Fear froze at her heart in horror at what might become of her in this strange room filled with these strange people.
Their heads, hidden by their hoods, raised to look at the Earl slowly descending the stairs. He exuded an air of authority, their heads dipping towards the male. A hooded figure by the door bending over, hands extended with a folded black robe resting on his palms.
Angler reached out, grabbing the robe off of his palms without so much as a second glance to the man that had handed it to him. His superiority complex passing to even his peers.
The male stared down at the young woman on the floor, he was smug as he tied the black cloak around his neck. He knew that Loreley was growing more and more helpless, the hope of survival slowly draining from her eyes.
With the simple command rolling off of Angler’s tongue, the closest strangers reached down, gripping onto Loreley’s delicate skin painfully tightly. They heaved her off of the ground, laying her down on the table in the center of the room.
They kept their grips on her wrist, preventing her from wrenching herself off of the table or daring to try and escape. Two more bodies rushed over, pinning down her thrashing ankles, blocking off any chance of escape that she had left.
Loreley wouldn’t stop, even though she knew it was hopeless, kicking against their palms, trying to pull against their superior strength.
Over the sound of her own cries, she could hear the sounds of the familiar clicking of expensive shoes on the hardwood ground. Her body stilled, tensing immediately as the familiar face came into view.
Angler stared down at her, head tilting in amusement as he stared down at the young woman, admiring the distress on her face. Reaching down he runs his admiring fingers down her bruised stomach with a sigh of content.
“Finally we have what we need” he breathed out as he looked down at the exposed skin of her pregnant belly. His fingers praised the growing bruise on her stomach that he had caused.
“You’re going to help us achieve our dream, so be a good little girl, sit there, and stay silent” he warned, eyes narrowed as he stared down at her.
Not knowing what was in store for her, she could only stare up at the male in debilitating fear. Sinking back into the table, pressing back against it to try and sink as far away from the Earl as she possibly could.
Angler stepped back, lifting his head as he looked over at his loyal subjects, nodding towards them.
“Bring the knife” he commanded.
Loreley’s eyes only widened in horror at the command, head turned to watch as more of the hooded figures approached. In hand they held a large dagger, pulling off the leather sheath and tossing it aside carelessly.
Her restless struggling only increased, watching as they approached with blade in hand. She choked out desperate pleads, tears of horrified fear pouring down her cheeks. The number of people having to hold her down had doubled. Gripping onto her limbs by wrapping their arms around them, lessening the flailing with the force of their whole body.
Loreley thrashed to the best of her ability, throwing her head back and trying to twist her way out of their grip, but they were too strong and too plentiful. All she could do was lay there and wait for the pain to come.
And come it did.
A warm hand was braced against her overgrown stomach, the blade in hand, the cold metal touched her lower abdomen above her left hip. A gasp of panic choking the young woman as she tried desperately to pull from their grip, her eyes squeezed shut with a desperate sob.
Her eyes were as wide as moons when the blade began pressing into her skin, she wasn’t quite sure if she felt the pain at that moment, or whether her brain and blocked it out for the possibility of maybe surviving through it all.
Despite the short-circuiting of her brain cutting off all sensations in the lower half of her body, she could still feel the way the blade slid over her skin, the warm blanket of blood pouring down from the incision made.
The blade was dropped onto the table with a clatter, splashing even more blood onto her already soaked body. The incision ran across the underside of her overgrown stomach, from hip to hip. Dagger discarded off to the side, they reached towards the large incision.
It was a feeling that Loreley was unable to describe, the sensation of hands slowly pushing through the incision and invading her body. The feeling of fingers holding her skin open so the arms could invade her insides. They showed no care for her body, no one noticed the way her eyes rolled into the back of her head in her agony, nor did they care.
When the fingers happened upon her organs, they were brutishly pushed out of the way, the punches of pained air leaving her lips went unnoticed.
They searched around, using her body as their personal anatomy plaything, before reaching into her womb, and finding what they had been searching for.
