Garry was gently floating in the seawater. He had no idea where exactly he was or how he got there. His shirt, pants, and coat were soaked, weighing him down.
He held his breath and dove into the dark water. His eyes widened at the sight. In front of him was a series of sharp rocks that seemed to fuse together further down. It stretched beyond his line of sight, but it seemed to curve, as though walling in this part of the sea from the world.
Just as Garry was running out of air, he heard a voice. It was muffled by the water, but it was a little girl’s voice.
He turned, expecting to see Ib, but was surprised to see a different girl. She was about the same age as Ib, but she had wavy blonde hair that moved almost hypnotically in the water. Her eyes were a greenish-blue that matched a tail that slowly flicked for balance. Those eyes were narrowed in anger at Garry.
“How dare you come here? You’re looking for Ib, aren’t you?” she said lowly with an edge in her voice.
Unable to say anything because of the water, Garry only nodded.
The girl got a murderous look in her eyes; fury etched into her face. “Well you can’t have her! She’s mine only!” the girl screamed.
Garry flinched at her tone, but she wasn’t done with him. She started singing in a language unfamiliar to him and suddenly he didn’t know which way was up or down.
Garry desperately tried to get to the surface. His throat was burning and his chest tightened painfully with need for air. But he could not escape the enchantment of the song.
As he thrashed about in panic he thought, ‘This is it. I’m gonna die.’ Clamping his eyes shut, he saw with his mind a blue rose with its petals being plucked one by one.
When Garry opened his eyes, he blinked in surprise. He was lying on his couch in his house. Moonlight poured in through the window, providing what little light it could to the dark living room.
‘Why was I sleeping on the couch?’ he thought as he raised himself to a sitting position, ‘And why did I get another crazy dream?’
On the coffee table in front of the couch he was on was a colorful painting. The canvas had dried, leaving a satisfactory picture where a colorless void had been. Garry turned on a lamp so he could see the final product better.
Holding the painting to the light, Garry could clearly see the rock above the waves. On the rock sat a little girl in a white blouse and a wet, red scarf. The little girl was Ib. She even had a flash of tail visible from behind the rock.
The little girl in the portrait was smiling brilliantly with her red eyes twinkling. She was leaning forward, like she was going to share a precious secret with the viewer. In her gentle grasp was a red rose.
Garry placed the painting back on the coffee table and turned off the lamp with a yawn. He got up off the couch, stumbling to his bedroom tiredly.
Nighttime was especially dark under the sea. Neither Mary nor Ib dared leave the tower after dark. For one thing, someone could get hurt or lost. For another thing, the dark was scary.
Therefore, Ib stayed in her dark room in isolation after dinner. Normally, she would spend her evening with her sister, but her last trip to the surface had upset her.
Ib floated motionlessly in an attempt to find sleep. A current coming from the window blew the paper sack into her tail.
The little girl looked at it curiously and picked it up. The paper sack was soaking wet and it tore easily in her hands. She opened it carefully and peered at the contents.
Inside the sack was a yellow plastic covered sphere. Ib wondered what the thing was. She pulled at the crinkly ends of the plastic and the plastic wrap unraveled itself. The yellow sphere floated free until Ib held it carefully, unsure of what the sphere was used for.
While she rolled the sphere between her fingers in thought, some of the yellow smeared on her fingers, making them sticky and funny smelling. Curious, the child smelled then licked one of her yellowy fingers. She smiled to herself at figuring out this puzzle. The yellow substance had a sweet, sharp flavor to it.
The girl happily licked her fingers and popped the sphere into her mouth. While she worked at dissolving the treat, Ib turned back to the paper sack. The rest of the contents were colorful, yet fluffy looking things.
She took out a pale pink one and looked at it closer. The thing was squishy and soaked with seawater. In between two fluffy parts was a sort of cream. She pressed her finger to the cream and fluff and put it to her tongue.
Not only was it edible, but it was delicious. She ate the treats as soon as the sphere was gone. She put the plastic wrapper of the sphere in the pocket of her favorite skirt, where she wouldn’t lose it.
