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The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

you will find no music here

By Caroline JanePublished about a month ago • Updated about a month ago • 7 min read
First Place in If Walls Could Talk
104
Photo by author. Lizard Point at Lands End, Cornwall, England - Cliffs made from 300 million year old Serpentine rock.

If walls could talk, you would not listen unless you had to.

How can I be so sure?

One has not risen from the centre of the earth in a tectonic and seismic exaltation, stood stoic for three hundred million years through ice ages, through meteoric obliteration, and born witness to unprecedented evolution to be in any doubt of a few pounds of flesh such as you.

You are no more than a grain of sand on my shores, one of a trillion, replaceable and replicable. You are a flea that crawled off a dog, and you are exactly like the last one that was here, the one whose name you call out so pathetically, so wretchedly.

Jennifer.

That name echoes around my innards like canon shrapnel. And it is not even aimed in my direction. As large as I am, as dense as I am, as grandly as I fill so much of the sky with my mighty cliffs. You barely even see me. You scream that name, cry out, and whisper that name only to the sea. The absurdity! You think that the sea talks to you. That its crashing waves rise and fall and shriek in solidarity with your loss, that its days of expansive calm are all-knowing, filled with ripples of whispers, undulating with secrets and answers about your beloved Jennifer.

If only - you cry out. If only you could understand what was being said.

I think you believe that Jennifer is still alive somewhere in the sea. That her human energy, which you call her soul, flows inside its tides, that the noise of the waves as they crash against these shores contain her voice, calling out to you, returning to you. I think you believe she has entered into the holiest of communion with the sea's briny water. I want to know if you can taste her tears in its salty spray.

I often ponder what makes you and your kind listen so carefully to the sea. I muse that its rhythm must feel like music to you. Its incessant growling and humming perhaps are like chords similar to those drummed out by your heartstrings. I would lay bets that the sea fills your dreams at night after it has rocked you to sleep.

You are all fools. Fools drowning in your own emotion, unable to see past your own reflection as you gaze only at yourself in the emptiness that is the sea. The sea no more sees your soul than a looking glass does. It does not speak to you; it merely reflects what you are in what you think it is, like a giant insentient mirror. The sea will never hear your calls. It does not know who Jennifer is or was or who you are. Nowhere within the depths of its blue brackish waters will you find an empathetic ear listening to your cries. The voice you hear shrieking in its waves and whispering in its ripples is nothing more than the barks and whimpers of a dog obeying its master. The sea is commanded only by the moon. You are nothing to it. It sings no song; it holds no secrets. It rocks you to sleep at night like a pre-programmed metronome. There is no emotion, no music, no story inside its tides. When you talk to the sea, you are in conversation with yourself, nobody else.

I stare at your back every day, at your mournful gait with your sagged shoulders and drooping chin. Rain, hail or shine, I feel you arrive, trudging over my shaggy mane of salty tundra, then slipping down my roughshod shale until you land your rubber-soled shoe on the sand of my beaches as they emerge from the sea's teeth. There you begin your morbid routine of kicking pieces of me around, mindlessly dragging your feet through my fractured bones until, fleetingly, a fragment of me attracts your attention enough to pick it up. You roll the piece in your hand for a moment; then you absently chuck it, chuck me, into the sea like a piece of meat thrown to a dog.

This is the only acknowledgement I get.

She was exactly the same as you, you know. The same routine, here every day, screaming at the sea some days, whispering to it on others, as though it had answers. Randomly throwing parts of me into its ocean abyss like she could cause it some pain. The only difference between you and her is that she called out questions about herself, whereas you seek answers about her.

I am a titan of Serpentine rock, marbled with the richest of earth's colours; lizard greens, slate greys, pervasive purples and dark chocolate browns. Each swirl of me, each layer of my magnificence, is glazed and pregnant, bulging and glistening with stories and secrets that have been laid down over three hundred million years of wide-eyed life and still, despite all that I am, neither you nor she nor any of your kind has ever willingly turned to converse with me.

I am nothing more to you and yours than an interesting pebble to throw from your clammy hand, a fancy stone for a child to adorn its castles of sand or an ornament to be stolen from here and placed on a bathroom shelf. In years gone by, your mechanical diggers have even taken parts of my heart to lay as slabs on patios to walk on or placed me on top of kitchen cupboards to cut things up on. But, through it all, none of them ever thought to talk with me, to listen to me.

Despite all that I am, I doubt I will ever become any more than a brief cosmetic joy to you and yours. I may contain the stories of our planet and the keys to the universe. I may hold this land upright and intact from the dog that is the sea, but I know that despite all this, you would willingly deconstruct me before you would listen to anything that I may have to say.

