27 comments

Fantasy Fiction Sad

Stuck in a world of our own,

Humanity was always a world away,

It was just the sea, my mother and me.

I should have listened,

The sea has destroyed us.

They say water has memory. Imagine what a gigantic body of water could hold; the deception of sailors against their wives, the tears of a child from fear of the water, and even the smiles of a mother sharing a day on the beach with her daughter.

I always was the observant one. All my life, I couldn’t help but notice the odd shapes of leaves when stepped on, the way water seemed to settle on the skin of a child and the struggling butterfly taking off for the first time. Even now, I still notice little things like that.

They say when you are in the water, you think of nothing, but yourself and the water; you feel the waves crashing all around you and the current fighting hard against you. I can’t think of one thing. I’ve never been able to. I think of everything. 

My mother had warned me, time and time again, that the sea does what it pleases. She had told me the sea wasn’t my friend and that I should never let myself be deceived, so while I lay in the water face-up, I remember her words, even though she is long gone. I will remain here in the water. I will not let the sea drown me. I will not take gifts from the sea. The sea is not my friend. 

We lived by the sea all our lives, my mother and me. She had a love-hate relationship it, I think. She hated it so much she wouldn’t let me too close. But she loved it so much, she could never be free.

Maybe I should hate it too because I will never be free. Maybe I should hate it because it changed our lives forever. Because nothing will ever be the same again.

My mother was right, the sea is not our friend. I thought it was once, a long time ago.

I can sense the sea-salt scent of her soul sometimes. Her spirit flows all around me and the only thing I can do is be patient. The only thing I can do is listen and hope she can feel my thoughts. And so, I sit there, patiently observing because it is all I can do. I sit and wait until I can feel her presence as strong as ever.

The smell of the sea was her natural scent, the calm waves were a current reminder of her soft-soothing touch, the colourful shoal of fish which represented her ever-glowing spirit. The turbulent waves reflected her emotions, and her emotions seemed to rise and fall like the tide. 

As I lay, a colourful shoal of fish tickle my feet and I’ve never felt as close to her as I do now. The sea and her were one and the same. I could feel her in every part of me as the water came alive all around me. It felt traitorous that this was the only way I could connect with her. I was floating in the thing she loved and hated most, the thing that was the truest reflection of herself.

Memories of my childhood became as clear as the sea itself as hours continued to pass by.

I found my first pearl when I was six. I had gone a little too far from the comfort of our beach shade, under our big yellow umbrella, and had come across a lighter shade of sand. The water was clearer, and the air seemed still.

I ran around a bit before tripping over a rock that I was sure wasn’t there before. Turning around to see the villain of my situation, I realized it was an oyster, not merely a rock. Within this creature held the biggest pearl I had ever seen. Running back to my mother after pocketing my treasure, I shared my discovery with her.

She’d smiled sadly at me and told me fables of the same pearl I had been holding. I slept with it under my pillow as I did with the many more I collected. I didn’t realize that one day the sea would take those pearls back and another price of their own. 

The sea was angrier than ever. Her eyes had matched the waves then, turbulent and angry. Tears were streaming down her face and the string of pearls had cut and were rolling with the wind back to where they came from. She had screamed at me that day and I wish I had listened. It made me wish I had remembered her frenzied expression that night. I wish I had remembered her words. I could never forget them now. It felt like they were playing on repeat in my head, “Never take gifts from the sea, Amari. Whatever the sea gives, it will take back. The sea is not our friend, it will destroy us.” 

The sea had tempted me one more time, and I had obliged. This time it was a delicate jewelry box, its intricate gold details shining, almost blinding me. The waves had crashed all around us for days, but at least it had left this. It had left me a treasure. I could hear the whispers of the waves beckoning me towards it. I could swear they whispered my name. 

......

The pain I felt when she disappeared would never compare to anything I felt for the rest of my life. She had sat by the water; the sand tickling her feet. I had gone in for just a moment to get a blanket as it was getting late. When I came back, she was gone. Her sandals lay discarded just by the water, but she was nowhere. The waves had finally settled like they had won, like they had gotten what they wanted. A ruby had washed up to shore, but it didn’t matter, nothing did afterwards. Nothing was worth it. 

I raced to our house and got the jewelry box, the discarded pearls as well, anything I could remember the sea had left me. I threw them all back as far as my arms would let me, hoping that would be enough, hoping she’d come back. The sea had taken her and all I was left with were her words, “Never take gifts from the sea, Amari. Whatever the sea gives, it will take back.” 

......

The memories were choking me and I felt like I was going underwater. The sea was dragging me to its bottom. I would not let it take me, I would not let it destroy me. It was the sea against me. I was fighting my demons. I struggled against the waves until I lost feeling in my arms. My body was going numb. The sea threw me out of its grasp at last. The vice gripping my lungs had loosened.

There was nothing left for me in the water.

My skin was dry and patchy after sitting on the sand reflecting on my near-death experience. It irked me that my long hours spent in the sea did nothing but add to my torment. I silenced my thoughts and severed my connection to it, watching the sunset as my shadows turned to sunrays. It was already dusk, so I waited a little longer.

My mum had told me, “Everyone has a star but when we die, our stars disappear.” Over millions of stars in the sky, it was strange to think one was just for me. Now looking up at the midnight sky, I wondered what my mother’s star would have looked like although there is only so far my imagination can go. I always knew there were some things that would only scratch the surface of our barriers and some that would strike our souls at its core. A star was a ball of fire that could burn even the dirtiest of secrets. If stars could just disappear, maybe we were allowed new beginnings. Gazing up once more, now on my back, I imagine my dull little star amid all the bigger ones waiting for a breakthrough and for the first time in a long while, I have space to breathe, courage to imagine. 

