Of Sea and Sky: Part 4

            After that the nights began to grow longer. Summer was a dead man walking along the shore.
            “We have to find it by autumn,” Lani repeated until it was a mantra in the shipwrecked boy’s head.
            “We will,” Caspian assured her, taking her hand to drag her down to the beach.
            But one day it rained. The sky split itself wide and bled down upon the little island, drawing colorful blooms from the bland shore. Lani was among them. She raced from the shack into the storm, her colorful outfit darkened by the water. It clung to her body like a punch to the gut. At first, Caspian stood near her, in the slight shelter of the shack’s roof. At first, he thought this was another of her quirks, standing still, head upturned toward the rain.
            But then he saw her shaking. She turned, stared him in the eyes. And he saw madness. He hadn’t really believed it until then. That she was mad.
            Caspian got wet then, stalking toward her, grasping one slim wrist, dragging her toward their favorite spot on the cliff.
            “Not here, Caspian. You’ll ruin it!” her voice held an edge of hysteria though she did not sob or cry. Caspian was stuck on the way she’d said his name, like it was her own. He was stuck on her acknowledgement that their place was special. Never had he seen her so emotional.
            “We’ve been on this island together for weeks and you haven’t told me. Tell me. How did you get here?”
            She didn’t answer, simply stared out at the sea, haunted.
            “How, Lani?” Shaking her shoulders, he forced her to meet his gaze. Her eyes were so pale that he could see the reflection of his own dark irises more clearly than her blue.
            “A shipwreck,” her voice was shaking. “A shipwreck!” she screamed. “In a storm, this storm.”
            “Not this storm, Lani. A long time ago.” Caspian drew her against his chest, wrapped her in his arms.
            “I have to wish myself free.”
            “I know.”
            “You believe me?” Lani pulled back, all trace of madness replaced by skepticism.
            “I do,” Caspian lied. She settled her head against his chest again, and when she stared at the sea, there were no ghosts in the waves.


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