Thursday, 10 April 2014

A Siren's Capture

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A Siren's Capture
by Rebecca Fyfe

Sirena's heart beat sped up as the ship came into sight. She and her sisters had been waiting for a ship to appear for months now. It had been so quiet here. Drowning their first sailor was a rite of passage for all sirens that announced their passage from childhood to adulthood, and Sirena had waited so long with her sisters. She was one of triplets and all three of them had been waiting for this day; the day when they became full-grown sirens and started being treated like adults. They'd been waiting 15 years for this, and then they had to wait an additional three months for a ship to appear in their bay.

Sirena's two sisters, Coral and Marina started singing, the spell from their enchantment woven into the threads of their song and weaving its way to the ship and its unsuspecting sailors. Sirena knew she should start singing too, but she wanted to see what the sailors were like without the enchantment pulling at them. Coral and Mina's songs were only strong enough to enchant one or two men at a time, so there would still be some men unaffected on the ship.

She'd seen men before, but always under the spell of one of the sirens in her colony. Once under enchantment, the men had no mind of their own, ruled only by the enchantment that urged them to follow their siren enchantress at all costs. And they only lasted moments before sea water filled their lungs and death claimed them. Curiosity made Sirena wanted to find out more about these men before her enchantment pulled them under.

Sirena swam closer to the ship, her long tail and fluke making her movements swift and graceful as she glided smoothly up to the side of the ship. She heard voices. There were men on the ship moving towards the stern. She could tell from their faces that they were already under her sisters' spells. There were five of them, Sirena noted, so one of her sisters' enchanted singing was particularly powerful. None of the other men working on the ship had noticed the five men moving ever closer to the edge of the ship. A young man was pulling up a fishing net, his strong arms making short work of it. She was close enough that she knew he was within range of one of her sisters' songs, but he didn't seem to be affected  by it.
 Interesting, Sirena thought. He obviously can hear her singing but remains unaffected by it.

She watched him for a while. When he finished his work, he moved to help some of the other men with theirs. He was quick to smile at the others, but he never said a word. At times, she saw him motioning with his hands and the men would motion back with their hands. She wondered what it meant that he never spoke and seemed to communicate through his hands instead. She found that she was having trouble taking her eyes off of him. She was watching him so closely that she had forgotten to take care not to be seen.

A shout rang out and Sirena felt a net drop over her. The more she struggled, frantic to free herself, the more trapped in the net she became. It felt like only moments had passed before she could feel herself and the net being hauled onto the ship. She stilled herself. She'd heard horror stories of what happened to her kind when caught by fishermen.

She landed with a thud on the deck of the ship, still tangled helplessly in the fishing net. I can enchant them, Sirena thought, quickly trying to come up with a plan for escape. It will work on one or two of them and that might be enough to break free and slip back over the side. the men were shouting back and forth to one another, excited with their unusual catch, so she sang as loud as she could.

Her song began to weave its way around the men. One man, then two, then a third feel under her spell. She looked at the man she had been watching for so long. He wasn't under her spell, but he'd noticed the slack-jawed look that had fallen over the others. Sirena continued to sing. A fourth man fell under her spell. Then a fifth. As far as she knew, no siren had ever enchanted so many men at once.

The five under her spell moved towards her and started removing the net from around her. She smiled at them and kept singing, but more men were coming. The one man seemed to remain immune, but he didn't try and stop the others from freeing her. He just watched, a suspicious expression on his face.

She struggled to move herself to the edge of the boat, but her fins were ungainly and clumsy out of the water. Suddenly, strong arms wrapped around her and lifted her. She turned, still singing, to see who held her and it was the man she had been so entranced by. He carried her to the edge of the ship.

Sirena looked into his eyes and risked the song ending for a moment. "Thank you," she said, still looking deeply into his eyes.

He gave her a quick nod in acknowledgment and helped her over the side. She looked back at him once more and swam away.

She wouldn't be drowning a sailor today, but then, Sirena wasn't sure she ever wanted to drown a sailor, even if it meant never being considered an adult.

When she joined her sisters, she found that she didn't need to drown a sailor. Everyone from her colony had come to her rescue. When her sisters had noticed her capture, they'd released their own sailors from their spells in order to swim for help. Everyone had arrived in time to see her enchant five sailors, more than any siren before her had been capable of doing.

The whole colony was celebrating that night, not just in thanks for her powerful song but for her safe return.

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