For the previous chapters
I stood at the sea shore, staring blankly at the waters in front of me. In a few more hours, the sun will rise, but I won't be around to see it. Everything around me was dark. Even the moon tonight was hidden by the clouds. I closed my eyes and sure enough, I heard her voice carried on by the wind.
“Ethan...Ethan...come and join us.” My mother's voice was almost like a whisper, yet it was all I could hear in those wee hours of the morning. I had taken off my shoes and was walking barefooted in the sand. I walked forward, stepping forward, following the voice.
“Ethan...join us in the real world...your family is waiting...” she called. It was as if I was in a trance. Nothing else mattered, except moving forward. I was already drained of all my energy. I knew if I followed my mother's voice, I would soon be at peace, and everything would make sense. My feet reached the lapping waters. I continued walking forward. The waters covered my ankles and I just walked forward. Forward. The voice was calling. I needed to go. My knees were now covered in the sea. If I stepped forward a little more, soon my feet will no longer be able to touch the sandy bed, and I could just let the waves pull me towards the voice, towards my family, towards the other world. I could feel her force, dragging me forward.
“Ethan...we missed you...come join us...just a little more...” My mother called. Just a little more. I said, taking another step.
“Ethan!” cried a voice. “Ethan!”
It was a different voice and it came from the shore. “Ethan! You idiot!” the voice shouted. I looked back. Lara was standing at the shore. But my mother's spirit was calling even louder. I took another step towards the ocean.
“You idiot! Where are you going?” Lara cried. I could hear her splashing towards me. She ran towards me and reached out for my hand. “Ethan, come back, have you forgotten your promise to me? You said you would never leave me.”
I stared at her blankly. I wondered if she was a ghost. Yes, I decided, she was a ghost. A ghost keeping me from the real world where my family was. I continued walking towards the waters. The spirits were calling me. Now, besides my mother, I could hear my brother calling me. “Brother, come and play with me, I missed you so much.” My tears started to flow down my cheeks. They were getting mixed up with the sea water. Lara kept tugging at my arm, trying to pull me to the shore. “Brother...brother...” he called.
Lara was desperately trying to hold on to me. “It's true that you lied to me, but it's true that you helped me write again. It's true that you took care of me and it's true that I love you!” she cried. Her energy was getting drained away. I was still stronger than her and I refused to budge in her direction. “Ethan!” she shouted.
I took another step forward. My feet could no longer touch the seabed. “Ethan!” she cried as the currents suddenly pulled her forward. Lara lost her grip on me and she was carried by the waves in front. She was being dragged further away from me. “Lara!” I cried, realising what was happening. I swam towards her and pulled her towards me. She had swallowed too much sea water and her whole body was limp.
I swam towards the shore, holding her close to me. I finally reached the sandy beaches. Lara lay on the sand, unconscious. “Lara! Lara!” I cried. There was no response. I quickly used my hands to pump her chest, and then bending down, my lips touched her and I breathed air into her. I repeated the whole process, not sure if I was doing it right. All the colour has gone from her face. What had I done? I breathed air into her mouth again and she suddenly coughed out some sea water. She opened her eyes and managed to sit up. The sun has risen and everything around us was now bright.
“Ethan?” she said, reaching out to touch my face.
“Yes, it's me.” She had finally called my name. “How did you know I was here?”
“Ming told me everything. He said he felt like you were going to do something stupid. He was right. Ethan, you must keep your promise,” she said, starting to cry.
“But, are you sure you want to be with me?” I asked, looking towards the sea. “I have nothing.”
“You have me,” she said, holding my hand in hers. I looked down at our clasped hands and then I looked at Lara.
“Then, I have everything.”