Over at the official Sims 4 forums, they have a short story challenge every month. Here’s the thread: Short Story Challenge.
This month’s theme was “lost”. The rules are only 12 pics and only 1500 words. Those limits were hard for me, but I stuck to them. This story comes in at a cool 1499 words. 😉
And here it is!
Daddy could tell they were coming. He said it was in the shape of the waves.
I said, “There ain’t no waves.”
He nodded and called me “astute,” and then he said, “That’s how you know. When the water gets real still and calm and the fish don’t bite. The fish know they’re coming too.”
I’d never seen them come. I’d heard stories from before I was born, though.
They had blue skin and white hair and they were the most beautiful people ever and they walked all smooth and rolling like water and their voices could make a sailor wreck his ship on the shore, and they were cold. So cold that touching them would freeze a normal person.
Some people said they were the spirits of people who’d drowned out in the water. Other people said they were mermaids who came up on land and walked on legs like real people when they got hungry. To me they sounded like noble fairies from an underwater kingdom, and maybe they came to our town for state visits.
I’d tell stories to myself at bedtime about a blue lady with flowing white hair coming to negotiate trade routes with old Mayor Pancakes, and in between the talks she’d fall in love with a human boy. She’d have to leave and go back to her underwater kingdom, which was blue and white and silver and way more elegant than anything we have up here, and the human boy would be so sad and forlorn without her that he’d throw himself into the water, right off the pier we were standing on, so at least maybe his body would float down to be with his love. It was all very tragical and exciting.
I couldn’t wait to see them.
Daddy felt differently.
He said, “No use staying out here. Fish are too scared to bite anyway. We’d best get home and tell everybody.” He reeled in his fishing pole.
“You got lots of books at home? Gonna be inside for a while.”
“Aww man, really?”
“Yes, really. You’ve heard the stories.”
I looked out at the water. I imagined them coming up out of it, blue skin and white hair dripping.
I said, “Yeah, I got that one book I gotta read before school starts up.”
We walked up the pier and back towards the house. Where I knew I wasn’t gonna stay.
When we got home Momma was making lunch and Aaron was watching some silly cartoon. He always woke up too late to go fishing.
I couldn’t stand the thought of being stuck in here with just him to talk to. He never wanted to talk about anything cool. It was always about ponies or wrestling or flowers or whatever with him. I’d try to tell him stories about the blue ladies and he’d just look at me funny.
I’d have to fix him this time though, to where he wouldn’t go out of the house. He couldn’t take care of himself like I could. Didn’t want him getting ate up or drowned or anything.
I sat down next to him on the couch.
At first he was like, “Blue ladies again?” but I told him no, this time was different. I told him that me and Daddy had seen the signs that they were coming for real.
I told him about how slimy their skin is, and how it feels like wet noodles all over when they touch you. I told him about their huge yellow smelly teeth, and how they’d eat you from your pinky toe on up, slicing you up with them big old teeth.
He said, “I thought you was always going on about how pretty they are with their fancy dresses and dolled up hair. You never talked about them being people eaters before.”
That was true. He’d stumped me there. Didn’t take me long to figure it out, though.
“No, see, that was before. Me and Daddy saw a real one this time. They ain’t like I thought they were. The one we saw near about ate me up! It stunk to high heaven, and it was snapping them teeth right at my pinky toe when Daddy came and got me and we ran away.”
I’d fixed him good. He was too terrified to move, much less leave the house.
Daddy had finished telling Momma all about it by then. She came over and gave us the grilled cheese sandwiches she’d been making. She told us to stay inside, that it was dangerous out there with them coming around and snatching people up.
Aaron nodded at her, still all big-eyed and scared.
I took a bite of my grilled cheese, and I started figuring out my plan.
I waited until everyone was snoring. Then I got up, very quietly, and got dressed, also very quietly.
It was hard being quiet. I was so excited. But I didn’t jump up and down and I didn’t cheer and I didn’t laugh. I was quiet as a hound dog sleeping in the yard on Sunday.
The house was silent except for the buzzing of the fridge. I was a bit scared, to tell the truth. What if Momma got up for a midnight snack, or Daddy wanted a glass of water?
They’d said we weren’t to go out under any circumstances. I’d asked, “Even if the house is on fire?” and I just got a Look from Momma in response.
Nobody came out into the living room. I closed the front door behind me, gently as I could.
I was out.
And it was very very cold.
When I got to the pier, she was there.
She had blue skin and white flowing hair, just like I imagined. She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
It got colder with every step I took towards her.
I called out to her, “Hello?”
I couldn’t hear my own voice I was so nervous, but she heard it somehow. She turned her dark blue eyes on me.
My legs were shaking and I didn’t know if she was going to open her mouth and eat me with her giant yellow smelly teeth or if she was going to throw me in the water and drown me or what. I shouldn’t have come. I should have listened to Momma and Daddy and I should have stayed in bed where it was warm and no one wanted to eat me.
She said, “Hello.” Her voice sounded like a glacier breaking open an ocean liner.
I was frozen stiff. I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t even think. She just stood there, looking at me. Maybe she was sizing me up for dinner. Hopefully she’d think that a child was too little to eat and that I’d be all stringy and mostly bone with no meat.
She spoke again, and in her voice I could hear the screams of the drowned.
“Maribel, it’s all right. I’m not going to eat you.”
Now how did she know my name?! That got me so curious that I unfroze a bit. I walked up closer to her. Her lips were pale silver and she had white dots on the sides of her cheeks. I wondered if maybe that was where her gills were when she was in the water.
She smiled at me.
She said, “I just finished talking to Mayor Pancakes about the trade routes. I saw you out walking around, and I decided to wait for you. I’ve never seen any of you people but the mayor. Why do you all avoid me?”
I didn’t think. I just splurted out, “Because you’re going to eat us all and drown us!”
She laughed. I felt the tides in her voice pulling at me.
She said, “Oh no, honey. I would never eat you and I would never drown anyone. It’s not something I’d put anyone else through.”
It took me a few moments to register what she’d said.
She nodded. “It was many years ago, before even your parents were born.”
I felt sad then, sad like an ocean of water pressing down on me. I was sad for her and for the people who’d loved her and for all the people who were lying scared and still in their beds tonight.
I walked right up to her and hugged her. She felt a little slimy, but it wasn’t too bad.
She said “Thank you.”
Then she was gone. Right over the pier and into the water, back down to her blue and white and silver kingdom.
She’d taken a piece of me with her. There was a hole in me now, and it wouldn’t be filled until I went into the water too.
I looked out at the water, at how still and silent it was. Like a grave.
But it wasn’t time for that yet.
I turned around and headed home, leaving a trail of water behind me.