The jade waves crash on the shore in a rhythmic pattern. The sand castles made the first few days of arriving here are long gone, smoothed out by time along with weeks and months worth of footprints. The only place that footprints stay anymore are the morning walks around the farms, where the drizzle that settles over everything overnight chills a lonely boy’s feet.
“I wonder where he’s gone,” Ashton murmurs to himself while caring for a tomato plant. Beside the tiny house that he has been living in for a year and a half is a five-story-tall building the same size. Composed of glass and steel, it allows for plants to get sunlight without exposing them to pests- not that there are much residing here anymore.
The tomato plant has a few buds on it, tiny little tomatoes not yet ready for picking. The tree standing strong in the middle of the swooping staircase circling the walls of the building would be past due for apples if it were anything but constant summer here.
Constant summer, Ashton deduced a long time ago, would be the death of him. The monotony of island living wasn’t for him, but it wasn’t like he could just pop out swooping black wings like his friend Calum did and take off.
Calum was always searching for something, anyways. A ghost of a girl whom he liked but banished them to this island for their safety. A hope that it was actually for their safety instead of being swept under the rug, an embarrassing blister on a promising future.
Ashton brushes his hand against the fuzzy side of a leaf whose plant has been particularly fussy recently. The high humidity this time of year hasn’t been helping either it or him; he’s already broken a sweat after being out of bed for only half an hour.
“Maybe he’s finally happy,” Ashton ponders, moving on to the next plant. Grape vines rest among the racks he set up within the first week, one last step that the girl forgot to finish before whisking the two boys off to here. “Maybe he’s found Emma? Or has she moved on and along and he’s wandering lost somewhere? Maybe- he’s dead-”
Ashton’s trembling hands grip the guard rail beside him, and he lowers himself to the ground until the panic attack passes. Maybe that’s another reason why Calum left him- moving to an secluded island with no other landmasses in sight has reduced him to an anxious sobbing mess in the corner who self-isolates in the farm.
Somewhere behind him, a bundle of chestnuts rattle in the breeze that the breathing glass lets in. Chestnuts the same shade as Calum’s eyes, but without the emotional immaturity and the pain that drove him to take off in the middle of the night with only a crumpled note left on a desk.
Chestnuts would never abandon Ashton. The insect farm might, however.