I was sitting on the shore of our little island shaving coconuts when I saw something on the water. It was far away, but we never saw anything on the water that wasn't driftwood or coconuts. I set my knife down hastily and got on my feet to run up to our little shack. "Mama!" I exclaimed as I swung the screen door open, "There's something big on the water!"
Mama stood still for a moment, then ran into her room. She came out with a pair of binoculars and continued out to the shore. The thing was closer now, appearing even bigger. It looked as if a person was floating on a large piece of driftwood.
Suddenly Mama cried out, dropping the binoculars into the sand. She quickly picked them back up and continued to stare out at whoever was on the waves, saying nothing.
"Anna, what's the matter?" I heard Charlie, my little sister, ask. I turned to see her behind me. I pointed to the person who floated ever closer to our island. The figure stood up and waved. Mama dropped her binoculars again and waved hysterically, along with jumping. Then she walked towards the water almost up to her neck and continued waving.
The person's floating device neared the shore, but Mama swam to it first. The person, who I could see was a man, helped her up into the boat. She cried, then kissed him. I gasped.
"What? Who's that?" Charlie asked persistently.
"I think that's our father," I answered quietly.
The man I presumed to be my father whispered to Mama, "I'm so sorry I left, I just..." He stopped mid-sentence when he saw me. "Is this Savannah?"
"Yeah," I answered shyly.
"You're so... tall!" he commented, getting a little teary-eyed and stepping himswlf and Mama off of the boat.
"Yep," Mama agreed, "she's my coconut harvester! Only one who can reach the branches!" I was really tall; taller than Mama.
"Who's this one?" the man said about Charlie, confused.
"That's Charlotte; I figured out I was pregnant with her just a few weeks after you... left." Mama said the last word as if it was poison.
Regret again teemed over the man's face. "I've missed so much..." he murmured, mostly to himself, maybe a little to Mama. He didn't ever seem to be talking to me or my sister.
"I just had to come over as soon as I got your message that they... were like me." The man's words caused me great intrigue.
"Well our little old hut is just up there," Mama pointed out, "if you can recall." She was incredibly teary-eyed as well, not as good as the man at hiding it.
"When did you send him a message?" I whispered to Mama as we made our way up shore.
"A while ago... maybe a few months," she answered distractedly.
"Why are we like him?" I asked.
"You'll... find out." She and the man had been dropping off the ends of their sentences as if they were replacing the last few words for my and Charlie's benefit, and way too much for my liking.
The man stopped short as soon as he turned open the screen door on its creaky hinges. He was busy remembering everything.
When Mama stood next to him, waiting for him to stop blocking the doorway, he said, "You haven't changed this hut in...?"
"Twelve years," Mama finished.
"Twelve..." the man repeated, overcome with guilt again, but apologizing once more.
The man walked through our tiny kitchen, then peeking his head into Mama's room, then mine and Charlie's.
I wasn't fond of this man. How dare he leave my Mama alone with us for TWELVE years, thinking he could come back into our home like he'd done nothing?
When the man was done paroozing, he asked Mama, "Do they know...?"
"No," Mama answered quickly. "I thought maybe I should keep them from... that. Is that a good thing?"
"Stop talking like we're not here," I finally demanded.
"We should... tell them, now that I'm here, and all," the man hesitated to say.
"Okay..." Mama said, seating her daughters on the small couch we had under a window in the kitchen. "I'm going to explain something very frightening." She was using the same voice she used to explain death to me and Charlie when we were smaller. Only now, we weren't small.
"You have a... disease, let's call it. Your father has this too, which is why he left. He didn't want to hurt you, but he came back once he found out that you were the same as him."
"I'm not a baby, Mama," I reminded her.
"Of course not," she agreed, "but this is a very hard topic... for me. Not for you. Maybe. I'm not sure how you'll take it."
The man kept silent, looking down at his feet.
"What've we got?" Charlie asked curiously.
"A... thing. Yes, it's a thing," Mama agreed with herself. "Whenever you get... angry, or frustrated, or sometimes it just happens, you..." she hesitated.
"Turn into a monster," the man put simply, walking out the door at that. I was greatly confused.
"Monster?" I repeated.
