84 comments

Mar 04, 2021

Sad

Trigger Warning: Abuse


This story is dedicated to any and all victims of abuse, in any way, shape, or form. Be brave, we believe in you. ❤︎


Echo gazes up at the mansion with her stony gray eyes, her now almost dry hair whipping in the cold breeze. She watches the candlelight in the uppermost room flicker, casting shadows that dance against the faded wallpaper. A child comes to the balcony doors and steps out. His thin nightdress flutters, an insufficient protection against the frosty night air. He comes to the edge of the railing and looks down at her.

“Hello, Echo,” he says quietly, his soft voice nearly carried away on the breeze.

“Hello, Ian,” Echo replies in her melodic voice.

“How are you tonight?”

“Fine, thanks,” Echo says, drawing out the ‘s’ ever so slightly, “And you?”

“Same as usual.” Echo’s gaze drifts to the boy’s bare legs and arms. Purple bruises and shallow scratches mar his pale flesh. She felt something cold stir in the base of her stomach. 

“Soon,” she whispers to the boy, “soon it will all be over. Soon you can come live with me at the bottom of the sea. You won’t have to hide anymore. No one can hurt you there.”

The corner of Ian’s mouth lifts in a slight smile, “Except for the sharks.”

Echo laughs, and it sounds like the tinkling of wind chimes in the breeze. “Except for sharks,” she amends.

“I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be a mermaid,” Ian says, a faraway look in his deep-set brown eyes.

“It’s like a dream,” Echo whispers, gently swishing her dark blue tail. The flecks of silver scales flash in the moonlight, casting an eerie glow around her. Echo traced her fingers over the bracelet of pearls on her wrist, shining against her ebony skin. She squints her eyes shut and takes a deep breath, the pearls reminding her of her true purpose in life.

“Echo?” Ian questions, a note of concern in his voice.

“It’s nothing, I just-”

“Ian! Get away from the balcony!” Echo flinches and dives beneath the surface of the cove. She peers up through the water at the balcony where she sees a man dressed in a black suit step through the doorway. He grabs Ian’s frail arm and wrenches him towards his room. “Come, now!”

“No.”

Time seems to freeze. All of the oxygen seems to leave Echo’s gills as she gazes up, stunned. She knew it would be soon, but she didn’t know it would be this soon. But she could feel it. The deep, achy chill ran along her body, starting at the base of her tale and creeping up her neck. 

“What did you say to me?” she hears Ian’s father ask, in a low, dangerous voice.

“I said,” Ian whispers, his voice quavering, “no.” Echo’s heart aches for the brave boy. 

“You have one more chance, Ian,” his father growls, “or you will be sorry.”

“I won’t come with you,” Ian says, “I won’t let you hit me.” He seems to grow stronger by the second, “You can’t hurt me anymore! I won’t let you!” With these last words, Ian wrenches his pale arm out of the man’s hand and staggers away, shaking with barely contained anger and fear. Echo felt goosebumps run along her arms as the chill swept over her again, making her feel slightly nauseous. It wouldn’t be much longer now.

“What is wrong with you?” the man roars, lunging forward and grabbing Ian by the shoulders. Echo watches in painful silence as the man raises his fist and punches Ian in the stomach. Ian sinks to the ground with a noise like a wounded animal, the tears running down his face flashing silver in the moonlight. His father grabs his arm and wrenches it to the side. Echo squeezes her black eyes shut, bile rising to her throat at the sound of the snap of Ian’s bone.

“Stop!” Ian wails, coughing and sobbing, pressing himself against the railing of the balcony. Echo watches as his tears fall into the ocean water below, mixing with the waves.

“I warned you!” the man roars, driving his foot into Ian’s side. Ian wheezes and coughs, blood flying from his lips. The blood lands on the man’s pristine suit. He snarls at the boy and drives his foot into his leg.

“Please!” Ian cries again. Echo’s heart shatters into a thousand pieces, helpless to do anything but watch. She grips the pearl bracelet on her wrist, feeling for the familiar warmth.

“You are nothing!” the man growls, backhanding Ian across his delicate face.

“No,” Ian whispers. The man freezes and Echo feels another chill. “You’re wrong!” Ian coughs again, blood spattering his nightclothes. Echo watches as Ian grips the edge of the railing with his uninjured arm. 

The man lets out a mirthless laugh. “Going to fight, are you, boy?” Ian continues to struggle to his feet. Echo watches with tears in her eyes as he throws one leg over the metal railing, his small body trembling violently. He sobs as he throws the other one over. “Going somewhere?” the man growls, lunging towards Ian again. But he is too late. 

