Hello, you. That's right, you who have clicked on my story. This is a something based off my other sorta story, Broken Glass. (And by story, I mean how I entertained myself in the car last rode trip.) So yes, Broken Glass will probably NOT be continued. Anyway, here is the fruit of my labor: Echoes (!excited!). See y'all at the bottom!

The first time I heard a dead person, I was six years old.

Even now, almost thirteen years later, I recall the day vividly. It was my first day of kindergarten, and was only slightly cloudy outside, a rare thing for Forks. Still, my mother Renee, always a worrier, had loaded me up with a cheap raincoat she had found at a secondhand store and a pair of bright red rubber rain boots. I had been so proud of those boots, eagerly pointing them out to all of my neighbors and any stranger we happened to pass.

My mother dropped me off on her way to work, kissed my cheek, and wished me luck. Looking back, I can see the cloud of worry that drifted over face before she hid it from me. As she drove away, I skipped happily into my new school, oblivious to the oncoming shift in my world.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully- coloring, naptime, a story read by the teacher, snacks. As we lined up to go outside, a nice girl I met named Angela waved to me. When the teacher finally opened the door, we all eagerly raced outside.

Too uncoordinated to play tag with the rest of the class, I wandered around aimlessly, looking for a spot to sit down and rest. The perfect place presented itself in the form of an old elm tree by the edge of the playground, barely touching the forest. I had just settled down against the spongy moss when I heard a faint whisper. Looking around hopefully for someone to talk to, I saw nothing. I shrugged and settled back down when I heard it again.

"Isabella…" it said from somewhere in the back of my head. "Bella." I thought, frowning. "My name is Bella." Even then, I hated my given name.

"Ah, you can hear me." the strange voice said again, sounding pleased. "Most of your kind can't hear me until much later." I should have been scared, or at the very least confused, to hear a voice that was not my own in my head. But, with the oblivious innocence of a child, I was curious about this odd new development.

"Of course I can hear you. It's my head, after all. What's your name?"

"Aro, at your service." the voice said, smile evident in its tone.

"And what do mean, most of my kind?" I asked, annoyed. I didn't like to be singled out, and curiosity was the only reason I was talking to this irritating voice at all. After all, my young mind thought, who is he to come barging in and bothering me?

The voice, or Aro, as it wanted to be called, chuckled. It felt odd to have someone else laughing in my head, sort of like sticking a vibrating toothbrush in your mouth for too long. "Others like you and your ancestors, of course." Aro replied, still chuckling. I tilted my head, confused.

The laughter stopped. The voice seemed more cautious, and more confused, like me. "You mean," the voice said, even slower than it already talked, "that this is your first trip into the Realm?"

"What's the Realm?" I asked, becoming even more confused and a little scared, "Who are you? Is this one of Uncle Felix's mean tricks?"

"Oh dear." Aro said, sighing. "This is my first new Shadow Walker. I've never done the orientation before."

"Wha…" I began, trailing off when it began to speak.

"Listen close, little one. This is important." Aro began. I closed my mouth, leaned into the tree, and shut my eyes.

The story Aro told was greater than all of the fairy tales in my books back home. He told of how two ancient wizards, wanting to continue educating their apprentices , known as the Order, even when they no longer walked the earth, formed a place in deep subconscious where powerful spirits, or echoes, would walk. They created an amulet, submerged in the essence of their souls, to be the key to this magical place, and gave it to their three apprentices to guard.

When the ancients departed this world, they flowed gracefully to the Realm, and continued to train the Order in the magical arts. But, as always happens, power began to corrupt the Order. The ancients taught the last true apprentice a rune that she was to use when the betrayal occurred. The rune was meant to break the amulet, allowing the key to the Realm to be destroyed, so that the corrupt apprentices would never be able to use it. But not all went to plan.

On Midsummer's Eve, a night of celebration throughout the magical world, the fallen apprentices' plot was put into action. While the guardian of the amulet was preparing for the night's festival ritual that the Order was expected to perform, the two men snuck into her tower and ambushed her. The epics say that a mightier battle there never was seen, nor would there ever be.

When all of her hope was lost, the guardian began to chant the rune. Her opponents recognized the old language, and, doing anything he could to prevent her from destroying the key, one threw a knife that slit her across the belly. She saw the blood gushing from her body and shrieked, but it was too late- the chant was completed. The amulet's power rushed into her, coursing through her veins.

Writhing and screaming, she was lifted into the air, black hair floating around her like a halo, her bloodied wound glowing. The shining opaque fluid flowed over her, healing all her wounds, mending any imperfections, changing her. With a final shriek of agony, she fell to the ground. Her pursuers stood frozen, gaping at her. She picked herself up and stared at her hands, before toughened and scared from years of work, now smooth and white. Then, as if remembering what had happened before this dramatic change, she turned and fled as fast as she could, not stopping or even glancing over her shoulder until she was safe.

"All of her descendents are Shadow Walkers. Depending on their gender, and how direct their bloodlines are to her, they can hear, and see, and sometimes even enter the Realm. She is your many times great- grandmother." Aro concluded, finishing his tale.

I blinked, resurfacing from Aro's story. "You mean that all actually happened?" I asked, unable to wrap my head around this newly discovered world. "That woman was my lots of greats-grandmother?"

"I would say so." Aro mused, "I've never heard of a Shadow Walker listening in the Realm at this age before. You must be a direct descendent."

The teacher began to round all the children up- it was hard to believe this had happened in such a short amount of time. It seemed like it had been years since this morning, when the most interesting thing I had ever heard of were my red rain boots.

"One more thing, little Bella." Aro said softly. I nodded happily, ready to hear more about this new and exciting world. "Echoes will seek you out now, everywhere you go." I nodded again, nonplused. "And every single one of them, including me, will be dead."

My teacher found me clinging to the old elm tree and screaming.

So? Like it? Love it? If you hated it, suck it up and review something else. (Although, I have been wanting to start a wall of shame…). Unbeta'd, so feel free to let me know if you see any problems. Should be updated about every weekend or so.