With: Alice Reeds
In Echoes, and its sequel Fractures, we follow the story of Miles and Fiona, two teens caught in the potentially deadly scheme of a company willing to do anything in order to achieve their goals. As time goes by, not only are they questioning their reality but also themselves, as in each other but also who they are, who they believe to be, and who the company claims they are. How do you hold on to what you think is real and true if everyone around you tries their hardest to prove you wrong?
“He’ll agree,” a woman said—Carla?—an hour after Anthony, according to the time stamps. She sat there lazily, slouched, like she was bored or just so sure of her spiel that she saw no reason to worry or doubt. “Anthony is an ambitious man, sure, but who in their right mind would say no to two million dollars?”
Carla sounded so cold, detached, all business. Nothing like the woman Fiona had described to me while we were stuck on the island. How could she do this to Fiona, pretend to be a loving mother if this was who she really was, nothing but an actress for Briola? How fucked up did you have to be to do something like this to your daughter?
“He might love her, but eventually he’ll give in,” Carla said. “Besides, there are ways to steer him in the right direction, remember?” She raised one eyebrow and then the video cut again, the image returning to the empty chair.
The sudden quiet felt too heavy, the room too empty, too little air for the two of us to share, the sound of Fiona’s wet little hiccups warped, unreal even though I literally felt them. I closed my eyes and wished, hoped, prayed that whatever this was would end now.
I should’ve known better.
“My name is Minsar Lyel,” a familiar voice said from all around us, the sound so vast and surrounding I couldn’t breathe, my heart immediately ceasing to beat. Lyel?
My name is Miles Echo. My father’s last name is Echo. Not Lyel. I am Miles Echo. I am—
“Living in Homestead, Florida,” he said, “though I don’t understand why you need this information. Why am I here? No one gave me a clear answer to that question yet.”
Forcing myself to look…there he was, a younger, happier version of my father, the one from before my mother’s accident. No gray hair, his face a little rounder, his eyes brighter, though his brows were pulled together with a frown, his expression impatient.
“Certainly not,” he continued, and chuckled to himself, a dismissive mannerism I’d seen on him more times than I could count. “Your offer may be generous, but I assure you, I make the same amount in less than two weeks, so I truly do not see a reason why I should even consider that little bit of extra cash in exchange for my son.”
Wait, what? For years, my father had acted as though he wished I didn’t exist. I’d assumed he’d jumped at the chance to get rid of me. But could it be there was a time when things weren’t like that? Impossible, and yet…
Was I misremembering my own life?
“Brandon is worth more money than you’d be able to give me, invaluable even.” Brandon? Leon. Wasn’t that the name he said earlier? “No matter what you say and how many times you repeat it, I will not change my mind. I won’t give you Brandon and that is final.”
My heart sunk. Of course, he wasn’t talking about me. Leon was the good brother, the oldest, the rightful heir to his fortune, the invaluable one. I was…a mistake.