It was my dad's idea to write about Lucas and Angel and everything else that happened last summer. "It won't make you feel any better," he told me, "it might even make things worse for a while. But you mustn't let the sadness die inside you. You have to give it some life. You have to . . . "

"Let it all out?"

He smiled. "Something like that."

"I don't know, Dad," I sighed. "I'm not sure I can write a story."

"Ah, now, that's nonsense. Anyone can write a story. It's the easiest thing in the world. How else do you think I make a living out of it? All you have to do is tell the truth, tell it like it was."

"But I don't know how it was, I don't know all the details, the facts—"

"Stories aren't facts, Cait, they're not details. Stories are feelings. You've got your feelings, haven't you?"

"Too many," I said.

"Well, that's all you need." He put his hand on mine. "Cry yourself a story, love. It works. Believe me."

So that's what I did, I cried myself a story.

And this is it.

Caitlin McCann

 I first saw Lucas on a fine afternoon at the end of July last summer. Of course, I didn't know who he was then . . . in fact, come to think of it, I didn't even know what he was. All I could see from the backseat of the car was a green-clad creature padding along the Stand in a shimmering haze of heat; a slight and ragged figure with a mop of straw-blond hair and a way of walking — I smile when I think of it — a way of walking that whispered secrets into the air.

We were on our way back from the mainland . . .

As we drew closer, the figure became clearer. It was a young man, or a boy, dressed loosely in a drab green army jacket ties around his waist and a green canvas bag slung over his shoulder. The only nongreen thing about him was the pair of scruffy black waling boots on his feet. Although he was on the small side, he wasn't as slight as I'd first thought. He wasn't exactly muscular, but he wasn't weedy-looking either. It's hard to explain. There was an air of hidden strength about him, a graceful strength that showed in his balance, the way he held himself, the way he walked . . .

As I've already said, the memory of Lucas's walk brings a smile to my face. It's an incredibly vivid memory, and if I close my eyes I can see it now. An easygoing lope. Nice and steady. Not too fast and not too slow. Fast enough to get somewhere, but not too fast to miss anything. Bouncy, alert, resolute, without concern and without vanity. A walk that both belonged to and was remote from everything around it.

You can tell a lot about people from the way they walk.

As the car got closer I realized that Dad and Dominic had stopped talking, and I was suddenly aware of a strange, almost ghostly, silence to the air — not just in the car, but outside as well. Birds had stopped calling, the wind had dropped, and in the distance the sky had brightened to the most intense blue I'd ever seen. It was like something out of a film, one of those slow-motion episodes played out in absolute silence when your skin starts tingling and you just know that something stunning is about to happen.

Dad was driving quite steadily, as he always does, but it seemed as is we were barely moving. I could hear the tires humming on the dry road and the air rushing past the window, and I could see the railings at the side of the road flickering past in a blur of white, so I knew we were moving, but the distance between us and the boy didn't appear to be changing.

It was weird. Almost like a dream.

Then, all at once, time and distance seemed to lurch forward and we drew level with the boy. As we did so, he turned his head and looked at us. No, that's wrong — he turned his head and looked at me. Directly at me. (When I talked to Dad about this a little while ago, he told me that he'd had the very same feeling — that Lucas was looking directly at him, as if he were the only person in the whole world.)

It was a face I'll never forget. Not simply because of its beauty — although Lucas was undeniably beautiful — but more for its wondrous sense of being beyond things. Beyond the pale blue eyes and the tousled hair and the sad smile . . . beyond all this there was something else.

Something . . .

I still don't know what it was.

Dominic broke the spell by peering through the window and grunting, "What the hell is that?"

And then the boy was gone, whizzing past into the background as we left the Stand and veered off towards the east of the island.

I wanted to look back. I was desperate to look back. But I couldn't. I was afraid he might not be there.