March 05, 2021 10:43

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

27 comments

Deidra Lovegren
12:51 Mar 06, 2021

This is pure poetry. Mystical. This line ✨ is magical alliteration - “I can sense the sea-salt scent of her soul sometimes.” Welcome back. I need a tee shirt with the last sentence emblazoned on it. Pure joy to read.

Reply

Kemani Grey
13:59 Mar 06, 2021

this feels so good to hear!! thanks!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Doubra Akika
19:04 Mar 06, 2021

Thanks so much honestly D&D! Haven't been able to write for forever so your comment honestly means a lot, they always do.

Reply

Deidra Lovegren
19:10 Mar 06, 2021

I’m a fan forever

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 2 replies
Philip Clayberg
16:11 Mar 13, 2021

This is a wonderful, magical story. Thank you for writing it. It reminds me somewhat of Patricia McKillip's novel, "The Changeling Sea" (which came out in 1988; I'm not sure if it's still in print). That feeling of living near the sea but not always loving the sea. A relationship that changes over time. The sea is a place of mystery, magic, and danger. It can give us wonderful things, and yet turn on us and threaten our lives and all we own. What I think is needed is more respect for the sea, for the power hidden within its beauty, no...

Reply

Doubra Akika
09:55 Mar 15, 2021

You have no idea how much this means, Philip. Thank you so much for taking out the time to point out these errors and for reading my story at all. I love your perspective and feel motivated to see if I can find The Changeling Sea online. We as humans do take the sea for granted and other aspects of nature as well. We undermine the power it holds and sometimes it decides to fight back stronger than we thought it could. I really hope you're staying safe. Thanks again!

Reply

Philip Clayberg
16:48 Mar 15, 2021

You're very welcome. I'm glad my feedback helps (because there have been times over the last 7 1/2 months when I haven't been certain at all that my feedback helped even slightly). I try to be honest, but not overly blunt. I *want* stories to keep improving (including my own) and I think that they have. I've been blown away by some of the stories I've read on this website. I even shared a couple of them with my mother (who isn't a user on this website ... not yet, anyway) because I thought she should be able to enjoy reading the amazing...

Reply

Doubra Akika
10:55 Mar 18, 2021

Reedsy honestly is a wonderful site. I know I've met some amazing writers on here as well and that my writing has greatly improved just from being on it and trying my hand at the different prompts. For free, I'd definitely enjoy receiving and reading them. That's for sure. Thanks again!

Reply

Philip Clayberg
18:11 Mar 18, 2021

I agree. Some of the best writers aren't in the top 10 (the listing of those who've earned the most "points" from submitting stories and answering responses in threads). Just because someone has a low score doesn't mean that they aren't a great writer. Maybe their stories just aren't as popular as those written by the writers in the top 10. My writing seems to have improved a lot, too. I just wish there was a way to submit stories that aren't inspired by a current weekly story prompt or that were inspired by a story prompt from an earli...

Reply

Doubra Akika
20:39 Mar 24, 2021

Yeah, I agree. A lot of the writers I've read here have been phenomenal and them being not being on the leaderboard at all hasn't affected the impact of their stories. Reedsy prompts have helped me try my hand at different kinds of writing though, but I'll admit that I do get stumped sometimes though. The magazine idea sounds wonderful though. I know I'd definitely read that. (Also sorry for the late reply, haven't been on here in for a while now. Preparing for exams).

Reply

Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Mark Wilson
19:29 Jun 03, 2021

Vividly imaginative, I loved it! As you know, the begging of a short-story is probably the most important, especially in setting the tone and grasping the reader's attention. That said, Bravo! Your opening stanza's were superb, "They say water has memory. Imagine what a gigantic body of water could hold; the deception of sailors against their wives, the tears of a child from fear of the water, and even the smiles of a mother sharing a day on the beach with her daughter." I was in the US Navy and have been intimately introduced to the Sea...

Reply

Doubra Akika
11:27 Jun 16, 2021

You honestly have no idea how much this means. Thank you so much for your comment.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Omani Saleem
17:20 Mar 27, 2021

I love the way you write, it makes me wonder how you think of such things and then describe them with words. Great job doubra

Reply

Show 0 replies
Kristin Neubauer
02:19 Mar 09, 2021

Oh, what a beautiful story! The language, the imagery, the emotion and the metaphors. I’m sitting here thinking about it and practically hearing the waves and the water tickle my feet. Amazing how you created such sensations, Doubra!

Reply

Doubra Akika
05:42 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you so much, Kristin! Your comments always mean a lot.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Thom Brodkin
21:50 Mar 08, 2021

Deidra stole my thought. This read like poetry. It had a soul. It made me feel every line. It was a cautionary tale for life. It was a warning. It was so well written and so perfectly fit the prompt. Great job. Fantastic read.

Reply

Doubra Akika
05:41 Mar 09, 2021

Thank you so much, Thom! You have no idea how much this means.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Doubra Akika
10:47 Mar 05, 2021

Finally got some inspiration to write. I feel really good about this. Collab with Nashira Jaci... Please check her out, she's amazing.

Reply

Kemani Grey
08:44 Mar 12, 2021

Loved working on this with you!!! Hope we do it again!

Reply

Doubra Akika
08:10 Mar 15, 2021

It was honestly my pleasure!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply