As the waves rolled up and down along the sand, the gentle sea breeze shot across the beach, offering a pleasant, fresh scent matched only by a well-cooked meal. “It’s almost like I’ve been here all my life.” A young voice was softly swept up by the wind, heard by no one but the speaker, a skinny boy seated casually on a grass tuft, too cautious of the waves and hot sand to approach the source of the pleasant, constant sound. He felt a bead of sweat rolling down his forehead, a brief annoyance which summed up his feelings towards covering his head. He reached under the black beanie with his hand, his untrimmed fingernails acting like claws to scratch his scalp, relieving the itch which previously plagued the affected area. The boy had a curious expression on his face, a saddened curiosity, as if the ocean was calling to him, but he could not figure out why, or how to heed its call. He slowly rose from his seat, then brushed sand off of his beige shorts and his plain, gray T after a few minutes of stretching. His brown eyes continued searching the ocean, as if for signs of life, then he turned and made his way over to the line of trees along the edge of the beach. With a quick vault, the boy began to quickly walk through the forest, weaving his way through branches with swiftness and ease, barely disturbing the indifferent plants as he went. He was in no rush as he sauntered through the plants – in fact, he still had a few hours before evening, but he figured that he needed to spend that time wisely. -The Next Day- The next day, after a quick breakfast of river fish, the boy made his way back to the beach to sit on his perch and try, once more, to uncover the mysteries of the ocean. “Is it trying to talk to me?” he asked himself, barely mumbling the words aloud as he collected a few berries from a convenient bush. A little fox hobbled out from the bush a few seconds later, growling at him, as if angry at having been awoken. The boy in a beanie chuckled, amused by the fox’s expressions, then offered the poor beast a few berries for recompense. The fox sniffed the berries and accepted them, scampering off immediately after the offering was accepted, leaving the boy to continue chuckling to himself, finding more amusement in the fox’s odd stepping pattern than he expected. ----- Mid-way to the beach, the boy crouched down suddenly, having heard something, and hastily moved up against the bush, placing its leafiness between him and the scent he noticed. “Human…” he commented, frowning with a hint of nervousness, “what is another human doing here?” He followed the scent, moving slowly and quietly as he darted from bush to bush, hiding behind them for cover. He peeked his head out to see a purple-haired girl with a few belongings, marching her way along HIS path to the beach! “I can’t believe it,” he thought, frowning, “now I really can’t escape them…” He continued to follow her from his cover, staying a good 200" behind her, just barely out of what he estimated to be a human’s audible and scent detection range, watching her and the trail behind himself, as if hoping to figure out who she was or why she was there. Even after she arrived at the beach, he could not figure out why she made the trek on her own. “Don’t humans usually wander with other humans?” he thought, stealthily retreating to a nearby hilltop so as to watch her more freely, “maybe this is what the ocean was warning me about…” The girl left as suddenly as she arrived, although the boy recognized that the sun was going to set soon, and that it was the smart thing for her to do. “I hope she does not return alone,” he gently mumbled, his subtle voice filled with uncertainty, even at his own feelings, “or….maybe she can’t see us either….” He did not want to risk testing his theory, and instead, he abandoned his watch over the beach, determining that the girl had the right idea to head back home. He wandered back through the forest, staying quiet until he was certain that he was far enough away from the trail that the girl would not hear him moving. He then quickly rushed back to his home, searching for dry sticks and berries along the way. “I shouldn’t have skipped lunch,” he commented, looking around to see various smaller critters scurrying away, giving him the feeling of hunger, “now, even the innocents look appetizing…” -The Next Day- The next day, instead of skipping lunch, the boy took the entire morning to fish, collecting a few of the more suitably-sized morsels, and packed them up in a wrapping of cleaned sea-weed. He then placed the food in a burlap-sack and, at around noon, after eating a few of the extra fish, he began to make his way back to the beach once more, weaving through the heavy woodland much like rest of the fauna within, despite his lengthier and taller size. ----- Upon arriving at the beach later that afternoon, he noticed that the girl’s objects were resting on the beach, but the human was nowhere to be found. He waited for around a half hour in a bush, waiting for her to return. After that, he cautiously stepped out from his hiding place and