The Water Sings

(Photograph courtesy of Pixabay)

(Photograph courtesy of Pixabay)

“Yeah, well I can’t aim high if I don’t care about my grades!” says Celeste, the bright and rebellious teen that her mother, Eleana, has to deal with.

“You might not care about them, but your phone won’t ever see the light of day if your grades aren’t at least passing young lady.”

“Okay, whatever mom.”

When Eleana gave Celeste her name, she was thinking of what a heavenly blessing her child was when she saw her for the first time. Celeste has been living in Summerville, a shiny and scenic town where most inhabitants reside peacefully. The warm and welcoming atmosphere leaves an imprint on anyone who passes by. A dazzling downtown, where flowers thrive, wraps the little town into a sweet bow. Celeste believes the first settlers that were escaping malaria still describe the people that live there today. Sure, everyone is nice, but everyone is just escaping some type of problem. Celeste’s dad left them when she was a child, but it was okay until recently.

Celeste, for one, is escaping the pressure of social life. Her eyes appeal at any who may look at her, being of the blue hue of the heavens and surrounded by a darkened rim the color of the night sky. She has short, chocolate brown hair that curls in compact spirals bathed in radiant natural highlights. To top it all off, Celeste has a glistening tone of skin that resembles gold. Due to her appearance, she is expected to be a complete doll to anyone who even dares to talk to her. That’s what her mother taught her, and that’s what her physique entitled her to do.

“I’m just gonna go to the library.”

“Okay, don’t be late for dinner.”

Celeste slams the door and leaves in her dilapidated ‘02 Honda Civic. As she drives, she can see the breathtaking view that surrounds her home. Driving and seeing joyful people upsets Celeste more. Rolling down the windows, Celeste’s tears flee her face with the chilly wind in the cool, fall afternoon. The radio helps her forget about all her problems, and she starts to sing.

She finally arrives at the library and finds the chair she always uses, taken. Grumbling under her breath, she waits for the seat to become available. To pass the time, she searches for books to read from the old tattered section of the library. Celeste likes to read the kind of books that no one else reads because they seem to be written just for her. She is looking through the “H” section, due to the fact that she has already read all the other books from the previous letters. A book tumbled down when she accidentally bumped against it. She bent down to pick it up, and, at first, it doesn’t seem anything out of the ordinary. Its title is The Only Broken Flower, and it intrigues her.

Written in 1993 to now. What? That makes no sense.”

Opening the first page, there is an adorable picture of a baby with a crown of flowers on her head, and at the bottom it is signed as Heather with astonishing cursive handwriting. The rest of the pages are written like letters, and it makes the book even more fascinating for Celeste.

The introduction to each letter starts with “With love, Heather” and every entry ends with “To whomever may read this.” Celeste doesn’t think much of it, maybe the author is trying to achieve an original look that no one else had. The odd thing she notices is the fact that the last page written ends mid-sentence. The black ink stops abruptly in the middle of the wrinkled, cream colored page with no address. That becomes unimportant after the annoying kid runs to the other side of the library with his toys, at last, leaving Celeste’s beloved chair free for her to use. She opens up the same page as before and her fingers freeze. Shivers creep up her back like snakes; for a few seconds, she feels as if she cannot breathe. She has to punch a bookshelf to make herself finally breathe again. Everyone around her frowns in annoyance, looking up to see the panicked girl, but they really pay no attention to her. She has terror and hysteria drenched on her tongue threatening to leave her lips. Celeste now has to face reality where a book knows her name. She drops her things onto the pavement beside her, and reopens the book. The last page is completely filled out and did not end with its usual “To whomever might read this,” but with “To Celeste” instead. Frantically picking up her belongings, someone taps on Celeste’s shoulder, causing her to jump ten feet into the air.

“Hey Les, you okay?”

“God, you scared me. Noelani? What are you doing here? You hate this place.”

“True. I heard you arguing with mom, so I followed you here to check on you.”

