Fiction Friday: The Siren Sisters

Prompt taken from here.

They say a Siren’s voice is deadly to all humans whenever they hear it.  I have heard tale after tale of the evils of Sirens, seducing this sailor, that little girl at the sea shore, that wandering grandmother, that traveling salesman.  Sirens, I was told, devoured the souls of the good human beings, leaving nothing but shame and misery in their wake.  Siren must be avoided at all costs.  Although by what means, I was left to my own devices to determine.

All my life I had heard these things, from my own family, from the Church, from school, from our entire community.  We lived upon the coast of Brumshed.  We had no way to avoid the sea, to avoid contact with the beings, Sirens and others, who made their homes near us.

I was forbidden to walk the sands, yet I did so, every chance I found.  This time it was close to dusk.  I heard the dread Sirens belting out their resounding songs.  The chorus of voices poured out, the ocean waves throwing the magic onto shore for hundreds of miles each way. 

Most days I ignored the songs and went on along my way.  On this day, I found a spot where the waves weren’t smashing the shore quite as hard, where the wind did not beat upon my shoulders and cheeks as roughly.  There, upon this boulder thrown out of the ocean by forces unseen long ago, called Marshed Rock (for whatever unremembered reasons), I sat.  I listened, my head resting on my hand, elbow on my bent knee.  I closed my eyes and allowed the song to wash over me, to envelope me, to take me far away from this place I felt I had never belonged.

I have no idea how long I sat there, nor do I know exactly when the Sirens stopped singing.  I jumped to my feet, eyes popping wide open.  In front of me, maintaining a bit of distance from me, were the five Siren Sisters of Brumshed lore.

“Who are you?” said one sister.

“Who cares?” another said.  “WHAT are you?”

“What?”  I sat back down on the rock, leaning in towards the sisters.  “What do you mean?  What am I?”

One sister tossed her silvery hair.  “No human ever defies our song.”  She looked me over.  Up and down.  Then pointedly into my eyes.  “If you were human, girling, you’d be dead by now.”

“So,” said another sister, “if you are not human,”

“What are you?” another sister finished for her.

I shook my head.  “I don’t know what you mean.”  I squinted at them, silver hair and black eyes.  Something about them felt terribly alien and … other…while something else called to me and claimed me, but it wasn’t quite right for me.

The smallest sister swam directly to me.  She held out her head.  Seeing my hesitation, she told me, “Don’t worry, little one.  I promise not to hurt you.”

I gave her my head, trembling so slightly I managed to convince myself it was the wind pushing me around.  The siren dipped her head to my hand and … inhaled.  She licked my palm and sniffed again.  Then she smiled, more to herself than to me.  She kissed the back of my hand gently and moved back towards her sisters.

Once there, she looked at me.  “I think, little girling, that you need have some conversations with your parents.  One of them is not what they may seem.  Most usually in these circumstances it is the mother, but I cannot be sure this way.”

Confused, all I could do was stare, round eyes wide. 

“What do you mean?” asked one sister.

The smallest one did not turn to her, but rather continued to stare at me, with obvious fascination.  “I think she is selkie or the like.” 

I shook my head, frightened and … secretly, deep deep down inside, excited … and … oddly, confirmed, seen, acknowledged.

“Whatever she is,” she continued,” she is Otherkin of the waters, as are we.”

They gave no warning as they all five disappeared into the waters and vanished.

I stayed there on my rock a while longer, until my mother herself, knowing my love of the sand and sea, came to fetch me.

I went away with her, quietly, calmly.  I did not tell her, nor any other, what I had learned from the Siren Sisters.  This became my secret, my own personal power.  The hidden glow of it fed me throughout my remaining years in that village.  I never asked.  I never wavered.  I never gave any thought to who or what or why.  I just knew it was me, me alone, this was mine.

After my poor mother passed, I gathered up my things and sneaked out of my house, my village, on my own, in the middle of the night.  I had waited so as not to be a disappointment to the one person I loved above all others.  Once she was gone, my time came.

I aimed to take it and find my limits, in my own way.