Once the crinkly wrapper was put away, Mary burst past the quilt covering the doorway and into Ib’s room.
“Ib! Are you feeling better? Do you wanna play?” the blonde asked. Ib smiled nicely but didn’t say a word.
“I know what’ll cheer you up. A trip to the surface!”
Ib froze, her eyes widened in shock and guilt. Her smile was more forced now. “Um, Mary-“ she tried to protest, but her soft voice went unheard.
“It’s going to be so much fun! And the sunlight will make you feel better!”
“But I don’t-“
“It’ll be fine, Ib. We’ll go tomorrow afternoon. Goodnight!” Mary hardly noticed Ib’s distress when she left.
Ib stared at the curtained doorway for a moment, trying to come up with a way to get out of returning to the surface. If she did go to the surface, she knew she would want to see Garry again.
But Mary always got what she wanted one way or the other. If she wanted them to visit the surface, then Ib would have no choice in the matter. ‘Unless I tell her about Garry.’ she resolved in her thoughts, ‘I’m sure she’ll understand if I just tell the truth.’
Even though she had a plan, Ib was dreading the next day.
The professor paced between rows of working students, examining canvases and sculptures. He nodded encouragingly and pointed out things that stood out in the art, both positive and negative. Basically, he was just seeing whether or not his students were on task.
He was surprised when he came to Garry’s canvas. It wasn’t blank as he expected. In fact, the piece was completely spectacular. “Well done, Garry! It’s so realistic!” the professor praised.
Garry flushed at the compliments. “It’s not like the usual last-minute assignments I’ve done, is it?” he asked, brushing his hand through his hair uncertainly.
“No, you’ve exceeded my expectations. This will definitely pull up your grade.” While Garry did a mental dance in celebration, the teacher placed a paper in front of the painting. “If you are finished with the painting, give it a title and put it on the drying rack.”
The professor moved on, leaving Garry to decide on the perfect name. ‘Hmm. What name can I give it that isn’t plagiarism or stupid…?” the name came to him quite suddenly. ‘Precious Rose of the Sea’ he wrote on the paper.
After signing his name in the corner of the painting, he set it on the drying rack. He set his bag on his desk and took out a book he checked out of the library that morning. According to the description, it was about local legends.
Garry immediately flipped it to the Index and found the Abyss of the Deep. The section dedicated to the area gave the exact location and lots of warnings on it. It also listed stories and theories behind the disappearances.
Garry wrote the directions on a piece of paper and took a picture of a map on his cellphone before the professor dismissed class. He resolved to rent a boat from the local dock and check out the suspicious area that he believed had a connection to Ib.
Ib gingerly touched the crinkly wrapper in her pocket as she stared at Mary, who was waiting for her to say something. It was after their lessons and Mary was eager to swim to the surface again. Ib had pulled her aside, informing her sister that she had something to say.
Because it was rare for Ib to have anything to say to her sister, she had to think a moment before pressing on. “I met a human.” she blurted.
Mary grinned at Ib. “And here I thought you didn’t like the idea of playing with humans. You should have told me!”
Ib grimaced at the idea and put up her hand to silence Mary. “I didn’t kill him. Garry’s my friend.” she said quietly.
For the first time in her young life, Mary was stunned speechless. Her eyes were wide with disbelief as she finally sputtered, “Wh-what?!”
Ib remained silent as Mary swam back and forth in thought. “What makes him so special that you can’t kill him?” the blonde demanded angrily.
“I talked to him. He’s really nice.” Ib informed her while shrugging her shoulders. “I like him.”
“You promised we’d be together, Ib. It’d be best if you forgot about him.” Mary reminded her sister in a steely voice.
Not wanting her sister to be angry with her, Ib nodded silently. Mary allowed her smile to return to her lips, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Now let’s go to the surface to play.” she suggested before turning her back on Ib and swimming upwards.
Ib followed slowly behind her sister. She didn’t know why Mary didn’t understand, but she did know she wouldn’t forget Garry. She hoped he was doing okay.
