They had stopped burying people years ago, not just because they were running out of space. The idea of being buried below ground after death was chilling, below ground was where the locust came from, erupting out of the pavement to wreck havoc on any that stood by. With countless bodies and no desire for traditional burial, Gears and stranded alike had taken to cremation, a hygienic, efficient and respectful way to deal with those who had lost their lives.
Dizzy stood by a metal railing that ran from one end of a small beach to the other, this beach was further away than the slightly larger beach on the other side of Azura. This area of coast unlike the other also wasn't sandy; instead it was coated in a layer of pebbles and stones, some polished by the action of the water against their surfaces. While Dizzy watched the water lap at the edge he wondered what this coast had been named, people were giving names to everything here, he knew as a way of making this place home. It wasn't Azura the island retreat for Sera's finest anymore; it was Azura home to survivors.
Peering around after hearing a sound, Dizzy saw one of the Gears carefully navigating his way over the pebbles, arms spread wide for balance as he teetered every so often, the stones shifting beneath his weight. Still leaning on the rail, Dizzy watched as the man bent down every few moments as if he were looking for something.
Eventually the young Gear, surprisingly young Dizzy thought, bent down and grasped a pebble, clutching it dearly to his chest as he wobbled and carefully crouched down. The pebble was about the size of his fist, blue and shiny and for a long time the Gear did nothing but look at it smothering his fingers over the surface as if cleaning it from grime. After a short while a stout but sharp knife was removed and used to scratch the surface of the rock, a shrieking sound filling the relative peace. Once the Gear seemed satisfied he carefully replaced the stone and stood up, dusting his knees and replacing the knife to whence it came, Dizzy saw that the young man muttered a few words before leaving but they were washed out by the sound of the ocean.
Dizzy let out a sigh, this was something he had to do and he had to do it alone, next time he would bring the twins along but today...today was his day. Pushing off from the railings he slowly made his way along the path until he reached an opening that allowed access to the unsteady beach, the water was coming in slowly and he wouldn't have long. Just as well, he had been putting it off all afternoon and now he had no other choice. Like the Gear before him Dizzy made his way carefully along the stones and rocks, not just avoiding areas where the stones were slick or loose, but also avoiding the scratched ones.
There were hundreds he could tell, names roughly etched into the pebbles. Everyone on this island had lost someone, friends, family, lovers...but there were no bodies, nothing to give a ceremony to. Instead pebbles had been etched with names, this whole stretch of coast given over as an extensive memorial. While Dizzy carefully traversed between the plain and scratched pebbles he noticed some of the names although he didn't recognise many.
Dizzy did a double take when he spotted that pebble but tilted his hat to it as he continued to make his way precariously over the beach. Eventually he reached an area where there were a great many more plain stones than marked ones and it was now that Dizzy busied himself, scouring the area for just the right ones.
It took him ten minutes to find two pebbles, one large copper coloured stone, polished and glimmering and the other a mottled grey. Kneeling down Dizzy like the other Gear removed a knife and picked up the copper pebble, scratching and etching until he was satisfied before repeating the process with the other rock. The two marked pebbles were placed side by side and touching, clearly together.
He sighed again staring at the names on the stones and removing his hat to set it to one side for the time being.
"I always meant to do something like this," He began still focusing on the names "But I guess I never got a moment's peace to do it. What with the grubs and..." He paused for a long time glancing out towards the ocean on his right "My new family...I always meant to tell you about that too but I've always known that you'd understand."
The ocean was coming in a little further; he didn't have much time left.
"I just...I want you to know, both of you, that I'll always love you...I've kept you with me all these years and that's never gonna change...never." Shaking his head he used a finger to touch the pebbles before standing and replacing his hat. Slowly he began his careful trek back towards the pathway that would lead him back to the main island, behind him the pebbles remained, side by side even as the ocean spray began to grow closer. The names glimmering as the last rays of the sun bounced off of their reflective surfaces.
AN/ This was a sad one to write, but I hope you liked it none the less. Sorry updates have slowed down but I've been balancing this with a few other of my stories in another fandom as well as college work. More soon, promise :)