A Pale Petal, Adrift at Sea
rating: +42+x

You are awoken by the sound of waves crashing against the rocks. Seagulls squawking above add to the cacophony, combing the shore for their morning meal. As you gingerly roll yourself out of bed, you can see the first rays of sunshine peeking through your eastern window, with the sun rising above the hills at your back.

Your morning routine proceeds as normal, as you get dressed, brush your teeth, and begin steeping a cup of tea to enjoy while you tend to your garden. A layer of frost covers the plants outside, glittering like millions of tiny gems in the morning sun. You don't worry, though. Your plants are hardy enough to not warrant protection.

The first thing that catches your eye is the bed of calla lilies alongside the wall of your house. Despite the fact that it is the dead of winter, the flowers begin to each unfurl in turn before your eyes. As you step closer, the petals slowly and gingerly peeking out into the world, you hold your breath, as if you are witnessing something you should not. Only then do you turn to the rest of your garden, and see it in full bloom. The persimmon tree, bare sticks only the morning before, had begun to sprout little green buds, some of which had already opened into beautiful waxy leaves. The iceplant plains facing the sea were dotted with pink and purple daisy-like blooms. Beach roses with their stunning flowers littered the shoreline. Beneath your feet, new wildflowers hesitantly pushed their way past cold soil to see the light of the morning. Even the neglected patch of rosebushes, despite their circumstance, had blossomed into full roses, standing in defiance of the frost.

Your feelings quickly turn from confusion, to wonder, and then to a knowing realization. You've spent long enough in the Library to know what this means. Your mind briefly contemplates the promise of escape. You know half a dozen Ways within walking distance! You could quickly and easily leave this place behind!

….but that wouldn't be fair, would it. Death comes for us all, and He only knocks once.

You set down your gardening tools and return to the warmth and safety of your home. On the desk in your study lies a notebook of half-finished ideas; in the drawers remains the fountain pen your grandfather left for you. Perhaps some ideas are destined to remain half-finished, but it must be worth the attempt. You leave for your patio, overlooking the sea.

The sun has fully risen, as you sit and write. The town behind your little peninsula is in full swing now, with tourists and locals and drifters and those who no longer have a place to go at all living another day. They seem to notice the flowers. Though they know what awaits them, perhaps the thought of their last day being something familiar is comforting.

Your cat, ever the curious creature, decides to investigate your activities. She hops into your lap, seemingly content with her state of being. She's very warm, a relief against the winter air. You hear her gently purring, and smile to yourself. It seems almost as if she knows what is coming, too.

Some ideas coalesce, some do not. The minutes stretch into hours, and the sun sinks ever closer to its grave beneath the waters of the ocean. As your neighbors begin to come home from the town, you decide to take the crabs you had bought from the fishermen the day before and put together something special. Cooking was always relaxing for you. There's no better time than now to take down that nice bottle of wine you've been saving for a special occasion.

And so it was a feast. It was one of those nights that are a little blurry around the edges, just like the outlines of the doves backed by the setting sun. You know why the doves are there, and the idea of the Jailors deciding to do something good for a change warms your heart. Beneath the soft, warm lights of the terrace you and your neighbors laugh and joke and eat and drink, each reflecting on their life and finding what satisfaction there is to be gleaned from such things. Your thoughts are of your lover, halfway across the world. Yet you are not melancholy, for you are certain they are thinking of you too.

Eventually, the night has darkened, the table has become scattered with the remnants of crab shells, and the wine has run dry. Sleep weighs heavily on your eyelids, and as each of your guests gets up to leave, the night becomes ever more still. In time, all you can hear is the crashing of waves against stone, the dark water below your only companion.

You find yourself in your bed, your half-finished notebook under your pillow and your cat curled up beside you. You know you will not awake, and the Flood will claim you here, but that's alright with you. Chances are, when the next ones come, they will find nothing of you. If you're lucky, they'll find a singular calla lily, bobbing atop the flotsam and wreckage of a bygone era. You'll be under there, with your bones and your words and your love.


And isn't that what matters?

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