Martine looked around her, at the waves rippling over her black shoes. Where am I? She thought. Forcing her gaze from the ground, she looked up towards land. It looked like somebody had dropped a bunch of large rocks onto a pile out in the ocean. If it were not for the wet sand underneath her, she would not have guessed it was an island.
She turned around, gazing out to the ocean. It was a bright blue, matching the color of her eyes, as far as she could see. There was not a cloud in the sky, no birds winging their way across the water.
A soft humming sound drew her attention from across the rocks. Martine stepped gingerly onto the first rock, testing her balance. Slowly she made her way towards the humming. It was a melody that made her eyes water with sorrow, and loneliness. It was a feeling that seemed sadly familiar to her.
Finally, after much difficulty, she caught sight of the singer. It was a young boy with short blonde hair staring out into the water, wearing long pants and a sweater. Martine clamored over the final rocks, until she was crouching on a rock directly behind the boy.
“Hello?” she asked timidly. The boy did not seem to notice. “Hello!” Martine shouted. Again, the boy did nothing.
He looked like he was only a little older than she was, perhaps ten. His chest rose and fell with breath, but his eyelids never moved. After studying him for a few more moments, he suddenly leant down and scooped up a rock, soon straightening. He arched his arm back and threw the rock into the water. It skipped five times, six times… Martine counted up to twenty-three times! He shook his head and bent down to pick up another rock. This one he threw as well, much harder, and it skipped sixty-eight times! Again, he shook his head and reached down to grab his third rock. As soon as she saw it, she let out a cry of shock! The rock glittered in the sunlight, its chatoyant colors shifting as it reflected this way and that. It triggered part of Martine’s memory, but she did not know why. She did not remember much.
Before Martine could stop the boy, he threw the stone with all his might into the water. She let out a shriek of despair. Much to her amazement, instead of sinking into the water, it skipped right back up to the boy! His face broke into a wide grin and he picked up the rock. He threw with all his might, but the third stone came skipping back. Martine froze in shock. Suddenly, the boy turned around, a large smile decorating his face.
“Hello, Krista.” he said. His voice was like lilting music, his eyes like deep blue pools of sparkling water. “Have you made your decision yet? It will not be good to wait too long. They might decide to interfere.” Martine had to get past his eyes and shook her head.
“Krista? That is not my name. My name is Martine – what is yours?” He laughed gaily, raising his head back.
“I guess I shouldn’t expect you to remember me. I am Anthony – your brother?” His head tilted, as if expecting a reaction. She did not know what to give. Again, she shook her head.
“No, Anthony. My name is Martine. Martine Arnette.” She changed the conversation. Despite what she had said, the name Krista also rang in her mind. It was familiar. “What is this decision you talked about? And, more importantly, where are we?” Anthony smiled kindly, and sat down on a rock beside her. The way he positioned himself made the sun shine directly onto the back of his head, creating a halo around his head.
“We’re on Pruneau Island. This is where we were born, thousands of years ago. Do you still not remember?” Martine shook her head. “Oh, well. You’re decision is whether you are going to come back to us or not.” Seeing she did not comprehend, he tried to explain. “You went to Mother Earth, because you wanted to feel what it was like to be human. The Great Depression had taken us, and you wanted to leave and forget it all. You told me to come ask you to make your decision.” Still seeing her confusion, he shook his head and continued. “The Great Depression is when we all – well, felt depressed. We are the only race that can truly be affected by depression. What the humans feel is only a small fraction of what we feel. However, it is over! The Depression has lifted, and everything is fine again. You don’t have to be a human any longer, if you don’t want to.” Martine stood silent, than shook her head.
“You have the wrong person. I’m not – I can’t be – one of you.” Anthony smiled.
“Ah, but you are. Now, Krista, pick one. My hand will take you back home. This stone will take you back to Mother Earth.” He held out both of his hands, one with the stone in it. Martine shook her head vehemently.
“I can’t make this decision! It’s not mine to make!” Anthony smiled gently, than looked deep into her eyes.
“Ah, but it is. You know what we are talking about. If you did not, you would have questioned what I am, and what I say you are. You would have asked. Krista, you know what we are.”
Martine paused, her eyes widening, brimming with tears. She looked out to the ocean, the setting sun making a picturesque scene. “Angels.” She whispered, than grabbed his hand. Pruneau Island faded out, but before it did, a single seagull lifted into the air with a cry of triumph and freedom.
Back on Earth, a heart monitor beeped quickly, then stopped entirely. A mother with a glittering stone on her necklace let out a sob of anguish before collapsing on the hospital bed that held her eight-year-old daughter in her church clothes, smiling happily.