Ashes fell like rain, only softer, kinder, gentle as they floated from the silver sky, and settling on the ground so effortlessly. Perhaps it wasn't like rain at all.
The air was warm and thick, itching to be touched by the soft, mundane skin. And so it blew, searching for its desire with very little urgency, knowing how easy it would be fulfilled.
He sat beneath a weeping willow tree, that had no business being where it was. Nonetheless, it stood tall and proud, it's lowest branches and leaves sweeping the ground. Yet, it strangely has remained unaffected by the ash and smoke. In the twenty years of its existence, nothing's harmed nor touched the tree besides a person's back as they rest against it. Yes, it seemed an invisible force protected this weeping willow.
But that did not mean the person was unaffected. No, as Diego leaned against the tree with his eyes closed, the smallest gust of wind tickled him, warm and taunting.
"Let's head home," Diego sighed, eyes fluttering open. Immediately, the air stung them, and small tears formed in the corner of his eyes. "Before it gets any worse."
"I still haven't found them!" A voice groaned.
Turning his head, Diego squinted as he tried to find who spoke. Suddenly, Emilia dropped down from the branches, the smallest bits of leaves and twigs sticking out her hair. Her sun-kissed skin was flushed in the cheeks and her dark brown eyes were wide in question.
"Shouldn't have lost them." Rolling his eyes, Diego jumped up, dusting off his pants. His sweat seemed to mix in with the air, causing Diego to smell of a volcano himself. He stiffened. "Where's Rosa?"
The question was heavier than the air, seeming to linger far longer than Diego anticipated, and almost shattering on the ground before his gaze returned to Emilia.
He raised his brow.
"I thought you were watching her." The words came out barely above a whisper, laced with worry.
Emilia's nerves buzzed. Diego's fingers twitched. The air grew thicker. Ash fell harder. Rosa ran farther.
Yes, Rosa ran farther. While Diego was sleeping and Emilia climbed the willow toward her tree nook, Rosa finally made up her mind. She would finally run away.
It's not like her mother would worry, for she's too preoccupied with her lifeless body in the ground. Her father wouldn't notice, he was always too drunk to comprehend a reality outside his imagination. As for her brother, Diego, he would understand. Or have to try.
And Rosa always believed Emilia never liked her much anyway. Out of all of Diego's lovers, Rosa liked Emilia the least.
Perhaps the village would claim to have banished her for some exaggerated reason, as they had done with the few others who had fled. Yes, because lying was far better than the truth: no one wanted to stay there.
But with the island, there were only two places to go if you weren't in the village: to the water or volcano. And since it was Diego's task to manage the latter, Rosa decided to take her chances with the former. Besides, she didn't have any sacrifices to burn anyway. Nor did she believe any gods would listen to her pleas.
Dropping the bag of coins in the boat, Rosa coughed into her sleeve, as though it would take out the ashes and smoke from her lungs. But no, they've grown lazy and far too attached to leave.
Shouts sounded in the distance. The smallest bit of guilt and longing appeared in Rosa's mind, but she was quick to push it away.
"This place was never home." She told the island, pushing the boat further into the water, silently praying any deity that was listening. Though she knew, none were. "May the volcano be kind to my brother. And may Emilia rot in the bottom of it one day."
Word Count: 650
Finished: 7/15/2020 Been baking banana bread all day (made it to 6 loaves!) and typed this piece on my notes in between loaves and batter. So yeah, I know that if I continue and/or extended this piece, to explain more about Diego and the volcano, however, in this alone it's still supposed to be a mystery. Anyway, feedback appreciated!!