quickly approached the sand, looking around as he did so, just in case she was setting a trap for him. Spotting nothing, even in the tree-line, the boy approached the girl’s possessions and observed them, not quite willing to touch them. She had a few items of interest: a zipped up cloth bag, probably holding clothes or extra materials, a folding chair, a towel, a beach-umbrella, and what appeared to be a bottle of sun-tan lotion. The boy continued to look around, and even walked along the path for a few minutes, but, having seen no sign of the girl, he determined that she had abandoned her belongings, and promptly determined to make use of them. The boy cautiously sat down in the chair, instantly feeling far more comfortable upon it than he felt upon any other object the forest had to offer, and then briefly unzipped the girl’s bag. Immediately, he saw feminine clothing, and promptly zipped it back shut, regretting his decision with a flush of red. The boy second-guessed his decision after this, and promptly got up, walking back towards the forest. However, before reaching the forest, he changed his mind once again, remembering the book. “What could it contain, what could possibly be within its pages, that she could manage to be here with it as her only companion? A human?” His curiosity got the better of him, and the boy hastily pranced back over to the chair. Once he was seated, he felt that he had made the correct decision and reached for the book. He couldn’t tell what it was based on the cover, so he ignored the array of colors and immediately flipped over to the first page of the first chapter, and began to read. The boy’s ear flickered as he heard a pattering behind him, but his mind tricked him into thinking that the sound was from other forest animals, and he decided that he should continue reading instead of looking back to identify the source of the noise. As it got closer, however, the boy’s urge to turn around grew more and more. Once he heard what he was certain to be a footstep on the dirt path along the tree line, he slammed the book closed and shot to his feet. He gently placed the book on the seat, then started running without looking back to see who was there, his face flushed red. “Wrong idea,” he thought, quickly speeding up to a sprint as he went towards the forest. He could hear something from the human behind him, a gentle voice, as if from a mother bird, but he did not want to hear it. He did not want to know if the human could see him, or if he had just scared her away. He continued running for a few minutes, until he was totally out of breath, then he sat in a bush and waited, watching the direction he ran from with beady, glowing eyes. ---- After a few minutes of waiting, he felt the strong urge to go back, as if the bush he hid within was asking him what he had done. Having no idea what he had done, and being unable to answer even himself in this regard, the boy stealthily made his way back up to the hill and hid behind a bush once again, watching over the beach for signs of activity whilst shielded by the heavy foliage. He could see the girl sitting in her chair on the beach, but could not tell if she was reading it or simply watching the ocean. The boy quickly debated with himself about whether or not to peek out from behind the bush, but ultimately convinced himself that she had not seen him, and peeked his head out from around the side of the bush to get a better view of the girl. What he saw made him freeze. He had never seen the girl’s face before, nor had he ever gotten such a good look at her hair. He did not know what style of clothing she was wearing, but he was fairly sure that he had never seen that style of outfit before, at least, not from where he previously lived. Most importantly, he had never seen her eyes before – her gorgeous, reddish purple eyes – which were staring right back at his. He froze for a few seconds, unsure of whether to flee again or hide, and pretend that nothing had happened. “Is it possible?...” he thought, still staring at the girl, his face growing redder and redder as his nervousness grew, “No, it couldn't be…” The boy gradually rose to his feet and cautiously started to walk down the hill towards the treeline along the beach. Her eyes appeared to follow him as he did so. “I still can’t believe it…” he thought, averting his eyes from her, feeling incredibly awkward. He cleared his throat, walking up to a tree, then hid himself behind it partially and called out to the girl, “uh…sorry about earlier…….I…didn’t think you were coming back again…” He pinched his leg, ashamed of his stupid excuse. “Why am I even doing this? Of course she can’t see me…” he thought, placing his burlap sack down against the tree as he continued staring at her, his face still slightly red, although much less so. “...or, am I just scared of what she might do if she could?” he continued thinking, feeling somewhat more sure of that thought. He figured that the girl wouldn't respond, so he sat down on a tuft of grass and started to unravel the seaweed wrapped fish, prepared to start eating.