Casting a fiery blanket over the glassy surface of the ocean, the molten sun sunk slowly behind the clouds, waiting for the moon to take its rightful place in the night sky. Crashing against the sandy shore, the night waves filled the air with their chorus, echoing over the island for both gods and men to hear.
Padding across the beach, he relished the feel of the sand beneath his bare feet. With each step his heel dug into the soft grains, which lovingly accepted his foot. The arch would not claim much space, but his toes would each carve out their own little hole. But just as Sayid pulled his foot from its temporary sanctuary, a rolling wave of salt water and foam would wash the imprint away, pulling it back to the sea.
His first footstep sunk into the sand the moment the sun began to leave the sky, but looking around, it seemed as if he hadn't gone anywhere at all. Moments ago the beach had been completely deserted, but now, as the crashing waves seemed to claim not just his foot prints but his feet as well. Scanning the beach, Sayid's eyes fell upon someone standing neither on nor in the ocean but instead, at the place where the two met, the cerulean water a mix of salt and sand.
"I was wondering when you'd show up. You know, I never really realized how beautiful it is here."
As the water lapped at his ankles, seeping into the hem of his pants, Sayid stared at the first of the many that had been claimed by the island. Bruised and bloody, Boone stood staring out over the ocean. Separated by only a few steps, the Iraqi could see the crimson liquid, thick as syrup, matting the boy's dark hair in an eerie halo around his face. A testament to the island's appetite, the blood that had stained his clothes told of the injuries that covered the rest of his wasted body.
Tearing his eyes away from the mangled man, Sayid cast his gaze over the sinking sunset that was slowly staining the ocean crimson. Even though he tried not to look away from the oceanic blood, the Iraqi turned once again to the beaten Boone.
The face that stared back held no traces of blood or injury. His handsome features no longer bore the welts of bruises and streaks of blood that had marred his boyish features when he died.
Instead, the Boone that looked back into his chocolaty eyes looked young and carefree, untouched by the horrors of the island. His face was covered with a day's worth of stubble, and his plain whit t-shirt and jeans looked freshly laundered. Unable to hide the look of shock that crossed the former soldier's normally elusive features, Boone smiled slightly. "Don't worry. I'm fine."
Parting his lips to speak, Sayid stared into cerulean eyes that rivaled the ocean in their depths and clarity. Crossing his sun-kissed arms over his chest, the man looked over to the boy standing next to him, deciding to wait and see what he had to say.
"Look, Sayid, I just want you to know that I'm sorry. About how I acted."
The skeptical look that crossed the Sayid's face was not lost on his companion, and though Boone tried, he couldn't stop the tiny hint of a grin that began to play about his lips. "Ok, maybe I'm not. But, you know… dead now."
The feeble attempt at a joke hung heavy in the air between the two, before mingling with the salty foam and being swept out to sea. Standing on a beach that should be more Heaven than Hell at sunset, Sayid searched the watery depths before lending voice to the question that had suddenly flooded his mind.
"Why are you here Boone?" Full of purpose and meaning, each word seemed to linger for a moment before dissipating into the cool night air.
Dropping the pretense of boyish charm, Boone turned away from the sea to look into Sayid's eyes. For the first time, the Iraqi saw traces of anguish that he hadn't seen on his face since he couldn't find Shannon's inhaler. "I need you to tell Shannon…"
Breaking the surface of the murky waters, the rising sun cast the swirling ocean in a pinkish glow that was slowly seeping through the rippling ridges of the morning waves. Walking along the edge of the beach, where the sand me the tide, Sayid ignored the view and instead focused on the pair of size six and a half women's shoes that were resting in his hands.
With each step he took, the man's bare feet sunk into the soon to be warm sand. Normally, he wouldn't go barefoot, but today, for this, it seemed right.
Perhaps the previous night's journey was simply a matter of lingering guilt, a haunting reminder of how he had failed. Whether it was due to the things that he'd seen in the past few months on the island, or the trauma that came with a plane crash and being surrounded by death, Sayid wasn't sure. But, the normally skeptical man couldn't shake the feeling that his dream had been more than flashes of his subconscious.
A surprisingly short walk from his tent, the tiny make shift cemetery that was growing at an alarming rate loomed just beyond the way. Their silhouettes casting their long shadows over the early morning beach, the crosses that had been made out of sticks and twine greeted Sayid as he approached them with his head bowed.
Approaching what was masquerading as the final resting place of the island's dead, the Iraqi cast a glance to the beach behind him. Merely an empty stretch of land covered with sand and tide, he had to admit that it could have been truly beautiful. But after everything that he'd been through on the island, he found the waving trees and ebbing tide sickening.
Stained in luscious pinks and purples, sparkling sea winked at him, seemingly promising that his every wish would come true here. Unfortunately, he'd come to know the horrors and secrets that it held.
Now was not the time for curses, but if it were, Sayid would have cursed the island and its shimmering waves.
The sight of two words carved into one of the makeshift crosses drove the thoughts of the island's horrors from his mind and brought his padding feet to a halt.
It had been crudely carved by one of the others, and standing on the beach, Sayid could feel each one of the cuts sink into his skin, marking him with their permanence and finality.
Kneeling before her grave, the man tucked his bare feet beneath him as he looked to the cross marker next to Shannon's grave. The writing was equally rough and lopsided, and though he'd never been close to the younger man, he still bowed his head in respect for Boone.
Settling down in the soft sand, Sayid pulled a wilted flower off of the young woman's grave and threw it towards the shimmering ocean. In a while the crumpling petals would be washed away in the tide and carried out to sea, along with everything else on the island.
"I… brought you these." Gently laying the high heels on the mound of sand in front of the cross, Sayid pressed the palms of his hands into the earth. Steadying his thoughts and breathing, the man pressed his eyes shut for just a moment before opening them to Shannon once again. "Boone… Boone asked me to you that he loves you. That he's always loved you and he always will."
Sitting back on his heels, the grieving man placed his sandy palms on his thighs as he stared at the handprints that remained. The heels of the prints were the deepest, and the fingers were spread wide, almost as if they were grasping for something.
Dropping his head, the curls of his hair fell about his face forming a halo of sorts in the pink morning. Sighing deeply Sayid looked at the shoes, as the memory of heavy rain and the tell tale sound of a gunshot rang through the air.
"He… he also wanted me to tell you that he's sorry that he wasn't able to… protect you. And I…"
The words were there but refused to come. Instead they stayed at the back of his throat, knowing that her death would haunt him forever. Knowing that he would always blame himself for her death.
If only he'd believed her…
If only he grabbed onto her and refused to let her go…
The "if only's" would always be there. No matter what he did, Sayid would always be haunted by her blonde hair and soft voice. He hadn't been able to protect her himself, and the knowledge of that would continue to sear his soul until his dying day.
With the blazing sun high in the sky, the pink and purple morning was gone, and with it came the tide. Crashing softly against the beach, the waves began to lick at the sand pulling bits of it back to the sea as it retreated.
As Sayid bowed his head in prayer, the waves came up again, but this time they stole the wilting flower, carrying it back to the sparkling sea. Floating away along the lines of the current, the once beautiful bud began to sink slowly into the murky abyss.
Cillian Chase's Chart
- This was originally written for the lj communities "lostfichallenge" (Challenge #51: In Loving Memory) and "alphabetasoup" (P is for Pensive).
- Katie, as always, you are amazing. Thank you so much. Ducks and kisses.