Ib turned her attention back to Mary, who had paused in her swimming to stare at something. The thing was as long as a person and half as wide. It floated on the surface of the water. Ib was confused, but Mary was grinning gleefully.
“What is it?” Ib asked.
Mary pointed at the floatation device. “That is a boat. It looks like it can hold one or two humans.”
A cold chill ran down Ib’s spine as they propelled themselves up so their heads were over the surface.
Garry felt kinda silly, rowing a leaky rowboat in the middle of the area that has been avoided for years. ‘How can this place be considered dangerous? There’s nothing out here!’
Indeed, this area was fine once he was safely over the rock formation. He hadn’t drowned yet, which made him think he was at the wrong place.
Then a hand shot out of the water and grasped his wrist. “Ahhh!” Garry shrieked in surprise. Two heads popped out of the water with the hand. The person who held his wrist was the blonde girl from his dream. The other one was Ib, who seemed very afraid for some reason.
The blonde girl smiled at Garry sweetly and tightened her grip on his wrist. “Hello, Human. Wanna play?” she asked. Before Garry could even say anything, he was pulled into the water by the little girl.
“Mary! What are you doing? Stop it!” he heard Ib cry as her struggled to stay up.
“That was –cough cough- dangerous little girl.” Garry said between hacking up water he accidentally inhaled.
“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m playing with him. You should too.” Mary, the blonde girl, told Ib with a confused expression on her face.
“I’m not going to let you hurt Garry.” Ib promised seriously.
Mary’s smile faltered at that. “So this is Garry, the human that means so much to you…” She narrowed her eyes at Garry. Then she smiled brightly at Ib. “Even if he is your friend we still have to kill him. Teacher said so herself. You don’t want her and our parents to think you’re a bad student, do you?”
Ib stared at Mary with unfazed red eyes. “Just let him go, Mary.”
Mary’s smile turned into a frown and her eyes seemed sad. “Are you choosing him over me? But you promised we’d be together…” Mary’s eyebrows furrowed in rage and she let out a giggle. “Together forever, together forever, together forever.” She started singing.
Garry felt very disoriented. He could no longer tell which direction the air was, let alone wher Ib or the boat was.
His panic didn’t last long, for a small hand grabbed his hand and guided it to the edge of the boat. Garry latched onto the side of the boat and breathed deeply in relief. He was still disoriented, but at least he was sure his head was above water.
“Stop it, Mary.” he heard Ib say in a warning tone over the sound of the song.
The song slowed and ceased into nothingness. The world was suddenly crystal clear to Garry, but he still kept his hand on the boat in case Mary started singing again.
Mary was glaring at Ib angrily, but she turned her attention to the human who looked confused and scared. “Why won’t you be good and just die!” she yelled as she lunged at Garry.
Garry instinctively put his free hand out and pushed her away rather hard. Neither Mary nor Ib had been physically involved in violence so this act shocked them.
The blonde glanced at Garry then at Ib. “I’m telling Mommy.” she told her sister before diving below the surface.
Ib stared at the ripples from where Mary left before swimming over to Garry. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“I’m fine.” he said in reply, “This stuff isn’t good for my mental health, but otherwise I’m fine.”
Not knowing what to say about that, Ib simply stared as Garry struggled to get in the boat again. When he didn’t succeed, he sighed and contented himself with gripping the side of it. “What was up with the creepy song?” he asked.
Ib tilted her head in thought. “We enchant our victims with a song. It’s the only way we can defend ourselves.”
Garry was surprised, “But I didn’t do anything! Why was she trying to kill me?”
“Because you’re trespassing.” Ib explained, pointing in the direction the wall was.
“Oh…” Garry hung his head sadly. “So you’re in trouble now because of me…”
Ib shrugged her shoulders. Garry motioned for her to follow as he started pushing the row boat in the direction of land. She helped him pushed it and stared in fascination as he kicked his legs up and down in the water.
Because Garry wasn’t as experienced in long distance swimming, he had to take breaks every now and then. Ib wasn’t complaining though. She wasn’t at all eager to get home.
“What were those things you gave me the last time we saw each other?” the little girl asked.
