The wind blew through Mai’s hair. Sand rushed past her toes when she wiggled them. To her left, the waves crashed desperately against the shore, only to be dragged back into open sea by the currents. Someone kicked, from behind, at the soft spot on the back of her knees. She knelt on the sand, having no reason to stand back up. Her palms sank into the soft sand. Succumbing to its invite, she leaned in, until the warm grains pressed against her cheeks. 

Someone laughed. She looked up to see them run before her. Someone else called for her to follow, and for a moment she almost got up to pursue her company. But she waited for too long and that made all the difference. For just a moment too long, she stayed put in the sand, allowing it to pour over her, against the howling wind. 

Maybe she would wait, and they’d return to fetch her. Maybe they won’t. The seconds poured in, the laughter grew to a distant echo and all she could hear was the desperate crash of the waves inching its way closer to her lying form. Growing closer by the second, never to reach her. 

All rights reserved © 2021 Josephine Joyil

Cold Room

The room went Cold, or was getting Cold rather. It wasn’t sudden, the Cold was asserting its dominance over the room steadily. It crawled into the crooks and crannies of the room, leaving no crevice untouched. It allowed the room to keep no secrets from it. It filled the room until all Gail could feel was the Cold.  

Gail walked over to the window to close the curtains, but a voice requested against it. The voice belonged to the slender masculine figure that sat at the foot of her bed. His eyes were drained, not of color but of another feature that when lacked causes the appearance of lifelessness.  

Perhaps agency? 

“Avery.” Gail greeted, “What are you doing here?” She talked over her shoulder, closing the window all the while.  

“No Abigail,” Avery frowned, “Keep the curtains open.” 

Gail let them slide from her hands.  

“I haven’t seen the moon in a while.” Avery went on, “He’s been keeping me inside a lot lately.” 

“Who has?” Gail made her way to him. 

“The warden himself,” Avery seemed to be fixated on the way the moonlight hit the dust that waltzed casually across the damp air in her bedroom. Gail once learned that this random motion was caused by diffusion, which in turn was caused by an energy imbalance. Or at least that’s how she understood it. The figure examined the dust particles in a manner that suggested that to him, the movement was anything but random. He seemed to be waiting for it to reveal the secrets engraved into its fine grains. “He’s got a chip on his shoulder, Robert.” Avery continued, “I think I’ve made him very angry. Can I stay here tonight?” 

“What did you do?” Gail took her seat beside him at the foot of the bed.  

“What didn’t I do?” Avery glanced at her with a smirk before returning his focus to the dust.  

“Avery,” Gail demanded sternly, taking his face in her hands to force his eyes into hers, “What did you do?” 

“Abigail,” He took her face in his hands. With a grin spread ear to ear he asked, “What didn’t I do?” 

Shrugging out of his hands, she demanded, “Why are you here Avery?” 

“I had a bad dream,” he replied transparently, “I needed company. Can I stay with you tonight? Robert’s no fun these days.” 

“When was Robert ever fun?” Gail teased, avoiding the topic of Avery staying here. She was adamant about getting all her facts straight before allowing her guest to stay.  

Avery remained quiet, sensing Gail’s reluctance to answer her.  

“Tell me about your dream,” Gail diverted the conversation. 

Avery shook his head. “I want to take you there,” Avery stated, “May I?” 

Gail nodded, and followed the homeless boy to the window. Her palms clammed at the sight of the drop to the ground, but she crawled out nonetheless, one limb after the other and followed him into the darkness.

All rights reserved © 2021 Josephine Joyil