The Girl with the Night Smile

Once upon a time there was a girl who lived on the shore of a vast and roiling ocean.  She had a smile that could only be seen at night and two different colored eyes: one of pale blue and one of deepest green.  The blue eye only saw things from the sky and the green eye only saw things from the sea.

In the mornings the birds would roll in on the clouds and hover between sky and sea, amassed along the horizon where the girl could not see them.  But she could hear them.  The thin wind-worried calls that told her the birds were present.  Her pale blue eye tracked the sun in its course and her deep green eye saw fish leap over seafoam to slice into the liquid deep.  She gathered the shells and crabs the ocean coughed up and she drank rain the sky shook loose.

The evening after the full moon the clouds smudged black overhead and the wind whirled itself into a violent gale.  Great rips in the sky, sharply uneven and white-hot, reflected in the girl’s blue eye.  The wind grabbed handfuls of her hair and pulled.  It threw ocean spray in her face and shoved great waves over the shore in a bubbling fury.  The clouds erased stars and moon alike from the sky.  But the girl’s smile was a silvered crescent moon that would not be dimmed.

By day she left solitary footprints in the sand, her eyes fixed each on their aspect, her smile wiped clean off her face.  Blank and white was she under the sun.  She collected the rejected detritus of the sea and sky into her arms and hugged it to her chest.  Her eye watched the sky burnish with a sullen light.  She retreated into a cove of trees.

Far into that next night her green eye saw a ship upon her sea.  A small red ship that lurched unevenly along the crested waves.  It was pushed rudely side to side and its sail was split in two.  Her blue eye caught the rays of morning well before the ship was near enough for her green eye to count the portholes along the side.  It grounded abruptly upon her shore.  Her blue eye watched the tarnished sun beat upon it and her green eye watched the waves pound futilely at it.  She could not see the man who tumbled over the side and moved towards her.  

“Girl!”  He called to her.  She could hear him but she could not see him.  She did not look at him (for she couldn’t).  She did not smile at him (for she hadn’t one to show).  He stopped and stared.  Her blank face stared back at him, white and smooth and cool, and her eyes did not look at him.  “Girl,” he rasped, sharply.  But she could not assure him.  And so he charged.  He caught her in the chest with his shoulder and as she flew back her blue eye filled with tears that reflected sun-gilt clouds and her green eye went blank.  He was upon her in an instant and he thought her face dreadful and he found her blank eye threatening so he raised his fists and rained them down upon her.  Blow after blow crashed into her small porcelain frame and shattered her.  Blood pooled in the sand under her.  And at last her blue eye went dark too.

He stood up and shuddered.  He shoved his ship back into the water with grunts and curses.  And then he swung back into the crippled boat and sought refuge out on the waves once more.

Night came coiling like a snake, silent through the clouds and hissing over the water.  It pushed the sea up the shore until green foam lapped at the poor broken body.  The birds she had never seen descended, calling mournfully to one another, and fluttered over her in a great rush of wing and air.  The blood, sank deep into the sand, rose and crept back into her body.  The sea sealed the cracks in her bones and stitched the flesh back together.  Her eyes snapped open.  Her one blue eye now bore the moon within it and the sky flew from her gaze out into the heavens and back again.  Her one green eye now surged with liquid and it poured out into the ocean from her gaze and back again.  She stood.  

Over the sea she raced, lofted upon the clouds and skimmed underfoot by the waves, a weightless white thing between sky and sea.  When she reached the ship she paused, just off the bow, and she waited as the wind howled a summons to the man inside.  He peered over the edge.  When he saw her there he blanched and his eyes went round with fear.  The sky spun into gloom and the sea heaved in discontent.  Her eyes both filled with ink and fixed upon him.  Then she smiled.  

When his body washed up on a distant shore two days later, the fishermen who gathered crossed themselves in fear.  Across his torso was carved out a bloody crescent moon and upon his lifeless face was fixed a smile.

The End.

 

- Corinne Simpson