Still Waters

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!

Still Waters

11-28-15_5-46-48 PM

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.”

11-28-15_5-47-41 PM

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.

11-28-15_5-49-36 PM

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.”

“Good girl.”

We walked up the pier and back towards the house. Where I knew I wasn’t gonna stay.

11-28-15_8-45-10 PM

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.

11-28-15_8-54-21 PM

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.”

11-28-15_8-59-01 PM

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.

11-28-15_11-04-58 PM

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.

11-28-15_11-06-59 PM

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.

11-28-15_11-07-44 PM

I was out.

And it was very very cold.

11-29-15_11-14-25 AM

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.

“You…drowned?”

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.

11-29-15_11-22-38 AM

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.

11-29-15_11-23-51 AM

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.

 

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27 Responses to Still Waters

  1. Niura says:

    When you shared the first sentence on the forum i thought “ok, this will be a creepy story”. Then i saw the picture of the little girl fishing with her dad and thought i could be wrong.

    Well, i wasn’t 😀 and it was an awesome story. I love how it’s also cute but still send the chills down your spine at the same time.

    (I’m Nory on the forum btw) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • medleymisty says:

      Yay I’m glad you liked it! Also I feel kind of weird knowing people actually look at my posts, lol. 😉

      Honestly usually at the end of one of my stories the little girl would have totally thrown herself into the water or been thrown there, but I don’t know. This story didn’t feel quite like that. 😉

      Like

  2. Scribbles says:

    Well, they really do leave holes in people and drown them. It just takes a while. Water ghost death!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. RoseOakMoon says:

    I loved this from start to finish. I adored that you used the child as the narrator and that you didn’t make her grammar perfect (because it wouldn’t be, for most children). I liked that the legends were right and wrong at the same time.

    And that ending is just perfect. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      Yay thank you!!! You are the mostest best awesome friend ever! *hugs you A LOT*

      Actually I was using the dialect I grew up with here, as I often do. 🙂 i wouldn’t know at all how to write one that I didn’t speak, but growing up in a small southern rural Appalachian town I know this one pretty well.

      I’m glad you liked the ending! It’s not the usual DEATH and DESPAIR and ETERNAL TORMENT that I like to do, but the story didn’t feel quite like that once I came to it, although I was originally planning on that sort of ending.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. raerei says:

    She’s going to grow up to be a famous writer or artist of some kind. Since people with holes in them make spectacular art. And she’ll be drawn to the water all her life, fascinated and repelled. Until one day…. 😀

    Thanks for sharing – I love how this stories is half feel-good and half-terrifying! And I agree the water lady is gorgeous.

    Liked by 3 people

    • medleymisty says:

      Oh wow, thank you for such an awesome comment! 🙂 I like the observation about people with holes and art.

      I put all the characters up on the gallery, including the three I made and ended up not having space for. My origin ID is medleymisty, and the little girl’s family is the Schaefers and the water family is the Jacobsens. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. violincat says:

    So, it totally made me think of Selkie lore, for some reason. The lady being related to water and all. That’s an interesting twist– she’s actually not evil and interracts with a local official!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is fantastic! I love the originality of the blue lady. She’s a spirit, but she has a physical form, but it’s not a typical “undead” form… there’s more than enough information, but she’s still open to interpretation.

    And Maribel is adorable! Loved that part where she was scaring her brother. XD I wouldn’t mind seeing a follow-up with Maribel in her adult years, if inspiration happens to hit. Would she have maintained contact with the blue lady? Or will she just have the one encounter to cling to?

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      Yay! *hugs you a lot*

      Honestly it’s just that blue is the only non-human skin color Sims 4 has in CAS. Well – maybe it has green too? But I knew it was going to be about water so I went with blue.

      I like Maribel too! Actually all the characters have Jewish names, and I liked Maribel because my favorite Dragon Warrior VII character was named Maribel. 🙂

      I am going to keep doing the short story challenges at the officials every month, so we’ll see if she comes up again for a different theme. 🙂

      Like

  7. RipuAncestor says:

    Yay for water ghosts! This story was beautiful, as always, and I really liked how you captured the voice of the child narrator. The build up for the water ghosts did a great job for setting up great atmosphere for the fairly pleasant meeting, and I like how the slightly creepy text contrasts with the super colourful pictures. Also, the water related metaphors and descriptions were really clever.

    For some reason the first description about the blue people made me think of the Groke from the Moomins. Maybe it was the part when they said that the water ghosts are cold and could freeze people with their touch. So when the blue lady hugged Maribel I was sure she really would freeze her. But I’m glad it didn’t happen. Or maybe her freezing is slower and happens from the inside now. That’s probably even worse. And awesome in more than one meaning of the word.

    Liked by 2 people

    • medleymisty says:

      Thank you! 🙂

      It was my first time doing a story with actual Sims in Sims 4, so that was cool. I mean, obviously not that much really changes from game to game, but it still felt a bit weird and new and exciting.

