I'd been in this area before: it was a chain of islands somewhere in the Caribbean, owned by a resort. Further inland (for I was on the beach), I knew there was a huge, domed conservatory that connected with a bunch of treehouse cabins. The last time I had been here, the owners of the conservatory-resort had trapped myself and the other customers inside the large glass dome so they could create an utopia world with us as their breeding-rabbits. A friend and I managed to commandeer one of the official's aircraft, fly it off the island and report the resort's activities to the government. Fortunately, ownership of the resort had changed hands since then.
Since my last visit, everything had shifted to the beach. All the resort buildings were now there, and there were house-hotel-boats floating far out on the azure waves. It seemed that this time, I was there on some sort of vacation with the kids from my highschool; in addition, my family was there, as well.
Naturally, I spent the days there exploring with three of my best friends: Kieran, Ian and Zayne. We spent afternoons walking up and down the pure, white, powdery sand of the beaches, until we had circumnavigated the whole body of land and had seen the other islands continuing to the horizon in a curving chain on the eastern side. We explored the forests filled with huge palm trees and strung across with vines, experiencing the strange and exotic flora and fauna of the land. We swam in the ocean and slept long nights in a tent we had pitched on the beach.
Early one morning, however, during our daily swim, the four of us happened upon a tiny island that had seemingly never been there before. We clambered ashore, our limbs filled with the simultaneous lightness and heaviness that comes from a good, long swim. Upon the crest of the hill of sand, there was, startlingly, rooted a tree. It wasn't startling merely because of its presence, but because it was not a palm tree, or any other tree I'd seen before; I don't even know how I would go about describing it.
Curious, we walked closer to examine it, thankful for the shade that its spreading boughs provided. It was Kieran who discovered the second peculiarity of the tree. He and I had climbed up the branches some way and were both sitting perched in a wide crook between branches, looking out over the waves to where the sun was now beginning to set on the horizon (I don't know how the time had passed so quickly) and listening to Ian and Zayne talk and laugh quietly below when something startled Kieran and he almost fell out of the tree.
"Ruby!" he hissed. "Look at the branches, they're see-through!"
He was right. In the golden light of the westering sun, the dark bark of the tree had turned shadowy, and I could see through it to the thick sap flowing within the tree and all the way beyond that and through to the other side. It was undoubtedly the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and Kieran and I stared in awe at each other for a moment before scrambling back down the tree to tell Ian and Zayne, who were facing away from the trunk. As we did so, I could feel the tree thrumming, as if something within it had been woken up.
The moment we got down to the sand, I knew something amazing was about to happen -- the sand around the tree had turned to a dark gray color and the vibrating of the tree was becoming a low, sonorous hum. Sure enough, when both of my feet were firmly on the ground, I heard a muffled "thwump" sound from the northern side of the tree. Kieran and I ran around to investigate what it was; Ian and Zayne were already there.
A large chunk of sand had fallen in between the tree roots, exposing a small, dusty cavern that looked absolutely ancient, hundreds of years old.
Glittering within the ruin of the cavern was a huge milky-white crystal.
Zayne stooped and picked up the crystal, holding it up to the light to examine it. "It's a transportation device," he said. "There are instructions engraved on the top of it." He scrutinized the runes that were carved on the flat stone top of the crystal for a time and then muttered something indistinguishable under his breath. I nearly couldn't believe my eyes as he floated off the ground and through the branches of the tree before alighting softly on the ground in front of us. "Here, you try it," he said, handing it to me.
I took the crystal hesitantly and was surprised to discover that it was incredibly light. Zayne was right, there was a set of instructions scribed on the back, but they were in another language. Upon further inspection, though, I found that there was a key, which looked like it had been carved much more recently. I examined the code for a bit longer, and then I clicked my tongue and imitated the cooing of a dove while at the same time focusing all my willpower on activating the stone. To my delight, my body began to feel as light as a feather and I knew I had the ability to use this stone for amazing things. It was thrilling and empowering.
Kieran and Ian, however, were unable to tap into the crystal's powers, and Zayne claimed that he had no use for it, so the crystal was left in my care, which I wholly approved of. I felt that there were secrets to unlock involving the crystal.
I parted from the guys, who were going to swim back to shore and bed down in the tent for the night. I didn't feel at all restful; in fact, I was filled with that awareness and clarity that I feel whilst standing outdoors in the evening, gazing at the moon. It was like a veil had been lifted from my whole body and suddenly all of my beautiful potential had leapt out at me in its full brilliance, and I could hear my thoughts perfectly, and they sounded like the voices of the stars in the heavens above, if only they had had voices. So, I decided to use the crystal to fly over to the south-western side of the island, where my favorite beach was.
The sand there was piled into a high bluff overlooking the water, and the waves were always particularly tall and wild. I took up a post on the peak of the dune and opened all my senses to the world around me.
I watched the celestial bodies circle in their cycles above me, and in so doing, I learned the secrets of the long-lost civilization that had found the crystal and discovered how to harness its powers.
They had lived on this very chain of islands, and had found the strange translucent trees, just as Kieran, Zayne, Ian and I had, and they found that the trees only became visible and tangible during a certain time of the year, which led to the discovery that their sap, when the trees died, hardened within them to produce the crystals. Each tribesperson wore a small chunk of the stone around their neck, and they were capable of great physical and mental feats. But suddenly, one day something happened, some great and mysterious event occurred and the people of the islands disappeared, along with all the crystals, save one, which had been stowed in the roots of the tree that we had found today.
I stayed up all night, listening that strange some sixth sense that had opened up when I had first interacted with the crystal. It was like I had become a beam of sunlight; I was filled with a warmth that kept me cozy when I fell asleep on the beach at sunrise, curled around the crystal.
The guys found me there early that next afternoon, and gently woke me up, asking if they could see the crystal again. I blearily handed the crystal over, slowly standing up and brushing the sand from my clothing.
Zayne, standing across from me, nodded and frowned, looking at the stone. "The runes have disappeared," he said, seemingly unsurprised, handing the crystal back to me.
"You'd better come back and start packing up soon; we're leaving this evening, remember?" Ian called over his shoulder to me as the three began to walk north up the beach to where the tent was.
I stared down at the crystal, dismayed. After sleeping, I no longer felt that open awareness that I had the night before. Somewhat desperately, I attempted to activate the crystal, and I couldn't. That moment was so sad and so disappointing that I nearly burst into tears. Then, with the resolve that it was the right thing to do and with the melancholy of a funeral dirge, I dug a hole in the sand and buried the crystal there before hiking back to the tent to help the guys pack up.
Thus, the dream ended.