|art by Robert Fyfe|
Call of the Siren
by Rebecca Fyfe
by Rebecca Fyfe
I felt sand under my hands and grating against my cheek as the darkness lifted from my consciousness. My hair was wet and I could feel every grain of sand against my naked body as though I was lying against sandpaper. My head throbbed and I tried to stand but a wave of dizziness washed over me and I lay still again.
I could hear the ocean’s waves somewhere behind me, and the salty tang of the sea drifted by on the wind. I was still at the beach, but how did I end up like this? The last thing I remembered was finding a private section on the beach where I could lay and relax on my beach towel without being disturbed. I’d brought along my notepad and pen and was hoping the quiet would help me find my muse. I had a deadline approaching and a story to write.
Somewhere from the back of my mind, through the fog of a distorted memory, a face swam into view. I remembered seeing someone. He had walked up to me and asked me about my writing. He had wanted to know about the story I was working on. I remembered now! His name was Aigean.
Thinking it might help me work through some ideas, and because, well, the guy was easy on the eyes, I had started to tell him about my story. I told him all about my story about a girl who finds out she’s a mermaid and falls in love at the same time. I told him about the problems I was having with the plot line. I explained to him how I kept changing parts of the undersea world of the mermaids in the story because I couldn’t decide on how I wanted to portray it or on which portrayal seemed the most plausible.
His kind eyes had looked into mine and somehow I found myself spilling everything to him. I even told him all about my fear that my writing wouldn’t be good enough to share, that no publishers would love it as much as I did. Writing was all I had ever dreamed about doing and the fear that I wouldn’t succeed at it ate at my soul.
He’d settled down next to me and listened attentively as I poured out my heart in a way I would never have done under normal circumstances. I hadn’t understood then, why I had opened up so easily to him. At the time, his gentle gaze had seemed to catch me within it and pull the words from me against my will, and yet, as the words came, I realized I wanted to tell him everything.
As I finished telling him about the story I was writing and my fears about being an inadequate writer, I took a moment to study him. The sunlight shone warmly against his tanned skin. He definitely spent time outdoors. His hair was a light brown, full of lighter golden highlights and his eyes were a sparkling blue, or maybe they were green. I hadn’t been able to decide and had compromised by deciding they were teal. His smile seemed genuine enough. And his body was lean and athletic, with just enough muscle to give him a physique I would classify as powerful.
While I studied him, he was looking at me with equal intensity. I wondered what he thought of my long, straight brown hair and pasty white skin. I was pale enough that it would be obvious spending time at the beach, or anywhere in the sunshine, wasn’t something I did often.
My eyes were nothing special either. I had hazel eyes, a mixture of brown and green, but mostly they just looked brown. My lips were thin, but my body wasn’t. I wasn’t too plump, but I had a good twenty pounds more on me than I needed, and I was overly curvy. I wondered why he was talking to me at all.
But he’d only smiled at me and took my hand, pulling me to a standing position. He’d asked me, his voice deep and mellow, if I wanted to swim in the ocean with him. I didn’t want to admit to him that ever since I had seen a dead jelly fish on the beach as a child and been told about its ability to sting, I had been afraid of entering the sea. It was a foolish childhood fear, and his voice, asking again, felt like a warm heat moving right through me, calming any fear I had, making me want nothing more than to follow after him as he walked into the ocean’s waves.
At first, we only let our feet get wet as the gentle swell of the waves reached out to us lazily and tickled our toes. But his hand tugged on mine to take me further into the water. And I couldn’t seem to stop myself from letting him pull me into the ocean after him. I didn’t want to stop him.
That’s all I could remember. How had I ended up from there, just entering into the ocean with him, to here, lying naked on the beach, waking up from an unconscious state? Had a wave captured us? Had I somehow hit my head? My head hurt and Iwas feeling dizzy. That made the idea of having hit my head seem more plausible. But where was Aigean?
Thankfully, there was still no one around or my nakedness would have been entirely too embarrassing. I cautiously lifted my head, hoping the movement wouldn’t cause the dizziness again, and spotted my clothes sitting further up the beach, away from the trickle of waves. I was just lifting myself to my hands and knees when the water from the gentle waves reached my feet again.
That’s when things became very strange. My body started to tingle as if someone had just zapped me with a really low-powered tazer. My legs slid back into a prone position, but I managed to keep my upper body lifted onto my hands. This only helped me to see more clearly when my fingers started to grow webbing between them. I didn’t have time to freak out about that though, because I could feel other changes occurring.
My entire lower body became super-heated. I should have been on fire to feel this kind of heat, but I looked down at my legs and there was no fire. As the water reached ever higher across my feet and legs, I noticed the changes that were occurring. Scales were appearing one by one on my legs. I didn’t feel them appearing other than that overall heat, but watching them was amazing. They appeared as if by magic. The skin underneath held a bluish tint that was soon covered by the scales as they started to encroach on more and more of my body. Eventually, my legs began to meld together into one, and my mind finally kicked in and told me what was happening. I was getting a tail, and not just any tail either; I was getting a mermaid’s tail.
So much about myself had changed. Even my already-long hair had grown longer. I felt around my face and didn’t notice any change, but my ears were different. They felt pointier. And I had some sort of openings on either side of my neck. Gills? I wouldn’t have believed any of this if I wasn’t experiencing it first-hand. But how had this happened?
The tide was slowly coming in, and I knew I would be able to swim out into that ocean, would be able to breath under the waves. But where would I go? I was all alone in this. And just as I thought those words, I heard him call to me.
Aigean! He was singing something soft and soothing. The melody called to me, and I moved myself deeper into the waves, wanting to get closer to his voice. As the water enveloped me, I found myself gliding easily through it. I followed his voice, but despite the allure of his call, I realized I didn’t want to just follow him around. I wanted him to come to me.
With the ease of someone born to it, I started singing. I’d never heard the song before that came so easily to my lips, but I felt its magic as it reached out towards him, ensnaring him as surely as he had ensnared me. I could feel him moving through the water, closer to me.
No, I wouldn’t be alone.