on the shore of our dreams

hi friends, I haven’t updated this blog in a while because I’ve been so busy with school and life, but I never stopped writing! Here’s one of my pieces that I wrote this year but I never published. I didn’t get chosen for the anthology LOL but I’m proud that I actually finished this one 🙂

This is actually one of my favorite pieces that I’ve written this year, I’ve been leaning more towards the fluffy, soft, romance contemporary stories instead of dark fantasy with gore and blood that I’m so used to writing LOL.

Here you go. It’s a Snow White x When Marnie Was There x Hotarubi No Mori E type of story.

I. 

Once upon a time, there was a foolish girl who had too much of an open heart that bit an apple, and fell into a deep sleep. 

But that story’s been done and over with. We all know how it played out for her. We all know that you shouldn’t be too trusting and that you shouldn’t leave your heart in such a vulnerable place. Bottom line is, she fell asleep and woke up with a kiss. 

That’s not this story. Let’s skip forward the seven dwarfs and the careless running in the woods and the old lady that dressed way too suspiciously from the start. This story is similar to Snow White, but not exactly the same. 

First of all, this story was about a boy. A boy who, like Snow White was too trusting and full of love. Having a big heart could get you to a lot of places, but it could also lead to a winding well of disaster. For this boy, he fell into a deep sleep after biting into what he thought was his favorite fruit tarts of all time. After living in a world where all he did was give, give, and give, the forgotten prince in this narrative, fell asleep and finally received. 

This boy was named Jamie. And Jamie was stuck inside his dreams. 

Every day Jamie woke up on a marvelous beach with glistening blue teal waters that sparkled in the sun. Mountains of green palm trees surrounded him and cicadas buzzed in his ears whenever he opened his eyes in the small cottage that overlooked the sea on a cliff right before it. He didn’t know how he ended up there, or how long he’d exactly been on that beach, all he knew was that he felt serenity and peace waking up in the sun everyday. For some reason, he felt like he was… right where he was meant to be. 

Reaching down, Jamie took a handful of white sand and felt it fall in between his fingers as he looked out at the beautiful blue sea in front of him. It looked like it went on forever. A vast blanket of blue crystals slowly drifting back and forth. It made it look like the ocean was dancing. He pressed his hand to his chest and felt his heart beat evenly underneath his skin. Jamie closed his eyes and took a deep breath, taking in everything, the soft wind blowing in between strands of his hair. The sand beneath his feet. The pushing of the tides that sounded like music in his ears and the chimes from his home that fluttered in the wind. Everything he heard was like a soft melody playing in his ears. When he closed his eyes and took in it all, all he could think was… happiness. He was so happy here. It was all so calm. So serene. What more could he ask for?  

He opened his eyes, and just as he thought, a purple streak of light flared across the sky, reaching the end of the sea. He tilted his head to the side, taking it in. 

Then, he heard it.

The voice. 

“Jaem, Jaem, Jamie,” the twilight voice sang through the wind. “Jamie, are you all right?” 

Jamie squinted his eyes, trying his best to find the source of the voice that whispered his name every day when the purple streak of light shot across the sky. But he couldn’t see anyone. No one except that streak of light in the distance that reached as far as the stars.

It’s always been there as long as he could remember. That voice across the sea. That certain… purple light that looked so close to touch with his fingertips and was yet so far away, 

When the wind blew, Jamie could hear the wind chimes sing their pretty song, and the flutter of the grasses danced in his ears. But he heard something else. A voice– more exactly. A light, airy voice, that reminded him of fairies spinning on top of tulips. 

“Jaem,” the voice whispered again as he reached out for that streak of purple in the clouds. “Jaem, I’m coming. Hold on a bit longer. All you have to do is wake up for me, please.” 

