The boy stood on the shore, and it was getting dark. In his hand he held a deep red, polished but uncut ruby, about the size of a fist. He cocked his arm back, and threw it into the breakers. He waited, but not as long as you might think, and finally, the surf brought it back. He repeated the throw, and muttered a curse as again the stone splashed into the ocean. As he waited for the inevitable return, he said the a single word, as if trying out a new language:
"Gloaming." He smiled, and then reached down to pluck the ruby from the foaming tide at his feet. He tossed it gently between his hands, feeling the salt and water brush off in his palms.
"Twilight." he tried again, trying to find the right name for the moment. He'd decided early on that simply dusk wouldn't do.
"What is it exactly you're doing?" His sister asked from behind him. He turned quickly, startled by her voice, so close. The sand had muffled and surf drowned out her steps as he approached.
He turned back to the ocean and silent threw the stone again, though perhaps half heartedly. She stood beside him as the stone, yet again, floated back to them.
"Rocks don't float." She said, frowning as he knelt to retrieve the blood red stone.
"Pumice does." he said simply, throwing again.
"That's not pumice, though, now is it?" Se asked with a hint of exasperation.
"Nope." he said. She grabbed his wrist as he readied his arm for another toss, and inspected the ruby. She looked at it a moment, then released his arm, laughing.
"I thought so." she said simply, as he threw the stone again out to sea. "So what's the angle?" She asked her brother.
Another silence followed, and he of course didn't interrupt his task. Finally, as the stone was again floating back, he sighed.
"There is a place between the sea and the sky. I'm trying to hit that spot, I'm aiming. Eventually, it'll land there. If I can just get it into that space, If it can just land there...I'll know when there's no splashing, and it doesn't come back to me covered in salt water." He tossed again, and just as it left his hand: "Tears are made of that, you know." He finished peevishly, only half joking.
"Sky," she said, as the red stone arced up into the air. "Sea." she noted as it splashed into the waves. They stood silently as it continued it's mysterious return.
"You know, typically, I'm not sure hearts float, either." She observed as she stooped to pick it up, quicker than he could. She held it, but did not give it to him. "I hope you appreciate all of these second chances." She held out her hand, offering to return the ruby to the boy, who took it and gave a weak smile. He turned back toward the sea, but paused before moving further.
"What would you do, anyway, if you managed to succeed?"
"Get a good night's sleep." he said, dropping his stone heart into the waves at his feet. The tide carried it out to sea, and it did not return. They waited a long while, and eventually, she left without a word. The twilight, or gloaming, or perhaps, simply, dusk, never faded, and after a long, long moment alone, he turned and left the beach.