“Jump,” Echo whispers, her voice reverberating through the air like ripples on a pond. Ian lets go. His small form falls through the air, nightclothes billowing around him. His messy black hair whips in the wind. 

His pale eyes take in the sky for the last time before he is safe in Echo’s arms.

Tears slide down Echo’s face as she looks down at the frail soul in her arms. She looks back, seeing the boy’s broken body floating in the cove, eyes blank and staring.

“Echo?” she hears Ian’s voice. He stares up at her, confusion in his silver eyes. “Am I safe now?” Echo’s beautiful face breaks into a smile more dazzling than the moon as she looks down at him through her tears.

“Yes,” she whispers as she dives beneath the waves, “you are finally free.”


This story is dedicated to 𝔘𝔤𝔬𝔠𝔥𝔦 𝔑 for being such an amazing friend, an incredibly talented author, and for making a cover for one of my novels! Ugochi is so sweet and she deserves so much more credit than she is given!! :) You can check out her stories at: https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/7a5f77/

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84 comments

Claire Lewis
19:48 Mar 11, 2021

It’s a beautiful story, Felicity. A simple premise made complex and magical. I loved the bittersweet ending, the entrancing prose, the sharp contrast of magic and violence. Excellent work as always 😊

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20:52 Mar 11, 2021

Thank you so much, Claire!! ❤

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⋆ timber ⋆
20:31 Mar 14, 2021

Beautiful story, Felicity!!!

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15:12 Mar 15, 2021

Thank you!!! :)

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Radhika Diksha
17:18 Mar 13, 2021

Hey, I have come back. Starting a new series. Would love your comments and feedback. Hope you love this story.

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15:06 Mar 15, 2021

Hey Radhika!! Yay!!!! Of course!

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Radhika Diksha
15:14 Mar 15, 2021

Hey, hi missed you so much. How are you?

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15:23 Mar 15, 2021

I missed you too!! I'm doing well, how are you? :)

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Radhika Diksha
15:25 Mar 15, 2021

Feeling a bit low, but now better. I am not getting like a lot of coverage for my stories, which is depressing me.

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15:28 Mar 15, 2021

That's good! Oh, I'm sorry. :( I'll pop you in my bio to help you get more attention. <3

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Hey just wanted to let you know that The Adapters (Part 2) is out and you are featured! :)

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15:14 Mar 15, 2021

Ahhhhh yay!!!!!!! I'm so excited to read it!!!!!!!!

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15:25 Mar 15, 2021

Just read it!!!!!!!!!! It's so good!!!!!!!!!!!

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15:29 Mar 15, 2021

Nppppp!! :D

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00:15 Mar 13, 2021

🐀

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03:35 Mar 13, 2021

Lol thanks!! :)

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23:42 Mar 12, 2021

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23:39 Mar 12, 2021

Thanks 😂😂

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21:06 Mar 12, 2021

Haha thank you!!! I will!! :)

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Hey Felicity, just wanted to say something about the form you filled out in my bio! If you could do me a favor and fill out the form underneath the first one, read your character description, and give me feedback based on it! :) I want to make sure your character is what you want! (I may have to change some stuff later on depending on the story)

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18:26 Mar 12, 2021

Oh of course!!!! Whatever you need to change is fine!! :)

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19:32 Mar 12, 2021

Thanks, Abbie!! :)

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15:11 Mar 12, 2021

This is such a sad and beautiful story. It is so well written, and I think that a lot of people can resonate with it. I come from a good home, so I've never experienced abuse, but I know that a lot a kids do, and I think this is a wonderful story for them. Great job!

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15:28 Mar 12, 2021

Aww thank you so much, Ivy!! By the way, I saw that you followed me on AP (All Poetry)! Thank you!! I sent you an invite to the Reedsy group on there. :)

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16:16 Mar 12, 2021

YAY!!

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Izzie Q.
12:05 Mar 12, 2021

Hey Felicity (I love your contact pic btw)! Stunning story, I loved the complex magical vibes and your fluid writing style! Almost like poetry, and I saw in your bio (I read the whole thing!!) that you do write poetry! I'll be sure to check that out!! How's your week been?

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14:20 Mar 12, 2021

Hello Izzie!! Thank you so much! I do write poetry, but it's not very good lol. :P My week has been good! How has your week been so far? :)

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Izzie Q.
04:21 Mar 13, 2021

GOOD BECAUSE ITS OVER! I'm excited to have campfires, walk around with friends, and eat ice cream all weekend :) wbu? anything fun going on?

