Liann grabbed a mangrove to stop herself from falling flat onto the muddy sand as she stepped out of her boat. She felt relief flood over her whole body as her two feet sank into the sandy coolness, her headache began to ease and her eyes began to adjust to the shade after hours of exposure to bright sunlight. She wandered inwards looking for water to quench her thirst and perhaps some fruit.
She was faintly aware of the fear that accompanied her. She touched her seashell and cormorant feather robe for assurance.
The vast trees seem to whisper a constant melody that was far different to the roar of the ocean. A bird perched on a thick vine flung across trees and preened its feathers oblivious to Liann’s presence. A velvety brown spider skidded across its web and Liann heard the dead leaves rustle under the weight of a serpent. She caressed the string of turquoise and pink seashells in her robe for comfort.
She was exhausted but the shade from the trees and the unfamiliar sense of ease helped her reenergize. She wrapped her seashell and cormorant feather robe around herself firmly.
Further inside the island, a brook gurgled.
Liann hurried towards the sound. It lay between two rows of tall grass and a scattering of trees. Liann fell to her knees and began drinking from the clear waters. A yellow flower floating in the brook paused near her cheek to murmur a gentle welcome. Liann lay down on the pebbles with her elbows resting on the banks and let the water soak up her aching body. She felt the placid currents wash over every part of her seashell and cormorant feather robe. Her thoughts wandered to the rough seas she had left behind, the rocks, clashing waves, hungry fish and the sea birds, beautiful sunsets, coral gardens, carcasses and floating debris that stank. The constant struggle to stay afloat, the beauty and the ugliness of it all.
After what felt like days, Liann began to be aware of the music.
At first it was loud like a roaring sea storm. Rocks took a beating, sand whirled in mad patterns and the heavy splashes made the seashells in her robe clatter and bruise her even more. She stirred and sought comfort in the gentle ripples of the brook. Slowly, the music assumed a calmer tune and began to flow in rhythm to a deep truth that was hard to grasp.
Liann kept listening until her whole being became part of the music. There were no more roars, splashes or whirling sand, only moonlight that shone bright and covered the rocks with a soft glow. The seashell and cormorant feather robe disappeared.
“Respite” whispered Liann.