Amelie skipped on the beach. She ignored how itchy her feet felt with sand clinging on them. She also didn't fear the chipped seashells washed ashore.
She jumped over all of them, daintily, with her arms spread to the side to balance herself. She let baby waves nip at her heels, her toes splashed on the sinking sea water.
She swayed and twirled. In her tiny mind, the sand, the sky, the sea, the world was hers. And her parents waving at her from the distance were her wings.
She waved back in the same weird way her parents waved and twirled again when she saw the camera aimed at her, albeit upside-down.
"I love you mommy and daddy!" She screamed playfully before running off. She heard her mommy call her but she ran even faster, imprinting messy footprints on the shore.
She almost stepped on a crab. Her feet tangled from her clumsy jump, and she fell on her butt. She saw her mommy catching up to her and felt an urge to play tag, so she turned and ran, showing her sand damp skirt to the anxious woman.
The woman stepped on the crab
Amelie saw a large rock and decided to hide behind it. Then she saw a large mouth.
She slowed to a stop in front of the cave, which was a bit taller than her and about five Amelies in width.
She wanted to turn and leave when she heard an echo of her whimper, but she stopped because her eyes were suddenly blinded. The clouds shifted and cast upon her a sneeze inducing heat. When she recovered from her sneeze, she saw something on the sand.
Green foam, many of them, decorated the sides of the cave. And three Amelie-steps inside the mouth was a white reflective... jelly? Her eyes widened.
She approached the cluster of green foams, afraid to touch it, because mommy said green is poisonous.
But a crab stepped out from the wave and crushed a foam. So, Amelie did the same, until all the foams disappeared. She giggled and kicked her feet before going to the other side and popping all the foams there too.
She wondered why her mommy was taking too long to find her and peeked from the large rock.
What she saw were more green foams of various shades, glistening like gems, bridging the way to the ocean. And starfishes waved at her.
She gasped and turned away, plastering her back to the slippery seaweed decorated rock. She rubbed her eyes with her sand clad hand and cried when it stung.
Amelie couldn't open her right eye without opening her left. More tears streamed down, hot like lava. In her panic, she tripped and tumbled into the cave.
She felt something cool and slippery on her elbow and immediately grabbed it to clean her hands. She then carefully swept the sand from her eye.
She felt smart, like daddy told her she was. But it still hurt, a little... but hurt! She tried opening her eyes and saw black, gray... her eyesight was layered by a white film.
Still, the dark cave terrified her. She quickly crawled out when she again heard echoes of her own gasp and scream.
Amelie hadn't been taught about echoes, so she thought there was a monster inside the cave... and there probably was.
She followed the green foams basking in the sunlight, she jumped over the friendly starfishes, she looked back hoping to find her parents, but in the end, she stepped on a jagged coral.
She looked down and saw a small speck of red, slowly spreading.
She screamed. Tears streamed down her face as she slapped her hands on her mouth. She pulled her feet off the pink coral and immediately, the sea water brought forth an excruciating pain.
It was the worst day ever, scary... everything was so scary, too scary... Amelie was reduced to a sobbing mess, calling for her parents. Mommy and daddy, she only knew three words.
Water rose and embraced her until her neck was ticklish
She felt something was pulled from her elbow and saw a white jellyfish with purple linings bobbing up and down in the shallow blood stained water. It stuck under Amelie's foot. Immediately, the pain was gone.
Then a wave devoured her
When Amelie opened her eyes, she was greeted by a white yellow striped fish, puckering its lips to kiss her. She felt a fibrous texture followed by a gentle pop. Her eyes went wide like saucers, and she swatted water.
"Amelie, Amelie, follow me" She then heard a small cutesy voice say. She looked to the side and saw the white jellyfish. "I'll be your princess tiara so you can attend the ball!"
Amelie tilted her head to the side. She didn't understand a thing. She was sitting on the squishy meat of a clam. Fishes of various sizes and colors surrounded her-- A clown fish waved when her gaze lingered-- and she could see a pink coral from the distance.
"that's the castle, the castle where they'll have the ball!" The jellyfish beamed, its purple linings swirling in tune with the sea's current. The purple linings formed a crooked smile. And eyes. Amelie jerked back. She vehemently shook her head.
