Maribelle was drawn to the water the moment she saw the warm rays of the sun broken into a million tiny diamonds on its surface. It was a sheet of sparkles for as far as she could see and the perfect place for a princess to play.
Dorian was just trying to make the best of the situation. The long hill of fading grass that stretched toward the lake was a wonderland of potential. And along the edge of the water he supposed that there were all sorts of magical discoveries to be found.
Maribelle knew from the moment their parents had met for brunch that she liked Dorian. He was quiet, but intelligent eyes roamed the countryside and kept a constant watch. He still had not looked her in the eye, but had a gentle way about him like the knights in her favorite bedtime stories. Slowly, he seemed to accept that they would be spending the day together and as they wondered off to play he began shouting in excitement new discoveries along the way, though she was still uncertain as to whether his words were for her or just to himself.
Dorian had never seen so many wonderful things in one place since his father had taken him to Bucky’s Toy Store in New York City last year while on vacation. Bugs, bottle caps, shells, and even a penny lay right out in the open to be collected. But the rock he held in hand made him forget all the rest.
The summer breeze carried the laughter of their mothers down to them from the veranda where they sipped tea and gossiped. Maribelle walked behind Dorian as they made their way down to the water’s edge. His jagged path was a constant stop and go as his eyes found some new piece of junk to get excited about. All she wanted to do was dip her fingers in the cool sheet of liquid glitter. But a princess did not wander off alone, even if her knight stood fascinated by some stupid rock.
He searched every side of the rock. He shook it. He tapped it with his finger and even smelled it. But all the tests he could think to give did not help him understand where the voice was coming from.
Finally! After looking at his rock for what seemed like an hour, Dorian had shrugged his shoulders and headed straight for the shore. Maribelle skipped behind him in hopes of showing him how lovely her dress was and how it danced in the wind when she moved just so. None of this worked as he trotted down to the shore with his rock in hand. When they arrived, she bent down, the way a lady should, and let the lake lap her hand like a giant dog. Looking up to see if Dorian had noticed her yet, she saw that he was staring at his stupid rock and nodding.
All his life Dorian had been trained to do what he was instructed to do. When he questioned his orders or asked to many question his mother would grab his ear and drag him to his father. Sometimes his father would glare at him and tell him to listen to his mother. Sometimes he would take off his belt. So when the rock told him to skip it across the water, he did not stop to think how a rock could be talking to him or even if he should listen to a rock. The training that was blood deep in him took over and he simply obeyed.
Maribelle could not believe her eyes. She thought she had found a knight, but now she saw she had something greater! She had found a magician. Dorian pulled his arm back and flung the rock with all his might. It sailed out onto the water and after a half dozen skips it simply came back and landed at his feet. He picked it up and repeated the trick as if to remove any doubt of his powers from her mind.
Dorian could not believe his eyes. The rock had told him to try it and it had worked! Throw me as hard as you can onto the lake and I will come back to you. But now the words seemed just a bit… different. He did not exactly enjoy having the girl follow him around all afternoon, but at least she was quiet. Curiosity fought a vicious battle with fear inside his head. But like any boy, curiosity won.
The sun temporarily blinded her as she looked up to see what his next trick would be. When the bright lights finally faded away the boy was looking down at her for the first time. She smiled her best, but her magician looked confused. She too was confused as she saw his arm lift high in the sky above her holding the rock so that the pointed side faced directly towards her.
Copyright © 2012 Adam Drake