A Walk Through Hell by Melissa Manuel

The night the men came for her, I was a coward. It’s all I’ve known how to be after all. She screamed my name and wept bitter tears when her cries were not returned. Even as I heard them take her far from my arms, my heart breaking for her, there was no moving me from my hiding place. Now her screams haunt my nightmares and my daydreams.

***

It was time to save her, in my raggedy jeans and beat up sneakers and all. There was nothing like being alive and safe while someone you cared for is not to make you feel guilty. The guilt gnawed on my mind, but how it hurt my body too. Guilt is good at slowly poisoning the very air you breathe and kicking you behind the knees crippling you permanently. I began living in a constant pain, my limbs heavy, every day it became harder to pull the sheets off my aching form.

The worst part of course is how guilt curled around my conscious and subconscious thoughts. It cast a dark shadow of gloom over every thought, sneaking old ghosts into every corner of my life. The worst was when I would see the ghost of her. She was so lovely it often broke me, I couldn’t leave my home for days.

Which is why I finally decided to go save her. Rescue her or whatever. I’m no knight or prince or anything but that’s what people tend to say when they do things like this. Or so I’ve heard. Attaching a sword to my belt and a bag to my back I set out on my journey.

***

The trouble started at the shoreline. It’s hard living on an island and wanting to go on an adventure. Stepping across the creaking dock I approached the sea. Sitting down I swung my legs anxiously and looked around. I poked the water with my sword and said, “Hello ocean.”

The water rippled around the point of my blade and rose up over my head to intimidate me. I leaned back staring at what I could only guess was the ocean’s face. Raising my other hand I waved at the wave meekly.

“How dare you stab me! Have you no manners?” The ocean rippled and the wave turned a dark grey. I swallowed nervously and set my sword down raising my hands in surrender.

“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stab you. It was more of a poke what I was going for. To get your attention.” The wave loomed over me for a couple of seconds before lowering itself to my eye level.

“Well then, next time you can just speak. No poking or stabbing necessary. What is it you need?” I scratched the back of my head trying to figure out what to tell the ocean. How does one speak to the ocean when it is so vast and carries so many secrets?

“I’m looking for someone.” The sea sighed and it was full of bitterness and sorrow.

“Everyone is looking for someone.” I nodded. The ocean had a point.

“You’re right. But I know where she is. I just need to get across you. Except I don’t know how to swim or sail.”

The ocean seemed to ponder this, and I sat quietly, anxiety pinching my insides.

“Very well. I’ll let you walk upon me. But first you must tell me why you’re going to find this person.”

I chewed on my lower lip, there were so many reasons. “Because I’m a coward.”

Luckily this seemed to satisfy the ocean and it lowered itself back into the waves. When I stood, looking down at the ocean it smoothed a path for me and closing my eyes I stepped off the dock. Expecting to land and sink into the waves instead I bounced and lost my balance falling flat on my face.

Groaning I opened my eyes and saw the ocean below me. Life flourished right beneath my lips, my eyes, my nose. Fishes the colors of a fairy’s wings and coral the shades of a woman’s blush. A doe eyed dolphin shot past right below me and I jerked back afraid, slowly rising to my feet. The water was rubber beneath my feet and I took careful steps forward. Considering I was moving far too slowly the ocean pushed me forward, nudging me toward my fate I suppose.

Taking a shaky breath I breathed in the salty air and ran across the sea.

***

To be continued…


Hello swonky drones readers!

So, as the two other writers have done in their past stories they’ve done these ominous “To be continued” things, and I’m joining that bandwagon. Mainly because we’re all seniors in high school and trying to graduate while also trying to take over the world through this website. So, we’re a little busy. But we try to keep stories up for your enjoyment on time.

I hope you enjoyed this one.

Memento mori,

Melissa

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