17 comments

Mystery

The townspeople would call Lucia a child of the sea.


Her bright, cerulean-blue eyes would shine with the promise of unrelenting waves, both powerful and magnificent. The smooth slope of her jaw looked like polished coral, innocent perfection. Her hair, silky long and raven-black grew long and abandoned, almost trailing to her calves. Those few assets alone would invite all the barely adult boys to her apartment, the small, grungy, white one, which, not surprisingly, was tucked away by the ocean.


After talking with her, they’d quickly leave. Realize that she truly was a child of the sea. When surprised, her eyes would bulge out like a fish’s. When she laughed, she looked like she was drowning. Her tiny apartment walls were coated in a strange, scent of fish oil and sea salt. Silver scales from some large, unknown ocean creature decorated the handles of her wooden kitchen cabinets. And once she spoke, the boys that came for her face left eagerly as they had come.


Lucia was mesmerized by the sea caves and their beauty. The beautiful obsidian arches with veins of silver that led up to kaleidoscopic stalactites where bats tittered. The soft, golden sand that led into a cave filled with pearl-white rocks and shells.


No one seemed to share her curiosity. The boys that came thought it to be an obsession. Child of the sea, they’d mock. Monster of the sea.


Years passed, and Lucia grew lonely. But one day—on her twentieth birthday, to be exact—she met a charming young fisherman. Their love story was one of the greats. Better than Austen, the ladies of the town would gossip. Couple goals, the teenagers would quip.


When the fisherman met a tragic end, everyone in the town was devastated.

But none more so than Lucia. She didn’t come out for weeks. Months.


Enrique frowned at her case file. Its beige face stared silently, right back at him. Something about Lucia’s story nagged at him.


He’d ordered an audience with her today. In their interrogation room, though he’d fixed it up with soft mauve fairy lights and rose scent. She’d feel warm.

Comfortable. Inclined to talk.


Enrique checked his watch and frowned. She was seven minutes late. No one liked to be kept waiting, especially a man with a busy schedule.


When she finally arrived, dressed in an orange fish scale dress, Enrique stifled the urge to gag.


“Hi.” He smiled. “Lucia, I’m Enrique. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He stuck out his hand.


She clasped it and smiled softly, tufts of black hair hiding her eyes. “To what do I owe the pleasure, Mr. Enrique?”


“Just wanted to ask you some questions about the sea caves. You’ll be right on your way soon enough, not to worry.”


“All right. Let’s get started.”


Enrique flipped open his notebook and nodded to the guard, who promptly shut the door. “When was the last time you visited the caves?”


“Two years ago.”


“Ah, when the incident happened.”


She didn’t look at him. “Yes.”


“And can you tell me why your footprints and biometrics are there?”


“They must be from those years ago.” Lucia didn’t look up.


“Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can believe you. A recent investigation was done there, and we found lots of evidence. It was found you’ve visited the cave in the last week.”


“It must have been someone else,” she finally said, glaring at him.


“Lucia, you’ve been the only one there for years.”


“Really? Has it been that long?” she asked innocently.


“After Darren’s death, I’m sure it must have been difficult to keep track of the time.”

Lucia stayed silent. Enrique took that into account. Everything about her screamed guilty. The almost-invisible pout on her face, the way she kept toying with her hair, avoiding eye-contact.


“Tell me the details of his death.”


Lucia’s lip quivered. “We were playing in the sea caves. And we were swimming in the water. Laughing. It was our first time skinny-dipping. The current was too strong and it swept him out to the rocks. He hit his head and bled out.”


“And what did you do?”


“Please. This is painful.”


“I’ll give you a moment.” Enrique swallowed.


She closed her eyes, and when she opened them again, they were pure coals of flickering midnight. “I called for help, but it was too late. His body drifted to me, burning trails of blood in the water. I was in shock. So I buried him in the cave. It was his favorite place. He deserved to be there.”


“Deserved to be there? That’s a little bit harsh on the wording,” Enrique prodded. 

“If I couldn’t have him, only the sea could,” she whispered. “He was mine.”


Enrique inhaled deeply. “Lucia, they found fingerprints on the cave rocks. And you know what I’m talking about. The small, white rocks.”


She didn’t meet his eyes. “There are rocks and pebbles of all sorts in the caves.”

“None that resemble human bones.”


“I told, you, he died because he crashed into a rock! I buried him!” Lucia stood up abruptly, her chair screeching.


“Okay, okay. Sit down. Please.” Enrique motioned to the chair.


As she sat, he looked at the female guard behind them and conveyed a silent message. Yes. Now.


