My name is Busan.
Or it is not.
I don't have a name.
But people call me that way anyway. Or they call me "that girl on the island" or "Busan Kid" or "that one who is always hungry".
But usually just Busan.
Maybe it actually is my name. Or not. Either way, I couldn't tell. Because I don't remember my name.
How come I can't remember my own name, you may ask? I can't tell you, as I said, I don't remember. Anything. I don't remember who I am, how I got to this island, or anything.
You may say that I have to remember something. At least the moment where my memories start from. A starting point. The first memory.
And I tell you, I do.
I remember the cold.
Salty water everywhere. I remember the howling wind and the storm. Under the surface. Over the surface. Up and down. The feeling of terror.
Then, nothing. Just blackness. Darkness.
I remember the seaweed in my hair and the sand in my skin. Water again. This time, it just tickled my toes. Without trying to kill me.
Those are my first memories. I woke up on this island. I'm not sure how I ended up here.
You must think I probably felt completely lost and confused. And I did. It is scary to not remember anything.
I am a shopkeeper. I sell stuff the ocean brings to the shore. Nothing too fancy, lanterns, old clothes, but I sometimes even find abandoned boats. I wonder what happened to their owners? Or I know, but I don't like to think about it.
This lonely island is called Busan. Hence my nickname. Or name. Either way.
People often say it once wasn't an island. Before the Great Flood. But when they say that I usually tell them that I don't get it. What else could it have been than an island?
They usually answer: "Part of a continent." Or things like that. They say there used to be more land in the past.
I don't understand that either.
If there used to be more land, wouldn't that mean there were just bigger islands? Wasn't this thing they called a "continent" just a one, big island in the middle of the ocean? How was it different from an island? I don't get it.
On the other hand, there are a lot of things I don't get.
What people, you may ask? People, those who come to this island. Lonely travelers. Drifters on small boats. Or bigger sometimes. They occasionally stop here to buy food. But not often.
Except that one.
I don't know her name. Maybe she is like me and doesn’t have one. She is a drifter who doesn't talk much. Actually, at all. I have often wondered if she isn’t able to talk or if she just doesn’t want to. She comes here quite often, brings me something to eat. She is a fisher after all.
Like all drifters.
What else could you do on a boat floating in the middle of the ocean?
It's not a long time ago when we met for the first time. One day, she just showed up, with the message I had sent in a bottle. That message was for anyone to find, and she had happened to find it. I was near starvation at that time, and she saved me. By bringing me some fish to eat.
After that, she has often brought me fish. Nearly every time she comes, actually. She likes to buy the stuff I find, so I guess she comes for that reason, too.
Sometimes I ask her to bring me a specific fish. It gets boring to only eat the same stuff every day. I want to taste new things but traveling isn't my thing.
She always brings me what I ask.
Sometimes she returns with a crazily big fish. We like to call fish like that by the name "boss fish". Those are scary, I tell you. They look like they eat lonely drifters that make the mistake of exiting their boat and trying swimming. And they probably do.
And people ask me why I don't want to travel?
I like living here. Sometimes it might be a little dull, the life here. But I don't complain. Or I do a little bit, when I am so hungry I start getting hallucinations.
But that's just when I run out of food.
This place is peaceful. I think it is the most beautiful island in this ocean. Of course, I haven't seen other islands. But I like to think so.
I know there are other people like me on other islands. Although, unlike me, they have names. They know who they are. Or at least Hugo does. Hugo…
I miss Hugo.
He lives on an island called Lusaka. Or so he told me.
He once showed up here. He was here for a longer time. It was nice to talk with somebody who actually answers. He then left, returned to his home.
He taught me many things.
Like the origin of the singing.
What singing, you may ask? Be quiet then!
Do you hear it? The quiet singing. It comes from the ocean, from far, far away. On calm nights, I can hear it when I sit on the shore admiring the stars.
Hugo said there are mermaids in the ocean. Beautiful mermaids with beautiful voices.
Hugo said they cause raging storms and kill people. They lure them with their voice into the storm and drown them, in order to feast with their flesh.
Another reason why I never leave this island.
Hugo also told me there is one mermaid more dangerous than the others. He said her name is Margarglés’um . I remember that name because I asked him to repeat it several times. It is a cool name and it would have been a shame if I had forgotten it after Hugo left.
He said that Margarglés’um can be found from the eye of the storm. She is the most beautiful of all the mermaids. And the deadliest one. I heard many people have met their end in her hands.
I wonder why mermaids can't just eat fish? I think it would be easier for them.
Aren't the stars beautiful tonight? Sometimes I spent all the night outside my house.
When I look at the sky, I get the feeling like I could remember something. From my past.
Maybe it is just a feeling.
It also comforts me to look at the stars. Why, you may ask?
Hugo, Drifter, all the people I have met…
They are all under this same sky. When I think about that, I never feel lonely.
…Hey, do you see that? That spot on the horizon?
It's Drifter! She seems to be traveling around here again.
…I hope she stops by this island…