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Vengeful Echo

by Not Active about a year ago in fantasy
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A classic greek tragedy modernized.

Echo & Narcissus Sketch by Madison Norman

Looking across the glass, her tussled black hair lay down her back.

She called out for him again.

“FAREWELL…”, the broken voice reverberated over the lake and across the valley, FAREwell…, bouncing off the mountains, FARewell…, the last goodbye running farther from her rosy lips, FArewell…, fading into the morning light, Farewell… farewell…

With her own voice being the only response, she choked back tears, tightening her grip around her knees. No longer could the young, beautiful woman feel the icy water nibbling at her toes as she sat on the edge of the lake.

Now, dear reader, you have just met our heroine. A name as unique as her stunning features, eyes the color of amethyst, accompanied by a perfectly slanted button nose freckled from days in the sun: Echo was a sight to behold.

Once a storyteller, a vivid and lengthy raconteur accompanied by a voice full of song; she now sat statuesque, with only the word “farewell” stuck to her tongue. His last utterance unto the universe, the final word she heard him speak.

It wasn’t just his voice that had originally attracted her to him months back, nor was it his handsome features. But the fact that during the summer of 2020, marking her 5th year in hiding, this stunning man outsmarted the enchantment she had placed upon the hidden valley. It was his wit and attention to detail that ultimately drew the attraction.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, dear reader.

Our sweet Echo had become a master in the art of invisibility since the day of her exile. She had been met by a cruel fate for hiding the deviant actions of her boss, the chief editor of the world’s top newsletter, The Oracle, from his hawk-eyed wife. He later revealed himself to be the King of gods, Zeus, and had tricked her in to aiding him in his schemes against his spouse, the Queen of gods, Hera. Because of this, everything she valued was taken from her. Without a dime to her name, given every ounce of the blame, the poor woman was banished; now immortalized by Hera for this scandal. All the young exile could do was run away to the small, undocumented cabin left to her by her parents after they had passed.

Not before the vengeful goddess took away the last thing she valued most: her voice.

And with this final curse, only allowed to repeat that of the last word spoken to her for all eternity, Echo fled to the lonely cottage hidden deep in the valley of Mount Cithaeron.

After some years, she found peace. Trading fruit she learned to grow during the summers of her youth with villagers down at the base of the mountain to survive, teaching herself the art of sewing and weaving for entertainment; life had finally begun anew.

That is, until he arrived.

A tear streamed down her cheek as she relived every moment. First, she was his stalker; still unaware even in this moment that she had always been his prey. The two never met, but she reminisced on how her heart became his in mere moments. Echo’s vision blurred in remembering how she woke up that first day of summer. She could tell by the smell of the air as she sat up from her slumber and stretched her arms that the final flowers had bloomed. Jumping out of bed, she stripped off her nightgown and raced toward the lake to bathe.

Once completing her morning routine, she re-entered the woods, air-drying her way back. She was just about to reach the final stretch before she heard…

A voice.

A singing voice.

A MAN’S singing voice.

She paused on the dirt trail, then quickly ducked behind a fir tree, bare feet as quiet as her voiceless lips.

“Impossible,” she thought, “my spell couldn’t have allowed any human nor god to enter.”

Echo waited as the familiar song grew louder. She pressed her hands hard against the tree bark in anticipation. Peeking around the trunk, she saw a sight that took her breath away.

Him.

“Shall I stay?

Would it be a sin?

If I can't help falling in love with you,” sang the dark haired, shirtless man. A white hiking backpack sat on his shoulders, hands hanging off the straps, while a pair of white running shorts hugged his tanned, chiseled waistline. Echo, entranced by this god-like man, fought to keep about her wits. Scanning him up and down, she noticed a gold chain hung around his neck with a key attatched. And in his pocket, a small, black book peaked out.

“Like a river flows…

Surely to the sea…

Darling, so it goes.

Some things,

Are meant to be!”

His vibrato rang throughout the valley as she watched him stop in a small clearing and shrug off his bag. She continued to watch as the man set up his camp.

Confused yet agog, Echo raced home to dress. Helios’ rays peaked through the cracks of the wooden roof, gliding across her dark skin as she excitedly dressed herself in a structured, white cotton gown. Fitted at the waist, the puff-sleeved dress was the nicest she owned. She brushed her drying hair in a hurry with her mother’s silver comb before glancing in the dusty mirror adjacent to the doorway. She then raced out the cabin door, drawn yet again to the young man’s singing…

Her reflection rippled as a tear fell next to Echo’s toes, breaking her doleful trance. Looking up, tears streamed from her eyes.

For months she remembered watching him. Listening to him sing the same song, day after day, Elvis’ tune lighting up her world. She would follow him as a shadow, unable to gather as to what he was searching for, how he had gotten in, or what he was so diligently documenting in the notebook he always kept close. Even in his sleep, the man held the black book in one hand, golden key around his neck in the other.

Each day she observed, all the time dreaming of the moment she would muster up the courage to approach him. To her, the importance of watching his every move was everything…

“For nothing else in the world mattered but to win him,” she thought.

