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When she first emerged from the sea, she had no clue what was happening to her.
Her arms were clammy, her hands shaking, her fingers pruney. Water clogged her ears deep into her drums, but somehow, she could hear a faint voice from the land.
Tell the stars that we were here
Tell them that we left
Tell them that we love them still
Even if they’re bereft
The voice was quiet, though she couldn’t tell whether this was from her clogged ears or just the nature of the singer. It was wispy, like a murmur in the wind and the sea.
She blinked, finally opening her eyes after all this time. Her feet were rough and calloused, but it didn’t stop her from running, running away from the sea and towards the land. No thoughts were going through her head, none except a desire to hear the singing away from the sounding sea.
For the stars are gone today
None shooting across the sky
The stars got tired of listening
To our empty cries
“Hello?” She called out, hearing how crooked and dull her voice sounded. She wasn’t sure why it was so different from the last time she had heard it, nor when that even was.
We cried out our wishes loud and clear
We wanted to be heard
But the stars had no answers
They thought we were absurd
“Hello? Who are you?”
Yes, tell the stars that we were here
I want them to know
That even without my garden of flowers
Violets grow under the snow
“I’m Alette.” The voice was faint and wondrous, like a silent whisper. “Who are you, strange one?”
She frowned, not knowing what to say. “I have no name, to my knowledge,” she finally replied. “I’m sure I had one once, but I can’t seem to remember.”
Though she could not see the speaker, the voice seemed to frown as well. “Come closer,” said Alette. “I must see who you are. You could be a sign, you know. A sign from the sea.”
“A sign from the sea?” She paused, contemplating her words. “But, I couldn’t be. I’m just-”
“Ah,” Alette interrupted. “You do not know. That could be the sea’s way of warning me.”
She continued her run, but at a slower pace now, a way of hunting through the sand towards wherever the voice could be. Suddenly, the singing continued, a way of showing where she was, perhaps.
Tell the stars, yes please, just tell them
For it is not too late
If I wish to see them again
We just cannot express our hate
“I’m over here,” Alette added, interrupting her song. “By the bushes.”
She ran at full speed again, rushing over to the little bunches of leaves to the left, the leaves covering up a young woman, who turned around towards her with a bright smile. Her eyes were green, like the sea, her hair as blonde as the sand. “Hello, stranger,” she said, tilting her head to the side. “Or, spirit, as it seems.”
She frowned again, turning her own head towards Alette. “I am no spirit,” she said. “Or, at least, I don’t think I am.
Alette smiled again, a warm smile, the type a mother gives to her children. “Oh, my dear,” she said, calmly. “You just cannot see what was behind you, can you?”
She scrunched her eyebrows in confusion. “What do you mean?”
Alette nodded. “You have no name, you came when the skies were blank. You are clearly a spirit, and a sign from the sea at best. I know, it is hard to see, but it is the truth.”
She bit her pruned lip. “And how do you know this?”
“Because, what else could it be?” She paused, letting the whispers of song out again.
We’re anxious to see the stars again
To hear their calming voices
To let them listen and give answers
When they can’t avoid it
“Those who have no identity rarely pop out of nowhere.”
“No.” She sighed, looking ahead into the sky. It was blank, like Alette said. An empty blue canvas, ready to be splattered with stardust. “I have an identity. I just cannot find it.”
Alette smiled. “That may be true,” she said. “But I do believe you have come to me as a sign. Just look at the sky.” She thrust her arms open, her hair waving through the wind. “Do you not see? It is empty, strange spirit. And with no stars, what am I supposed to wish on?”
Alette began to sing again.
The stars don’t like our responses
They don’t listen to our pleas
So they shot across the sky
Trying to fight and flee
She frowned, taking in her words. “I do not believe that the stars have left because of you, Alette. Can a star even hear the voices it speaks to?”
Alette let out a long laugh. “Of course they can!” she said, her eyes glowing. “The stars hear everything. That’s how they shine at night.”
“Are you sure?” She looked up at the empty canvas of a sky again, closing her eyes. “Do you think they’d know my name?”
Alette nodded, glancing up at the sky once more. “Unless you’ve never seen them before, they should.”
