought I’d drowned—I still ain’t certain I didn’t. I was stabbed by the woman I thought I loved, and the beasts of the deep should have come after me, but I washed up on a foreign shore. Nary a soul in sight, nothin’ but this isle and this shore.

A long blue-white bolt strikes the ground not three feet from me and I can’t help but cry out, hiding my face as I shiver in the rain, the ferocity of the storm now centered on the island as the metallic scent of lightning fills my nose. I prayed then, to God, to Davy Jones, to Poseidon—anything and anyone I could remember that might calm the ocean’s wrath and allow me to live.

Please… I beg ye! I have a purpose… a fate! I can see the threads o’ me tapestry and they don’t end here! Please… calm the wind and rain and let me down from me perch. I’ll fill it. I promise ye!

The Mists of World’s End: The Diary of Shelly Gwynne

Day Three, The Island:

 

I don’t know where this place is that I find meself. I’d wager that it’s no hell place, because I fear that a hell place would be hotter and with much less water and vegetation. I’d also wager it ain’t heaven because I figure heaven would be in possession of more souls’n just this one. It cain’t be purgatory because even pirates don’t truly believe in a middle ground when it comes to the afterlife.

I sighed, pausing in my musings as the tide tickled my toes, squinting my eyes at the light from the rising sun. It’d been two days since I coughed all the water out of my lungs and dragged myself onto dry land. I remembered waiting for Hunter on the deck of the Kingston, and I remembered the sharp pain in my side, reaching down a hand to find blood staining my vest. I remembered turning around to see Hunter standing behind me, her face set.

“I’m sorry about this. You must understand that I don’t want this. You can’t come with me now and you cannot tell Cam what I know you long to tell him when we find him.”

“Ye’d rather me die? Hunter… have ye truly turned pirate?”

“I’d rather spare you the pain of living alone than being left again—”

“I’d rather ye didn’t kill me—”

“Too late, Shelly Gwynne.”

She’d pushed me over the railing and I’d fallen into those frigid waters, certain that the blood from my wound would call all manner of hungry animals, but the cold had sent me to sleeping and I only vaguely remembered slipping beneath the waves.

I furrowed my brow as I saw something riding the tide coming to shore. Getting to my feet, I walked towards the shape, finding it to be the first of what would be many supplies.  Wrapped in nets I would later use to catch fish, I found a bushel of apples, a case of straw packed green bottles containing rum and wine, and as I dragged them in, the next wave that nearly swept over me sent a heavy wooden chest slamming into the sand, creating a deep furrow next to my feet. Seeing the lock on its front, I frowned.

How in hell am I s’posed to get into that? I reckon it needs a key—

Something cold tumbled over my feet in the froth washing over my feet and I looked down to see a two-pronged iron key lying in the sand by my right foot. Picking it up, I lifted my gaze to the sun and squinted again as I thought, What is this place?

Kneeling before the chest, I inserted the key and gave it a twist. The lock opened and I removed it, lifting the heavy lid to find it full of smithy’s tools. A small smile touched my lips when I lifted one and found the initials S. G. burnt into the handle.  I shook my head and took a look around me.

“Well, m’boy… looks like we might be here for a time.”