“Jaem, Jaem, Jamie,” he muttered underneath his breath. Only that voice would call him that. Call him that nickname that was so endearing to him that it nearly tore at his skin. Sometimes she talked to him as if she was trying to have an actual conversation with him. And sometimes she’d laugh as if they shared secrets against the world. Her laughter was like piercing shards of glass to his heart, but piercing shards that he welcomed because it was a reminder that there was… something out there. Someone, more specifically outside this paradise. They were just hard to reach. 

“I’m coming,” the voice whispered. “I’m getting you out of there.” 

Jamie tilted his head to the side. Every single day, when the purple streak of light shot across the sky and the wind chimes fluttered a different melody in the breeze, the voice would always say that. They would always say, “I’m coming. I’m getting you out of there.” 

It always puzzled him whenever they would say that, because it never made any sense to him. Who would try and take him out of this paradise? Out of this lovely place? Where else would he find seas so blue? And a sky so wide? 

One night, when the mist was too heavy to see the purple light in the distance, Jamie stood on the shores of the beach feeling as he usually did. Serene, tranquility, peace. His heart beat evenly underneath his chest like a metronome clock. Even though it was dark, and Jamie could barely see the outline of the moon beyond the clouds, he still felt as if it was sunny out and the sun was shining. He loved it here, he really did. 

“Jaem,” the wind whispered. “Jaem, Jamie, wake up. I’m here.” 

Ears perking, Jamie looked around. There was that voice again. That girl’s voice. The one he hears in his sleep and the first thing he hears when he’s awake. She was back. But where?

“Where are you?” He asked to nothing but the ocean before him. He squinted through the mist, looking for the source of the voice just as a flare of colors shoots across the sky. It was a whole kaleidoscope before him. The sky turned into a mixture of a whole palette. Blue, purple, orange, green. His heart lifted. 

“Jaem,” the voice said again. “I’m on my way.” 

Above him, the sky turned colors once again until he saw a flare of a purple silver lining peak behind the clouds. 

Don’t think too much about it, he thought at the back of his head. It’s probably nothing. 

In all his time spent on this beach, Jamie has never met another living soul. He’s never seen anyone at all. But that was just how he liked it. There was something comforting about being alone. The silence was like a warm blanket covering him. The soft breeze and the sound of the ocean calling in his ears was comfort alone. It was all he could’ve ever wanted. 

Right? 

He reached down once again and picked up one of the pebbles that was beneath his feet. It was probably the wind. Probably his own mind playing tricks on him. The voice was nothing.

The wind blew in between strands of his hair once again, and he swore it sounded like laughter in his ears. Mixing in with the wind chimes behind him and the flutter of grass and leaves all around. 

“Jamie, Jamie, Jamie.” 

He took the pebble in between his hands and blew on it. A habit he always did for some reason. After he closed his eyes, he made a wish and threw it out to sea.

It skipped about three times before falling into the waters. He watched as it sank all the way down, down, down. 

“Jamie, Jamie, Jamie.” 

II. 

The next day, Jamie did what he always did. 

He woke up in his cottage, watered the plants lingering by his window sill. Washed his face and stretched for the day, then he headed out towards the beach.

He picked up coconuts that fell from palm trees that towered his home and picked up mint leaves from his garden to begin making food. He put a damp towel over tofu and drained it out of all the water before chopping up the mint leaves and red peppers before adding them in a stone bowl and mixing it all together. Once it was all finished, he sat down on his porch and ate it all while looking out to the sea. He took a sip out of the coconut he found that morning and released a sigh. He was eating decadent, delicious food in front of a beautiful view. How sweet. 

How very sweet. 

Sweet like Sarai. 

Jamie blinked. Sarai.

Where did that name come from? 

He turned his gaze to the ocean, and as if on cue, the wind chimes above him fluttered and that purple streak of light shot across the sky like a shooting star. Jamie’s eyes squinted at it and once again, he heard the voice. 

Her voice. 

“Jaem, Jaem, Jaem,” she said today. “Are you well? How are you? I miss you so much.” 

“I miss you too,” he said without thinking. “My lovely Sarai.” 