Her eyes then returned to the now-stilled spot in the lake where Narcissus had obsessed over, ceaselessly staring at himself. Echo took a deep breath, staring down the sad woman looking back at her, beginning to remember the morning she found him already gone. Though his things were still there, the beautiful man had disappeared. Echo staked out his camp for three days, not leaving her spot for a moment. With no avail, panic ensued. Afraid he may had found trouble by the water, her feet took wing.

And there, his face an inch above the lake, laid the man. The notebook sat untouched by his side. He looked malnourished, dehydrated, but stayed there, still, staring at himself in awe. Realizing he had to have been enchanted, Echo raced over just as he began to slide into the water. Too late in her rescue, he slipped away from her, exclaiming,

“Oh, marvelous boy, I loved you in vain! Farewell.”

“FAREWELL!”, screamed Echo, tears blurring her vision. He was too heavy for her petite, full figure to try and lift from the water. Exhausted from lack of food and sleep, she sat frozen on the edge of the lakeshore as he slipped away into the deep depths before her.

Here, dear reader, is where we first met our heroine. Summer’s final day followed the end of what could have been, leaving our Echo in pieces.

After sitting stagnant for another day, she began to pull herself together. Resilience was a trait that she had become familiar with, and in that resilience, she grabbed the young man’s notebook and stood, taking another glance over the lake that consumed her love. There, beneath where she had been sitting, a glimmer caught her eye. It was the necklace; key still attached.

The urge to pick it up and find it’s matching lock took over. Echo grabbed the necklace and ran. Past the small grove of olive trees, around the singular pomegranate tree that marked the half-way point home, deeper into the fir trees she ran, until stumbling upon the stark white backpack in the clearing. Sitting before the bag, she rummaged through it, finding it to be surprisingly empty. The only item found was stored in a hidden pocket sewn into the bottom.

Smooth, rectangular, and heavy, Echo pulled out the golden box. Opening it with the key, a large stack of freshly printed €100 stared back at her. She pulled them out, shocked, as a note fell from beneath the money. She quickly picked it up and began reading.

01/NOV/2015

Narcissus

I, Queen of Olympus, thank you for your service. By finding this woman and riding her of the world, you are saving the monarchy. The Oracle awaits to hear of and publish your heroic journey. Enclosed is your preliminary €20,000 cash payment. The final payment will be due on your pending return, so long as proof of termination is provided.

Ensure she drinks the potion given. It will force her to fall deeply in love with her own reflection, and peacefully, painlessly, drown herself in the nearest body of water.

You are known to be the best tracker of all mankind. Disappointment is no option.

HRH

Hera

Echo dropped the box and letter from her hands. The freshly minted bills scattered around her knees as her heart raced. She grabbed the bag and shook it upside down, emptying the pockets. Unable to find the vile, her eyes darted around the camp. With no luck, she then picked up the notebook. Opening it, she read:

01/NOV/2015

ECHO-Entry1

I have been tasked with what will soon to be one of my greatest achievements. Today begins yet another hunt…

Echo impatiently flipped through the small book to the later entries. Chapters flew by as she learned that he had been tracking her all this time, obsessing over her for years. Accomplishing the impossible in finding a hole in her enchantment near the north side of the lake.

21/JUNE/2015

ECHO-Entry1695

Finally, after years of tracking, I have arrived in the valley of Echo. Her beauty struck me, as upon my arrival, she was bathing in the lake. This is the perfect place for her ultimate demise. I shall set up camp close to her home and allow her to stalk me while finding her weaknesses. By winter’s first day, she will join Hades…

Echo’s eyes watered, flipping through each entry. She had been demonized by monsters. But in reading on, she found that this Narcissus was a lot smarter than even the gods themselves anticipated…

19/SEPT/2015

ECHO-Entry1785

No longer can I stand my task.

This mission has been self-terminated.

To my sweet Echo, I have fallen madly in love. Your innocence is proven by your very nature. When you look away, I gaze upon your beauty. You have infiltrated my dreams, my thoughts, my heart.

I cannot spend another moment knowing that I have in my possession your wrongful death. In your place I shall fall. For the only way to rid the potion from existence… is consumption.

My wish for you, sweet Echo, is to carry on a new mission against those who have torn us apart in life. This book contains all the information you will need in order to succeed in this quest.

Take the money. Avenge my death.

You have brought me peace, sweet Echo.

I will await you on the beaches of Acheron.

-Narcissus

Now, dear reader, revenge is a force that even the gods should tremble for. And for the first time in years… Echo’s voice sang aloud.

“Like a river flows,

Surely to the sea.

Darling, so it goes…

Some things are meant to be.”

It sang a deep, slow, mournful tune, in commemoration of her love. Picking up the scattered money, our heroine packed up the bag and began making her way down the mountain. Each footstep landed upon the trail with a thud, resounding throughout the valley, sending woodland creatures to the hills, inciting panic down in the village below.

The force of a woman scorned.

With eyes locked in a piercing glare, her spellbinding voice drove her forward. Onward to end those who had betrayed her, to burn the city that made her. With the black notebook in hand, the golden chain clasped around her neck, Echo’s deep sadness sang on:

“Take my hand.

Take my whole life, too…

For I can't help

Falling in love with you.

For I

Can't

Help

Falling

In love

With

You...”

fantasy

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