When they started to sing, I knew it was over.
The other men, the sailors, the first-mate, and even the Captain, were enthralled by the voices that arose from the sea as if they had already forgotten the life they had sacrificed to its waves.
But I had not forgotten. I knew that her eyes, demanding that I show her no pity, would remain with me for the rest of my life.
I just did not expect the rest of my life to be so short.
When the voices came up out of the water, I did not hear the sweet seduction that the other men claimed to have heard. I could hear what was underneath, the anger and the pain and the desire for revenge.
As we began to sink, I saw you rise from the water. Those same eyes, now tinged red from the salt, staring at me. You added your voice to the mix and while I heard you anger, as you looked at me, I wondered if I also heard something else: a mixture of pain and sympathy.
When the men realized what was happening, they quickly tried to save the ship, some even armed themselves with guns. The first mate shoved one in my direction, “Take this, minister!”
“I’ve got all that I need,” I said, revealing the small book still held in my hands.
“Let it be on your head then,” he snarled, shoving the gun in his waist.
When the shots rang out, you and your kind dove beneath the surface but we could still hear your singing. Water ran up from the bowels of the ship and over our feet. The men panicked, climbing ropes and masts, attempting to escape the sea.
With one last look up to the sky, I braced myself and ran, over the deck and into the water. My body splashed the water much like yours once did. Behind me, the ship quickly capsized and sank, pulling in the water and sailors surrounding it like a whirlpool, including me. Even though I pulled, I could not escape its suction. With one last gulp, my face was pulled under into the dark sea.
I watched him, the religious man, as he struggled against the waves. All around me, my sisters sang in triumph as we watched the men drown and die.
I felt a twinge of regret course through me as I watched the minister and remembered how he had spoken up for me. I remembered his eyes that had shown no pity only a great sense of sorrow and anger at the men who would throw me overboard simply due to superstition.
Without thinking, I swam toward him, my powerful tail propelling me quickly toward the sinking ship. With one hand I reached out to the unconscious man-
Another hand grabbed my arm, “What are you doing?”
It was her, the one who saved and then made me, the one who led my sisters and I to our revenge. Her husky voice was as harsh as her nails in my skin.
“This one is innocent,” I said, trying to pull my arm from her grasp.
“None are innocent. He watched as they tried to kill you. Did he stop them? No! Leave him to his fate.”
I glanced once more at the man. It was true, he had watched, he had not stopped them from throwing me overboard. I could let him die, it would be the exact same thing that had happened to me, but could I live with myself if I did?
Yanking my arm free from her grasp, I held his face in between my long, webbed hands. Acting on an instinct as old as time, I pressed my lips against his and breathed out long and slow. To my surprise, I saw his chest rise and fall.
Behind me I could hear my sisters muttering in disgust and protest. In my peripheral, I could see that they were turning tail and leaving me alone in the vast ocean with only this man beside me. It did not matter.
Again, I kissed him and breathed into his lungs. To my surprise, his eyes opened, tinged red by the salt water, much like man. When he raised a hand to touch my face, his fingers were webbed and beneath his torso, his legs had melded his a strong tail, even longer than mine.
That’s when I saw them approaching from the dark sea. Both women and men with swinging tails and swaying hair. They were similar in looks to my sisters, the Sirens, but different as well. They rose up from beneath us with a song on their lips. But their song was not like the sirens, there was no hate, no revenge, no anger.
There was only forgiveness, peace, and understanding in their words. In their song, they welcome he and I, they praised me for my forgiving nature, for my rescue of the innocent man, and offered us both a place in their family.
His hand in mine, I realized I was not a siren. I was a mermaid and while some might deserve death for their actions, it was not my duty to insure it. Instead, I would protect those like me, the innocent.
Hey Everyone! A huge thank you to everyone who has stuck around and read all four parts of my “Siren Series.” If you missed a part, be sure to check them out below:
On the Godless Sea
In the Depths
We are Coming
An Unexpected Tide
I had a lot of fun writing these short stories and I hope that you enjoyed them. Be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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