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The Secret Shack

He stood by the seashore staring at the raging water without seeing. Tears rushed down his cheeks, but no sound escaped his lips. He was only twelve years old, but the pain and loss resonated far beyond his young years. What he felt at this moment would follow him the rest of his life. No child should ever be burdened with such a heavy load, nor should children bear their burdens alone—he had no one to answer his questions, no one with whom to share his feelings, and no one to embrace him with a warm, loving hug.

The tide was beginning to come in, sending waves of water swirling around his skinny legs. Finally, a huge wave crested and crashed at his knees, knocking him off balance and back into the real world.

Slowly, he backed out of the water, turned, and walked across the hills of sand, returning to the small, empty shack tucked away in the dense vegetation. Just before entering, he heard a whimpering sound nearby. It became louder, drawing him into the thicket…