"I want mommy and daddy!" The jellyfish splish-splashed. "But they gave you to us, this is your new home!"
Amelie didn't listen
"Did they save you when sand got into your eyes? Did they save you when you bled? I'm sorry, Amelie, but you wouldn't be here if they didn't wish you gone..." The jellyfish said in remorse.
Yet its purple face was still evil
"Oh, that is my gonads, not my face. See, I'm a kind jellyfish" The jellyfish spun and swam in circle while upside down. Amelie laughed and gasped when she realized what she did.
"You're lying, mommy and daddy loves me!" Amelie insisted with struggle. "Not anymore, Amelie," the jellyfish sighed. "Do you know why your mommy ran slowly? Do you know why your daddy let you run on your own?"
Amelie waited for the jellyfish's answer with baited breath. [Because they wanted her to have the best day ever] she thought.
They usually didn't let her leave them, didn't let her jump around and do whatever she liked, didn't let her eat lots of candies. So today, they must have loved her a lot, right?
But she wanted to go home now!
"They're having a new baby, prettier than you. But under the sea, you'll be our prettiest princess, so Amelie, they love you a lot. They don't want you to be sad when you see your sister"
"B-But.." She wailed and jumped off the clam. "I want them... I miss mommy and daddyyyyy" She swaggered her limbs to stay afloat, even though she didn't need to.
She slowly rose higher and higher in the water, ignoring the jellyfish's pleas. Amelie always had a talent in not hearing people's words.
That's what got her into this mess in the first place
At home, her mom had said, "Don't run too far, Amelie, the wave will drag you away" In the car, her dad had said, "If you want to build a sand castle, get daddy, Amelie" Under the umbrella, her mom and dad had said, "Wait for us, Amelie, mom is still tired, daddy will set up the camera to take a picture of us"
Amelie listened to none of those words, until her parents said, "Run along, Amelie! (but don't go where we can't see you)"
She felt a slippery appendage around her ankle and pulled her forcefully. Water surged into her nose, and it wasn't air anymore. Water. Her lungs were burning, drowning.
More appendages squeezed her. Through her blurry eyes, the colorful fishes morphed into monsters. Big lips, uneven eyes, flat body, double head... each fish a different kind of monster.
Amelie remembered her mommy and daddy's faces as the jellyfish dragged her to the pink coral. She saw bubbles as the fishes dispersed. A weak hand reached out to touch a bubble.
"Your sister will make your parents happy when you're gone. You will also be happy with me" The jellyfish said once Amelie gave up struggle. Her sight dimmed. The water around her became black.
The only source of light was the jellyfish And she told the truth
"I don't want... my parents.. to be happy... I don't want a sister...!" With each word she swallowed the tacky tar like water. "That's impossible Amelie. Don't worry, you'll be happy soon enough" The jellyfish cooed.
"How.. can you talk...?" Amelie finally asked once they reached the pink coral.
Amelie felt the appendages loosening their hold on her. The jellyfish's transparent white body divided and slowly engulfed her. That was when Amelie regained struggle. But the jellyfish's next words erased her momentum.
"Because I am you, you are me"
The appendages came back, and Amelie came alive. She bit and clawed and screamed, until her stomach bloated with water and the jellyfish's appendage ripped.
She wiggled like a fish and escaped. Swimming as fast as she could, she closed her eyes so she wouldn't see those scary fishes beside and around her.
She ignored the sticky black water weighing her limbs. She also didn't fear the giant clam throwing pearls at her. She avoided all of them clumsily, her body like a ship caught in storm. She let the sea current cut her sides.
She paddled and pushed. In her tiny mind, the sea would end. Her head would break through the waves and her mommy and daddy would hug her, and forget about her new sister.
Jellyfishes lined up in front of her. She stepped on the white bobbing heads, enduring each sting that scorched her feet. She followed the light over the water.
"I am you... Amelie"
Then salt dominated her tongue until it left a bitter aftertaste. Sand invited her feet until it camped under her nails. Amelie's eyes saw the clouds, before everything blurred again.
"Beep beep beep"
Amelie slowly opened her eyes. Her parents slowly formed. Mommy and daddy. They hugged her. She cried and hugged them.
"Thank God Amelie.. we can't lose you too!" They cried. And Amelie could only say, "I had a bad dream... underwater..."