A starfish. Most people would probably think of fond memories of being with their family at the beach, playing in the water and building castles on the sand. So Nicole Keach found it slightly ironic that she, most likely the only person in the room who had bitter memories of her time at the ocean, had drawn a starfish out of the crinkled little brown bag.

"I want you all to think hard about your object. Try to find some way to connect the item to your life in some way. I want you to dig deep into your soul to find a memory that relates to your object, and pour it out onto the piece of paper in front of you. You all have one week. I want to be moved by your artwork, so think hard. I will see you all on Monday."

By the time Nic actually let herself sit down and ponder what to do for her project, school had been finished for a few hours. She could draw what she felt, but she wasn't sure she was comfortable with that yet. Or there was always the option of lying and drawing what most people would if they had retrieved the starfish from the bag. But she knew the teacher well enough to know he would see right through her facade and would highly disapprove.

Waves crashed gently on the beach as Nic and her sister Andria waded out further and further into the water. The beach had been pretty much deserted, as the sky was getting a bit cloudy, and the air around them was becoming increasingly chilly. But Nic and Dria didn't care. As far as they were concerned, they had the whole beach to themselves, with the exception of a few people lounging on the sand. But the two sisters were the only ones in the water, something they decided to take advantage of. For reasons unknown, the lifeguards were nowhere in sight, but they paid it no mind as they kept on swimming.

After about half an hour, Nic began to get cold, and even though she was younger, she could sense the crashing waves getting bigger. "Dria, maybe we should head back. I think a storm might be coming." Looking out at the shore, Nic noticed they were now the only people at the beach, as the few people who had been at the shore were long gone. Dria just laughed at her sister.

"You're such a wimp Nic. Stop being a scaredy-cat and enjoy the peace and quiet." Nic just shook her head.

"I'm gonna head back. I'll wait for you on the beach until you're ready to go home." Her sister just laughed, but didn't say anything, and Nic warily swam back to the shore, not really wanting to leave her sister behind. But what choice did she have? She wasn't strong enough to really force her to come back. So, the little girl of seven years old waited for her thirteen year old sister to come back to the shore. And she waited...and waited...

When an hour passed, and the water seemed to be more restless than ever, Nic looked out at the water in search of her sister, only to find that she was nowhere in sight...

That had been the last time Nic had seen Dria alive. She had tried to warn her sister, but in the end, she had really had no control over it. She and Dria could have swam there arguing all day, until the waves had taken both of their lives. For a long time after that incident, Nic almost wished they had. Nic let out a soft sigh, and after a few moments, she brought her pencil to the paper and decided to let it do the drawing, her brain trying to piece together what it was doing. She was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

In the center of the paper was a large starfish, surrounded by a background of water. Only the water was separated, one half peaceful and serene, while the other side looked angry and menacing. The inside of the starfish was the same in the sense that it was divided. On one half were people, running for shelter from a raging storm, fearful expressions on their faces. But on the other side, people were calm and joyful. Not even a fine line separated any of it, but instead, it all blended together.

When the teacher handed her artwork back to her just over a week later, he had a smile on his face as Nic looked at the huge "A+" on grading sheet attached to the back.