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16:07 Mar 13, 2021

Haha! Sounds like fun! This weekend is my brother's birthday so we're going to go out to dinner tonight and some of his friends are going to hang out, but besides that not much. :)

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Izzie Q.
16:09 Mar 14, 2021

Aww no, that's cool!! i have siblings and when they bring all their younger friends together, it gets HECTIC XD

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15:11 Mar 15, 2021

Lol I bet!! Kids are crazy! :)

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Cookie Carla🍪
15:13 Mar 23, 2021

🐀

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13:39 Mar 24, 2021

Thank you!! :)

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01:57 Mar 23, 2021

What an evocative and sensitively-drawn piece! I vividly pictured Echo and Ian and know they and this story will stick with me for a while. Thanks for this write. Really enjoyed it.

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13:49 Mar 23, 2021

Aww thank you so much Gracie!! That means a lot to me. :)

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Lillian Brooks
21:34 Mar 20, 2021

Just read your bio!! 🐀🐀🐀

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22:10 Mar 20, 2021

Haha thanks!!!! :)

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Hey, just wanted to let you know that The Adapters Part 3 is out and you are featured! :) (If you haven't already please read Part 1 and 2 first)

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21:16 Mar 20, 2021

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for letting me know!!!!!!

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20:50 Mar 11, 2021

Haha, hi!! How are you today? :)

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20:52 Mar 11, 2021

I'm doing well too!! I just read on your bio that you're 5'2, and I am too. :D

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niceee! #shortpeopleproblems XDDDD lol btw would you like to be in a story I'm writing? Link in bio :D I gtg for now but hope you have a great day!

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20:56 Mar 11, 2021

Haha yes! Sure!! I just filled it out! Okay, bye!! You too!! :)

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23:36 Mar 10, 2021

Such a poignant story, I really enjoyed it.

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14:30 Mar 11, 2021

Thank you so much, Catherine!! :)

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Akshaya Sutrave
15:23 Mar 09, 2021

Hi Felicity! This story was so powerful and moving. I could see everything happening right in front of me. One thing I really loved was the way you described emotions and made the characters so full of life (I struggle with characterisation) so that we readers could sense the happenings and feel how the characters felt. Amazing story! Great work, keep writing! :)))

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15:41 Mar 09, 2021

Hey Akshaya!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! :)

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Akshaya Sutrave
07:20 Mar 10, 2021

Hey Felicity! No problem!!!! :DDDD

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Janey Finch
20:15 Mar 08, 2021

Wow! This was so great! I did not expect the ending but it was very powerful and there was great foreshadowing of something tragic about to happen. I could really see this, "His small form falls through the air, nightclothes billowing around him." and this was evoked so much emotion, "Tears slide down Echo’s face as she looks down at the frail soul in her arms. She looks back, seeing the boy’s broken body floating in the cove, eyes blank and staring." This was an amazing story! p.s. I'd love if you could check out my latest story and give me...

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14:57 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you so much, Janey!! I would absolutely love to! Thank you for asking!! :)

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Keya M.
20:16 Mar 05, 2021

This is such a great story, Felicity! First of all, Echo is a really good name. Second, the amount of emotion, and feeling you put into this story is amazing. It's my type of story, short and sweet! Great job!!

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22:16 Mar 05, 2021

Aww thank you so much, Keya!! Naming characters are one of my favorite parts of writing! Haha, it's actually under the word count... shh!! don't tell anyone!! 😂

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Keya M.
13:41 Mar 06, 2021

Do you have any advice on how to fit so much emotion into a short story? Reedsy prompts only allow 1k-3k words, and I find it hard to pack so much feeling into such a short story. I really admire you as a writer, and I'd greatly appreciate it.

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14:56 Mar 09, 2021

Oh my goodness, you're so sweet!! Okay so here's what I have: - Make it relatable: When the components of a story have something relatable like abuse, losing someone you love, or being in love, it makes the emotions much more real for the reader. - Use plenty of description: For example, instead of using 'said' or 'asked', use words like cried, groaned, whispered, questioned, yelped, or shrieked. There is a site I use that has 421 ways to say said if you want to use it! https://www.nownovel.com/blog/ways-to-say-said-simplify-dialogue/ Also...

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Keya M.
15:25 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you so much, Felicity!

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15:41 Mar 09, 2021

No problem!! :)

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