Not having the best of weeks this is a little late in the day, I hope you enjoy anyway.
By Neil Beynon
The shard felt smooth like glass as he rested its not insignificant weight in his hand, he looked down at it; purple stone flashing in the grey mid afternoon sun. The wind ran its fingers through his hair, ran its icy lips down the open wound in his chest and sucked on his blood soaked hand. And he was not sorry.
The shard, warm when he withdrew it from its home within his chest, was growing cool but flashed one last time in his hand, threw one last roll of the dice as the stone flared in the open air.
“What are you doing boy?”
The man was not as vital as he’d been inside the boy’s mind. With the cooling of the shard he’d leaked colour; he was becoming transparent, his texture blunted by the fractious sea air. The man took a step towards the boy, his feet failing to bend blade or move mud.
“You know,” said the boy rolling the shard in his hand.
“Not a move to make lightly,” said the man. “Once it’s gone you can’t have it back. No refunds.”
“Doesn’t matter,” he answered. “No point to it.”
“There’s always a point,” said the man. “Think about…”
His words were lost on the wind as the shard sailed high into the sky over the cliffs; visible for a few moments of glorious hang time. A purple star plunging for the horizon then it fell into the sea. When he looked round the man was gone.
A beach at dawn is special. A virgin place undiscovered by sun or person, the sand wet and smooth, the ocean renewed by the great unveiling. That’s why Mary liked to walk at that time. The feeling of new territory, something special and hidden, something other people didn’t know about but was for her alone.
As Mary walked barefoot, the sand sticking between her toes, her foot caught hard on something poking up from the decayed remains of old rock. Something purple that glinted in the sunrise.
“What have we here?” She asked lifting the object free of its prison, the sand sucked it for a few moments, stubbornly refusing to let go before releasing it, with a wet popping sound.
“Thrown away,” said a line drawing from a near by boulder. “Not wanted, going as it were for free.”
“Ah,” said Mary. “You’re not the first.”
“No, I know. Nor the last but still: I had hopes.”
“And you still do,” Mary answered, slipping the shard into her chest.
Mary met a boy on her way back to the house. He seemed lost and frightened as if he were looking for something he couldn’t quite remember. She asked if he was alright but he just stared at her blankly before wandering down to the sea’s edge. She left him to it.
They always come back. They never remember: no refunds.