Page 56.          A. Valentine Smith
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copyright © 1999, 2000,2001   Andrew V. Smith. All Rights Reserved

Survival and Balance, con't

Halfway through Mr. McGill’s second set of ventilates and compressions April convulses again; her head making a quarter turn. She coughs up what looks like blood to Sandy. The dark substance flows along the ground and rejoins the crystal. The smoky-hued crystal returns to about two-thirds its original size. Only Sandy can see this dark fluid leave April. The important thing is that April’s breathing again and her heart is beating.
          An ambulance pulls up and the paramedics take over. One of the paramedics asks Mr. McGill what happened. Having just arrived on the scene, Old Man McGill isn’t of much use to them. Turning to Mandy, the paramedic repeats her question. All Mandy can do is tearfully blubber over and over, “I don’t know . . . I don’t know.”
          When Sandy’s asked the same question she lies, “I don’t know. One moment she’s fine, the next . . . she collapses.” No one would believe her anyway if she said that April touched a crystal that only April and Sandy could see. Sandy is numb and beginning to feel exhausted. The paramedics strap April to a gurney, put her in the ambulance, and leave in a small cloud of dust. Sandy is still in a daze. Her mindless stare is interrupted by something that’s shoved in front of her face.
          “You want to call home?” McGill asks as he offers his phone. Sandy accepts the phone and her mom answers her call.
          Next, it’s Mandy’s turn to use McGill’s phone. She’s telling her mom that she’s going to the island’s hospital. Mandy nervously drags the toe of one of her shoes back and forth in the dusty soil.
          Sandy’s gaze is diverted by a glowing object in the grass; a glow that only she can see. It’s the crystal that harmed April. Sandy knows that she must do something with the crystal before it harms anyone else. April was injured by the crystal and she could see it. Someone else could accidentally step on it and not know what hit them when the malevolence seeps into their bodies.
          Sandy slowly backs up to the glow. When she’s near the crystal she stops moving. Thinking quickly, Sandy guesses that she can touch the crystal with anything that’s not alive. Finding her knapsack in the brush, she searches through it until she finds a small bottle of inexpensive perfume. The perfume is a birthday gift from a girlfriend. Sandy feels 


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