“Um, oh right! The little pastries are called macaroons and the candy was a lemon drop.” Garry instantly lit up at the mention of his favorite treats. Ib smiled back at him. How could Mary have wanted to kill him?
“You should smile more often, Ib. Frowning is such a disservice to your cute face.” He said He chuckled when her face flushed at the compliment.
“How’s your project coming along?” she asked.
“I finished it today before coming here.” He answered, “And I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.”
Ib’s already crimson cheeks were beginning to rival the shade of her eyes. She shyly ducked her head so her damp hair would block her face from him. “I-I didn’t do anything.” She stuttered uncertainly.
“You inspired me, Ib. There’s no way I would have finished my project as quickly as I did if we hadn’t met.” He smiled fondly at the girl as she battled her embarrassment.
“I don’t know that word.” Ib informed him.
“Hmm? Inspired means to give a person a really good idea.”
“In-spi-red…” Ib sounded the word out aloud, scrunching her face cutely in concentration.
‘Ib is so cute and innocent.’ Garry thought as he watched her look up with pride at learning a new word. ‘I can’t imagine her killing people. In fact, I want to defend her.’
Ib tilted her head at him curiously while he was lost in thought. She was surprised that even though he only knew her for almost a week he seemed to care very much for her and vice versa. She was also worried about what was going to happen to her now that she had disobeyed.
It was getting rather late when they reached shore, but neither Ib nor Garry wanted to go home yet. “Your parents are probably really worried by now, Ib. We’ll see each other again soon. I promise.” Garry said from where he stood waist deep in the sea.
Ib stared at him solemnly with her red eyes shining with guilt and sadness. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to come back. And it’s too dangerous for you to trespass in our territory again.” She pointed out logically.
“I know, but still… I’m going to go to our meeting place every afternoon, just in case you can come.” he told her with a smile. “If you need me, just yell for me and I’ll come running… or swimming.”
With that being said, the two friends bid each other farewell and went their separate ways. Garry felt awful for leaving Ib to face her punishment alone, but there was no way of going with her without drowning. ‘Or is there a way I haven’t seen yet?’ he asked himself as he walked in the direction his house was.
He didn’t know if there was a way, but he knew where he could find answers. “It looks like I’m heading back to the library tomorrow.”
Ib floated on the surface of the Abyss of the Deep as the sky above her darkened. She wished she could stay to see the little sky lights that appeared after dark, but she had to get home on time. She didn’t want to get in even more trouble.
“There you are, Ib.” said a clear voice. The girl looked up to see her mother swimming towards her. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
Ib’s mother took the little girl’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Ib felt less frightened with a familiar hand holding her’s. “Let’s go home.” the woman suggested.
Ib gave a nervous gulp, but nodded. The two dove into the darkening water and swam down to the bottom.
On the floor of the sea, her father, Mary, and Lady in Red came up a little ways to meet them. Ib allowed them to hug her even though she wasn’t a hugger.
“We were so worried for you, dear.” Lady in Red cried.
“You are not visiting the surface again.” Ib’s father said sternly.
Ib stared at him in surprise, hoping he was joking. He stared back entirely serious. “But… why?”
“Mary came back early, saying a human was hurting you and you needed help. When we swam up you were gone.” her father explained with concern and worry in his expression.
“But he didn’t-“
“Oh, the poor dear. We don’t have to talk about that now. No need to upset her.” Lady in Red interrupted, giving Ib’s father a glare that clearly said ‘How could you?!’ “Ib is safe now.”
Lady in Red gave Ib one more hug before going to her home. Ib’s parents swam ahead of the younger girls to their tower, but they would glance back at them every so often.
Ib faced Mary now that the adults were out of hearing range. Mary’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “You took him to shore.” she accused Ib.
“You lied to Mama and Papa.” Ib shot back.
“If you had been good and obeyed, none of this would have happened!”
“He’s my friend. I couldn’t just let you kill him.”
“I thought I was your friend!” Mary yelled, “You promised we’d be together forever! Why did you choose him over me?!”