Unless, of course, you have no choice but to listen.

Like Jennifer, that last night.

That night she had to listen.

I remember it was around this time last year because the moon was at its boldest, and in celebration of its full spectre glory, it called to the sea to rise from its bed to chew and bite at the heavens. That night the sea followed its master's bidding as immaculately as ever and roared and spat at Jennifer like the hellhound it can be, frothing and lashing out with rage and bile.

Faced by the fury of the sea Jennifer had nowhere else to go. She had to turn. She had to see me, to speak with me.

Help, she cried out repeatedly. Help me!

Wet and bedraggled, she was frantic with fear as she ran around my skirts, chased by the whip of the wind, looking for sanctuary from the beast she now recognised the sea to be.

Naturally, in response to her cries, I was merciful, and I let her in and held her to my bosom, where she wept, crying out to me, thankful to me.

I was overjoyed. After all these years! I felt a shiver of recognition ripple through my compounded layers, and I felt compelled to try and converse with her. Perhaps, I thought, this was the emotion needed for her, for you, and for yours to finally listen to me; maybe fear could be the bridge between your kind and mine.

I tested out my theory. At first, I tried clicking and creaking, but she just curled into a corner behind one of my boulders and sat as silent as a mouse. Frustrated, I raised my voice slightly and emitted a low, resonant rumble that filled the cave. I heard her scream out in response. I could barely believe it! The noise filled my core with a joy I did not think was possible. I had been heard! I became excited, and I released around her an almighty, booming avalanche of rock to frighten more conversation from her.

Sadly, she never spoke again, but then, she was only the first to test my theory.

I wonder, will you?

HorrorShort Story
104

About the Creator

Caroline Jane

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (72)

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  • HandsomelouiiThePoet (Lonzo ward)3 days ago

    Awesome ✨

  • Written with strength and vigor! Love the imagery!

  • Such eloquent writing. Thank you for sharing this with the world.

  • Linda Lee9 days ago

    Brilliant story, Caro! Made me think about how stuck we humans are in our heads, failing to see the life around us. Congrats on the win!

  • Gurulathan S10 days ago

    Congratulation Caroline.

  • Gina Callea10 days ago

    beautifully written!

  • Oh wow! So good! I see why you won this contest! Congratulations by the way. The vocabulary you used was so unique and fresh, it was actually inspiring to read. It was crackling with energy reading this. And what a haunting and interesting tale. Well done!

  • The flow of your art was refreshing. Thank for this piece.

  • Wow that was breathtaking! This story was a whirlwind of literary goodness!

  • K-Leliel12 days ago

    Well damn! That was so engaging. This sounds like the voice of a bitter, egotistical god! Congrats!

  • Jeremy Hall13 days ago

    A great piece of work and a well-deserved victory. Loved the twist! Well done, Caroline!

  • Susanna Kiernan13 days ago

    Wow, this was so unexpected. Very attention grabbing. Well done!

  • Gurulathan S17 days ago

    Congratulations...

  • Bonny Beswick18 days ago

    Loved the story and characterization!

  • Perqwaila 18 days ago

    This was a very amazing and capturing story I loved it!!! 💐💐💐

  • Deasun T. Smyth18 days ago

    Congratulations! well deserved and well written.

  • Isaac Haldeman 20 days ago

    Looooooove! Someone needs to make an animation of this story!

  • Paula Shablo21 days ago

    This is brilliant. Very deserving of the win. Congratulations!

  • Quincy.v21 days ago

    This is a beautifully written and imaginative piece that highlights the disconnect between humans and the natural world.

  • Teresa Renton21 days ago

    Just wow! Amazing use of imagery, storytelling… and ‘character’! To give rock a personality such that I felt it’s turmoil is just brilliant xx

  • TSB23 days ago

    Absolutely more than worth the win, thank you.

  • Gerald Holmes23 days ago

    This is so well done and so deserving of the win. The story flowed like poetry in my mind. Loved it.

  • Lelicai23 days ago

    WOW! 😍😍😍

  • Tiffany Gordon 23 days ago

    WOW your 1st Place win made my day! Caroline, this piece was so stunning! Brilliantly executed! Your beautiful pen had me feeling compassion for the regal rock as well as the young lady. Your descriptions & storytelling prowess were magnificent! You did a masterful job on this piece! It is a masterpiece! Congratulations Caroline! I'm sooooooo happy for you! You rocked the heck out of this piece! BRAVO! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

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