[Story in booklet]

He watched the heavy sea stretch to the edge of the earth without fail. Its ever-present body was frightening, yet its freedom beautiful. Above the horizon, nothing remained but a moon and sky stained by smoke. Beneath it, abandoned ships rocked back and forth, half sunken and eaten by decay. For endless miles of empty waters, waves swayed in unison as if they were mourning. The earth knew and the boy did, too.

It was the beginning of a merciless winter and the end was nowhere in sight. A young boy, having lost track of time, hurried through the woods towards an empty patch by the river. With every step he grew uneasy as he could not see her small figure waiting there. Out of breath, he dropped to his knees and prayed in fear.

The sky had cast a dreary blanket upon the earth, draping over every last creature. A stench of smoke clouds and distant eruptions confined people in their homes. Their world was now a ghost town where the sound of children’s laughter was drowned by hunger cries. Even the village dogs had gone mad and roamed the streets aimlessly. What was once a simple life was now a battle to survive each passing day. Perhaps, the earth was preparing to cleanse, for it was the end of time, a rebirth of time.

A pair of small hands covered his eyes and he turned to find a young girl with soot streaked across her face. He embraced her closely as his panic melted, and unable to let go for a single moment they warmed each other until night fell. They inhaled the air around them, ripe with the scent of burnt pine and evening frost, a familiar smell of the place they once called home. Their families had perished, and all that was left for them was a will to stay together. Day by day, they watched themselves surrender to the inevitable fate of the earth.

There it stood in the back of a deserted shed. The boy had found it leaning in a pot as if it was waiting for him, young, green, and alive. That morning he had awoken with a mission. It was time to offer a gift to their woods, something that could grow, something that would survive. Upon searching a row of farms, he had caught a glimpse of the young tree left alone to wither. The edges of the leaves had faded into brown, the dirt was dry, but it was alive nonetheless.

Pleased with himself, he could not help but laugh aloud while carrying his new treasure. But as he ran to meet her, he heard heavier footsteps trailing behind him. Before he could glance, a heavy figure thrust him to the ground, sending the tree flying ahead. Having seen him rummage through his shed, a man began to kick the boy as if he was nothing but a stump in the ground. The boy heard himself cry out, but as his own voice faded away, he could only hear the sound of his flesh against the man’s fists and feet. For a moment, he ignored the man’s brute strength and watched him stare straight ahead blankly. They look in his eyes was emptier than the village they stood in.

Alone at last after what seemed like hours, the boy awoke in agony. But surrounded by pieces of the shattered pot, the tree remained unharmed, now with its healthy roots bare. Strengthened by the sight of it, he ignored the pain in his body and stood up.

When the girl saw him limping towards her in the woods, she took him into her arms and cleaned him with her torn white clothes without questioning what had happened. Cupping his face, she wept for him as he tried to hide his wounds in shame. They sat in silence together, listening to the wind passing overhead and imaging its destination to be a better place that where they remained.

He brought forth the tree and placed it between. Her pale face appeared fragile, yet hopeful somehow. It had not changed in the years he had known her. When his eyes closed, she still appeared before him.

“This tree is stronger than us now. When we are no longer on this earth, it will continue to grow.
We can leave our memory with this tree,” he spoke.

“Someday, the earth will be beautiful again?” she asked, arranging a dry leaf into his hair.

“Yes. We will find each other here then,” he said.

That evening they planted the tree into the earth and entrusted it with a part of their memory and vow. They collected white stones from the river and placed a visible ring in the ground around the tree, leaving room for the trunk to grow. Together they said a prayer to the sky, asking for the tree to survive the cruel winter and he guarded safely until they could return someday.

As they prayed on their knees, snow fell like tears onto the ground-the first snow of winter.

Two frail bodies teetered along the highest cliff by the sea that night. Three steps from the edge, she wondered what waited on the other side of the black waters. Two steps away, he studied her face, vowing to remember. On their last step, their eyes locked, a silent reminder of their promise. Leaving behind any fears, hand in hand they jumped, a leap of faith into the cold unwelcome waves below.


Lyrics submitted by Octavarium64

Burial At Sea song meanings
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