The Wanderer

July 23, 2008
By Courtney Billow, Richfield, PA

Lost, she ponders her thoughts while floating through a sea of regret. What if she never falls ashore? What if she never reaches the sand?
The air. The breeze.
The strong scent of the salt and the seas suffocates her as she breathes air deep into the pit of her lungs.
Something's wrong.
She finally washes ashore but only to find herself lost again.
She smells not the ocean nor the air, but the trail of smoke drifting from the cove.
She walks and she walks, and she finally finds him there. Lonely and afraid. A scared feeble child, back hunched, leaning over a fire. Body, starved of warmth. The occasional sea breeze beating the bare back of the naked boy.
She inches nearer and she sees exactly what it is that makes up the mystery of the boy.
Lashes and bruises, strewn out over every centimeter of his small body and suddenly she falls to her knees in defeat because she knows who did this.
She knows that the same monsters that had unleashed this pain upon him had also inflicted it on her. She weeps now because she had wished for it to never happen again. She prayed to God, not in self-pity, but out of care for the world, she tried to help. But it looks like "God" never answered her prayer. May have never even cared.
She spies an exit and takes the boy by the hand.
"Come with me, love. It will be alright."
Tense, but willing, he picks up his feet, back still hunched, and step by step their walk turns to a run and then they throw themselves to the ocean. At the mercy of the waves, they float. Anywhere but there.
The island in which they had once taken haven had become a cold and empty place.

Floating in the sea for but an hour and their bodies fall weak and they immediately turn numb. Unable to move, they drift, down to the abyss, into the unknown.
Sound now, they sleep. They fall to the ocean floor with smiles on both of their faces because they know now that they can't hurt them anymore.
They were longing for the time when they could leave the cruelties of this world behind and finally,

FINALLY be free.

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