Mazes, Bricks, and the Ocean [Fiction]

Evodie wasn’t dumb; she knew what conversations had been had when she was told to leave for the ocean. She knew she was sent away because no one would really miss her – or rather, no one would miss her enough to do something about it.

Evodie lived in a house on the ocean. The walls were made of rolling deep blue water that somehow stood high. The floor was golden and sandy, and all the ornaments were made from shells and discarded fishing nets. The house sat in the middle of a lagoon, high upon a tower of water that propped it up, not too far from land. The sun illuminated the water during the day, making the walls appear translucent and at night, the colors of the sky would ripple through casting shadows.

No one knew why or how the house got there, other than it just was. It seemed like a shame for someone to not live in it. There was a committee who decided who should live in the house every year. They always seemed to pick the one whom everyone thought was perhaps a bit odd—the one who ticked a little differently. So she was chosen to go live there, kind of like jury duty.

Usually, the people who lived in the ocean house would come back into town nearly every other day to see their friends, but Evodie didn’t care for that. She knew where she wasn’t wanted. So one Thursday when she was running low on food, she went into town to get bread, fruit, and vegetables. She climbed down from the tower of water; the water itself kindly forming into steps for her to walk down and set off into a boat onto the land. She walked upon the concrete that was hot beneath her feet. She’d gotten so used to the sand and water that everything else seemed peculiar and unfamiliar.

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The streets wounded around towers of brick that stood closely together. Those brick buildings had always fascinated her, seeming so intimidating and claustrophobic.

She found a supermarket, took what she needed, and left before anyone saw her. Or so she thought. It was a huge shock for her to find an old acquaintance waiting by the shore when she’d got back from the shops.

“Hello,” he said, sheepishly.

The boy had long, messy blond hair, tanned skin, and ragged clothes. He looked more handsome than he did when Evodie was sent away. She pushed past him and hopped in the boat. He hopped in too. He looked at her, quizzically.

“You aren’t happy to see me?” he asked.

She didn’t reply. She just scowled outwards and rowed. The sun was still in the middle of the sky. He sighed audibly, gazing at the water, trying to get Evodie’s attention.

“You can’t ignore me all day,” he said teasingly.

I could damn well try, she thought.

When the boat reached the house, Evodie stood and walked up the stairs. They disappeared behind her as she climbed so that the boy was left in the boat.

“Come on, let me in!” he cried, exasperated.

She ignored him until she reached the top of the stairs. She looked down at him, sat on the top stair and watched, waiting for him to speak.

“I’m sorry, okay?” he said.

She glowered at him, mentally picking apart everything he represented.

“I would’ve asked them to let you stay but I was young and an idiot,” he said.
She didn’t really believe him.

“Please…” he pleaded.

She really wasn’t interested in anything he had to say.

“I tried to make them let you go…n-not that long ago…” he stuttered.

Her ears pricked up. He noticed a difference in her manner and carried on.

“I sent a letter to them asking them to pick someone else. There’s another kid and he’s got no one and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind…”

Evodie had enough. She stood up, opened the door to her house and entered. The last stair had gone now. Evodie looked downward at the pillar of water below, and the sorry fool of a boy stood in the boat at the bottom and nodded sternly at the water as if sending a message. The water almost looked like it was nodding at her, and then a current bubbled up underneath the boat and swallowed the thing whole, raggedy boy included.

Evodie wrote about everything that had just happened. She’d have to take another venture into town the following day. When the morning arrived, she rowed, making her way across the beach and into the town of mazes and bricks. She pinned the letter on the door of the boy’s house and left it there as a warning to anyone who might think of leaving someone behind.

Written by Rochelle Asquith – Wakefield, West Yorkshire (UK)

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