“Of course you’re my friend Mary. Both you and Garry are my friends.”
“Not anymore, Ib. You can’t go to the surface anymore, so you can’t see Garry.” Mary flicked her tail hard, motoring herself into their tower.
Ib touched the crinkly yellow wrapper in her pocket before entering the tower. Her family paused from their dinner preparations to smile at Ib. They were all so happy to have her there. Ib stretched her lips upwards before joining her family again.
Garry gazed at the building in front of him, wondering if this library really had the information he was looking for. He was on his lunch break between classes, so he had some time for research.
The lavender-haired man shifted his backpack so it rested on his less sore shoulder and walked into the local library.
Heat and the smell of ink filled the air of the room he entered. It was inhabited by rows and rows of bookcases, making the somewhat big room seem cramped.
Not knowing where to look, Garry went to the front desk. “Excuse me,” he whispered to the girl with her head buried in a book behind the desk, “Would you be so kind to tell me where any books on local legends might be?”
The girl looked up in surprise and Garry gaped openly. “M-Maggie Blue?” he stuttered.
“Garry!” the lady in blue grinned at him. “I didn’t expect to see you again.”
“I didn’t know you worked here.’
“Well, it’s not the café, but it is peaceful. You’re interested in local legends?” she asked.
“Yeah… um, the conversation we had in the café about the Abyss was… intriguing. I got a book here, but it didn’t answer all of my questions.” Garry set his backpack on the desk and removed the library book he read the day before. “Can you help me find more information?”
“Of course! This book here has more theories and records of mysterious things going on with the Abyss. It also has other legends, such as the one about the wishing rock.” The lady in blue said as her handed him the book she was just reading.
Garry took the book and barely glanced at the worn cover before blurting, “Wishing rock?”
“It’s just an old myth. They say there’s a cave in the side of the cliff down at the shore with a magical rock deep inside. It can grant any wish at if you touch it and make a wish at midnight. But there’s a catch! The cave is almost always underwater and is very hard to get to.” The lady in blue explained.
“That isn’t a very believable story.” Garry remarked. “How can a wish be granted by touching a rock?”
“It’s a magical rock.” Maggie pointed out. “You can find out more about it while you are researching the Abyss.”
Garry rolled his eyes, but accepted the book with a “Thank you.” A wishing rock sounded to him like something any gullible person would believe in. Then again, he didn’t believe in mermaids before he met Ib.
He sat down at one of the tables and started to read. The information was the same content as in the other book. There were no mentions of mermaids, but the many strange disappearings were explained. There was nothing new about the Abyss.
Frustrated with his lack of progress, he flipped the book to the section about the wishing rock. The book said the cave where the rock lay was constantly underwater and extremely dangerous. There even were directions in the book.
Garry wrote down the directions, thinking he and Ib could probably check it out sometime. That is, if Ib would agree to meet him that late at night… maybe.
After lessons with Lady in Red, Ib found herself staring at the seaweed again. A week ago she would have said the leafy greens were dancing to the current. Today though, she felt like the seaweed was waving goodbye.
“Ib, you’ve been staring at that thing forever. When are you going to play with me?” Mary pouted as she swam up to her sister.
Ib shrugged her shoulders without looking away from the seaweed. Mary gave a frustrated sigh before going away to find something more entertaining to do.
Ib sighed as well when her sister left, except she did it for a different reason. She was sad that she wouldn’t be able to talk to Garry again. She stared at the seaweed in silence, thinking about his kind smile. If he had kept his word, he’d be waiting for her at the shore by now.
Ib quickly scanned her surroundings. No one was watching. She was a fast swimmer when she wanted to be and she only wanted to check up on him. ‘I’ll only be gone for a few minutes.’ she reasoned, ‘They won’t even notice I’m gone.’
Giving the seaweed a final glance, she swiftly swam to the wall in the direction of the shore.
Garry was sketching a rose with a lighter nestled in its petals when he heard a splash coming from the water. He looked up to see Ib push herself onto the rock out in the sea. She leaned on one hand while waving at Garry with the other.
