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The Woman and the Land God

A love story of a Conch Shell

By sophia rostPublished 2 months ago 11 min read

She blinked, squinting up into the sun. Her mind was fuzzy as everything slowly came into focus. She was laying flat on her back in what felt like...sand? Confused, she looked over and gripped a fistful of sand in her hand.

How was she on a beach?

She racked her brain. The last thing she remembered was being on the boat. She and her friends had been sailing between islands on a sunset exploration.

All of the sudden she felt waves lick her toes. She slowly sat up and surveyed her surroundings. She was right on the edge of the beach, high tide coming in, slowly swallowing her feet. The sand was pure white. Behind her was a tropical forrest, with palm trees and red and white birds-of-paradise glistening in the morning sun.

It was morning right? She didn't know. Silently she cursed herself for not paying more attention in Girl Scouts when they went over sundials.

She sat up slowly, feeling the ocean breeze on her face. She scanned the beach and realized she was completely and utterly alone. Where did her friends go? Did they leave her here? What the hell happened?

Laying next to her was a conch shell. It was oddly beautiful and in perfect condition. It almost had a glowing presence. She picked it up and held it to her ear, like she did when she was a little girl. She was expecting to hear the ocean, but instead...


Gasping, she dropped the shell in the sand. She had to be losing it from starvation or dehydration. There was no way that shell just spoke to her, right?

"Don't be afraid," she heard a whisper in the wind. "I am the Land God of this island. I mean you no harm. It has been many moons since I've spoken with a human. What is your name?"

Shaking, she picked up the conch shell again. Taking a deep breath she said, "My name is Flora."

"Flora," the Land God repeated, the shell humming softly in her hands. "My name is Darius. Do you remember how you came to my island?"

She shook her head before speaking, "I remember being with my friends, but I don't remember anything else."

A silence fell between them. It felt like the trees sighed around her as she waited for Darius's response. "There was a storm," he said in a soft voice. "I found you floating on a piece of drift wood and brought you to shore. You were the only survivor."

The only survivor.

Tears silently wet her cheeks. Her memories flooded back to her. The sunset on the water, the sudden storm, the angry waves crashing around them, the cracking of the boat as it splintered to pieces, the screams of her friends, gripping, white knuckled to a piece of the boat, and then the deafening silence.

"The Sea God has claimed their bodies," Darius continued. "I was able to convince him to spare your life. You still had breath in your lungs when I found you."

Flora was silent.

Suddenly she felt herself wrapped in a calming warmth as though she was being embraced. "I'm truly sorry for your loss," Darius said.

"Are there any other people on this island?" Flora choked out between her tears.

"There are no other humans. You are the only one. This land is inhabited by Yokai," he told her.

"What are Yokai?"

"They are spirits, some are demons. This is the island of lost souls. Some can be frightening, but I promise you that you will not be harmed. The Yokai live here in peace. I make sure that it stays that way," he responded.

Flora calmed herself and looked around again at the beautiful land before her. "How can you ensure that it's peaceful if your body is a conch shell?"

A booming laugh erupted from the shell. "This is not my true form. I am simply appearing to you this way for now. In time you will see my true form if you so desire."

Confused, but intrigued, Flora considered this. "Why did you choose to rescue me?"

Darius was silent. For a moment Flora almost thought he had abandoned her. Finally, he spoke softly, "I'm not sure. I felt a pull to you. A need to save you. I couldn't ignore it."

The wind blew again, kissing her face, and making her long brown hair dance wildly. She felt instantly comforted.

The sand was beginning to burn the bottom of her legs and she could see her skin start to turn pink from the sun. She needed to find shelter. Flora looked to the wild forrest behind her suddenly afraid to enter.

"Let me guide you to my home. It will provide you shelter and get you out of the harsh sun," Darius said, reading her mind. "You will not be bothered by anyone I promise."

Reluctantly, Flora stood and followed Darius's directions into the forrest. Once inside the canopy of trees she could see and hear the forrest hum with life. She looked up in the trees and realized that what she had initially thought was the sun reflecting from the leaves was not that at all. Small shimmers of light bounced about in the treetops.

"Are those sprites?" she asked. Darius laughed again. "You could consider them to be that. They're called Kodama which are spirits that inhabit the trees of this land. They provide safety to the vegetation of the island. They are harmless, but can be quite chatty."

Well, they didn't look so bad, thought Flora. They reminded her of little fairies she had seen in picture books as a child.

"Just up ahead take a right between those Passion Vines," he instructed. Flora slipped through the vines and gasped at the sight beyond.

Past the vines there was a large clearing that almost seemed unnatural to this land. There were wild flowers littering the grassy floor, a waterfall pouring off of a stone mountain into the clearest pool of water she'd ever seen. To the right was a modest wooden hut. Flowers and vines hung all over making the place a sanctuary.

The conch shell suddenly dissipated from her hand. Standing next to her now was the most beautiful man she'd ever seen. He was tall and muscular, with his jet black hair falling gently to his shoulders and piercing green eyes. He looked regal in the most primal way.

"This is my true form," he said.

Shocked, Flora stood gaping at him. He was the most perfect human, well God, she'd ever seen. Not that she'd seen many Gods.

"Come with me, let me show you my home," he said walking towards the hut. He opened the door and gestured her to enter. She moved forward through the door and gasped.

