The sea swelled, bringing towards a fresh start for dozens of stories. Each beating heart telling a thousand words, each bated breath speaking a million letters. A not one glistening eye turned to the lone girl, standing silently, watching the stories began a new chapter. But then as a small boy, laden with adventure turned to wander over the hill on which she stood, a flutter was all that met his eye and he returned to gaze with the others. Not one thing noticed the flutter, except for the boy and not one thing changed from that moment, except for the boy.
He didn't notice at first the rock had stopped, nor did he notice the land stay still. He removed his gaze from the conformity and returned it to the hill on which the small flutter had been noticed, staring hard until water came to his eyes and his blinks carried away his effort.
It was then that he noticed that the rock had stilled and the land remained at rest. It was then that, when he turned to ask, he found that no person moved. His mouth moved to form a shape which sent words echoing into space. "Umm... Hello." His reply was nothing. Not even the slightest sound or slightest movement. Yet, unlike most, he was not scared, for he knew that time never stops, it just rests.
He laughed and sent ripples through the air and, quite suddenly, was rewarded with a question.
"Why do you laugh so?"
He turned to find a girl standing before him. She was covered in white robes, a hood lay on her back, her black hair lay straight against her face, finishing at her chin and her eyes were the colour of the deepest purples of the sea, spreading questions as they stared, unblinking into the small boy. He saw at once, that this was the flutter from the hill.
"I laugh cause it's funny," was his simple reply.
"What is funny?" her voice was high and deep at the same time, bringing another mystery to him.
"Everything really, we're the only ones who can do anything, no one else's moving," he laughed again, watching to see if she would reward him with a smile.
"Nothing is funny when you understand it."
"Well then, teach me to understand it," his voice no longer had any laughter in it, as when she had spoken, he realised the enormity of it all. If no one else could move, he could never again play with his friends, or watch his mother cook or annoy his sister.
"I can teach you little of what you need to know, but I can only teach if you are willing to learn."
"I am always willing," he voiced, attempting to convince himself as well as the stranger.
"Come," the command in her voice, shot through him and pulled him to follow.
She stopped at the edge of the boat and he stared below into the depths.
"Jump," she said.
"Jump, I can't jump," his voice was plagued with worry, speaking an inconvenient truth.
"Why not?" He almost heard the disappointment in her voice and so spoke the truth.
"I can't swim."
"You do not need to, I only said jump."
He pondered her for a time. If he jumped he would land in the water and surely drown. But as he looked back to where his father stood he moved to jump down into the water. He climbed over the edge and stood, balancing precariously on the tip of the side. He looked down and, with a glance at the horizon, he jumped. He fell through the air, falling what fell like a lifetime, waiting to feel the cold encompassing him. His eyes remained shut through his torment and only when he felt still, did he open them, expecting to find himself, still standing on the edge.
Instead he sat, still staring at the horizon, on the blue sea. The girl stood behind him and he quickly scrambled to his feet.
"Why is this so?" She asked.
He knelt and knocked on the sea, a deep rumble came back, bringing with it the answer.
"The water in the sea moves, but if nothing moves then the sea doesn't move, so it's hard."
"Good," was all she said and with a swish of her robes she moved away, the boy hastily following. He stepped each step carefully, expecting the water to crack as his feet placed no sound. Underneath a fish lay frozen in time. He dodged it widely, walking on water was one thing, walking on fish was another.
His feet touched land just after hers and he glanced back at where he family stood, just a dot on a past. The goal of his people had been lived by him and he a silent promise that he would get his people home.
She turned to face him and he stood patiently, waiting.
"Good," she said and he knew that another lesson had been taught and learnt.
"Come," she said again and he followed silently.
As he walked he placed his surroundings in his mind. A tree, green leaves glistening with dew. A dog, paused in mind-flight, four legs off the ground, tongue lagging, drops of saliva flying off. A small girl, legs out, running, face turned down, hair flying behind her, tears dripping frozen on her face.
He stopped, feet paused next to hers. He didn't notice the girl stop her ascent. He stared straight into her eyes, their sorrow reminiscing into him. He reached out and felt hard tears on her skin. He drew his hand back and reached to his own face and felt tears falling from his eyes. He let them fall and again reached to the girl, expecting her tears to be cold against his skin. Instead they came away, falling from her. Quickly he wiped them all away but the sorrow remained. He looked around at all the people and saw in each one the sorrow and pain they all felt. Not one person looked happy, they looked artificial it seemed to him, like others made up their stories for them instead of choosing their own.
"Good." He heard and looked to the girl in robes. "I cannot teach you anymore."
"I think I understand now," he spoke with all he had learnt, putting meaning into each word.
"Good," and at last he was rewarded with a smile and he smiled back.
"What about the world?" he asked, "will it continue?"
"Where is your home?"
"Here," he said.
"Really?" Her voice shook through, although soft.
He stopped and wondered, looking at where his people stood. Where was his home? And it came to him as words come to a page. He looked back at the girl and looked again as he saw only a flutter. The girl with answers had disappeared and left only the frozen world in its wake.
The boy didn't think twice as he moved back towards the sea, he stepped with defiance over the cold stone, no careful moves in his body. Without a second thought, he passed over the fish, not glancing down at its beady eyes, telling him the story of the people.
He reached the iron block and climbed the wrought ladder and as he slipped over the side his eyes wandered over each person. The look of hope on each statue pushed into him, with each look stabbing his heart and bringing new tears into his eyes. Each longing look he would soon crush, each smiling face would soon turn to tears.
He stopped before a boy, smaller than him, whose constant smiling had kept the sun out each day. The boy who had the most hope, who expected the biggest future, who would bring the most tears. He reached out and held the small boys cold hand, knowing that the peace between them would soon never be again.
He turned away and continued his silent journey. Up the slight stairs to where the Captain stood, hands clasped around the wheel, his face of repetitive boredom a change from the happiness. His eyes searched over the buttons then back again to where the Captain stood. He felt the Captain's cold hands and, with ease, he removed them from the wheel and placed his hands on the rusted metal. He stared down below him onto his people and his eyes came to rest upon the small boy covered in rags, who smiled at the thought that he could finally do away with it all. There was no heart he would rather not break, no dream he would rather keep alive than that small boy's.
"This is for you," he whispered and, with a final glance he pushed the wheel and turned the boat back to the long journey with which they had come and slowly watched the people come alive, their expressions turning to frowns, to angers and then to tears as they saw the boy drawing away their dreams. And the boy turned to the even smaller boy who just stared, without tears, at his dream slowly slipping away and the brother who was doing it.