Echo {RW}

The echo of voices started soft. A siren song luring the mind deeper into the darkness. She knew she shouldn’t approach. Her mother had told her to avoid the voice when it came for her. 

The first time she had heard the voice was when she was ten. For a decade she had fought it off in her nightmares. It would come in the grey of the night as the wind lulled her to sleep. It started as a distant wordless vocalization that grew closer with each breath. She learned that voice was beautiful, but it could not be followed. She had to pretend that she did not hear its twisting serenade harmonizing with itself as the echo grew.

She had once asked her mother what the voice was. Her mother had claimed that the voice was calling them home. Her mother believed that they had left some strange land to come to this one. The voice was a calling to return, but they could not. Their homeland was dangerous, terrible; they had left it on purpose.

When she was younger, she had wondered from what sort of magical world the voice came from. She dreamed of going on an adventure to some far-off land with powerful magic. Yet, reality was far from beautiful. When she had first heard the voice, all she had felt was terror. The voice had evoked something within her, ancient and true. The voice would be her end.

Those of her ancient blood passed the stories and warnings of the voice, each to fall victim in time. The voice had taken her mother five years prior and brother two years before that. Her father had grown despondent in their disappearance, caving in on himself. She could not leave him.

Waking from the dream was always the hardest part, harder in recent years. She had to find a string of reality to center herself: something tangible. She reached for her father’s snores, the crisp caress of the wind, and the hard wood of her bed. She could feel nothing; the voice had called her too far already. Still she reached, still she tried.

She tried to ignore the way that the black turned to red and shadows danced in the peripheral of her vision. She tried to focus on something other than the light that beckoned her to follow and the voice that was breathing down her neck. The song reverberated and bounced, filling the strange place with a continual chant.

She reached for the feeling of the moonlight on her skin. She sought the sound of the cracking floor boards as the house moaned and swayed. She felt for her wool sheets. Her hands gripped what felt like the softest silk, something impossible in her life yet tangible all the same.

Then a hum began barging its way into her soul and shaking her bones. The low buzz filled her heart and cried for her to join it. Should she join it, she wondered, would she too be taken? Did she want to go? The long monotonous hum did not end as the figures glided about her and the singing voice returned to its enchanting melody.

Come to me, it said. All she could remember was her mother crying at her to wake up. Follow me. She pictured her brother’s empty bed and her father’s sobs. Be with me. She thought of her father’s haunted eyes focused on nothing. He too would be taken, soon.

She tried not to listen. She tried to shut it out, to close her eyes, to find any semblance of home. Yet, the more she wanted home, the more she forgot home. The more that she thought of the night, all she could remember was day. Red turned to green and fear turned to joy.

Perhaps she was to listen to the voice. Perhaps the voice was correct. All she had to do was follow it. Her mother had gone with the voice. Her brother had gone with the voice. One day she and her father would have to join them. Why not now?

Where did one go when they no longer existed?

Threads slipped through her fingers as she stepped forward to meet the dawn.

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