On the outside the hut looked to be ten by ten feet in diameter. Once inside, the space opened up to a grand room with cozy lounge couches at floor height which surrounded a large coffee table. Instead of the dirt floor that she was expecting there were beautiful marble floors covered in plush Persian rugs.

To the right side there was a beautiful open concept kitchen constructed of marble counter tops that matched the floor and cabinets that were made of bamboo.

To the left there was a large, closed off room that opened up to the bedroom completed by the largest feathered bed she had ever seen and an ensuite bathroom.

The entire home looked like something out of a Sandals resort. Flora felt her jaw drop as she took in everything.

"It's beautiful," she whispered. "How is it so much larger in here than the structure outside?"

Darius chuckled, "I guess you would use the term magic. Please, feel free to freshen up in the bathroom. You should be able to find something to fit you in the closet." He led her into the bathroom, turning on the faucet until the room was steamy, placed a towel next to the shower, and left.

Flora looked down at her tattered shirt that barely covered her dirty bathing suit. She stepped into the shower and stripped down, sighing in relief. The water felt amazing. As the water sprayed over her body she slowly broke down over the thought of her lost friends and the fact that she would never see them again. Once the sobs eased and the heaving in her chest tamed, she turned off the faucet and covered herself in the towel.

Flora padded over to the closet in the bedroom and opened it finding a myriad of beautiful dress robes hung neatly in color coded order. She plucked a bright red robe with gold trim that matched her eyes from a hanger and slipped it on, surprised that it fit perfectly.

She walked back to the living room to find Darius casually laying on one of the lounge chairs reading a book. He looked like a God, radiated it in every sense of the word.

Once he sensed her presence he looked up at her and smiled. She felt her knees buckle.

"That robe looks lovely on you," he exclaimed. "Why don't you have a seat and relax? You've gone through an ordeal and need your rest."

Without thinking she walked over and sat on the lounge chair across from him. "How did you come to be the Land God here?" she asked.

Darius sighed, "It's a long story. For now I'll give you the short version. I used to be the Land God of a different land. It was bountiful, full of people. They used to come to my temple at all hours to pray to me. I loved them, and I loved my home.

One day, a fallen God came to my temple and surrounded it, and my people, with the worst miasma. It was pungent, dark, and shrouded my land in chaos and corruption. It caused much misfortune. I tried to cleanse the miasma the best that I could but it was no use. In short, I killed the God that did that and in turn I was cursed. I was cursed to the land of the non-living. The land of Yokai.

I was to pay the price of killing a God. Even Gods can be punished for their wrongdoings. I wasn't remorseful. By killing that God I saved my land and my people.

However, now I must live the rest of my immortal existence alone. I've been here for over one hundred years now. You're the first person I've spoken to since the day I was sent here."

Flora contemplated his words. Her heart broke at his story and she felt his loneliness as if it were her own.

"So even though you saved your land and people by killing the fallen God you were still punished? It sounds to me like you were the hero," she replied simply.

A dark, sad expression took over his face. "To some I was, but even Gods cannot kill other Gods and get away with it. Everything has a price, and this is mine. I've grown used to it. I've made friends with the Yokai who reside here."

He stood up and walked over, sitting beside her. He gazed at her quizzically before gently reaching up and grazing her cheek with the outer edge of his hand. Flora felt her cheeks flush and the heat rise to her face, hoping she had a small sunburn to hide it. She felt an actual spark when he touched her. His light touch warmed her heart and set a fire within her.

He watched her. As Flora composed herself enough to look into his eyes she saw a mix of emotion there. The sight twisted her insides into knots. She longed to feel his touch once more. The air hung heavy between them for a moment in what felt like desire and lust, but something much more. It was almost as if she'd seen him before, but she couldn't put her finger on it.

"I need to show you something," Darius said, suddenly grave. "Come with me."

He walked through the door and began to walk towards the crystal clear water before turning to look at her. "This is the sacred pool. If you wish to stay here you will need to drink from it. It will bind you to the land as it has bound me and many others," he explained. "I was able to save you from the sea, but technically that was your time to die and I interrupted that cycle of life and death. It caused the cosmos to become off balanced."

She looked at him hesitantly. "What happens if I don't drink it?"

His face softened. "If you don't drink it you will die. This is not a land for humans. By drinking the water you yourself will become part of the land as I am. However, I will not force you to do so. This is your choice. You will live forever with me if you choose to do so. If not, I can help you offer your soul up to the Heavens when the time comes so that you're not trapped here."

She looked at him for a long moment. This man, no this God, was offering her eternal life. An eternal life with him. Even though she should have felt scared she felt only peace. This is what she was meant to do. This was her purpose in life. He was her purpose, her life. She survived for this reason. He saved her for this moment.

Flora suddenly recognized where she had seen him from. She had dreamt of him before. Dreamt of this moment almost as if she knew him from a past life. She had an overwhelming sense of deja vu. In her dream they were together, they were happy, and completely in love. She knew this was fate. Fate had brought them together and she would take the rest of eternity to figure out who this man was to her.

She held his eyes as she walked to the edge of the pool. She knelt down, cupping the water into her hands.

And drank.

Short StoryLoveFantasyFable

About the Creator

sophia rost

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