The strange bones floating on the murky surface of the pond began to wiggle, sending ripples out that were met with a whoop of excitement from above. Lounging in a hammock set between two palm trees was a scruffy but jubilant teen. One of his dirty legs hung limply over the side of its faded fabric, a faint striped pattern barely visible amongst an onslaught of patches.
He threw a pin up magazine down towards his supported foot, the pages warped with water damage showed a blob that vaguely resembled a woman on the cover. Sighing as he hops from his bed, he pulls a pack of cigarettes from a rolled-up sleeve. Somehow, they always stayed dry.
The Island was fairly small, Boy could walk across it in... well, not very long. He once tried to hold his breath and run from one end to the other, and had made it almost halfway! At each end, no matter where he started, the same thing waited for him. Open waters as far as the eye can see, a reminder of the depths of his isolation. No one knew he was here, and maybe they never would.
Every three moons or so, a distant plane would cross the horizon, as Boy cupped the outline in his hands. Through squinted eyes, he would follow the path of the aircraft through the curvature of his fingers, imagining that someone would feel it. He willed them to pass his way, to set eyes on his prison, and prioritize his deliverance. Pass over, but please don't crash like the last one, his heart pleaded. He did not want to kill anyone else.
Gelea lobs another bolt of lightning at Favian, rustling his chestnut curls as it passes an inch from his head. The next bolt is already materializing in her palm, as he raises his arms in surrender "Gelea please! She was just a mortal; it didn't mean anything!". This bolt slices through his hair, showering him in his prized curls. "Gelea!" his chiseled jaw goes slack in disbelief.
A clamor breaks out behind the hanging silks that frame the doorway she stands in front of, stilling her hand. Seven girls suddenly flood the space with chatter, the youngest toddling in several steps behind the rest. "Momma! momma! We saw a pegasus!" one of the middle daughters shouts as she tugs on Gelea's flowy dress. "What happened to dad?" inquires the oldest with a furrowed brow.
Catching up at last, the youngest peers at her father with starry eyes. She has her mother's golden red hair, as do all the girls. Gelea did not know if the boys would have resembled her as well, for her body rejected them every time. A curse laid in the bitterness of estrangement, her sister Aoina had spoken ruin into existence, when she turned away from Gelea for the last time.
That night, Gelea ground up a solution to her problem with a mortar and pestle, as Favian's snoring echoed around her. She could see his gorgeous face through the doors that opened out into the small garden she sat in. Even after years of betrayal and pain, she loved him with every fiber of her being. Drooling on his pillow with butchered hair, he made her heart flutter still.
The flowers that nestled into the shadows of the leafy garden began to blur. Gelea blinked the tears from her eyes, bringing the greenery back into focus. She looked down at the mirror at her side, reflecting the sleeping boy, who looked so much like his father. The true heir to the realm she had raised her daughters in, doomed even in his ignorance of who he was.
With a deep sigh, her being dissipates into a lavender mist that travels up and away from her slumbering husband, disappearing into the distance. In the dim reflection of the mirror, the curtains of the boy's window flutter as the mist wafts in. Rematerializing at the foot of his bed, Gelea scoops her hand into the fine powder of the mortar with a graceful motion, moving towards him nimbly.
"Take care of yourself, boy." the quavering voice echoes in his head, though he cannot muster a face to match it. The only voice he's ever heard is his own, he reminds himself "I caught crayfish." the words leave a strange feeling on the roof of his mouth. Kneeling at the edge of the small pond, Boy pulls the cages attached to the plastic bones up from the water, meeting his catch with a bright grin.
These weren't for dinner, the cages scattered in the ocean provided that. Boy was hopeful that they might be friends. Tenderly, he transfers them into a big glass jar of sand and pond water, one of many gifts from the surf. Satisfied with the accommodations, he scrambles off to show Larry in a rush of exhilaration.
Many seasons ago, the ground had trembled beneath Boy, shaking him awake in a panic. He rubbed the dreams from his eyes, yet the bright glow in the distance remained. Running as fast as his feet would allow, he came to a halt in front of the blazing wreckage of a small airplane. Its cargo lay scattered along the beach, dotting the path it had gouged out in the sand before coming to a stop.
The man he thought of as Larry was beyond saving, the only kindness available was a nice funeral. There wasn't anything left to draw a personality from, other than the surviving cargo. Cigarettes, magazines, and canned chicken were the primary scores. Larry's luggage had a few additional wonders, both helpful and fun. Boy thought of him as a suave guy who lived fast, a real hero.
A stack of rocks was all that decorated the grave, but he had tried to find the very best stones on his sequestered homestead. As he did most nights, Boy settled in to watch the sunset with Larry, talking to him in his head. As the last traces of light caressed the horizon, Boy made his nightly apology. He did not mean to wish for Larry to crash here, it was a tragedy made possible by the careless structure of words. He would now only wish to be found, knowing somehow it was impossible.
Gelea pulled the covers back from the empty bed, settling into their cold embrace. Through the panes of the French doors, she gazed out onto her garden. It had been ten years since she had departed from that very spot, determined to kill her husband's heir. As far as Favian knew, she had.
Although he had always preferred the company of other women, there was a time he still kept some warmth for her. Those fleeting days of brief joys felt like a lifetime ago. When Favian came home now, he spoke only to his daughters. A barrier that could not be seen, but was felt in every forced exchange between them, had been solidified when she took the future of the girls into her hands.
Dedication scorned and turned sour in her gut, Gelea had lashed out with the vigor of a fading beast. Where the love of a young woman once grew in her heart, jealousy festered, dragging her to desperation. Although she could not bring herself to physically kill the boy, she may as well have. Unshakeable magic prevented him from ever being found.
That night she placed the very curse that started all this, on her husband as well. Ensuring that no male heir would ever snatch away the birthright of her daughters. Unashamed, she curled up next to him for the last time, replaying her actions until the sun came up.
Leaving the boy at the foot of a palm tree, Gelea turns to walk away, running right into her morals. Rubbing her temples, she considers the sleeping child for a time, before striding back over to him. With broad sweeping motions over the sand, three large bags take form, filled with the items he will need.
Frowning, Gelea leans in to brush a strand of hair from his forehead "You will not remember who you are, you will miss no one. For as long as you can remember, you have lived here.". As she disappears under a thousand stars she says, "Take care of yourself, boy." and then she is gone.
This my submission for S1R3 of Dreem-wotw, which prompted us to write with the word "distant". I love a great coincidence, and while writing this I had a wild one! The second photo I used didn't shape my story at all, in fact after writing the argument between Favian and Gelea, I was stumped to find a suitable photo! Exasperated I just typed "goddess" and it was the 4th photo in, how absolutely crazy is that?! I always wonder what design gives us bizarre experiences like that.