The little girl like to cause ripples. She enjoyed watching them as they hurried away.
Depending on the size of the stone she threw, the resulting ripples were either large or small, faster or slower. She’d been experimenting for a while, paying close attention to the results. Each time she threw a stone she waited for the water to return to normal before throwing another. When the water resumed its glassy calm, she could see her own reflection and the blue sky above.
She could also see the man.
The man had appeared between two stones. All afternoon the little girl had been alone, but now, when the ripples ceased and the water stilled, there he was, grinning at her.
“Hello, little girl,” he said. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing,” she said.
“Nothing is nothing. Can I join you?”
The little girl didn’t respond. In the glassy water she could see herself, the man, and the blue sky above. She continued to throw stones.
“You shouldn’t be all by yourself,” the man said.
In between ripples, she watched as he glanced to his right and to his left. Only the man’s eyes moved — his face and his body remained perfectly still.
“I’ve been watching you for some time,” he said. “There’s no one else. It isn’t safe to be alone, you know.”
“I’m not alone,” she asserted. “There’s Gertrude.”
In the glassy water, the man’s reflection grinned. “It’s not good to lie,” he scolded.
The last time the water stilled, the man’s reflection was holding a large rock — he was holding it straight-armed above his head. The little girl had thrown all of her stones, even her special stone, which she’d thrown last and which made a splooshing sound when it hit the water. Now they stared at each other in the water, until another fan of ripples upset the surface, this time originating from elsewhere, to lap the shore rambunctiously.
“That would be Gertrude,” said the little girl. “You’ll want something bigger.”
This is a repository for JY's original content that's yet to be bound in a book -- essays, short fiction, etc. There's little rhyme or reason, so jump in!