Something between the rocks glinted in the morning sunshine. Aria made her way down the bank, curioser and curioser until she was upon it. There, tucked in the smallest of cracks, a small stone glowed with unnatural light. She picked it up, moving it between her fingers. It was smooth as a marble and warm. Hearing her mother call over the ridge, she tucked it into her pocket promising to inspect it further when she had the chance.
By the time she was in history class, Aria had forgotten all about it. The creak of the wooden desks and smell of day old bubblegum stuck to the bottoms reminded Aria of how badly she missed boarding school. The very thought hurt her, but she couldn't deny it. And dad, she thought. It had been three months since the funeral, the beginning of summer and the end of a lifetime. Her mother carried her two years sober token on her key chain, but Aria still remembered the stench of her vomit and the sound of her voice, liquid and cold, as it yelled obscenities. That chip didn't make up for all the years wasted on being wasted. That little chip didn't mean anything.
The bell screamed freedom. She packed away her notebook and pencil and went to find her locker. Her mother had dropped her off too late for Aria to weave through the halls looking for 126 in cool metal lettering.
"135," she said aloud. "I'm close."
She jumped. She looked around her. The halls had emptied in a frenzy for lunch. She was alone.
She heard it again. "That's not funny," she said indignantly. She reached into her pocket to grasp the safety whistle attached to her key chain.
The stone burned hot against her hand. She clutched it, hoping that the heat would sharpen her mind.
The stone vibrated in her palm. She pulled it out, gaping.
The stone spoke.