Isaac waded to shore, dragging the rowboat behind him. Now that he knew how to row, he hoped that he could use it to travel to the other islands if this wasn’t the island he was looking for. It would be nice to have one less thing to worry about.
Unfortunately, as soon as it touched the shore, the rowboat turned into a little round white pebble that rolled into the underbrush. Isaac chased after it, hoping that once it touched water again, it would change back into a rowboat. He followed the crackling, crashing sounds, hoping that it was the little white stone.
The sounds led him through clumps of bushes and vines, until he hit his shin on a low wall, hidden in the bushes. He clutched his shin and looked down. The little white pebble was lying next to the wall right in front of him. Isaac picked it up and put it in his pocket.
“Whatever you just took, it’s mine,” a voice said.
Isaac turned. A large round white egg was balanced on the wall. Luckily the wall was wide, and had little scoops built into it regularly that were just the right size for the egg. Even so, Isaac wasn’t sure why the egg wasn’t rolling off the wall.
There was a face scrawled on the egg in black crayon. It was scowling at Isaac. Isaac looked around. Other than the egg and the wall, all he could see were bushes and vines. “Hello?” he said.
“Don’t bother greeting me after stealing from me,” the voice said. It was coming from the egg.
Isaac frowned. “I didn’t steal anything. The lady gave me the pebble at the last island.”
The egg lifted one of its scribbled eyebrows. “A likely story.” Its mouth moved when it talked, but it was only the outline of a mouth drawn in crayon. Isaac wasn’t sure how it was talking at all.
“It’s true. She turned it into a boat, and I’ll need it to leave again.” Isaac took the pebble out of his pocket and held it up to show the egg. As he opened his hand, the pebble vanished.
“Where is it?” the egg asked, glaring at Isaac.
Isaac looked around and put his hands in his pockets again. It was gone. “I don’t know. Now what will I do?”
“I don’t care. You lost my thing.”
Isaac looked over at the egg. “You don’t even know what it was.”
“I don’t care. It was mine.”
“But I brought it here,” Isaac said.
The egg scowled fiercer than ever. “If it was here, it was mine. Everything here is mine.”
Isaac crossed his arms across his chest. “I’m here, and I don’t belong to you. I only belong to myself.”
The egg laughed. “Everyone belongs to lots of people. No one is really all alone, you know, whatever you might think. Just think of all the people who would miss you if you were gone.”
Isaac shrugged. “That still doesn’t mean I belong to you.”
“You’re here aren’t you? You’re listening to me aren’t you? That means you’re my audience. Mine.”
“I guess so,” Isaac said. “Unless I plug my ears.”
“Well that would just make you a terrible audience.” The egg smiled. “And, since you’re here, I will recite some poetry that I’ve written while sitting on this wall.”
“Is it a long poem?” Isaac asked.
“Of course it is. I’ve been sitting here a long time.”
Isaac sighed and sat down in the dirt. “If I listen to your poem, will you answer some questions?”
“That depends on how well you listen,” the egg said. “And on the question. But probably.”
“And I suppose you want me to clap when you finish?”