“We are coming.”
It is the cry of my people that I hear reverberating through the water. A low and angry melody that fills my ears as my new family swims by my side. The water is salted by the fresh tears they shed on my behalf.
We cut through the water as if it were light as air. I can feel the powerful muscles in my tail as it slices through the ocean. My hair, once bound in societal expectations, now stream-lines over my naked shoulders.
So, this is freedom.
As we approach the ship, we slow. By some unspoken rule, I know that I must wait. I watch as she, the one who breathed new life into me, surfaces and breaks the water. At first, all we can hear are the shouts of men on board the ship as they stare at her with wonder. They seem to believe that a mermaid is a token of good fortune.
Then she begins to sing.
Her voice, husky like mine, is soft and alluring. She sings words of promise and sensual fulfillment. She sings of clear skies and calm seas. She sings of love requited. She sings.
Then, one by one, we, her sisters, join her. We surface slowly, individually, blending our voices into hers. We harmonize, layers and layers of voices overlapping and mingling with one another. We sing of love lost and love gained. We sing of torn ships, brought down by the unbiased sea. We sing.
We float toward the ship and cling to the sides of the wood. We slowly scrap off the barnacles and other organisms growing there. With nails, strong as coral, we softly burrow into the wood, so calmly that they do not notice. Still, we sing.
The men lean over the sides, some have removed their shoes. They are thinking about jumping, about joining us. They do not see or hear the water that now flows in through the holes we made. They do not realize that their ship is sinking. Still, we sing.
Our voices grow and the men shift. Do they hear it? The subtle turn in our song. We sing of betrayal, we sing of pain, we sing of canon balls tied to ankles, we sing of cheers heard at death, we sing of salt water coating and burning our lungs. We sing.
The ships sinks and the men finally understand. It is not bad luck to have a woman on board, but it is bad luck to throw one over. The men run, desperate to save their ship, they are shouting orders, but it is too late. Our voices grow and block out their fear.
Their bodies fill the water, much like ours once did.
And still, we sing.
Hey there! I hope you enjoyed the third installment in my short “Siren” series. For a more complete experience, once you reach the line, “Then she begins to sing,” play the song below and listen to it softly as you continue to read rest of the story.
If you are interested in reading the first two parts, check out these links:
“An Unexpected Tide” will be the fourth and last part published next Thursday!
Did you enjoy this installment? Let me know in the comments!
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