The Silver Compass
By: Sean Roberts

Author's Note: Any feedback sent to is very much appreciated.

The Beach

            “Mike is that you?”

            “Matt is that you?” he mimicked.

            “You went drinking without me?”

            “Yep.”  Michael found the light switch and illuminated the room, causing Matthew to turn over to shield his eyes.

            “You left the lights on,” he groaned.

            “Yeah,” said Michael dreamily.

            “How much did you drink?”  The covers flew off the bed onto the floor as Matthew climbed out of bed.  “You know you can’t handle that much.”  The lights clicked off and Michael remembered the click of the seatbelt on the plane.


            “What for?”

            “The lights.”


            Fresh pineapples, mangoes, cantaloupes, melons and passion fruit lay sweating on sparkling white dishes at the breakfast buffet.  The sun struck the fruit at odd angles, making the pieces glisten.  Michael had never seen anything like it.  He coloured his white plate with his favourite pink fruit.  In his glass he mixed some pineapple and melon juice and found a seat.  He stirred it with his spoon and took a sip.  He indulged in the fruit, hoping it would suppress the feeling swimming around in his stomach.  The headache he had that morning was starting to get better.  He was becoming anxious about seeing Cameron.


            The beach looked very different during the daytime.  A small boy was building a sand castle; his younger sister trying to build her own close by.  She tipped over her red pail and pulled it upwards.  She had not used enough water.  The sand collapsed onto the floor and she looked disappointed.  Her brother handed her his bucket.  She tipped it over again.  She lifted the bucket slowly, an expectant look on her face.  Her brother was watching.  They both smiled.

Michael began walking along the beach, looking for his parents or his brother and hoping to find Cameron.  He found himself heading towards the shoreline to walk.  The dry sand was beginning to get hot.  He began staring at the ground, watching the faint footprints he was making in the sand.  Someone behind him loudly said good morning.  He spun around because of the familiarity of the voice.

            The sun shone directly in his eyes so he couldn’t see Cameron’s face.  But he was able to see long, slender arms that he began aching to hold.  And then he did not know what to say.  He reached forwards and lightly touched the skin above Cameron’s right elbow.

“Morning,” he said.  He found himself smiling as his eyes adjusted to the light.  Cameron had sunken, grey eyes and a slender face.  He had large lips, turned red by the sun, which were slightly parted as he too was thinking about what to say.

“Did you sleep well?” he asked.  Michael nodded.  He wanted to kiss him.  All night and all morning he had imagined that their seeing each other would result in an embrace and a kiss.  But they were both too nervous to allow such an event to take place.

            “Did you?”  A nod.  And then, suddenly, Cameron’s head swooped down and touched Michael’s lips.  Before Michael saw him do it Cameron’s head was back in the air, this skin of his neck clinging tightly to his Adam’s apple.  Michael suddenly wanted to kiss that too.


            “No.  Don’t be.  I wanted to do it as well.”

            “Good.  I’ve been killing myself wondering if it was just the alcohol that made you enjoy it last night.  I’m glad I bumped into you.  I wanted to get a massage this morning.  They do an amazing job here, and they’re cheaper than in Toronto.”

            “You live in Toronto?  I do as well.”

            There were two make shift beds covered in crisp, white linen.  A tent of the same colour provided shelter, underneath which, two young looking women were chatting on folding chairs wearing blue shorts, white shirts and blue ribbons.  One of them stood when the boys walked inside.

“Welcome,” she said, motioning with her hand to the beds.  Cameron nodded at her and walked up to one of the beds.  He pulled off his shirt while Michael stared.  Cameron’s flat body, now covered only by a pair of trunks, settled quickly on one of the beds.  Michael turned around and took off his own, hoping Cameron was not looking.

             Cameron was being massaged by the talkative one.  They began a conversation almost immediately.  Michael felt stress and feeling escape his back as he was being caressed.  He shut his eyes and his ears to everything except the periodic crashing of the waves and Cameron's Canadian accent mixing with the masseuses Spanish one.