The Narcissus and Echo myth is one of my favorites and I’m immensely dissatisfied with the amount of retellings of it so I’m being the change I want to see in the world. I didn’t include it in this excerpt because it was getting to be a little long, but the conceit is that there is a plant-based body horror twist to this version.
She finds him face-down in a pool of water, covered in leaves and petals. Touching what she’s so sure is a corpse isn’t one of her best ideas, but there’s something so off about the whole thing that compels her to do so.
She creeps out from the depths of her cave, compelled by a sense of panic and novelty both. It’s been so long since she’s heard another voice. It would be a shame if he has had his taken from him.
His body isn’t gray or bloated or any of the other things corpses are supposed to be. Like he could still be alive despite no bubbles coming from around where his face isn’t submerged in the water. And, as it turns out, he is.
When she drags him by his shoulders out of the water, he simply gasps, once, as though he had been underwater a normal amount of time. He glances at her, allowing her to see his face for the first time. She falls in love in that moment. He’s beautiful.
There’s a flower that’s fallen perfectly tangled in his hair to cover one of his eyes. A shame, since the other is such a shining jewel.
He smiles at her dreamily, then frowns as if seeing her for the first time. With a sound low of panic low in his throat he looks down to water where the surface is still rippling with the evidence of his removal. Sediment makes the clear water cloudy.
She wants to ask him if he’s okay, but her voice sticks in her throat.
“No, no,” he murmurs to himself, leaning down as if to plunge his head back underwater.
“No..!” She gasps softly, grasping his bicep.
She pinkens as he looks at her hand, then back to her face. There’s immeasurable scorn in that handsome face, a curl to his lips that somehow doesn’t manage to mar the plump perfection of them or the perfect dip of his Cupid’s bow.