Puzzled, Jamie stood up and walked across the beach. His feet felt warm underneath the sand and he stared out in the ocean. My lovely Sarai. 

If Jamie focused enough, he could almost… see a face in the distance. A distinct face. Full brown eyes that sparkled and dark hair that fell around her shoulders. A little… fang? For a tooth. Just one tooth though, the other one was completely normal. His heart clenched the more he stared. Where had he seen her before? 

Jamie closed his eyes. 

There was no one else on the island besides me, he reminded himself. It is just me. You’re alone and that’s all right. That’s fine.

When Jamie opened his eyes, her face was gone. 

Later that night, Jamie decided to take a walk on the beach. It was a clear night sky, with not a cloud in sight. The leaves of the palm trees danced as the wind blew in between them. He could hear the wind blow in between crab holes and bamboo that lingered all around. It sounded like a beautiful song in Jamie’s eyes. 

He stopped at his usual spot on the sand, and his gaze traveled toward the sea. The wind chimes blew in the breeze and sang a little tune, then before he knew it, a mist covered the ocean. It was as if a thick blanket of despair surrounded Jamie and he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand straight up. His heart began doing flips. In his paradise, he had never felt this feeling before. Never felt… unsure but… safe at the same time. He didn’t even know how to describe it. He was panicking, but he was also calm. Now, this– this was different. 

There was nothing but dark blue water before him and the bright, bright moon. Jamie leaned forward, and he could hear the waves pushing and pulling against the tide more and more violently by the minute. 

Then, Jamie saw something move in the mist. A shadow of some sort, drifting among the waters like lilies on a pond. The mist soon cleared away and Jamie soon realized that coming toward him was a long boat with a pointy tip of some sort. And rowing it, was a girl. 

The boat came to a stop right before him and Jamie saw a girl with long dark hair and bright, bright eyes. She smiled once she saw him, a sort of relief fell from her shoulders as she exhaled greatly. “Jaem,” she said. Her voice sounded as he had heard it before. Light and airy, like she was about to sing a song. “Jamie, I found you.” 

Jamie didn’t even know where to begin. He didn’t know how, or where they’d met before, but he felt it deep in his heart that he knew her. 

He did. He was so sure he did. 

“Sarai,” he whispered. His heart strings tugged once he uttered her name. He didn’t know how he knew her name, but he felt it deep inside of him that it’s been there for as long as he has been awake on this beach. The word automatically translated into his head. Sarai. Princess.  “What are you doing here?” 

Sarai merely tilted her head to the side and smiled. “I came to visit you, silly. Now come on, let’s go for a ride.” 

He looked back at the beach behind him. At the rising cliffs behind him and the tropical trees and flowers all around. It wouldn’t hurt to leave just for a little bit? Leave the place he called home just for a small ride? 

Silently, Jamie got in the boat and then Sarai began paddling away.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

Sarai was looking back as she rowed, though Jamie was sure she had never been to his beach before, she looked certain on where she was taking them. “Around,” she replied. “Trust me.” 

And for some reason, he did. 

She rowed them out around the beach, towards cliffs and large pieces of rocks and grass that reached as high as the cloud. Even though it was dark out, the water was green and glistening like crystals underneath them. Jamie was at a loss for words. He didn’t realize how beautiful the ocean was beyond his shore. 

Sarai stopped rowing when they were right in front of the moon. Jamie looked around, his bamboo built home was so far away that it should’ve pained him but it… didn’t.

“Jaem,” Sarai said finally. He looked at her then, and she was observing him like he was the stars above themself. “Do you ever get lonely?”
He didn’t know how to respond. “What?” 

“You’re always by yourself,” she said like it was an answer enough. “Don’t you ever want more?” 

He blinked. Jamie never really thought about it like that before. He was so comfortable with himself and the quiet that he didn’t think there was any room for more. 

Suddenly, Sarai reached for his wrists and her eyes became as bright as the moon. “The world is fascinating, Jaem. There’s so much color and people. So much light.” 

