Fantasy Speculative Crime

TW: murder victim, implied abuse. 

Elena hit the water with her back, it stung from the force like a slap on sunburnt skin as she floated in the bright Southern sea. She marveled at the vibrant coral around her accentuated by the clear water and the tranquility of muffled sound, but her burning lungs brought her out of her head. A red stream wrapped her in a ribbon of her own blood from where he shot her. The numbness surprised her; she expected to feel pain. She knew it wouldn’t be long before she'd have to take a breath where no air is found. She feared the ocean as a child for this exact reason. 

Drowning seemed an awful fate. 

She braced for death as her lungs ached. 

A whorl of water stirred in front of her, manifesting into a warped outline of a human form, transparent, unstable. It leaned in and kissed her. Surprised, Elena cried out, swallowing water. 

But she did not drown. 

She no longer breathed, yet the burning in her lungs stopped and she remained conscious. Her heart pounded. Confusion invaded her fear. The human figure in front of her collapsed into a swirl of water again and vanished, leaving her in the open ocean, floating slowly to the depths. Her mind raced with all the possibilities, but nothing seemed probable. Around her, sharks swam lazily nearby hunting the schools of fish diving in and out of the reef. Blood no longer seeped from the wound. Fresh skin lay smooth over where the bullet hit her abdomen. Frantically, she felt around her torso; she was healed.

It took a minute before she reached the coral covered bottom of the crystalline waters. Elena stood for a moment to glance around, her dark hair snaking around her face, floating without shape.  

The once muffled sounds of the ocean were now sharp and clear with clicks and clacks of the sea. The general hum of life all about her swept Elena into another world. One of beauty that she could only imagine in her dreams. 


Elena jumped and spun around, pushing her hair out of her face to see the same watery outline again of a human, but not human at all. Though still transparent, she could see its shape mimicked hers. 

She opened her mouth to speak, but no sound came. 

There’s no air here, the shape spoke, but Elena realized its mouth did not move.


It swam closer, its shape becoming more defined with each moment. Yes, now you understand.

Elena jumped back, but the sea water slowed her motion and she floated awkwardly. When her feet reached the sand again, she held up hands in defense. 

I don’t understand at all. What are you? What’s happened to me? 

I decided to keep you. I healed you.

The shape gilded forward with each step, closing the gap between them. It even mimicked Elena’s clothes, a ghost in the water. 

Are you dead?

No, and neither are you.

The spirit reached Elena almost nose-to-nose. Elena’s eyes widened and the water spirit mimicked her reaction. 

Why are you copying me?

The spirit did not answer but turned to walk away, a slow stride across the ocean bed. 

Wait, please don’t leave me here like this! I don’t want to be alone. 

It paused and turned. It observed Elena from afar, studying her. Elena watched in awe as its shape rippled into a different form, less recognizable as it experimented with different shapes and sizes, amalgamating several features into one person. It settled with a mix of feminine and masculine traits, androgynous and beautiful. When it seemed satisfied that it reached its final form, it smiled.

You’re no longer alone, Elena.

Ah! You know my name …

You came often with another. I’ve watched you for a long time.

A memory resurfaced in Elena’s mind, like an echo of another life. Sam took her sailing often, but spent most of his time with whomever he invited along with them on his personal yacht. Celebrity life grew empty with him, but Elena stayed. Choosing to spend those lonely moments watching the glassy sea dance in gentle waves with the wind while Sam drank into oblivion with his guests. 

More than once, she swore it watched her back; a companion to her reverie. 

You were there the whole time. 

The revelation gave her an odd mix of comfort and regret. Never alone, but with no one to help at the worst moment in her life, trapped on a boat with her murderer. 

The spirit observed Elena with a reflection of her own despair. Yes.

In the quiet of its answer, Elena looked in the face of the spirit, its eyes only detectable by the way it bent the water to mimic a human face. She sensed there was no real emotion in the spirit, yet the spirit knew her better than anyone else in her life up to now. 

Elena asked, though the answer had already become clear. You said you wanted to ‘keep me.’ Spirit, what am I now? 

You are like me. Your heart now entwined with the sea, you are inseparable. Fear not. Step out of your flesh and come. There is more for you here.

The spirit reached out a hand. 

For a heartbeat, Elena thought of the shore. Of the life she’d no longer have; of acting and parties, of ignoring phone calls from a family that wanted money, of avoiding Sam during his rage, or of laughing when she wanted to cry. She looked out beyond the spirit, in the vast vibrant world she always wanted to experience and never could before.

And now? The ocean current pushed and pulled, the pressure of the water holding her together, the sensation not unpleasant but now unforgettable. 

She took the spirits hand and stepped outside the body she’d lived in for three decades, letting it fall to the ocean floor, empty.

At first, it was strange to no longer feel the fluttering of her own heart in her breast, nor the general sense of life with all its discomfort. But a new desire of more filled her soul and she claimed the ocean hers as much as it had claimed her. The spirit no longer took the form of a human, but Elena knew it was pleased to see her no longer trapped within herself.

Elena looked out to the boundless world of the ocean before her. 

Come, Spirit, show me adventures to be had.

March 04, 2021 01:31

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Pika Okoye
16:43 Jul 06, 2021

Oh........beautiful story, started with negativity and ended in eternal positivity..........really touching. And how nicely you connected the lead character with the unknown spirit (not unknown :P, don't know.......bit blur) Liked the conversation as well, which you created in those dying moments of Elena........and also great title as the story. Super Good Work👍 Would you like to read my stories? :)


Gwyn Everett
20:48 Jul 06, 2021

Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it :) I will take a look at your profile!


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