Prompt Day #103: A sailor sneaks out to deck when everyone’s asleep and takes a shot from a snifter. He cannot sleep, afraid of what might happen. The sea mist sprays his face and he shivers. What’s got him spooked?
Song of the Sea
The sailor studied the twinkling stars that teased him with their distant warmth as the sea mist left icy kisses all over his face. He shivered. The creaking of the wooden ship straining to stay upright against the unruly sea was the only sound he heard. No living soul beside himself was awake for miles in all directions. His body ached for the comfort of sleep. He knew though that if the ship was to make it back to land safely, he mustn’t give in. He swallowed down the shot of whiskey and felt its warm tendrils caressing his middle and then settling in his groin.
The sensation was pleasant enough physically, but it reminded him of his transgression and the retribution from which he was now absconding. Of course none of his ship mates or captain knew of his secret. They would have killed him themselves before letting him on the ship, but what they saw and he let them believe him to be was a sole survivor of a ship wrecked into a here-to-fore unknown island many miles off the frozen coast he called home.
The sailor had left home at thirteen to devote his life to the sea as his father and grandfather had done before him. He’d been taken on as a cabin boy on The Fortunato and worked his way up to First Mate. The day after he’d turned twenty, the crew heard the sirens singing. The men could not resist their calls and headed towards the island which was strangely tropical for a northern Atlantic land mass. The men were taken as hostages, held as sex slaves and then killed and eaten one by one as the beautiful monsters grew bored. At night, they would slip back into the ocean where their legs would become fins or tentacles. Some even grew tails with harpoon-like tips. They traveled at night sinking ships that had ignored their songs of lust and paradise. The Fortunato was sunk the first night of the crew’s capture.
When there were but two sailors left, a choice was made. One, our hero, would be kept as seed to ensure another generation of Sirens and the other kept alive to feed the children to come. Soon all were pregnant and near delivery. In this fragile state, they would need to nest and stay on the island until giving birth to their humanoid spawn. It would be the night of the full moon when the babes were expected. This night would be our sailor’s best chance at escape. For he knew his fate; there were far too many infants to feed with only one man. The Sirens had never had a captive so fertile. Most sailors suffered from a number of diseases and deficiencies of nutrition to render them near sterile, this was the first time every one of them had been impregnated.
At the peak of the full moon, when the wailing began, the sailor slipped quietly into the water and floated silently away until the distance was safe and he began to swim with all his might. He was seen and picked up by The Catarina which was sailing towards the wailing cries of pain assuming a ship had wrecked into an iceberg or shoals of the island. He was spotted and brought on board where he told tales of a giant kraken that had crushed the ship and all the crew but himself. He urged the sailors to ignore the keening sounds and save themselves. The ship was turned around and put back on course.
Tonight, clouds covered the full moon. It was the third full moon since he’d escaped. The Sirens must be well enough to search for him by now and so he must keep watch and would continue to do so every night until they reached land. He drained the snifter of whiskey and leaned onto the railing. His eyes slipped closed, opened in a valiant effort, and then shut again for good.
It was the soft singing that woke him. The clouds had passed and with the aid of the moon’s light, he saw them. Water vixens; voluptuous and wanton, calling for the men of the ship. Gradually, the crew stumbled up to the deck from their quarters, half asleep but led by lust. The sailor shouted and tried to stop them. He hit them and fought for control of the helm. The crew and the captain were made mad with desire and would not be stopped. They through the sailor overboard opposite of the Sirens who they followed into the sea on the other side of the ship.
The ice cold sea nipped and bit at him. He treaded the water, biding his time until the Sirens’ song faded into the distance taking the crew of The Catarina with them. He couldn’t feel his fingers tightening around the anchor rope, so his grip was precarious. He pulled himself up, out, and away from frigid death. He had almost cleared the water entirely when he felt a small tug on his right ankle, and then another on his left. The pull was weak at first but gained strength and his fingers, still stiff with cold gave way and he fell back into the aquatic abyss.
Moonlight reflected off the platinum blond hair of his many children surrounding him. They began to sing a lullaby; their sharp, fang-like milk teeth glinted in the scarce light. They drug him down under the water to feed. He was glad of the numbness now, that on the outside from the cold and the inside from the whiskey. He barely felt their bites. He focused instead on the heavenly voices of his babies who’d come to bring him home.