This is my entry for the weekly prompt: SPLASH
Edited on Canva
Dried twigs and fallen branches of several enormous trees crackled under the thick soles of a drunken man’s boots as he swayed his way towards the source of the splashing water. The melodious cacophony of droplets, coming from what he imagined as a waterfall, entertained his sense of hearing, soothing the pain in his wounded heart. His wife passed away a few days ago, so spent his nights drinking at his wife’s graveyard, weeping, and hoping that doing such could ease the discomfort of his broken heart.
The sound of rushing water became louder as he approached the area. He looked up at the sky, searching for the moon that was hidden above the blanket of the canopy of the gigantic trees.
“What a bright moon we have here,” he said, followed by a hiccup. “I wish my wife could see it, too.”
He kept walking until his eyes laid on a sparkling body of water, some steps away from him. Its surface reflected the luminous queen of the night in its full form.
“I wish Mary could see this.” He walked closer to the river, feeling the forming desert in his throat. The soft rustle of the flowing water sounded sweet to him, hypnotizing. He tossed the empty bottle of whiskey and strode until…
A woman’s voice echoed from a distance. A voice dear to him.
“Mary? Is that you?”
He rushed to where he heard the voice calling, not minding the vines and some thorny bushes scraping his bare legs. The subtle wind kissed his cheeks as if it was Mary kissing him. He stopped when a cluster of blue spider-grass sprouted from nowhere, dominating the resident bushes at the edge of the river.
“Mary? Honey? Are you there?”
Water splattered under his step when he ran to the river upon seeing a woman’s silhouette in the middle of the running water. When he was at the center, his knees buckled from energy loss and drunkenness.
He screamed his wife’s name, and then something cold hugged him from behind. An amount of water formed like two arms cuddling him, drawing him to the depth of the river. Before succumbing to the icy embrace, he had a glimpse of Mary’s somber face, mouthing the words, “I LOVE YOU.”
Javier opened his eyes to the blinding hospital lights without a recollection of what happened to him. He was greeted by his mother and his mother-in-law, who both looked anxious. He smiled at them as if nothing serious had happened.
“Mom? Why the long face?”
“I thought we’re gonna lose you, too.”
Javier furrowed his brows, not getting the hint.
“We’ve been looking for you for three nights. And guess where we found you?”
“At a cave. All muddy and soaking wet.”
The two ladies cringed at the last words.
“The weird thing is that there are no bodies of water nearby, and it didn’t rain during the days that you were gone,” his mother-in-law said. “I know that Mary’s passing has saddened you, but please take care of yourself. Your mom told me you’ve been spending days at Mary’s graveyard.”
He smiled at his mother-in-law.
“I love Mary, and I’ve accepted that she was gone.”
Javier’s eyes were smiling. No trace of pain and agony could be seen from them.
Although confused, the old lady smiled. “How could someone move on from the death of a loved one that quick?” she asked herself.
Several days upon discharge, Javier went on with his life as if nothing traumatic and poignant had happened, as if Mary hadn’t died. But instead of feeling happy for him, Sylvia, his mother, became anxious about his demeanor. And so, one day, she visited Mary’s grave and investigated the area.
She had searched the dense edge of the cemetery but found nothing. When she was about to go home, she came across two locals, wearing odd and fancy outfits.
The girl, who was in her early twenties, wore a long skirt, reaching her ankles, and a long sleeves top made of cotton fabric. She was all cheerful, but the man beside her was somber. His lips were stretched into a forced smile, and his eyes were gloomy with dark circles. His stare was empty like he was spacing out. The guy still looked alive, but his vitality had been drained from him.
“Excuse me,” Sylvia called. “May I ask where the closest river here is?”
The girl gave her a sharp glance, like her question annoyed her. But in a blink, her jovial face was back again.
“There’s no river here.”
Sylvia’s eyes locked on the guy. It was only then that she noticed that his brown trousers were drenched.
“Are you sure there’s no river here? Why is this man wet down?”
The deadly glare of the girl shocked Sylvia.
“It’s none of your business! Get lost!”
Sylvia’s knees shook at what she heard, but despite the unreadiness of the reaction she received, she walked home, still bothered by what happened.
As she reached their house, she noticed her neighbors flocked to Mando’s house. She hurriedly stepped closer to the crowd and asked what was going on.
“Mando went missing this morning. His wife has been looking for him. She said he went out to get his goat fed, but he hasn’t come back yet,” a neighbor said.
