Eternal Voice: Echo's Story

June 6, 2008
By Tho B. Tran, Seattle, WA

Running, sprinting, plowing through the soft tufts of grass; damp, moist and mushy. I could not even stop to gasp my breath, which was unsteady and becoming shallow. How could I take this any longer? My hatred- his hatred- burned like ice-fire, beating in sync with my thumping heart. I had been so bold, so naïve, so careless to have shown myself. What more was I then a stalker, hunting a man too perfect, too beautiful, too ethereal? What did I have that countless others did not? Who was I, but a simple nymph, talker and favorite of silver-bowed Diana, huntress of the deep woods?

I halted and closed my eyes, tears like dew slipping down my cheek. My mistress, the Moon Goddess, would have been so disappointed in me; one who shunned most men, and even rejected the gods. A deceiver- that is who I am. I deceived Juno, I deceived Pan, and I deceived Narcissus, the youth I had so carefully treaded after.

I began to regain mind, although my thoughts were still a-flutter. Closing my eyes only made me more prone to seeing his perfect features. Oh how angelic he was! There was no sanctuary to hide from his startling eyes, no place- not even my own head- that I could any longer call my own. I pressed my cold hands numbly on my forehead, my cheeks, my face, that I could not recognize. Is this me? What have I become? Who am I, truly? Whom can I turn to now that there seems to be no one left? If only I knew… if only I knew! I do not know who I am anymore, other than as a hunter who let my prey elude me for every inch of his gorgeous presence.

No! I must stop! I dare not think of him any longer. I will not! Will not! Will not! My eyes immediately flew open, my lashes still wet with tears. I began once more my plight, my feet were sure and confident of where to go, where to run, where to hide. It felt like Mercury, the silver-footed messenger had swept down and placed his winged-sandals upon my bare, callused feet. I am fast, I am powerful! This is MY forest… this is where my lithe prowess strikes full force. Fear me, the queen of the meadows, the rose of the garden, the light in the ravine… or am I? The forest was my home, but now it seemed so distant. So bleak. So cold.

My head still down, I tried to cast away those hurtful memories that relished to flicker and dance in my mind. "Go away! Go away!" I screeched in delirium… but it stayed. Painfully, it stayed. Everywhere I turned, it seems, resembles my love, Narcissus who never returned the warmth that I held towards him, insistently. His clear brow, star-like eyes, his curly hair and ivory cheeks. Born of a nymph, he was nothing short of a prince, clad in marvelous finery. The sky was his eyes, the clouds upon which the immortals gazed down on Gaia were his hair, although his were much darker in color. His build was young like a little sapling, yet he was strong as an oak, steady and true.

My whimpering had stopped, and I was close to my reassuring cave. The wood lands, those tress that were my cousins, the flowers that I gathered, the Sun, Helios, beating down in the clear of the day. I had loved this place, but ever since my eyes had so unfaithfully rested on my Prince Charming, my home would always be unrealistic, like a painting, in a story. Once upon a time….

"I love you," he had whispered into the scintillating pool, at his very own reflection.

"I love you," I more-than-willingly mimicked. Indeed, it was true, for he was so wondrous; tempting even to an immortal.

"Who comes?" he frantically scans the once serene background. Fear, one of the strongest emotions known to man. Fear. Daunting, yet alluring. Fear. Monsters, hide from my might, hid from my sight. Fear. Come monsters, come, into the golden light.

"Who comes?" I spoke again, in a clear, melodious voice. Don’t be afraid, my love. Be brave, be strong, be noble!

Stop! I cannot think any longer. I laid my head back on the cool surface of the ancient cave, letting the silence wash over me like wave building and building, until it had to lash out in some form or another. Like my anger, my timidity, my unhappiness, that started as a small voice or tuned-down siren, and grew louder and louder, fiercer and fiercer, until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Rejection is such a pain, a pitiful sight. I wish for the boundless joy I used to know, but the gods will only give me this revolting loneliness. My head hurts too much! Was this really written in the Book of Fate? Is this really the path I must take? This is too much for me. If only I had not brought this on myself! Sleep, Echo, sleep. Pausing, sleeping, fading. I began to drift away, hazy and shimmering into the cave, seeping onto the green hills. As one life ends, another begins. I leave this world, yet I will remain in voice, forevermore….

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