The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 53

Now, a third. This one was Talia’s.

She wouldn’t tell him. She had barely acknowledged him except when he confronted her directly, as if he, like everyone else, was a ghost to her. Even then, he felt that the part of her she showed him were only whitecaps on an ocean. The rest was beneath. The rest was that sadness, that desolation, that yearning that he couldn’t touch. In the rest lay the smile that he needed to find.

He was so close now. What would he do? He hadn’t thought about it. He hadn’t planned any of this. Maybe he was going mad. He wasn’t even sure there was any danger. He didn’t even know if he believed what the old woman had said, the rumours the people had told, but he understood them. One look at her was enough to see why they believed those stories.

He was afraid that those stories were true, that she might vanish into the depths of that ocean that he had only glimpsed within her. He was afraid that he’d fail her, and they’d both be alone again. He was afraid his time was up, his time for reaching her and bringing her whatever it was that she wanted so much.

Ahmar crested the peninsula, overlooking everything. He held his arm in front of his eyes again, squinting, staying low so the wind didn’t blow him over. He couldn’t hear: the wind and waves were screaming and roaring in a great cacophony of water