The stagnant water lapped up against the side of the Rowan boat, spilling over the edge and forming spreading pools around the sleeping form of a reedy male. He appeared to be haphazardly chucked into the seacraft, legs draping over the frame in a manner reminiscent of seaweed upon a rock, bending and relaxing towards the shape. When the specks of lake water sprinkled across his face, his eyelids fluttered open, before squinting and pinching together in the presence of the sharp glint of the sun. He moved to sit up, back crackling as he stretched his palms towards the sky, reaching up to the clouds resting on grass-covered alpine mountain peaks. His face was screwed into an expression of discomfort as he recovered from the rough surface where he had rested overnight. Once he had fully adjusted to the dull ache present in his lower back, his face morphed once again, but this time into one of shock upon finding himself unsteady and rocking on the small waves. Edging steadily in front of him was a red and white striped motor boat, it’s engine still puttering along, encouraging a light toss and turn for the wooden ship the boy was currently perching on the side of, looking frantically from his left and to his right, and repeating the gesture over again for good measure. He shot from port to stern, bow to starboard, casting his gaze over as far past each border as his vision would allow. He fixated upon the curving architecture of the almost fantastical city scape presented to him. He appeared to consider a decision for a moment, torn between apprehension and desperation, before settling into stern determination.
Frail, worn hands dove into the flowing pool, paddling towards the stone-faced wall surrounding the city. Moss dripped out of every woven crevice and crack in the frame, which outlined the colored brick and black-pipe fixtures of the alpine town. Reaching green vines spilled over each balcony, falling towards the reflective loch, but only ever grazing the surface. Not a single wrinkle could be found on the awnings below, as the canvas fabric curved with the metal skeleton beneath, stretching the hefty fabric taught. A plethora of colors echoed throughout the cityscape, from the building faces to the orange slate roofs, to the spring-blossomed flora that creeped towards the sun, intertwining and reaching upwards as it felt the warmth douse the petals and leaves. It was slow-going, the boat being stalled by the occasional collection of waves brought on by a passing speed boat, hands being shaken out as form of movement for when they cramped up and protested to the tedious and strenuous task. Yet, soon the steady paddle of those hands led him into the inner river of the city, between the rows of candy-colored houses and shop windows. A bridge edged closer to him, an interruption in the twisting line of travel found within the city, river snaking along through carved man-made pathways.
He balanced on the edge of the boat, grasping for the ledge of the bridge, hoisting himself upwards as his legs swung over the railing, landing heavily onto the cobblestone sidewalk. His body crumpled before he caught himself on the black pipe structure of the railing, using it as a temporary crunch while his legs adjusted to the prospect of movement. He dragged himself to his feet, stepping forward apprehensively, once, twice, and then a third time. His limbs seemed to be dragging as his palm left the comfort of the sun-warmed metal pipe, each step echoing throughout the town as the dirt-encrusted soles and toes slapped against the stone. And soon a muffled chatter flew throughout the streets, growing in volume as the residents poked their heads out of each closed door, some off to work, dashing along the sidestreets, briefcase firmly trapped in their grip. Yet others took their leisurely time, setting out their wears or opening their shops in a way which could only be described as entirely natural, a underlying rhythm of habit thumping along as they worked.
As the boy stumbled along he was offered a piece of bread and some wine, which his stomach urged him to take. After he had finished drowning each bite in a flowing chug of wine, he gazed abashedly downwards at the little graying woman who had gifted these treasures unto him. Her apron was dusted in the flour, almost resembling plaster dust or snow, and her shirt sat upon her tightly buttoned waistband, hem tucked out of sight as the excess fabric bellowed outwardly a tad. Wrinkles graced each eye, almost as if they were sweeps of an eager artist’s brush, leading towards her hairline, but fading out before ever reaching the edge of the face. But otherwise, she seemed without age, cheeks brushed with a fuschia haze as her smile glowed up at him. Her hair was down, silver sweeping from side to side, reaching the waistband of her skirt, sitting atop the aged light blue fabric. He whispered a brief “thank you,” which he could not be certain that she understood, and scurried away.
The sky loomed closer with each hop of the foot. Each bound knocked a mouthful of air out of his lungs, and he smiled as the racing wind brushed his eyes, drying them for a split second, water urging to fall from the blonde eyelashes, which fluttered the tears away as he continued to sprint upwards toward the very peak of the grassy slope. And with a final puff of breath, gasped out as triumphant cry of victory, he allowed himself to topple downwards, twisting as his back hit the ground, blue eyes reflecting the sky above, clouds dancing from left to right. He tilted his head sideways, grass brushing against his cheek as he looked downwards towards the winding little town, fondness bubbling upwards in his chest at the thought of that dear old woman. His gaze shifted back upwards, and fingers found the ground beneath him, fiddling with each strand of lush greenery, tugging and twisting it with his fingers until the tops of each handful shot off into his hand, where he shook them off, and grasped for a new, fresh set of sod.
As the wind chilled his nose, and his toes curled into the soil, he relaxed and laid into the turf. His heart thumped along drowsily, and a sigh flowed out of his lips. Whispering to no one in particular, he hummed out, “Það er heimskulegt að vera heima hjá þér,” and his lips turned upwards, stretching outwards, sunlight bouncing off of the dull white of his teeth as he chuckled to himself. A low rumble from deep within his chest, torso shuttering with the sensation. For he knew that this was where he was meant to be.
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