The guard moved forward and swiftly clamped a pair of cuffs on Lucia’s trembling hands.


She howled a low, keening sound. One not of this world.


Enrique bared his teeth. “Darling, I’m going to be upfront with you. There are other crushed bones in that cave. Bones that aren’t Darren’s. Bones that belong to men that all had one thing in common. They rejected you. And those bones…well, they’re older than Darren’s. The autopsy reports said they date back to several years ago. 2015, to be exact. When you were eighteen years old. Three years after you’d found the sea caves.”


The room became a degree hotter. Or maybe that was just Enrique.


“What exactly are you trying to say?”


“Noah. Tyrone. Maxim. Sidharth. Dominic. Darren,” he growled, sweat beading on his forehead. “They all rejected you.”


She gave him an eerie smile. “You’ve found my secret, love.”


“You did kill them,” he choked out, a sudden tightness clamping down on his throat.

The guard collapsed to the floor, shaking uncontrollably. Enrique was her mirror image, frothing at the lips, blood leaking from his ears.


A perfume that smelled like fish and saltwater pervaded the air.


Lucia smiled grimly. “Yes. And no one will ever know.”

April 17, 2020 21:50

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17 comments

21:57 Apr 22, 2020

This was a wonderful story. Very well-written. I love the way the first half of the story went; the apt description you gave of Lucia and her home and the stigma she received from others. However, it didn't quite go according to the prompt as there wasn't any secret revealed in the beginning. It would also have been nice if there was a backstory on the other dead people found in the caves. Something to better explain the situation. Apart from that it was a very interesting story. Congratulations.

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Neha Dubhashi
17:57 Apr 23, 2020

You're right--I thought revealing the secret at the end would help answer the prompt, and it did, but a better version of my story would have foreshadowing at the beginning. Thanks for pointing that out! I'm glad you found my story interesting.

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So, let me start off saying, wow, this was great. Your description? fantastic. The plot? gripping. And were there any blaring grammar/spelling issues? heck no, because you probably proof read this. Since it was so great, I’m going to nitpick because every story can be even better (and I was paired to this story in the critique, so I feel that I need to say something constructive)! 1) I would’ve loved to see just a bit, a glimpse, a wee snippet, of Lucia and Darren’s romance. I get that it’s a short story with a word limit, but maybe j...

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Neha Dubhashi
17:55 Apr 23, 2020

Thank you so much for your feedback! All of your constructive criticism is excellent. I'll keep it in mind when writing similar stories in the future. And DANG...this must have taken a long time to write, so I appreciate you!! <3

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Nicole Leah
15:37 Apr 21, 2020

Brilliant story! It was like reading a myth or tale. Your description is beautiful and structure good, mimicking the voice of a storyteller to give that kind of myth feel too. Just maybe break up the description at the start and litter it through...(for example, "she closed her cerulean-blue eyes, shining with the promise of unrelenting waves, and when she opened them again, they were pure coals of flickering midnight.") Other than that, I really loved it and the plot was really intriguing.

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Neha Dubhashi
18:02 Apr 21, 2020

Thank you--so nice to hear you loved it! I'll apply your edit in the rest of my stories. It's going to help me a lot.

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Aishath Saimon
05:58 Apr 20, 2020

this was brilliant!

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Neha Dubhashi
18:38 Apr 20, 2020

thank you!

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Neha Dubhashi
21:54 Apr 17, 2020

This was a really interesting prompt! It stretched me to write in a different type of fashion. Enjoy! :)

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Aishath Saimon
05:57 Apr 20, 2020

this story is wonderful!

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Neha Dubhashi
18:39 Apr 20, 2020

:)

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Sherwin D'souza
23:34 Apr 20, 2020

I think my next story might be the best one yet. Take a look at the current ones I have. I wrote a couple since our last conversation. I'm uploading one soon (a few hours).

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Neha Dubhashi
18:03 Apr 21, 2020

That sounds great! I'll read it over when I get a chance.

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Chloe Alistar
17:16 May 03, 2020

The ending was so good. I love twists! The way you described the caves in the dialogue but still was able to use enough imagery that the audience can picture it - is pure talent. Great job!

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Neha Dubhashi
18:16 May 03, 2020

Thank you, Chloe!! I love twists too.

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Morey Guntz
14:53 May 01, 2020

Wow. That was.... wow. Lucia is ruthless. I kind of want to see where her story goes next. If someone else will figure it all out and bring an end to it or not.

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Neha Dubhashi
18:21 May 01, 2020

Me too! I guess we'll just see. ;)

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