River Rocks or Wishing Stones?

Prologue


"Christopher! Christopher, get back here! What time do you call this?"

The tall, lanky teenage boy paused in his ascent up the staircase, and turned to look angrily at his mother, who was still standing by the front door, hands on her hips and a slipper-clad foot tapping impatiently.

He shrugged disinterestedly in response, while his mother continued to stare disapprovingly, prompting an aggravated "what?" from the boy.

She huffed and crossed her arms, saying "Don't take that tone with me! It's almost midnight, and you're just now getting home!"

Christopher rolled his eyes and replied exasperatedly "I'm almost 18, mom! I'm not a baby!"

"That's not the point! You didn't even call to say that you'd be home late; I had no idea where you were!"

"It's not like I was doing anything wrong! I was hanging out with friends, and then I just… hung out around the stream for a while."

"Until 11:00 at night?"

Christopher's eyes steeled, and he turned once again to go up the stairs to his room.

"Christopher Robin, we're not done with this conversation."

He stopped again, sighing in resignation. "What do you want me to say mom? I lost track of time! I'm sorry! But do you really have to know about everything I do every second of the day?"

His mother's eyes softened, and her arms dropped as she sighed warily.

"Honey, I know you're not a baby – you're a senior in high school now! – but I'm your mother! I worry about you! I just want to know that you're alright."

"Well I'm fine. I can take care of myself."

And before his mother could say another word, he was already on the second floor and walking into his room.

He closed his door firmly as he entered the room, trying not to slam it, and fell onto his messy bed in a huff, not bothering to even remove his shoes as he closed his eyes and thought, the conversation he had just had playing over and over again in his head.

The truth was that he wasn't fine, and he hadn't felt fine for a long time.

He had been alright through most of his time in high school, but as his last year dawned, he found himself facing a horde of difficult questions and decisions he didn't feel ready to make.

Christopher still had no idea what he wanted to study in college, or even where he would go, and although he did fairly well in school, he lacked focus.

There was really no motivation for him to keep trying, and he could feel himself getting more and more apathetic about his studies and his life in general.

It wasn't like he had a lot of support either – his mom constantly nagged about his life, but he didn't feel like sharing with her.

She wouldn't understand what he was going through; she would just tell him to try harder.

He didn't want to hear that.

And he couldn't even remember his father, so that didn't help either.

There were a few friends from some of his classes that he hung out with occasionally, but he never really connected with them.

He could pretend he was enjoying himself, participate in conversations with ease, and was even known at times for being quite the jokester, but none of it really meant anything to him.

He would step back from the conversation, go off on his own, and feel just as lost and alone as he had before.

Such a situation had happened just that evening; he had been at a nearby diner with some of his regular friends after school, and inevitably the conversation had turned to plans for college and beyond.

Some were attending prestigious schools, others the local college, and others still were going straight into the work industry.

When asked what he planned to do, Christopher had laughed, leaned back, and said he wasn't going to worry about any of that until after he made sure he had a diploma.

Everyone had laughed and moved on, but it didn't change the fact that he was still dwelling on it.

He had left the group before it got too late, and before going home had stopped at the stream down the road from his house.

He ended up staying there for a while, reminiscing on when he was younger – when things had been simpler, and when his biggest worries had been how he was going to get back in the house when he was soaking wet and covered in mud without infuriating his mom.

Christopher rolled over in bed, trying to get more comfortable, but something hard in his pocket made him wince and roll back over.

He put a hand in his pocket and found a fairly large, almost perfectly round stone that had been on the shore of the stream.

It had seemed so out of place, so perfect, that he couldn't help but pick it up at the time and marvel at it, turning it around and around in his hand.

It was pearly white in color, with veins of darker rock running through in a marble pattern, and it's almost completely circular shape was as smooth as a flower petal.

There was something about this stone when he first found it that seemed magical; something that he had not felt since he was very young, and he had gone almost every day to play in the woods behind his house, where his friends and companions had been stuffed toys and forest wildlife, and when nothing had seemed impossible.

As he looked at the stone while he stood by the river, he began remembering scenes from his childhood – running with his favorite stuffed bear as a swarm of angry bees chased the would-be-honey-snatchers, hunting flutter-bys in the spring with a little pink piglet who could never get high enough to catch one, laughing as a rabbit and a stuffed tiger tried (and failed) to teach him proper party etiquette, and laying in the grass during summer, watching the clouds go by and imaging all sorts of strange things they could be, while the little bear who was his best friend saw only honey pots in the shapes above them.

He had smiled despite his previous melancholy, and thought about how, if his friends were here now, they would have said this was a wishing stone and immediately begun wishing all sorts of stupendous and silly things.

As he had held the stone, the sun broke out from behind a cloud and glanced across its surface, sending a dazzling shine across Christopher's face and momentarily blinding him with a rainbow like flash.

Rubbing his eyes, he had looked back at the stone (which had returned to a more dull sheen) and before he could rethink his decision, placed it firmly in his pocket.

Christopher broke from his reverie to find himself still lying on his back in bed, staring up at the stone which he held before his face.

It was nowhere near as bright as it had been when he'd first picked it up, but even in the dim light of his room it seemed to glow with some kind of inner light.

Once again, he found himself thinking of his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, and despite his worries for the future and teenage angst that usually pervaded his mind, he encompassed the stone tight in his fist, closed his eyes, and began to wish, just as he would have done so many years ago.

'I wish my friends could be with me; I wish they could hang out with me and come to school with me, and look out for me like they used to; I wish I had real friends like them, and they'd truly care about me and understand me.'

'I wish I could be happy again, like I used to be when I was young.'


*Author's Note:

I quite enjoy writing Winnie the Pooh fiction! It doesn't seem to be a very popular category, but I think it really has some awesome potential, especially when you consider all the great storylines and characterizations the TV show brought about!

BTW, this does take place in the "New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" universe.

Oh, and after this first chapter, things get a little... strange. Hopefully a 'good' strange, but yeah, it's a different kind of Winnie the Pooh story.

And if it starts to sound like any other Winnie the Pooh stories on here, I apologize, but that wasn't really intentional. I was inspired by someone else's story where a similar type of event occurred, but that story was never finished and really didn't go past an introduction, and the way I made everything happen is pretty different so... yeah, I'm just gonna shut up about it and you can see for yourself what I'm talking about in the next chapter. ;)