~The waves whisper to me,
calling me to the soft sand.
The water sweeps over my feet,
surrounds where I stand.
The girl sat up with a scream. Her heart pounded in her chest, the cavity aching in its wake. In the split-second darkness as her eyelids pulled over her eyes, she could still see it all so vividly: the dark, stormy skies...
the raging ocean...
the helpless men...
the creatures of the depths, feasting.
A shudder wracked her body, and she pulled the thick, woolen blanket closer to her body. A startled scream slipped off her lips as a loud bang echoed through the quiet house. The flame of the candle flickered before settling again, casting long shadows on the opposite wall. The sound of heavy boots pounding against the wooden planks of the tiny hut she resided in filled the air, and her grip on the blanket tightened.
'Please... not again...' she pleaded to herself, her silver-blue eyes trained on the closed door. The door swung open and she cowered away, ready to scream for help (although proven useless from times before), but the scream died in her throat as the figure was pleasantly familiar.
Her brother, two years her senior, stumbled into the room, bringing the stench of sweat, blood and alcohol along with him. He moaned and groaned like the wounded as he dragged himself to his bed, opposite from hers, then dropped down, the tiny bed creaking loudly. "Night, Galen." He murmured, and seconds later, his soft snores filled the silence of the room.
"Sweet dreams, Eloi."
Galen made herself as comfortable as she could on the straw and cloth bed, shutting her eyes and counting backwards from twenty; yet, sleep would not come. She wanted to make herself some warm milk, but before she could raise herself from the bed, she remembered that there was nothing but dust and spiders in the cupboards. Sighing deeply, her eyes drifted to the flame of the candle, who flickered and danced as her wax lover melted under her warmth.
She was entranced. The blend of orange, red and a hint of yellow tugged at a memory buried deep in the recesses of her mind. She could faintly hear the roar of a blazing fire; the cacophony of panicked screams and yells. The pain flared up from the back of her eyes and spread out as quickly as a fire would, consuming her head. She whimpered softly, cradling her head in her hands and breathing deeply; the pain didn't subside. If anything, it got worse, as did the screams and yells, until it was all she could hear along with the pounding of her heart.
Saliva scratched against her parched throat. Another whimper slipped off her lips as she reached for the glass on the stool by her bed, only for it to tip and fall over, shattering as it met the floor. Eloi shifted in his bed but didn't wake, and his snores deepened as he settled again.
As Galen sat up, the world around her spun dangerously fast, and she caught herself before her head smacked against the sill of her closed window. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the edge of her bed, then she shot up and stumbled to the door, small shards of glass pricking the bottom of her feet. The pain of them embedding themselves into her skin was nothing compared to the raging headache that consumed her, blurring her vision and making her heartbeat painfully more noticeable.
She staggered through the darkness of the minute living room/dining room/kitchen, bumping against the little furniture they had. The front door gave way under her weak shove, and into the quiet night she went, her feet carrying her to an unknown destination. Her mind was too preoccupied with the white noise and trying to be rid of it, and calming her nerves at the same time to see where she was going. It wasn't until she felt the soft, grainy sand between her toes and tasted the salt in the air that she noticed that she was at the beach, where the fishermen docked their boats and the children played on Sundays.
The chilling water that swept over her feet cleared her mind, and the white noise gave way to silence, and the soothing sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Uncaring, Galen dropped to her knees and scooped up the salty water, greedily drinking from her hands. She panted heavily as she swayed on her knees, her eyes focused on the dark horizon. The water rocked her body backwards, then pulled her forwards again, bringing her deeper into the water, soaking the nightdress more that it already was.
The crescent moon shone brightly, and its light was scattered across the water, miniature diamonds moving with the waves. The water was up to mid-thigh, and as if the freezing water she was sitting in was dumped over her head, she shot up to her feet and waddled out of the water. Once she was a good distance away from where the swash ended, she sat down, already dreading removing all the sand that clung to her dress later on.
Galen always found peace here, near the ocean. It was like her blood sang with joy at the first scent of salt in the air. In her younger years, the days when her father was home, always filled her with immense happiness, for she knew that the vast blue would grace her sights. He would always tell her of his travels on the seas, the riveting tales rendering her starstruck, and filling her dreams with adventures of her own. Her favorite of them all was how he met her mother. She knew that it was all made up, but it made her young heart happy and full of wonder.
"It was the clearest day I've ever sailed through, Galey-dear; barely a white fluffy cloud in the sky. The sun was so bright and hot, I thought our sails would catch flame!" Galen always giggled at that, her father's bright green eyes comically wide and filled with faux-fear. She knew that even if the sails did catch flame, he would save the ship from sinking. "We passed a lone island, and I could almost taste the mystery and adventure on my tongue. On the far north, there was a cove, and bright flashes of the prettiest colours you'd ever see. Then we saw them, sitting on the rocks," he always had a distant look in his eyes, as if he were reliving the story. "Mermaids."
"Wow.." she would gasp in awe, gripping the ends of her dress and leaning forward. "What were they like, papa?" her father would grin, and his eyes would glance to her mother, who was always close by. "They were the most beautiful women you'd ever see. Their tails would shine so brightly in the sunlight that you would feel like a child again, seeing colours for the first time. I fell in a trance." His eyes would seek out her mother again before he continued, a bright smile on his face.
"There she was, her tail as beautiful a blue as the open sea. Our eyes met, and I knew, I would be with her for the rest of my life, my life as a sailor be damned. Before I knew it, the boat was docked and she was in my arms." Galen would look to her mother, and her eyes were full of love as she stared at her father. "Ew..." she would whisper, and her father would laugh, while her mother swooped her up in her arms and kissed her face.
She wiped the tears that trickled out of her eyes at the memory of her parents. It was one of the last that she had, and she felt deeply saddened that there weren't any more. She lay on her back, the sand proving to be a better bed than the one she had in the hut.
The breeze carried a sweet sound, one that reminded her of the lullaby her mother would sing to her and Eloi. She found herself humming it as sand slipped through her fingers.
The bright blue sky will be my guide,
the fluffy clouds my shade.
The big bright sun will guide me on
my journey to my home.
I swim freely with the mermaids
and creatures of the blue.
I swim freely as a mermaid
on my journey back to you.
The sweet music took a turn that startled her heart; haunting and deadly, but still as sweet. Her eyes were droopy and her tired body sunk further into the sand.
Those blasted men
who think they're Kings,
within the walls
inside their heads.
My heart they steal,
my voice they kill,
my life they take away.
Oh, sailor man! My sailor man!
Take the day away
from the tiring hue
of the ocean blue,
come spend some time with me.
We'll love and rest
and spend the rest
of our days
You blasted man
with gun in hand,
do you not know me?
The light you snuffed
when seas got rough
because of my beauty.
Now sailor man,
the upper hand
is mine to keep for sure.
You made your choice,
Got back my voice,
And now sailors will be no more.
Oh sailor man,
the ocean won,
you deal with me.
That light you snuffed
when seas got rough,
a Siren of the sea.
She fell into the depths of unconsciousness, the haunting song lulling her to sleep.