2. Black and white
'Where's your mom?'
As soon as the words left her mouth, she felt stupid and hated herself for such typical question. A good way of building some kind of friendship with that unusual boy would have been asking something like: "Why do cats fight dogs?" or "Is it true that unicorns don't exist?" or "What's the dark side of the moon like?" That questions would've proven the child's ingenuity and would have probably drawn a smile on his face, stimulating his imagination. Instead, she had to be just like another ordinary adult.
'She told me not to talk with strangers.' The woman frowned, but the boy soon added, shrugging: 'Anyway, I don't care too much. I don't think that would help too much when I can run away whenever I want.'
Sam smiled, as the child was as clever and mature as she thought he seemed from the first moment. Then her expression turned serious as she scrutinized him. 'Well? I hate to ask what every other adult would have asked, but it is undoubtedly peculiar to see you standing here, all alone.'
'I told you,' he answered then, apparently not understanding her insistence. 'She's either home, or already searching for me. She's too busy to keep an eye on me. And she doesn't let me play enough, so I go searching for mystery in my own.'
'On my own,' corrected the woman. 'I see. But it is dangerous to be so close to the shore, little friend. You should listen to your mother, at least about this matter.'
As to prove her argument, a wave hit the sand with such strength that the water splashed, making a loud noise, and soaked the hair and clothes of the child. At the same time he closed his eyes firmly, protecting them from the salty water with his eyelids. Some strands of black hair - even darker now, due to the water's effect - covered his pale face; it was not beautiful, but rather pretty, in a strange sense of harmony. Like a magpie, black and white in its elegant simplicity, the slender figure of the child followed the wind.
'Maybe you're right,' the boy finally accepted. He didn't say anything else. Sam hesitated, breathed in and made her mind up. 'Is your mother called Julia? Julia Farrel?'
The boy stared at her a long moment before slowly saying: 'I don't think you know my mother. She's not called Julia. I won't tell you nothing else about her, she wouldn't like it.'
'Anything.' He tilted his head, incomprehensive, and she sighed. 'I guess I'll take you home. If you want. I'll understand it if you don't trust me, but I'd rather check you get safely back home.'
He smiled uncomfortably. 'I'm sorry. I'm sure you have good intention. But for you, I'll do something. See that woman over there? She's the mother of one of my classmates. I'm sure she'll take me back home. Thank you, miss...'
'Cardigan,' she answered, surprising herself. 'My name is Sam Cardigan.'