Noelani, meaning “mist from heaven,” is the charming one in the Brooks family. The seventeen year old who bleeds out kindness without even trying. Noelani and Celeste are most definitely the closest siblings in town, known to all as the package deal. Celeste is the older one, beating her fraternal sister by five minutes. Nonetheless, Celeste is the most attractive one and Noelani is unconsciously jealous of her every move. The beautiful and the kind, seems like the perfect combination, even if the beautifulness obtains all the attention that Noelani, the kind, desires. Celeste, on the other hand, envies Noelani for being pretty enough instead of blindly enchanting like herself. Noelani possesses gorgeous brown eyes that shine with love and grace. Her stare can lure anyone to do her will, but also comfort anyone who needs it. Her skin is darker, wholesome, and soft like silk. Noelani’s hair is long and thin with occasional waves that bounce when she walks. Noelani provides safety to those who ask for it, and Celeste gives love if that person deserves it.

“So are you okay? Or do we have to go get some milkshakes from 3rd street?”

“Oh that sounds nice, but I’m fine. I was actually going home because the library seems too crowded today.”

“Okay, but if you do have something going on, you know I’m always here,” Noelani looks genuinely concerned, like she always is. Celeste assures her again and goes home.

Five hours go by, and Celeste has finally read the book, or at least the finished part of it. It’s basically about this girl, Heather, who obtains some powers as a baby from her father. Heather is a mythical creature whose tone throughout the whole book is lethargic and sad, but, at the same time, majestic. The way Heather words things, it’s like anyone who reads the book can become mesmerized. Even if Heather despises her enemies in writing, Celeste connects with her feelings. Her powers consist of seeing the near future and whatnot, but Celeste doesn’t feel the need to try to find out what Heather is exactly. Celeste is so curious to get to know this girl that she doesn’t have time to mull over the meaning of a Siren; she just knows it’s cool. Eventually, Celeste doesn’t even mind having the journals written for her because her new friend was communicating through a piece of paper that doesn’t leave the house.

The silence in the house in the middle of the night caresses Celeste until she sways into a deep sleep. Outside, the soothing breeze sweeps through the trees where the darkness can hide. In a trance, Celeste climbs out her bedroom window, and finds her neighbor’s house. She sneaks in through the window that is always left unlocked, and passes out in the living room. In the morning, Celeste rushes to her knees, perplexed to see a frightened couple in front of her.

“I am so sorry, I must’ve sleep walked here. This is embarrassing.”

“Celeste? What are you doing here, at six in the morning?” is heard from the staircase, where Cullen Brown stands. He’s one of those snotty boys who would get offended if you didn’t drool over him when he passes by. Celeste used to be friends with him until he asked her out, and she friend-zoned him. He proceeded to turn the entire junior class against her. Rumors spread about the slutty Celeste who looked good because of plastic surgeries or whatever else people came up with. There was a time where Celeste was popular for her personality, but that time is gone. Celeste detests the kid in front of her because she knows that her life and her friends would have been different if it weren’t for him.

“I was just leaving, sorry again.”

“It’s okay, darling. We are just concerned for you. We haven’t seen you around lately. How are Eleana and Noelani? Do you want something to drink?” asked Cullen’s mom and dad.

“No, mom. She said she was just leaving. Bye, Les.”

“Bye.”

Eleana and Noelani hadn’t notice Celeste’s disappearance, but Celeste has. She starts to notice how she isn’t feeling like herself. Hatred and grudges begin to engulf her existence until rage is the only emotion she can experience. Then, she starts to sing, not the ugly kind, but the irresistible and sweet kind.

Cullen looks out the window to see whose angelic voice it is. It was so endearing and peaceful that he wanted to meet the owner. Going downstairs is such a dread, he thought, so he’ll go to the balcony to hear well. Celeste turns around and sees the boy standing on the rim of the balcony, stretching his arms longingly at her. She somehow knows that he is trying to hear her sing. She also knows that Cullen will probably fall if he keeps hanging on to the roof as if it were a monkey bar, but she doesn’t care. In fact, Celeste sings at the top of her lungs, with passion and excitement for the morbid truth that awaits him. Cullen suddenly feels the urge, as if it were a matter of life and death, to get closer to Celeste, and to jump over any obstacle to listen to the divinity of her voice. To Celeste’s delight, Cullen’s despair unfolds as he jumps and plummets head first into the ground. The crack of his limbs booms loudly enough for the entire neighborhood to hear. Death announces itself in every corner as the neighbors open up to listen. Cullen Brown becomes deceased instantly, and the wails of the Browns are audible even after two months pass.

