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He awoke with a start. He sun had been shining brightly through the window and the light had awoken him. He stretched and threw on a light-blue t-shirt, dark khaki shorts, and a pair of well-used leather sandals. He looked untidy but organized at the same time. Looking outside, he could see the ocean gleaming in the sunlight. He smiled. It was quiet, he realized. His footsteps echoed across the wooden floor, and he stepped into the open air.
In the sunlight, his wind-swept sandy hair shone brightly. His blue-green eyes sparkled as he looked happily at the beach ahead of him. The light bathed his light tan skin and lanky arms, and he walked with a slow, graceful step. He made his way slowly to the beach, his pace quickening enthusiastically as he approached. The sea looked so serene, and the sand was immaculately yellow. The coastline stretched endlessly.
He had walked for a very long time across the perpetual sands before he saw a small speck near the horizon. Running towards it excitedly, his feet flew in a steady rhythm. As he got closer, he realized it was a small dog, a hound with black fur and patches of brown. The dog eyes looked about curiously and it ran towards the boy, wagging its tail. The boy laughed and continued running down the extensive beach, with the dog close behind him.
After a time, the land began to slope outwards into the water. The sand emerged into a small peninsula; it formed a distinct island, which, though remarkably isolated, was enchanting somehow. There, the sand was even more vibrant, the shells and sea-sculpted stones were more exotic. The dog by his heels ran even faster as they came close. In the shallows there was a large purple starfish basking in the light blue waves crashing against the land. It drifted with each wave, slowly moving back and forth.
The dog had found some driftwood and was eagerly dragging a piece in his mouth, hoping for some attention. Eventually the boy noticed and they started to play. They sat down to rest after a time, the dog panting heavily and the boy wincing slightly as he carefully held his sore arm. The sun was almost touching the horizon, and its light reflected off the expansive ocean in a myriad of dancing shapes. The waves were much closer now…With alarm, the boy stood up and looked about. He had been oblivious to the rising tide while playing with the dog, and now realized with a sudden panic that the small island was now blocked off from the mainland.
His mind was in a feverish whirl, and he started to shiver. He paced back and forth with astounding severity, like a swinging pendulum. The island was now hardly bigger than a small raft.
Water started to lap around his ankles, and he began to cry. A bloated moon stood vigilantly overhead, reflecting its light off the rough sea in icy contours. Clouds had been forming somewhere near the skyline and now they started to cover the sky. The water was now up to the boy’s chest, cold and constricting. He closed his eyes…
The boy stood in a field next his mother, a grey tombstone in front of them.
She wore a dark purple dress, delicate shoes, and held a small prayer booklet.
They stood there silently for a long time, both lost in mournful thought.
He finally broke the stillness. It was almost too much for him.
“Why do we have to die?” he asked.
“No one can live forever,” she responded slowly. The boy’s mood significantly lowered even more. ”This life is short, but when God calls us back to him, we will be with him in that other place. When we die, there will be no more pain, no more dying, no more sorrow.”
These words cheered him up a little. “I can’t wait to be there, too.”
He did not know where the dog was. A while ago he had heard it yelp weakly, but when he looked for the noise he saw only water. The clouds now blanketed everything, and rain came down in sheets. His vision was obliterated as he coughed and spluttered for breath, then became dimly aware that he was completely underwater. His eyes saw only cold, deep depths, he was sinking deeper, deeper...he began to fall…faster and faster…
He awoke with a start.