Although she had prayed that it wasn’t the case, Loreley wasn’t ignorant enough not to know what they were looking for. She was well aware that they had planned to steal her baby, to use her unborn child, the last piece of her lover, to perform some cruel, twisted occult acts.
Sinful hands wrapped around her child’s pure body and carefully, her child was wrenched from her body.
She was only five months along, her head weak as she lifted it to get a glimpse of her child before it was lost to her forever. Premature, it was tiny, able to fit in the palm of one of the men with ease. Her child didn’t cry, it didn’t move, head and arms limp and dangling from the man’s hand.
Surely the blow to her stomach did damage to her poor baby, with its lungs still under formed, and it’s airways blocked by her amniotic fluids.
She reached out towards her child, or rather, she tried.
Her arms weak from the ordeal she was being forced through, too fatigued to fight against their shackles on her arms. All she could manage was the twitch of her fingers, drooping eyes following the path of her child as they carried it over towards the head of the table where there sat a large metal bowl.
Angler made his way over to it as the child was gently set inside, humming as he looked down at it, he reached out his hand silently.
One of his subjects hurried to grab the dagger off the table, wiping the blade off on his robe and gently lowering it in the male’s palm with a bow of his hooded head.
Wrapping his ruthless fingers around the metal handle of the dagger, he stared down at the tiny, limp infant in the bowl before him.
Was all that she had the energy to say, her head tipped back to try and see what they were doing to her baby. Although she knew it wasn’t something she was going to want to see, some part of her thought that perhaps, if she was looking, that they might spare her child.
Her hope was fruitless, vision blurred by her fatigue and the seemingly never-ending tears building up in her waterline.
She could only watch in her weakened horror as Angler rose his arms above his heads, fingers wrapped around the handle of his blade. Eyes void of any emotion as he stared down at the bowl below him, he gave a twisted lick of the lips before plunging the blade into the bowl with a splatter.
It was silent in that moment, or rather, Loreley thought it was.
There was a loud, high pitched ringing in her ears.
Vaguely, she could register the feeling of her lungs running out of air. The raw insides of her throat stinging with pain as she watched Angler’s monotonous response to the blood of a child now splattered against his cheek.
Were Angler’s only words.
The cloaked figures around the body of the dying woman joined hands, their hands lowered towards the floor. Quietly, they began to mumble, in a language that Loreley didn’t recognize. Powerless against them, all she could manage to do was watch, watch as Angler plunged the blade back into the bowl.
Over and over.
Over the sound of the ringing, the sound of the chanting, the sound of the ringing in her ears. She could hear the sounds of stomach-churning squelching each time the blade plunged into the bowl. The sound of trickling as blood slowly filled the metal chalice.
The young girl slumped against the table she had been laid out on, her eyes slipping closed as she pressed back against the blood-soaked wood.
The chanting only grew louder, the time between repetitions shortening, and as Angler threw the blade aside, they rose their connected hands above their heads in praise. They bowed and succumbed to the male’s every whim, devoted to Angler wholeheartedly.
A sick grin on his face, blood soaking his hands, splattered on his cheeks and reflected in his eyes.
“Now, my people, we bring the blood of a royal child! Our offering to our Lord Amdusias!” he cried out.
Angler grasped the bowl tightly in his hands, reaching down to press his lips to the cold outer edge of the bowl in hand. Closing his eyes, head leaning back, he tipped the bowl towards his mouth, the warm fluids of her child flowed into his mouth.
He swallowed them down with a loud gulp, handing the bowl over to the person to his right for them to repeat his actions.
With blood trailing down the corner of his lips, he stared down at the mother of the child he had just murdered. With a twisted grin, teeth still coated in the remnant’s of blood, he licked his lips slowly. He was making a mockery of it, of the death of her child that he had caused, at the death of herself that he was causing.
The chalice was passed to each robed figure standing around her, each took a gulp of blood of their own.
Angler was the first to have any sort of reaction, staring down at his hands as they trembled before him. Stumbling back as though he were intoxicated, his eyes wide with his manic insanity, a grin spreading across his blood-stained lips.
“Y-yes!” he cried out ecstatically.
