Fluffy pink clouds danced around her in a gentle breeze. Her hand drifted tenderly through the soft cotton sky, and her midnight hair swayed in the mild wind. The clouds beneath her bare feet tickled like dew dotted grass.
"I wish you could be here, too," she whispered. "What fun it would be to explore this different world."
A raindrop fell down from the sky and landed softly on her cheek.
"Remember when we would climb the orange tree, and eat its fruit? We used to swing on the branches and pretended we could fly. If only you were here. We could do it right now if you were."
The pink clouds faded slightly and the pastel hue of red turned to orange.
"Remember when we sat on the grassy hill? The one above the old library." The clouds underneath her shifted and a spot of grass rippled to life below her. She sat and ran her fingers over the soft green blades. "When we looked out to the ocean, the orange tree was right behind us, though it's gone now. Did you know that? Did you ever hear about it? Did you see it before you left? I don't think so."
A rough wind cut through the orange landscape, and she listened to the sound of rustling leaves. The tree faded away behind her, but she could still hear its echoes drifting in the wind.
"Remember the ocean? The salty smell could always reach us. It reminded me of the beach, but to you it always meant something else. You never told me. I still wonder. If I had told you my secrets, would you have told me yours?"
The faint sound of whistling reached her on her perch. She recognized the melody, but couldn't place where it she knew it from.
"I guess it's too late now. There's nothing left. The strawberry bushes that lined the cliff-side, the shrubs along the beach, the town, there's nothing but ashes." Rain landed softly on the grass as the plant life faded away.
"It's good that you weren't there. When the glowing embers fell from the sky, I think that was the moment it became real. At least to me. And the screams; they would've melted your heart. I can't imagine why someone like you would've been so close to someone like me. Especially after I hurt you. I never understood that."
The rain began to pour, and the clouds shifted to a darker shade.
"Do you remember what you said to me? I could never forget it. I'd be more likely to forget my own name. After everything I had done to you, after everyone was against you; hated you, you told me to wait for you by the orange tree."
She laughed softly as tears dribbled down her cheeks. The whistling grew dimmer, as if the source was walking away.
"And then… and then? You smiled - smiled - as they dragged you away. I remember holding the yellow rose in my hands as I stood frozen in place. I think that might be my biggest regret. I could have gone after you, I could have saved you, or at least tried. I could have stopped it all from the beginning. Heck, I'm the one who started it in the first place!
"And now? Now…"
The numbing rain became a small drizzle. The sky grew darker.
"I remember you. Whenever I try to think of a face, all I can picture is yours. I don't remember anyone in that town or anyone from any other. I don't know any names besides yours. If I think of the schoolroom, I can only imagine you in it, and the rest of the people that might have been are shadows in my mind.
"I wonder…if you remember me. I can't imagine what you'd feel if you do. Maybe you'd feel angry about what I did, or maybe plain sorrow. Maybe regret or hatred. Though, I can't help thinking that you might feel joy if you remember me. You always saw light in me, even if darkness was all anyone else saw. I admire that about you. I can't believe that I took advantage of you."
Water dripped down her cheek. The rain stopped. The whistling stopped. Not even the wind blew, as if the world was trying to listen.
"No, I do believe it. If you're like the shell of a small sea creature, then I'm the crashing waves of the ocean. Maybe I don't mean to, maybe I wish to take it back, but I always crash against the shore eventually. A storm against the fragile life of the shell's host.
"Or maybe you don't remember me at all. I wouldn't blame you. After all, I've been forgotten by everyone else. It's not like a tree can see the children that played on its limbs for days on end. It's not like the fire knows the lives that it ruined, or who started its life. And it's not like death remembers its victims."