Cole has Sumara, a girl ten years his junior, hidden in his basement. a blanket for cover and a shell, of many decades old, for luck, is all that is really her own. But how much luck will she have, however, when Cole's family are about to sell their house, and a poster appears, requesting any information about a couple's missing young girl?


1. The Most Beautiful Thing

 She was like something out of a magazine. Make-up, hair and clothes in place, her pose even seemed just right. The right angle. The right shape. Everything, right down to the fingernails and toenails. Right through to the molecules and ligaments making up that body. The body of Sumara. I called her that, because I knew, with her face cowering beneath a light blue blanket, bits of it torn, the rest just managing to cling on, like the rest of her, that nothing else would fit. Her eyes were closed, shut tight, like she was trying to escape a nightmare, and in a tucked hand, a hand that had knuckles white as a sheet of clouds, I gently opened to find a shell. This shell had no significance to it. It was simple and colourless. And even when I put it to my ear, staring intently at her curtain of hair, the sounds I heard were faint. I touched her gently, and something went through me. Not like  electric, not like a fizz from the tips of a coke bottle. More like a wave of some kind. Like a tide, that comes in with force. One unexpected, which left me tingling and feeling like I was naked, exposed, and quite frightened. But it was only when I finally looked into those eyes, of a mixture of all the tints and colours in the world, that I became truly scared. I left and didn't return for a week.

The week when I returned, she was calling on the sea softly, playing with it from a distance. I watched. Every single part I saw, every single part I analysed. Every single part, I liked. So I went, composing myself, to talk to her. The memories of a bad school day hung over me like the bag on my shoulder. It was like a resolution to put that away, to the back of my mind, and concentrate. And boy, did I concentrate. "Hi" I said, then thinking how lame that sounded, I sat down on the stones, not too far way from her. She was gazing at me in a slightly afraid, slightly curious way.She did not reply, but by the manner of her behaviour, I guessed she was waiting for my own move. "" I felt stumped all of a sudden. And it seemed such a distraction to have her attention. I eventually decided to deviate from my previously intended subject. "What are you doing"? I said, gesturing at the waves. I had found a particularly interesting stone, with patterns and drawings carved onto the surface to focus on.  Then I heard knocking, starting as a slow, quiet noise, then accelerating, so much so that I had to look. It was the girl, and she was hitting two stones against one another. Her mouth was moving but I could make out no sounds. She grabbed the patterned stone which I had focussed on and held it up, slowly tilting it to the side. Then she threw it. It flew through the air, soaring and turning, bouncing once and landing next to my feet. My eyes followed it. And I could feel her smile even before I lifted my head to see it.  


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