“Mando is not coming back,” said a shaky voice of an old man. He then stepped out to be seen by everyone. “The malicious nymph has him.”
It was then that Sylvia remembered a folktale that her grandmother would tell them when they were children.
“Olvidare,” she muttered. “Are you talking about him?” she asked the hermit.
“You aren’t wrong,” he replied.
“I heard about its story. He was a young man whom a nymph once loved, but he didn’t return her affection. It maddened the nymph, so she turned him into a vanishing river, and whoever touch the water from it would forget all the misery they are experiencing. No one, but only the ones blinded by sadness, could find it.”
“That’s also correct. And you have met her, haven’t you?”
“The nymph. You saw her with Mando.”
“What?! No!” she denied, but then she stopped. “Wait! I’ve seen a young woman with a miserable man on my way here. Is that Mando? I didn’t recognize him with his gaunt face and dark circles.”
The hermit nodded, and the flock was silenced by shock.
“She has been collecting men in misery, feeding them with her promise of freedom from depression. She lures them into her embrace, pretending to be a wife or a girlfriend to any grieving man. Then she would take them with her. Isn’t your son acting weird recently?”
Sylvia nodded hesitantly.
“Now, go back to him before it’s too late,” the hermit said.
Hearing the warning, she frantically ran to Javier.
She stumbled several times, but she kept going. When she reached Javier’s house, she called for him. No one answered. She ran to the room. No one was there.
“Javier!” she cried.
She went to the backyard and saw her son being hugged by a familiar figure. What surprised her more was the amount of water that flooded the garden. The water was high, almost reaching Javier’s waist.
The girl gave her a taunting and insulting look.
“Let my son go, you filthy nymph!”
She ran towards Javier, but the girl who copied Mary’s face was quick to drag Javier away from his mother. Sylvia couldn’t do anything but watch the nymph leave with Javier, leaving a splash of water.
Raw, real and brilliantly done. Absolutely top notch ❤️🤗💕
Thank you @itsostylish. Hearing that from a top-notch writer is inspiring. ^_^
Thank you for boosting my post, too 😍
Oh gosh! I'm loving this story. It was well-written with addictive emotions behind it. I felt so sad, angry, and shocked by every transition in the story. I didn't expect the ending though. Well done!
I'm grateful for the appreciation. ^_^
Fantastically real, if that’s a genre. If it’s not, you’ve started a trend. This story cuts to the bone, it’s harsh, heartbreaking and enthralling, all in one. The emotion rides on a wave throughout and peaks in dreadful sorrow. Stunningly beautiful. Wonderful work.
This tale is fabulous, that’s my assessment, but The Ink Well’s rules dictate that authors avoid violence. Something you might want to bear in mind.
Thank you for engaging with other authors on the platform
@theinkwell Thank you for the compliment. My apologies if there is a violent scene (I couldn't remember having one though 😅).
I'll be careful next time.
hello @idlemind !!! it's so good to see you again!!! i missed reading your works for real. this is so awesome, i am in awe
@rene.neverfound Hi, there! It's been a while. Have you been on hiatus? I haven't seen your post in a while, or I just wasn't that active for several days, or natabunan ng ibang following ko mga posts mo? 😅
Still hoping to be as brilliant as you in writing, hehe. ^_^
helloo, @idlemind !!! ive been in a hiatus talaga huhu because our school was unforgiving noong 4th quarter, this vacation lang nakabalik.
nakoooo, nahiya naman ako huhu,i admire you sa mga sinusulat mong stories din kasi i often get stuck when writing one!
@rene.neverfound looking forward to seeing your story here. ^_^
Pero malapit na ulit ang pasukan, hehe
yes po, malapit na huhuhu what grade are you in na @idlemind ?
@rene.neverfound working na ko ^_^ IELTS instructor.
halaaa omg poo, atee po talaga kita sabi na eh. good to know about that po!!!
This is mind-blowing, raw, and incredibly written. Every word shows the way the ink moves. I enjoyed the time used on this.
Thank you for appreciating my story, and for saying that it's worth the read. 😊
Well It does worth every second.😊😊
Thank you so much.😊
You are very much welcome.
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Congratulations, @idlemind! This story was selected for The Ink Well weekly highlights magazine: https://peakd.com/hive-170798/@theinkwell/the-ink-well-highlights-magazine-66
@jayna thank you, admin, and @theinkwell for making my story part of the magazine again. It's such an honor.