Jack and Thomas sat back down in the middle of the small boat, letting their minds continue to drift in decreasing circles towards despair, while Tiny silently rowed them towards the island. Isabella sat with her eyes closed for a few minutes listening to the sounds around her and feeling the growing sense of dread coming from the two men.
“When I was a little girl, my mother – who taught me to be who I am – told me a story. I had had an argument with a boy from the town we lived in then. He had taken away my only doll, said I used it for black magic and threw it on a fire. I was so angry that I threw rocks at him and cried. My mom came when she heard me screaming at him, swept me up and carried me down to the beach. There she held me and told me that all things that are alive came from the sea. That the first people were born in the water but eventually, as all children must, they left their home to explore the wonders that could be found on land. But the sea continued to love her children, and she remained in their hearts. My mother told me the proof of this came with our tears, which are salty like the water of the sea. And that when we cry our true mother, the sea, comes to us and reminds us that no matter how far away we are, she is always there with us when we are sad, or when we are happy.”
The three men stared at Isabella who stared back at them with a gentle smile. Jack cleared his throat and sighed.
“That’s… that’s a very sweet idea Isabella but -”
But Isabella held up a hand.
“I am telling you this not because it will help you in any physical way, but I always remember this story when I lose something precious to me. It doesn’t help bring the thing back but I am comforted knowing that no matter where I am, I am connected to the love of the sea, and I hope that it might too comfort you two now as you have lost something precious, and to know that although you have lost your thing, you still have the love of the sea.”
Jack and Thomas looked and each other and a sad smile slipped across their faces. In a moment they remembered that they had escaped alive and had each other, and Tiny and Isabella.