“But…you think I’m a sign from them anyway, right? Or at least from the sea?” She kept her eyes glued on the sky.
“So, then, we should be helping each other. If I can find your stars, you can find my name, right?”
Alette scrunched her eyebrows, frowning as she turned her head to speak to the girl in front of her.
I miss those starry nights
I miss wishing upon my stars
I miss letting them guide me across the world
Even if it’s from afar
“I suppose that would make sense,” she admitted, after finishing the section of her song with a flourish. “But how would I know your name?”
She frowned. “I don’t know,” she finally said, tilting her head away from the sky. “I guess you’d just have to guess.”
But the stars have fled tonight
So I stare at the empty sky
I wish on the moon instead
Staring with my sunny eyes
“I suppose it could be anything, but since you are a spirit, it must be a flower name.” Alette bit her lip, pondering the question. “It could be Aster, for that means star, or Wisteria, for that symbolizes immortality, but neither of those seem quite right.”
She nodded, closing her eyes again as she turned her head towards the sky once more. “And what if I’m not a spirit?” She added. “It could be Ophelia, for I came from the sea.”
Alette laughed. “No, you are a spirit,” she said. “I know that much. How else would you have survived the ocean?”
She shrugged, watching Alette as she closed her eyes to begin to sing again.
I tell the moon with my shaky voice
With my silent cries
I tell it please, just tell the stars
Tell them, let it be my demise
“But Ophelia feels right, doesn’t it?” She said, reaching her arms out towards the empty sky. “More right than Aster or Wisteria or any other name.”
Alette paused, pointing at the sky again. “Look,” she whispered out.
She looked up, the clouds parting the sky to reveal the moon, a shining orb of light. One with cracks and crevices unlike the sun, but something celestial nonetheless. Something special.
Silently, Alette murmured a single name out, closing her eyes as she did so. “Ophirie,” she said, quietly. “A noisette rose. Meaning gold.”
She frowned again, her eyes still on the moon. “Why gold?” She asked. “Aren’t the stars silver?”
Alette nodded. “Not up close,” she said quietly. “They’re their own little suns.”
Silently, the clouds she didn’t know blanketed the sky opened up, revealing a dismal black canvas, sprinkled with stardust.
Alette smiled, opening her mouth to sing one final line.
Please, just tell the stars that we were here.
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Sorry I'm so late! I really liked this, it's good to read a new story of yours. Love the incorporation of solid poetry in this, it adds a whole new feel. It's sad and wistful and melancholy. Another character can't remember her name. It would be a new twist if she said "I don't know... you can call me [insert name]." Might be more realistic too :)
Yeah, I guess when this is put in the book it reads more like "Oh, another character who can't remember her name!" instead of, "Oh, another character who can't remember her name..." If that makes any sense. I will work on this more, though! Also, I have another new story if you wouldn't mind checking it out! I'm more proud of that one. :)
Okay, so I've got a lot of news. First, this story is actually a chapter of a book I'm writing, as are my stories Ink, Noemi, and Letters to the Girl She Was. The book is called Waves of Ink and I can't wait for everyone to read it once I'm done writing! Second, I published a novella sort story collection! It's called Of Crimson Threads and Saffron Leaves, and many of the stories originally were written for Reedsy! Here's the amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Threads-Saffron-Leaves-Story-ebook/dp/B08W4NGT9J/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&k...
Oh, hi B! What's up?
Well I actually just woke up- so nothing much besides relaxing. What about you?
I just went to the grocery, now I'm doing homework.
Do ya maybe wanna hear a joke?
Like everything you've written, Maya, it's so sweet, so sparkly. Exactly what I love in fantasy, what I read fantasy for pretty much. "They're their own little suns" is going to stick with me forever :) Also Alette along with a bunch of other pretty names. New book in progress already? Well. Quality couldn't match up with quantity even better than whatever magic you're doing.
Thanks, Frances! Yeah, since the first one was a story collection and I had already written a lot of the stories it took a lot less time to write. Also, this idea has been in my head for a while now. :)
Wishing you a smooth writing process ;)
Such a poetic story! I mean you literally have poems in there - they read so well and added to the overall tone of the story. I can't wait for Waves of Ink! I think your story idea for it is so interesting. You have such a way of stringing me along with your words and bringing me deeper into your character's worlds. Your dialogue is always written so exquisitely. Yeah, I really don't have any critiques for this story, I loved it! I was totally gonna write a story this week for this prompt, then I figured that wasn't really realistic consider...