“But I’m comfortable here,” Jamie replied. “I’m happy.”

She released him and took a hold of the paddles once again before sighing. “You only like it here because you’re comfortable. Once you’re not comfortable and you’re ready to leave, you’ll like it out there way more.” 

“I can like being uncomfortable?” 

Sarai shrugged. “Experiencing new things can be scary, but being uncomfortable is the first step to being sure.” 

“Sure of what?” 

“Sure of yourself,” she said. Her head tilted to the side, and Jamie finally took in her appearance. Soft tanned skin, full lips that were peachy and pink, her eyes sparkled every time she spoke. “I was always pushing you to do things, and even though you were timid at first, you gradually began to like new things.”

“What kind of new things?” Jamie asked. He wanted to know more. He wasn’t sure what she was talking about, but this “experiencing new things” concept sounded intriguing.

“Likeee…” Sarai glanced elsewhere. “Trying all the food in the world. The sweet food like mango sticky rice or the spicy food like kaeng phet gai.” She shook her head. “You probably forgot, but every year at the Loy Krathong festival we would spray each other with flower water and get blessed together.” 

Jamie didn’t notice, but beneath her feet was a bucket of flowers. He didn’t know what kind of flowers they were, but they were definitely pretty. In colors of pink, lilac and purple. She picked them up one by one before putting them on the water around them and together they watched them float away. 

“The water spirit is always with us,” she said. “When we put the flowers in the water and hold hands, it connects us to her. It connects us to the energy she has in the water and in the world.” Her eyes met Jamie’s. “Isn’t that lovely?”
It did sound lovely, Jamie thought. He didn’t think about spirits being around them, or him, more exactly. He’d always been by himself. Maybe there were spirits in all of nature. The kind that brought up the sun for a new day or the kind that watered the beach when it was too hot. 

Sarai reached for his wrist and tugged on it. “You’re still wearing it,” she said.

Jamie looked down and saw that there were strings attached to him. Delicate orange and white strings. 

Sarai’s fingers lingered over to his own until she held them up. “We’re blessed together, Jamie, remember?” she whispered. “The spirits are always with us, making us known, helping us feel safe. That’s what the festival is for.” 

He didn’t know exactly what she was talking about, so he asked. “What happens at this festival?”

Sarai smiled. “Anything can happen at Loy Krathong. We make a wish and float our baskets in the water to thank the spirit and she blesses us with happiness. There’s food, music, and light. You’d like it. You’d really like it.” 

She kept talking about this magical festival of light for so long that Jamie didn’t even realize that she was rowing them back to shore until the tip of the boat hit the sand. She even got out and started dancing delicately on the beach with her hands pointed and moving ever so slowly. It looked like a type of ballet but with her hands making the story instead of her whole body and she was laughing the whole night that it made Jamie’s heart lift in a kind of feeling that the beach had never given him before. 

Behind them, the wind chimes fluttered and Sarai looked back. “Oh,” she said in a thin voice. “It’s time to go.” 

Jamie watched her get in the boat and settle her hands on the paddle. “Do you want to come with me?” she asked.

He looked back at his home and that same serene feeling of comfort settled back into his system that he had whenever he was back there. His mouth opened, but no words came out.

“It’s all right,” Sarai said as she began to go back out to sea. “I won’t take you to leave if you’re not ready. I’ll come back to visit you, okay?” 

She became tinier and tinier the further she rowed out and Jamie felt a small pang hit his chest once he couldn’t see her anymore. “Okay,” he whispered. “Come back soon.” 

III. 

That night, Jamie dreamt of the festival that Sarai told him about. He dreamt of the colorful lanterns swaying about, the light bamboo music in the way and the colorful, colorful clothes. Beautiful long skirts with silver detailing, small crowns upon people’s heads, laughter and light all around. 

It was almost as if he could hear it all. The laughter of everyone. The cries of children as they ran by, a person’s voice singing, the cries of people calling to come eat. Everything that Sarai told him about. 

