Sea Resonances

From Sirenusus rock, I can see the nose of a ship lured in by the resonating caw of the playful seagulls, the whistling of the wind passing through the cracks of the wooden ship, and the elongated swoop of the ascending and receding shoreline. The gods’ stars cast light on the flute boat’s sail, signaling my next attack. Once they’re in Alfimi Island’s clutch, the seagulls go silent. Scraping the bottom of the boat is an army of sharp rocks through the shallow water. It hinders the sailors’ boats, anyone who uses sea creatures and sanctuaries to pay for blankets, bread, and maidens. This gate is a guardian for me and my home.

As the men look over the deck, they see the top of the rocks coated with sleek stains of human blood, marking those who failed to reach shore. Then they get to Alfimi’s gate, its massive onyx rock daggers jutting out of the water. Their shrieks of fear warm my veins.

“Turn around!” said one.

“The boat is chipping we have to turn back!” said another. Wind harpoons around the boat, rocking and strangling its outer shell. The sound of rustling sails trickle down my ears. It tingles my spine, energizing my vocal chords and I begin to hum…. And the yelling ceases. I swim up to the prow of the ship, allowing my song to climb up the sides of their boat:

I long for him, who fights the sea
To bend the waves and rescue me
Under the water
I hope he wanders

         Their patchy heads and dirty faces search for mine. “What is that,” they question, “Where is that voice?”

I peek through the shards of rock and cold water as I continue to serenade. Their wills are robbed by the sheer beauty of my dark hair. Their mouths agape, I exhale warm words from my shriveled lips to suck them into cold intentions:

Under the water
I hope he wanders

         They are so entranced by my crimson eyes and nurturing voice that they completely dismiss the boat as it tries to squeeze through the narrow gap. I reach my hand out for them, and they willingly leap to claim my touch. It’s their faces that pleasure me, when the harsh reality condemns their eager smiles. One by one their bodies drop to the water like weathered trees. Bloody textiles and loose limbs pool the merciless rocks, disappearing into the deep blue sea. The evidence is swallowed by nature’s pull, I slip away to my abode, and Alfimi’s treasures are still hidden luxuries.

Not too long after another successful killing, I swim back to my home where I can rest. My heavy tail trails behind me as I hoist myself up on Sirenusus rock. To the left, Alfimi’s gates shelter me like its kin, comforts me at night from sailors. Rotating my gaze toward Alfimi Island, I have an amazing view of its luscious land, the trees swaying, humming a gentle lullaby. Laying in between, they shelter me from the evils that lurk beyond this point. When the water starts to condense the flaky fish skin and gaudy scales peel away, and my human body appears, the only human flesh I’ve ever seen, let alone touched. As I pull the dried seaweed over my bare limbs, I lay flat to go to sleep.

Then the most peculiar sound starts to resonate in the distance.

I turn my head gradually toward it. Past the gate, I see a light, cupped in a bowl shape, bobbing to the rhythm of the legato waves. I squint my eyes to focus more, but it fails to work. They are just slabs of blue amongst a slim opaque wedge, failing to claim an identity. And the gods’ stars twinkle only on the next target. Only Hades knows why they shine on my skin tonight.

But nothing is as perplexing as those faint, strumming sounds. I have never heard anything like it before. It’s taunting me from afar, with euphonious winding sounds coasting along the shore and into my ears. They are thin feathers whipping through air, toying with me. Such a stimulating tune. Why won’t it come closer, Why won’t it leave? I can barely hear it, yet I am hesitant to leave to get acquainted with it. What if it is a sailor on a boat? Alfimi Island needs me here to protect it, to protect me. What will the gods do if I leave the island unprotected? But those pesky whips, that bobbing light prancing in place. I’m so seduced by it that it makes my heart contort, the veins around my irises throbbing with agony as I struggle to see the creator of those sounds. My palms grind the seaweed against the rock, scraping the skin off my hands. The sounds, so soft but they pound like merciless thunder. The bobbing light flirting with the atmosphere it drifts on. I have never felt so tempted to claim something in all of my existence. I want to know what the sounds are, why the light is glistening.

I can’t take the torture anymore. I leap off my rock and into the water. Simultaneously my toes up to my hips morph into scales. Sweeping passed the clusters of sharp rocks, the gate confronts me. Under the water, the sickly browns and reds from ripe flesh hang off the spikes. You’ve always protected me, I assure it. My shoulder jerks back a bit toward my solemn rock, yet even underwater the reverberating sounds tempt me.

Shaking away all existing fears, I shimmy my body through the filthy daggers, scales cracking off my hips. I put my arms on the outer side of the gate, and with all my might, I dig my fingers into the rock and press myself free. I burst out of the water, stretching my fingers out from the pressure. As I look at the Alfimi Island from a new perspective, the water rimmed around my breasts and back feels a bit colder. Regardless of the discomfort, the light from the other end is still drawing me in, its twanging companion fiddling with my subconscious. I take a brave sigh and curl back under the undiscovered sea.