Thank you! Yeah, I used to really despise writing dialogue, but I think it's getting better. And ooh, I can't wait for it to come!
I used to be terrible at writing dialogue, but now I think I've gotten the hang of it. I can't wait to re-read some of the stories in actual book form!
Hey, another new story out!
Ok, I'll head over now. :)
Great story! I was just wondering, could you do me a small favor? I'm currently trying to write a chapter book called The Secret Journey. I posted what I have so far on Reedsy recently, so I'm not sure if it will show up right away. But if you can, would you mind reading what I have so far, and giving me feedback, or some tips I can use to make it better? I think I only have about 7 chapters done, and most of them are pretty short.
Hello! Thank you, I'm pretty busy today but I'll see what I can do this weekend!
How are you doing?
Not great atm, how about you?
Oh what's wrong?
I'm just really stressed.
I loved this, Maya and am sorry I'm so late to reading. This one had a haunting feel to it, but not in an eerie way....more of mysterious way. I was also intrigued that the protagonist - did she settle on a name? - was actually the spirit when I thought that Alette was the spirit. Or maybe they both are? I love the feel of mystery that surrounds it. One of the things I so often get from your stories are feelings ... feelings that i can't quite articulate, but they make me feel all glow and light, like I've just read something really spe...
Thanks so much, Kristin! Yeah, it makes a lot more sense within the full book. the protagonist settled on the name Ophirie. She's one of the main characters.
Also, I just posted a new story if you wouldn't mind checking it out!
The poetry was magnificent. The writing is lovely! And the whole story is truly amazing. Very beautiful story, i imagine this story written in cursive, this was painfully beautiful and the dialogue was amazing too! Everything was amazing! And the sounds of those books your about to put out sound even moreeee amazing!! One little mistake- She frowned again, turning her own head towards Alette. “I am no spirit,” she said. “Or, at least, I don’t think I am. - You forgot to add a " at the end of the sentence. But thats all I noticed. Every...
Thank you, Ugochi! I'll go fix that. :)
Wow your such a great writer, this is so beautiful!!! I love the versess and your sotries are always the best. Oooh, good luck on your book!
This was beautiful!!! I think that the gorgeous feel we get from this story is amazing, you did that well, and I love the ideas of the stars and everything. However, I feel as if this needs to be longerrrrrr with more info or stuff, but I understand its a chapter of a book. Also, the poems/songs seem a little half-rhyme-y and they don't have the same meter, which always makes me cringe when I have to rush a line to fit in with the time of another. Just keep that in mind. Great job!!!
Thank you, Luke! Yeah, I'm pretty new to poetry, so I'll definitely keep working at it. At some point I want to write a story here that's all poetry a la Rhondalise Mitza, but for now I'll just keep perfecting my craft. :)
XD A la Rhonda lol!!!!!!! That's totally fine.
Haha, yeah. But hey, at least I wrote something!
Great story! I'm trying to get you're novella to read, but I can't see to do it.
Thanks, Arwen! Are you trying to get the ebook or the print copy?
Hmm. I don't see any issues with it, I think as long as you have all your information in Amazon it should be fine. Thanks again for wanting to buy it!
Woah, I love the ending, especially the bit about the stats not actually being silver, but being “their own little suns”! Beautifully put, as usual!
A very nice and poetic story. The imagery you fashioned was fantastic!
Hello, found your story through the critique circle. First of, congratulations on your newly published book, every author's dream. And second, loved this submission, I enjoyed the build up towards the end when her name was revealed and the poetry that you incorporated throughout the story. Lastly, I'm excited about your new book and looking forward to more of your future works. Cheers! :)
Wow, this story is amazing, and then I read your comment and I was like "YES THIS IS A CHAPTER OF A BOOK YOU ARE WRITING!" Looking forward to reading it Maya, because this was amazing. Great job!
Yet again reminded why you're one of my favorite writers here on Reedsy :) Can't wait to read the full book!!
OMG I AM? Wow, what a compliment!