      Sims 4 is a very colorful game. But I like contrasts, so that works for me.

      Yeah, sometimes I like to break out the accent/dialect that I grew up with for my stories. It seemed to work for this story pretty well.

      I will have to google this Groke from the Moomins! And yeah, I think if the freezing does happen it’s slower and from the inside.

      *hugs you a lot*

      Liked by 1 person

      • RipuAncestor says:

        The Groke is a character who single-handedly traumatised at least two generations of kids in Finland, Scandinavia and possibly elsewhere too. But she’s a great character, really, and just wants to be loved. I definitely recommend the Moomins -series by Tove Jansson. It’s been made into comics, books, and several TV-series, but I personally like the books the most. I think they are the most philosophical out of all the Moomin-things (although almost all Moomin-related things are beautiful and philosophical).

        Like

  8. Hey! So I finally made my way over here. And I’m so glad that I did. I really enjoyed your short story! It was sad and poignant with those eerie elements where one wonders what exactly is going on. And your main character, I love how you wrote her and how she was so curious about these people she didn’t even know really existed. I also like how you left the ending open and allude to something, making the reader question the girls’ role and connection to the lady from the water. I really enjoyed this story. Thank you for sharing it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • medleymisty says:

      Yay I’m all happy that you liked it! 🙂 *does a dance of happiness and liking*

      I like my little Maribel. Maybe I will write more with her in the future. We’ll see if any of the other monthly short story prompts resonate with her story.

      Thank you for reading it and commenting! Thank you really really really a lot for that.

      I do like open endings. 🙂 And curiosity! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. cathytea says:

    I love the way that Maribel talks and I love her stories! I agree with Rae–she’s going to be an awesome artist or writer or dancer! (if the water doesn’t lure her first!)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. sabreene says:

    I loved this whole story, from start to finish. And that last line, “leaving a trail of water behind me”, was so perfect. You were relieved the blue lady was nice, as they hugged, but at that last line you realized the full depth of what had just happened. I could feel her forever haunted by the sea, feeling it’s lure. As someone mentioned earlier, it also reminded me of selkies. I could imagine this as an celtic tale. Wonderful work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      Oh my gosh, thank you yay!!!! 🙂 *hugs the nice good writer person*

      One thing I thought of today – it’s a nice parallel with the story she imagined at the beginning, with the human boy falling in love with the blue lady and flinging himself into the water. So the being forever haunted and the lure thing all sound right to me. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Such an enjoyable read! But then, I actually collect mermaid stuff (I’ve always had a thing for mermaids/sirens/undines/water elements/insert watery supernatural creature here) so once it was established some sort of water-based supernatural something was going to be coming, I was like, “Aww ya!” And man I loved her design. I want to think I was touched by one of those water ghosts but just haven’t found my way to the ocean yet. It would explain my strange affinity to water… and why I had to fill in strange holes with silly putty. ^_~

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      Aww, that’s cool! 🙂 I remember “undine” from a My Little Pony episode – the original 80s one. 🙂

      Thank you! The Sims 4 CAS seems pretty limited compared to Sims 3, so I’m glad you liked how she came out.

      *imagines you walking around all silly-puttified* 🙂

      Like

  12. Beth says:

    Oh wow, this is gorgeous! The unearthly versus the banal, usually banal is down for the count by round one, but it turns out the unearthly is the far end of normal, not a separate thing at all. Your descriptions are always so lovely. The yearning for fairyland and the real bodily fear of a particularly nasty death by a blue person with yellow teeth.

    I feel for her poor brother. What do her mother and father know? Is it a tale to scare children, or do they know? How did the blue woman drown? Why is she there? How does she know Our Heroine by name? Hmmm…

    Beautiful writing. It is always a pleasure!

    Like

    • medleymisty says:

      Yay thank you!!!! 🙂

      The Sims 4 CAS doesn’t allow for much on the unearthly end yet, especially if you insist on staying vanilla like me. 😉 I do like the blue woman a lot though.

      I had thought of it as a real thing while I was writing. It’s just that the adults are more scared than maybe they should be. You know, my usual fascination with the Other and with prejudice and fear. So there really are blue people who come and walk the village every once in a while, but they aren’t as scary and dangerous as the tales passed down about them make them out to be. So they’re pretty lonely, really, and they wonder why everyone avoids them and stays shut up in their houses when they come.

      The knowing by name thing was a bit of Surreal Darkness slipping in, I think. 😉 It’s been cool playing with the darkness being able to hear the narrator’s thoughts, and I guess I had that general idea in mind here – an Other who knows more about you than you know about them, through means you don’t quite understand.

      As for how she drowned – I don’t know. I think while I was writing I just assumed your usual shipwreck centuries ago. But who knows, maybe she also encountered a blue person and then went to join them.

      *hugs you A LOT* 🙂 Thank you very very very much.

      Like

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