I was surrounded by so many late night creatures that I had to smooth my hair away from my ears to hear the twanging better. For a moment the only noises were schools of fish cutting the water, making the bubbles pop rapidly. A lonesome whale was moaning one way while an octopus was slurping through its beak in another. Through the middle of the sporadic symphony, I can still hear the twanging. It tugs me by my ear lobes up towards the surface. Closer and closer, I push through the water to reach the source of the strumming, the sounds so melodious now I can feel them blaring in my heart and mind. And then it shows up, capsulated in blue. A thin circle of yellow light appears on the surface and I have to touch it. I let my body speed up toward the light and song. Just as rapidly as my hands stretch to penetrate the light up above, it vanishes, my body still in motion.

“No!” I exclaim splashing out of the water, vexed by the light’s stealth. I spring forward, expecting to run into another shade of darkness. Instead, I bump my nose on human flesh. Startled, I slip shoulder-deep under the water and perch my head up for clarity. There, a swinging light is bobbing back and forth in a contained block held by a human hand. The glow from the light sweeps over a face, a man’s face. We stared in silence.

Oh no.
I long for him, who fights the sea
To bend the waves and rescue me…

         “The song zips through my head but is held captive by fear. Traumatized yet hypnotized, I had never seen pupils of a sailor this close before until now. His eyes are onyx dots engulfed in swirls of sandy brown and organic green, observing me. It’s like home. He takes in a gulp, and I notice his bold jaw line wrapped in soft, white flesh. His eyebrows pinch a small hill on his freckled brown nose, his tender lips sealed shut. I should turn back, but his gaze draws me in to a warm embrace.
Suddenly, the man reaches his hand out to touch me. I allow him to smooth his fingers over my eyelashes, my quivering cheeks, and my lips, skin flaking off from the unbearable cold. I stand in the water, unmoving, until he glides his hand down the back of my arm. Instinctively I raise my arm up willingly. He scoops me out of the water onto a small boat with a comforting sturdy grip, the other hand still clutching the bobbing light.

““Woah!” he says watching my fish tail flop down on his boat. As usual, the fins and scales peel off uncovering my legs and hips. “Uhm…” he places the light on a hook between the two of us next to a weird weapon with strings tied in the middle. He pulls off his top to dry me off. “Are you a siren?”

My name is Imilfa. I cannot speak. My throat is so tight I have to breathe through my nose. I nod instead to answer his question. Clouded over me, the man tucks his shirt under my thighs. I’m entranced by his body, so close to mine. The grooves in his chest and stomach are tough like armor. Broad shoulders and godlike arms belong to this man, a man with such an addictive touch. His tepid fingers surge warmth through my entire body. My nerves relax from his delicate feel, his breath heating my neck as he wipes the water from my back. Every time we lock eyes my heart pitter patters. I feel wrapped in a comfortable serene hug when I see those eyes. I try to release a calm sigh, but my throat contracts again.

““I’m guessing you’re not much of a talker,” the man says, smoothing the hair around my ears before he motions back to the opposite side of the boat. He picks up the strange instrument. Right as I think he is going to whack me unconscious, he plops down on the boat. He holds the handle of the weapon toward his chest and caresses the strings.

“I hope you don’t mind if I play my guitar.”

The… the sounds. The magic sounds are reverberating around us, filling the air with playful chimes and strumming noises. The light strengthens my vision. I follow his intricate gestures tweak the melody. His beautiful song, body, and eyes remind me of home. It seems as if I never left. Reciting the hymn to myself, I envision Alfimi Island:

I long for him, who fights the sea
To bend the waves and rescue me
Under the water
I hope he wanders

         Here I thought this man would see my value and use it for his own advantage. Yet, here he is entertaining me, a siren, with his harmonious passions bouncing off the strings. This muscular male figure is not like the others, seeking a gluttonous prize. He is seeking an audience, a solemn listener to receive his message of affection, a companion in this unforgiving world.

Abruptly, my throat closes up as he plays and I wince at the pain. Little air is coming through my lips, making it hard for me to keep my eyes open. I lay my back on my end of the prow hoping that expanding my lungs will help me breathe. It only makes the pain worse. I open one eye to see him, a simple smile emerging from his face. That smile means more to me than any smile I have ever seen, more than any smile I have ever had.

“Goodnight,” he whispers as he plays. In and out of consciousness, I smirk at the gods’ stars above that beam on me. You may have taken my voice… Lowering my eyelids, I give in to the slow pain plaguing my body. But at least I was touched first. All I can do is enjoy the sounds that brought me to this sanctuary. He bent the waves to rescue me. Puffing my last acute breaths from my dyeing lungs, his final chords drift into my ears, soothing my mind into a soft, warm, cradling rest.

Contributor: Elisha Nain

Copyright © 2013 Elisha Nain. All Rights Reserved.

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