Flash Fiction: Siren

There is a ship. There is a ship on the sea, and the sky is gray and rumbling, and he stands on the port bow, wind threatening to carry him down to the hungry waves below. He keeps a wide stance and digs his heels in. If he listens hard enough, he can still hear her singing, can still feel her palm on his face, water tracing rivulets down his cheek. Her song lives within his heart, thrums in his chest at all times, and he can’t help but listen. It beats in his blood and causes chaos in his brain, a drug that will never leave his system.

He is condemned now, of course. The sailors tied his hands to mast, and he struggled and cried and they told him it was for his own good. He can never be left alone, can never be left untied, or else he will join her, and gladly, gladly. He is like their brother, the sailors say. They only want to help him. And when they are no longer at sea, when they have finished their journey, they will let him go, they promise. The further from the water he gets, the less the song will beckon him. But he is not sure how to live without it, without the pulse in his veins that tells him he is alive and she is waiting, and they will be together, if only he had the strength to break free and jump.

sirens_ulyssesAnd so, when the sailor guarding him turns his back and takes a piss, he uses a knife he stashed at dinner and wriggles free of his bonds. It is not easy – his wrists are bruised and scabbed, from wrenching them through the biting fibers. But there is a choice now. There should always be a choice, he thinks, in matters of the heart.
And she is still calling him, so. So he walks to the railing and he climbs up, shaking. The wind whips his hair into his eyes and the water roars below him, waves dark and churning. Blood of the earth. His guard, his brother, is shouting. But it is too late. The song is louder than it has ever been, is creating light underneath his skin, is crescendo-ing in his blood and quickly reaches its height just behind the eyes. Something is happening to his body – he feels lighter than air, lighter than sound. No, he is sound, he is the song, and now he is the wind, and now he is the water, and now he is a stone and he is sinking down, down, down, and the music is lulling him sweetly to sleep and he thinks, at last. I am home.





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