[Check out my Author Interview With Jen Wylie, Author Of The Forgotten Echo!]
The Forgotten Echo
A Short Story
Published Feb 23 2011 by Echelon Press
Top seller and top rated on OmniLit eBooks site.
Author: Jen Wylie
Sometimes death is only the beginning...
Even after the bad day she's had, Cassy is still surprised to find herself shot, an innocent bystander in a drive by shooting. Bleeding to death in an empty parking lot, she knows she is going die.
What she doesn't expect, is the arrival of a strange, and unnaturally handsome, man who tells her he can keep her from passing on in return for being his forever. In desperation, she agrees but afterwards she is beyond dismayed to discover she has died.
To make matters worse, the stranger has disappeared, leaving her spirit to wander through a series of worlds unknown to her. Her existence is one of fear and loneliness, until she meets another like her and discovers she's not a ghost at all but something much more.
Maybe if I hadn't turned to look I would have been alright. Well, maybe not. Things would have been different if I hadn't stopped to get milk. If I hadn't worked late I wouldn't have stopped at this particular corner store on my way home. If I'd been quicker, or longer, inside the store, I wouldn't have walked into the middle of a gang fight. If...if...if...
I barely made it to the parking lot before the yelling and shooting started. A car sped by, passengers shooting at their rivals two feet from me. In reflex, I turned as the car passed. A bullet ripped through me like a punch to the stomach. The force knocked me up against the side of a van.
I looked down in, yes, surprise. I don't know what kind of guns they had, but the shot went right through me. Gasping in panic, I stared in shock at the blood blossoming through my white blouse. Pain radiated from the exit wound in my lower back. Shit. This couldn't be happening!
The street kids shouted obscenities. Another shot echoed in the night. Ducking instinctively, I slipped around the back of the van. I had to get to my car, find safety.
I stumbled, leaving bloody handprints on a few cars. I'd been shot. Things like this weren't supposed to happen. My brain refused to believe it. I didn't make it far. Everything spun, fading in and out. Shit. Somewhere I dropped my purse. My keys were in there. Damn dress pants with no decent pockets.
When did I fall to my knees? I toppled to the hard asphalt and rolled to my back. I instinctively pressed my wound, trying to stop the warm, sticky blood pumping from me.
The pain twisted around and through me, but dim and distant, like it wasn't mine at all. I certainly wasn't going to argue. I didn't have anyone to argue with anyway.
Screams echoed from the store, but the parking lot remained quiet and empty. Except for me.
Should I bother calling for help? I didn't waste my fading energy. First, they wouldn't hear me, not over the noise they were making. Second, I was dying. Not to be melodramatic, but seriously, I'd been shot. Blood coated my hands and poured from my wounds, running down my side, pooling beneath me. My blouse clung to my skin.
My eyes closed and I heard the blood pumping out of me. My life's blood, as I'd heard it called once.
Tears fell, cold on the side of my face. Damn it, I didn't want to die. I guess no one did, though. Death just happened. You could die any day, get struck by lightning, run over by a bus, or as in my case, caught in a drive-by shooting.
Thankfully, I didn't have a family who needed me. My parents died years ago, and I hadn't spoken to my sister in Nevada in at least four years. No husband, no boyfriend...thank god, no children. No one to miss me. That hurt more than I expected. Dying alone.
I'm afraid of dying.
Afraid of what came next, if anything. I didn't want to simply end. I didn't want to be forgotten.
I heard faint laughter, like bells and little children and angels. It made me smile. Which said something, since I was dying. Or was I dead already?
The sound grew closer, but not very much louder. As I listened, I picked out tiny voices within the laughter.
"We found her! We did! We found her for you!"
Their words didn't make any sense, and the little voices tumbled over each other so I missed more than I actually heard.
"It's time! Come, come!"
I opened my eyes, not because I wanted to, but because dancing lights flickered though my lids and caught my attention.
I shouldn't have been surprised, given the voices, to find a dozen tiny, glowing people surrounding me. They continued their constant babble, and one flew so close I saw its wings before it darted away again.
They were no larger than a quarter, and were mostly wings. Their thin naked bodies glowed a pale gold, their wings beautiful rippling shades of orange and red. From even a short distance, they looked like little dancing flames.
Other than a most interesting distraction from dying, I had no idea what they were. Would I know if I was dead?
I wanted to close my eyes again. The cops hadn't arrived yet, but it felt like I'd been on the ground forever, losing myself. Bleeding away. I'd never been so frightened, so helpless, in my life. A strange calmness washed over me, likely since I couldn't help myself. Soon I would be dead. End of story.
I watched the little dancing flames as I listened to my heart slow and my breathing turn shallow. Everything faded and the flames rose up, their angelic babble so loud and fast I couldn't understand them.
I didn't need to. The person they'd been calling had arrived.
This short story was absolutely incredible. I only wish it hadn't ended so soon. I loved Cassy (the M.C.) she actually reminded me a lot of myself. Quick witted and a bit of a smart ass, even when she knows she's gonna die.
Jen Wylie does a fantastic job of telling this unique tale from a first person perspective. Normally I am not a fan of the first person (I have read to many stories where there is too much description, not enough dialogue, and the story, overall, ends up being dry) but this is not the case with Jen Wylie's story.
Jen delivers a very fun and fast paced tale, which in the end left me with a want for more. Her imagery is unique and spot on. I could easily imagine it all in my head. I highly recommend this short story for anyone who is in the mood for an intriguing and fun read.
One Amazing Wedding Cake!
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