Drunkard's Gem

Samuel was lying on his back atop of a slab of bedrock that stretched out above the waves. A crescent moon hung above him, tilted like Cheshire Cat's smile. His thoughts wandered to Alice in Wonderland. And then to Alice.

Alice.

Valentine's Day was coming up in a few days. He hadn't gotten her anything special yet. Yellow roses and dark chocolate. Those were a given. He'd probably go to town tomorrow and find a third item.

He drew a breath and exhaled, watching the tendrils of his breath dance in little wisps, then disappear into the night air. It was warm for February, but cold to be out here at night. He pulled the sleeves of his sweatshirt around his hands, and went back to thinking about Alice. Beautiful Alice, who was so different from her lousy excuses for parents.

His thoughts often scattered like this, like fragments of smashed glass. They jumped about in no particular pattern or order, and rarely resulted in anything productive.

Samuel sat up and turned towards the men about a hundred yards away. The wind carried their Guinness breath towards him. Drunkards, he thought. A bearded man raised his arm and shattered a bottle onto the rocks. Samuel thought he heard the others curse him for smashing a bottle half full.

"Of course they'd think of it like that," muttered Samuel. He watched as the waves sucked up the glass and backwashed beer. Internally, he cringed. It must be a sin to intoxicate an ocean.

Samuel ran his hand through his salt caked hair. He stood up and ran barefooted over the rocks, nimble across the slick surface. He slowed once he reached the sand, allowing the soft shore-earth to console his toes.

The bearded man was the first to notice him approaching. He yelled to the boy, something fairly benign, but Samuel couldn't make out the words. The pair took a few steps towards one another. The other men took no notice.

Samuel's eyes lingered on the man's face. He was scarred. Twice on the right cheek, once above the eye. He wondered if it was related to past drunken glass smashing.

"Why do you do that?" Samuel asked.

"Do what?" His English accent was surprisingly clear.

"Smash bottles into the sea. It's terrible."

The man rubbed a hand over his sand colored whiskers, and pushed his hair out of his eyes. He took a few steps closer to Samuel. "Naw. Not terrible. Beautiful."

Samuel was silent for a few moments. The sandy haired man bent down and sifted his hands through the water. After a few moments he pulled out a small opaque stone that looked as though it had gotten a moonbeam caught up inside itself.

"You see this?" he asked. He tossed it to Samuel. "This is a drunkard's gem."

The boy blinked. "Seaglass?"

The strange man nodded. "You wouldn't get this kinda beauty without something as hideous as them." He cocked his head toward the men hollering by the water. "The ocean can purify just about anything."

Samuel looked down at the smoothed piece in his hand, and then at the hooligans by the sea. The sea really could turn violence into beauty.

Later that week, Samuel drilled a hole through the piece of seaglass the whiskered man had given him. He delicately strung a strand of brown leather through it, and set it by the yellow roses and dark chocolate.

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Reviews loved :) Did anyone get the connection between Alice and the Seaglass? I'm wondering if I made it too subtle. Critiques would be splendid. Also submitted this to teenInk, I dont want them to think I stole it off here...same person..yep.