Beachside Resorts are boring. Or so Danni thought. She had escaped to get away from it all. The noise, the bustle, the people. It had all been too much. It all weighed on her like a heavy sack that was draped from her shoulders. The oppressiveness closing her throat off from the fresh air that she needed.
Climbing up from the hill behind the resort had been her only way of escape. She bit hard on her lip till she drew blood. The conversation that she had heard made her blood turn hot, but cold all at the same time. She had heard her parents arguing. Well, parent. Her stepmother was the farthest thing from a true parent. She had heard them with her door closed and with headphones in her ear, which attested to the loudness of the discussion.
“Why did we even bring her? If you had even an ounce of sight, you’d be able to see that she doesn’t want to be here. “The voice of her stepmother was harsh, but coy. The way she had been since the very first day that she had stolen her father’s attention. Danni couldn’t believe that the woman had truly stolen her father’s heart. How could a man be so desperate that he couldn’t see how wrong she was?
She stomped her foot and yelped as her toes smashed into the front of a rock. She hobbled a bit and cursed under her breath, the words burning her own ears. She knew her real mother would have washed her mouth out with soap for using such language but trying to forget had become a habit for Danni.
Her father had sighed, and she had peaked around the corner to catch the look of despair, confusion and disorientation on his face. She would look in his usually bright eyes and find the dull and lost look there and it broke her heart. “I just wanted us to be a family, like. . .” He broke off and looked up at his wife as if he was worried she read what the rest of his sentence was going to be.
No such luck. She must have known because the anger that came spewing out of her caught them both off guard and she found herself catching a glimpse of her father, flinching as well.
“I just wish you would send her away! She doesn’t want to be here and you are always dragging her around and she is being a burden! She doesn’t belong in this family! Can’t you see that?”
Danni’s heart had stopped. He knees gave out and she slunk down to the floor, gripping her gut as if someone had destroyed her from the inside out. She had never heard anything so vindictive.
She now steamed her way up the wooded hill, dodging rocks, branches and bushes and almost not caring if se were to trip and fall and never be heard from again.
She missed her mom. She would never have acted the same way that her step-mom had.
A wall loomed up in front of her and she pulled to a stop, still slamming into it but avoiding hurting herself. She had been too intent on looking at her feet that it had seemed to appear out of nowhere.
That was odd. The brick was worn and broken, and she was concerned that it might fall down on her at some point. She found a doorway and entered.
Gasping, she blinked in the sunlight that poured through the broken decorative window at the end of the vast hall. The stairs leading up on both sides ended in a large landing beneath the vast expanse of rusted gilt that was crusting off in layers.
She stepped across the floors, the boards creaking and decompressing beneath her feet in a decidedly disconcerting manner. The window was so beautiful and despite the creaking of the floor, she could still feel the stillness. The distant thunder of the waves crashing against the beach and the keening cry of the seagulls filled her ears.
The space suddenly gave way in front of her and she gasped, struggling on the precipice and fighting to not fall in. She fell backwards and landed on her tailbone, her heart thudding in her chest as she back crawled away from the hole in the ground.
Her mouth was suddenly dry, and she stood again, her knees feeling weak.
She drew a deep shuddering breath and stepped closer to get a better view of what she would have fallen into. Nothing met her eyes except blackness and she tried to control her breathing.
A sudden thought swooped into her head like a raven landing in its nest. Throw yourself down and never have to endure hurt again.
Her body rebelled against the idea of plummeting to what could conceivably be her death, but something in it also intrigued her. The hurt that billowed inside of her like a storm-tossed sea that sought to drown her tugged her towards the hole like an outgoing tide. No one would care. Perhaps her dad might a little bit, but he could soon get over it. The fact that he had gotten over her mother’s death to the point that he would marry her stepmother proved that.
With a dry throat and pounding pulse she stepped one more step closer to the edge and felt the rush of adrenaline that spiked through her veins at the weightless feeling of hanging so close the edge of a precipice.
The decision would be irreversible, but something in her blood yearned for it.
“I love you.” The words were softly whispered as if in her ear and a breeze struck her face, the smell of salt stinging her nose in a familiar way and wooing her away from the darkness that yawned below her feet.
The window. The light seemed brighter than before and the breeze stronger.
The voice was so familiar, and she was instantly remembering a moment in her childhood. Her mother’s breath on her face as she whispered the words of love and butterfly kissed her nose. “I love you.”
Danni made her way to the top of the stairs before she even realized it and she looked out into the light on the ocean below. The sun that was just beginning to get close enough to the horizon but too far away to still be called a sunset struck her full in the face with it’s warmth.
“There’s so much more for you. Don’t go, my darling.” She almost felt as if her mother was behind her, her presence felt so real.
The tears that had fled the moment that the casket had been lowered into the grave suddenly came to the surface and she could no longer control it. They spilled out over her cheeks and her shoulders heaved beneath them. She sank to the floor and rocked with the sound of the booming waves.
Sometimes one forgot that they were loved.
What do you think? This prompt was something that I wrote on the Glory Writer’s Retreat. We had a blast each writing a different story from this prompt. It was incredibly to hear what part of the picture resonated with each person.
By God’s Grace,