Celeste only feels relief. Of course, none of the kids at school stopped tormenting her, but at least her main problem is forever gone. She is now focused on reading more of the updated book that Heather writes. Heather and Celeste grew close after Heather revealed her secret. Heather is a Siren who died in 1993 after a group of boys asked her to come to Charleston and sing to them by the ocean around a campfire. The boys consisted of Mr. Brown and his brothers who were just planning to prank Heather. Little did they know that Heather could manipulate them with her enchanting voice, the power that was bestowed on her at birth. Before Heather could control these immature boys, they carried her into the sea, where she drowned before she could control them. The boys believed that she could swim, and they just wanted to mess with her because everyone knew that Heather Marshall hated water. When they didn’t see Heather behind them as they ran playfully back to the shore, they figured she was too embarrassed to confront them. Now, Heather is in a dense darkness, in a room with no escape. She is tortured constantly, yet she plans her vengeance for the boys who took her youth from her.

Celeste had helped Heather, without noticing, by killing Mr. Brown’s child. However, Celeste knows that there is no way she is a killer. She knows that normal Celeste was grouchy, but not capable to take a life. She suspects that Heather might be using her to satiate her bloodthirst. Celeste does the reasonable thing anyone could do, and distances herself from the magical book in which Heather could write to her from the other side. She assumes it’s like a portal or a door to this world, but, for Heather, it’s an opportunity. Celeste hides the book in a bookshelf in her humble house where it won’t be found because Noelani and Eleana aren’t book geeks like her. As the time flies by, Celeste is finally liberated from the curse. She realizes that Heather couldn’t sing to her, so she wrote captivating words instead. She manipulated Celeste to do her will and it is finally over. Now, Celeste can’t live with herself for killing that innocent guy, even though she knows it wasn’t her fault and that the Siren did it through her.

It is now the beginning of senior year, and Celeste’s grades are crumbling as the guilt consumes her every breath, not allowing her to think straight.

“Hey did you hear about the Brown’s?” asked a really annoying boy in Celeste’s Calculus class.

“No, what happened?” The last name had not been mentioned ever since the whole “Cullen Brown killed himself” ordeal had died down.

“They were found murdered. They were having a family reunion, and the family was killed.”

Celeste gulps down a scream and remembers the whole class looking at her as she attempts to run out the door, but collapses on the floor. She then hears the teacher calling out her name, but it all sounds distant and foggy.

“I have to go.” Celeste barely whispers as she stumbles over to her car and drives home to look for the book. Even when she finds it, she feels the need to find out who was killed at that house.

In the afternoon, Eleana calls Celeste to check on her and Celeste tells her she was feeling sick but feels better.

“I’m gonna wait for Noelani to catch me up on school. Sorry for worrying you.”

“It’s okay. Call me if you need me. I love you, Les.”

“Okay, love you. Bye.”

Noelani arrives home a few minutes later, just like Celeste had. She looks sick and weary, full of premonition. Noelani suddenly recomposes herself and offers to go on a bike ride in the Charleston beach during sunset. That’s what the two sisters do when they were tired of school. Celeste accepts, anything to get her away from all the death.

When the sisters enter the field of sand and water, Noelani starts crying. She then pulls out The Only Broken Flower and reads the last sentence that Heather Marshall wrote for Noelani.

I know that Celeste will love you for taking her pain away; I’ll love you for completing my wish. Then you’ll finally be valued for your beauty, I promise.”

A bloody dagger fell out of the book, and Noelani, with a blank face, digs it into Celeste’s heart. The blood sputters into the sand and flows into the ocean and the heavens cry with rain. Noelani comes back for a split second, and stabs the book, leaving the knife in the book as she releases it into the ocean. Noelani, freed from the Siren, lays down by her beloved sister.

“You always were beautiful and perfect. I love you even after this. Don’t forget that. This isn’t your fault,” coughs Celeste as she floats into untroubled sleep.

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