The lavender-haired man grinned back at the little girl. “Hi Ib! I didn’t expect to see you today.”
Ib tilted her head in curiosity. “If you didn’t expect to see me then why did you come?”
Garry stood up and walked into the water. When he was close enough he removed a red rose from his coat pocket and gave it to her. “I saw this on my way here and I wanted to give it to you. You said you’d never seen a real rose before.” he said.
Ib tenderly held the delicate flower that seemed too beautiful to be real. “I have to go soon, Garry.”
“Okay, but before you go, I want to tell you something.” Garry went back to the dry shore where his backpack was. He pulled out an old looking book and looked to Ib with an unreadable expression. “I heard that there’s a magical rock in a cave around here that will grant your wish if you touch it at midnight.”
Ib’s eyes widened at that thought. She didn’t know what midnight was, but she knew granting wishes was good. She was instantly curious. “Can we look for this rock?” she asked.
Garry frowned. “Well… I guess if it’s okay with your parents…”
Ib nodded even though she knew they wouldn’t want her visiting the surface at all.
Garry sighed. “Okay then. We’ll meet here at 11:15, after dark. Don’t worry about it if you can’t come.”
Ib nodded again even though she didn’t understand what 11:15 meant. “Thanks Garry. I’ll meet you later.” she said while waving farewell.
“Bye Ib!” Garry waved back, watching as the little girl leapt into the water with the rose clutched tightly in her hand.
Garry put his things back in his backpack and started towards his house. This time, he was going to be prepared for this adventure.
Ib pretended to sleep until she could hear no noises from inside the tower. It was dark, silent, and terrifying outside. The red eyed girl slipped her hand in her pocket to touch the candy wrapper and the slightly withering rose before swimming out the window and straight up.
Ib gasped for air once her head burst to the surface. The air around her was cool, and light emitted from a silver disc in the sky. The sky lights twinkled beautifully over the sea. This was a magical sight to Ib.
She stared at the sky for a moment, then slipped between the spikes of the wall and made her way to shore.
She found Garry already sitting on her rock at the meeting spot. “I knew you’d get here.” Garry greeted her, “A little late, but not too late.”
“I’m sorry.” Ib apologized.
Garry looked at her in surprise. “Why are you sorry? You did nothing wrong.” He gave her a small smile, “Remember to smile, Ib.”
“Okay.” Ib said, twitching the corners of her lips up. She took a closer look at Garry as he dropped into the water. He wore his usual coat, shirt, and khakis, but he had an unusual tank attached to his back with a tube that looked like it would go in his mouth.
Garry swam over to Ib and noticed her looking at the contraption. “This is so I don’t accidentally drown.” he told her, gesturing to the thing. “You know, just in case.”
Ib nodded, looking a bit troubled. She placed her hand in Garry’s hand and allowed him to lead the way. “The book said it would be in the cliff beside the shoreline…” Garry muttered to himself.
Ib stared distractedly up at the sky lights. “They’re so pretty.” she said aloud.
“Hmm? Oh the stars? Yeah, I guess they are kinda pretty…” Garry glanced up for a moment before focusing on the shoreline again. “That area seems to be where rock meets water. Maybe the cave entrance is somewhere over there?”
Ib nodded her head and followed Garry. The area they came to was a rock- like cliff that stuck out of the water.
Garry stuck the tube of his contraption in his mouth and they dove beneath the surface. Garry took out a handheld device that emitted light, which Ib found fascinating, and used it to search for an opening.
Once they found the opening, they didn’t hesitate to swim in. If they had turned around they would have seen a figure with a tail and long, wavy hair trailing behind following them in the cave with hands clenched into fists.
I do not own Ib.
This is part two of the story I had to cut in half. Yes, there is a cliffhanger. This is where you come in, reader. If you click one of the links below, you will get an ending for this story. It may be good or bad, but it is completely random.
Don't forget to comment!
This is part two of the story I had to cut in half. Yes, there is a cliffhanger. This is where you come in, reader. If you click one of the links below, you will get an ending for this story. It may be good or bad, but it is completely random.
Don't forget to comment!