"No! No!" Mama insisted, trying to make us less scared, or seem less harmful. "You just... lose control of yourself... you like to... break things... um..."
"Okay," I said harshly, pushing past Charlie to get off the couch.
"Wait! Anna!" Mama pleaded, but I'd already let the screen door swing loudly shut on its own. I walked a little ways down the shore, kicking the sand when I realized I'd just done exactly what my father had at this sensitive news. I really was like him, like that horrible man who left us alone while Mama delt with two monsters for children.
As I stared out at the blue waves, a hand suddenly fell gently onto my shoulder. I pushed it away with ten thousand times the force, spinning around as I did. As I thought, it was my father.
"Don't even touch me, you--!" He backed away fearfully, and I didn't get to calling him a name because of it. I realized I had become angry, and getting any angrier would turn me into that monster I was only now just told about. Why now? Why not before? Why wait to spill the beans?
Secretly I pushed away my anger, not wanting to let my father know that I was at all scared of what I might become because of my emotions. I looked back to the ocean.
"Anna! Please don't be angry!" I heard Mama call out as she ran through the sand towards me. Only now did I recognize the fear in that single phrase she used so often.
"Just leave me alone," I grumbled, now agitated by what used to calm me, and I stalked back up the shore and into the trees. The island was small, but it had enough forest for anyone who didn't know the island to get lost in.
I passed through trees, some smashed to the ground, and I realized that they'd probably been knocked down by the monster inside of me and Charlie, and not by animals like Mama always said. I was beginning to lose trust in the woman I was lost dependent on.
Finally my knees fell to the dirt, and I let myself become sad instead of angry. I cried over what I thought my life had been, and over what it actually was.
When I'd she's my fair share of tears, I got up and walked to the shore, but the opposite one I'd come into the forest from. I sat in the sand, slow enough for the tide to wash over my feet.
After a while I felt something hard reach my feet, and when I looked down, it was some sort of red crystal. I picked it up, absentmindedly examining it.
All of a sudden I heard someone crashing through the trees, and I saw Charlie as I'd sometimes seen her before. I realized that she was mid-transformation from turning into a monster, so I went to try and calm her, crystal still in hand.
"Hey! Listen to me!" I ordered, but she still raged, her muscles expanding. I was frightened, but I was also brave.
I grabbed ahold of her, trying to stop her from thrashing, and immediately she shrunk back to normal size and was calm.
Mama and my father came running through the trees, a little late to the chase, but relieved when they saw that Charlie had calmed.
"She calmed on her own?" my father asked.
"I calmed her somehow," I corrected.
"What did you do?" Mama questioned, eager to learn the secret.
"I'm not sure... I told her to listen to me, then I grabbed her," I explained.
"That's nothing I haven't tried," Mama stated, confused.
I remembered the crystal in my hand. "Did you have anything strange like this touching one of us?"
"No..." Mama said, in awe, and I handed the crystal to her extended hands.
"A cure!" Mama cheered.
"We'd have to try it once more, though, just to see," my father suggested.
"Okay..." Mama agreed, then summoned some courage. "Anna: get angry."
This didn't take much thinking, as I had all sorts of bottled-up rage from the past few minutes. I let it out, feeling the familiar feeling of sleep come over me, but this time, I knew it wasn't a random nap.
I woke up at what seemed like directly after my sleep, but like actual slumbering, I could tell that time had passed. My eyes opened up to Mama pressing the crystal to my arm.
"It does work!" she cheered, over-excited. Charlie stood off to the side, frightened to have seen me in such a state and know what was really going on, just like I had when I'd seen her.
"We have to get more of this!" Mama prompted.
"I'll get some!" I volunteered, always eager to complete a task.
"Charlie, do you want to come?" Mama asked Charlie. My little sister shook her head.
"Then I'll stay here with her," Mama planned, "and Bruce, you can go with Anna."
"You sure...?" he asked.
"You have permission to leave, this time," Mama assured him. I fumed a little that my own father had left without her consent, but I was also aggrivated that I had do travel alone across waters with this man. Still, I wanted to be the one who brought home the prize.
"Let's go now," I urged, hurrying the process of packing food and supplies into the boat. I didn't want to keep Mama waiting.