It sounded a little… too loud to be in his dreams. Jamie felt as if he could actually feel his skull vibrating from all the noise.

When he opened his eyes, he saw light coming from outside his home. 

He actually heard what was in his dreams. The laughter, the screaming, the music. And the smell. Cooked coconut and fresh banana leaves. Was this real life? 

Curiosity got the best of Jamie, he walked out to the beach and what he saw was almost like a dream itself. 

All of a sudden there was a flourish of people all around in the clothes he saw. There were lanterns of every color strewn across straw-roofed buildings that he did not see in days before and music all around. There was so much… people too. People in all types of colorful outfits. He walked past people in weird looking masks too, it made him wonder if they were supposed to be the spirits he’s heard so much about. 

“Jamie!” called a voice behind him.

Jamie turned, and there rushing towards him across the sand was Sarai. His breath almost got taken away once he laid eyes on her. Her hair was up in a beautiful bun, there was a small gold like crown placed on top and she wore the same long skirt the other women were wearing, the only difference was that her skirt was pink with gold lining. She wore a long matching pink sash that was strewn across her toros, exposing her shoulders and long arms. She looked exactly like her name. 

A princess.

“What’s going on?” Jamie asked once she reached him. “Where did this all come from?” 

Sarai merely smiled up at him. “You said that you wanted to experience the festival, so it came to you.” In her hands was a small flower crown of some sort. With a brilliant smile, she reached up and placed it on top of his head. “There. Now we can be uncomfortable.” 

Jamie’s chest was feeling all sorts of tingly and fluttery as Sarai took a hold of his hand and began dragging him through the crowd of people. It was exactly what he imagined a festival to look like. Sprays of water were thrown in the air as kids screamed their blessings. He saw many people with the same orange and white strings that were bound to his and Sarai’s wrist. He looked at all of them in wonder. Sarai said that the spirits were supposed to connect them all together to the world. He didn’t understand what it meant at first, but now as he watched everyone laugh and smile with the same strings attached to their skins, wearing the same ridiculous masks, he couldn’t help but think about how right she was. 

He saw a lot of the baskets that Sarai had been describing. They passed by a variety of people holding colorful baskets that were filled with various flowers, leaves, and candles. He spied a girl with a boy as they went down to the beach with the candle wick lit up. They held the basket together and closed their eyes for a brief second before placing it down in the water and watching it float away. Jamie wondered if they made a wish and if they were happy with it. 

All throughout that night, Jamie and Sarai hung out, ate delicious food that melted on Jamie’s tongue and laughed the night away. There was a tree full of letters and colorful strings tied to the branches that they stopped by, and Sarai took one of the strings that was attached to his wrist and tied it up to the tree before smiling up at him. “It’s a gift for the spirits,” she said. “And also a gift for bringing us together again.” 

My lovely Sarai, he wanted to say when he looked at her. Though Jamie had only met her once before, he couldn’t help but feel the connection that drew him to her. Thank the spirits, he wanted to say as well. Thank the spirits for bringing her to me.

They laughed underneath the colorful tree as the strings all around danced about in the wind. It made them look like they were in a hurricane that was made out of a kaleidoscope. A beautiful, beautiful kaleidoscope of color. 

Jamie did things he never thought of doing before. He did things he thought he would never do alone. Like walking across the beach with someone by his side, eating food that someone else made or dancing on cool warm sand with someone that made his heart flutter. He was so comfortable with her for some reason. They laughed, and laughed and laughed and made jokes. Jamie made jokes that he didn’t even know he could make. 

Towards the end of the night, Sarai dragged him to a small little booth. All of a sudden, there was a scurry of people in the masks he saw before. A man was wearing a green dragon mask that looked as angry as ever. The next woman was wearing a lovely blue mask that had elegant features. They both had horns pointing down from their teeth, but for some reason it didn’t make them look intimidating. It made them look powerful. The two of them were guardians of some sort. The woman was dancing delicately like Sarai did the other night. Moving her hands in slow, rotating motions, as if she was mimicking the ocean itself, and the man was moving very grounded and down to earth. It came to Jamie’s realization that they seemed to be defending something. Protecting the earth as it looked like. 

