“What was it… what happened when you came to Nocturne?” he asked, the words tripping over themselves in his hurry to get them all out before he lost his nerve. “Whatever it was Tremello and the others miss you… Tremello especially I think.”
Lucid’s hat was still over his eyes, so it was impossible to read his emotions, but Adam thought he could see a slight flush of colour on his cheeks. When he spoke again it wasn’t a direct answer to Adam’s question.
“I have heard about a creature in your world,” he began, “that lives in a shell all of its life, deep in your oceans. Occasionally something small and painful, like a piece of grit, gets inside that shell and the creature protects itself by wrapping that painful little intruder in layer after layer until that piece of grit is completely covered.”
Adam nodded, although Lucid couldn’t see him. He was pretty sure he could remember a biology lesson where they had been taught about how pearls were formed, something beautiful and valuable created from a fragment of unwanted dirt.
“It takes a long time, or so I am told,” Lucid continued, “until eventually there is nothing to see but a smooth, shining treasure. But somewhere, deep and unseen within it, that original little piece of grit, the irritant that caused it all, is still there right in the centre… and it always will be.”
Adam waited to see if Lucid was going to explain any further, but it seemed that was all he was willing to share, leaving Adam to interpret the meaning of his words as well as he was able.
(Excerpt from ‘Where Dreams End’)