Jamie looked at Sarai and saw that her eyes were as bright as the lights all around him. She looked like she was having the time of her life, and Jamie was having fun too. The most fun he’s actually had in such a long time. Her arm was around his, and she seemed happy just being beside him. It was as if just being beside him was enough. 

It was then that Jamie realized that there is comfort in being alone, but there was also comfort in being underneath the same moon as someone that made your heart smile. 

Jamie leaned down towards her. “I think I’m ready to make my wish.” 

Sarai smiled and took his hand in hers. He stopped by to pick up one of those masks that the performers wore and put it on. It was a mask in the spirit that had a white cat-like face. He should make most of the night, right? He should try to bless the spirits for this beautiful night out. 

Sarai led him back to the shore of the beach, the moon was still brilliant in the night sky, shining its ghostly yet beautiful light upon the dark waters. She held one of those flower baskets he saw and picked up one of the incense sticks that were lit up with the other baskets before handing it to him. 

She watched him as he lit the tip of the candle and together they bent down and placed it on the water. Before Jamie could let it float away, Sarai reached ahead and began tying one of those orange strings around his wrist. “Thank you water goddess for this beautiful night,” she whispered and met eyes with him. In the dim lighting, her eyes didn’t look brown but instead a marvelous blue. The kind of blue that changed shades every few seconds. “May you always be happy, Jaem,” she said in a low voice. “Whether you’re in your dreams or when you’re with me.” 

His heart tinged at the sound of her words. There was hurt in her voice but also a slight happiness. Happiness that he hoped he was a part of. “Let’s make our blessings,” he said. 

Together, they leaned down and pushed off the lantern into the water, watching as it joined the other beautiful baskets. They looked like flowers in the water. Flowers from the earth connecting to the water around the world. Jamie understood what Sarai meant that everything connected everyone together, because it did. 

“Did you make your wish?” Sarai asked. 

He nodded. He wasn’t going to tell Sarai what he wished for, and he could tell that she wasn’t going to press him about it and that was fine. Because he thought that she already knew. Because she was making his wish come true right now. 

Sarai led him back towards the boat that she came from and he helped her on it before getting on it himself. Her eyes were as bright as the stars as she looked back at him with her hands on the rowing paddles. “Are you sure you’re ready to leave?” 

Jamie nodded. “I’m sure.” 

With one last look back to his paradise, Sarai took a deep breath and started rowing out to sea. 

They got far enough to see the bright array of the island with all of the lanterns illuminating from the shore. They were surrounded by all of the baskets that floated out to sea and Jamie felt his heart melt underneath his skin. His paradise was long gone behind him, but he still felt the same serenity and peace he felt when he was there, merely because he was all right with himself alone and with Sarai. 

“It’s beautiful, Jamie,” Sarai said in a low breath. “It makes sense why you wouldn’t want to leave.” 

Jamie’s lips thinned out. The island was beautiful, but there were more beautiful things in life to look at. He took off his mask, and set it down beneath their feet. 

Then, when Sarai was finished with looking at the island, Jamie leaned over and kissed her. 

The moment he opened his eyes, he was laying down in a bed in a room he did not recognize. White walls surrounded him, and bright, bright lights blared from above. He smelled something sweet and chemical at the same time. Distantly, he heard the chatter of other humans, and the small noise of something beeping. 

There was a face hovering in front of him. A girl with long black hair and eyes that were gray. 

Sarai.

“Jamie,” she breathed out. “You’re back.” 

Her hand was just inches away from his, and her fingers twitched ever so slightly as if she was debating whether or not to take a hold of him.

Jamie reached for her hand and squeezed it. “I’m awake.” 

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