“I-I can feel it” he breathed out as he stared down at his fingers, his eyes wide, lost in his own madness.
“The power I can feel it!” Angler reared his head back with a loud bout of laughter.
Jaw clenched together, he stared down at the young mother, grinning in his sadistic glee.
“We have no use for her anymore, toss her into the river, we’ve got what we needed. She can follow her lover into the afterlife.” Angler commanded, waving his hand nonchalantly to get the dying teenager out of his sight.
The will to fight drained from her fatigued body, she was limp as the Earl’s subjects lifted her up into their arms.
Besides the sound of their shoes against the hardwood floors as they carried her up the stairs, she could hear the sounds of her blood dripping, pouring onto the floor below out of her gaping incision. In that moment, she was both in the most amount of pain ever experienced, and equally, the least.
Loreley had lost everything dear to her that day. Her lover, her mother, and her unborn child. All had been ripped away in the hands of the Earl, Angler.
For a moment, she relished in the feeling of the cold rain thundering against her fragile skin. And though it was a brief taste of solace to be out of the room containing the man she despised, she felt nothing.
Numbed by the loss she had endured.
She felt no fear, even as she was lifted over the edge of the railing, a sheer drop leading towards the feisty waves below.
Even as their hands slipped out from under her, even as she began to plummet towards the water, she felt nothing.
Nothing but her boiling rage.
Before Loreley knew it, the crashing waved enveloped her broken body and in the blink of an eye, she had been swallowed into the deep. As she fell, the distant cry of her mother, screaming out her name echoed in her ears.
Although the pain of her lungs crushing under the weight of the waves as her oxygen levels continued to dwindle, she felt nothing but the sweet relief of death embrace her.
That was what Loreley had been expecting, death, but it wasn’t what seemed to enfold her. What blanketed the young girl in its arms, was rebirth.
The water around her was eerily still despite the crashing above the surface, channels of water seeming to encase the young woman’s body. Bubbles and currents tinted red with her blood. Head tipped back and arms spread wide, there was nothing worse than what she had already endured, so she willingly embraced the fate that was about to befall her.
From the deck of the ship, should you peer down into the water, one might catch a glimpse of the swirling storm beneath the surface. And should one look close enough, deep enough, should they lean over the railing protecting them from the icy waters, they might see a pair of glowing eyes staring right back at them.
Angler and his people had migrated back towards the deck, it had been a while since their offering was handed over to the demon of the thunder. Despite Angler’s words that he had felt the power thrumming through him, their Lord still had yet to present himself.
The longer they stood around, the shorter Angler’s patience became.
His head bowed constantly, hands clasped together and lips muttering in quiet prayer. Despite the rain that pelted their backs, they would not return indoors without explicit orders from the Earl. It was dangerous to be outside during such a fearsome storm, but Angler showed no concern, the safety of his subjects was the least of his worries.
“We gave you blood, we gave you the sacrifice, I beg of you my Lord, visit us, bless us with your power” he whispered beneath his breath.
Around him, devoted to their Earl, the other members began to chant and pray, beginning alongside their master for the Lord of the thunder to visit.
“Grant us with your power, show your presence, I beg of y-!”
Angler’s ramblings were cut short, interrupted by the very thing he wished to control.
A shadow cast over the cult members scattered across the deck, raised high over their heads was a wall of water. A wave larger than any they had encountered before was fast approaching, too fast for them to have any hope of turning the ship and evading its path.
All heads rose to stare up at their impending doom, the water arching over the large ship as if it was only a fleck in the waves. Before they even had a chance to scream, the wave was crashing down against their ship.
The crew were swiped off their feet, swept into the hard flowing currents of the wave as it devoured the ship and everyone aboard.
Angler could only float in disbelief as he was dragged into the dark, cold depths of the river he had forced under his will.
The light streaming through the surface seemed to grow more and more distant, eventually, he couldn’t quite tell which way was up any longer. Bubbles flowed from his lips, flowing up towards what he could only assume to be the surface.
Although his arms flailed and his legs kicked hopelessly, the weight of his robes dragged him down further.
From the faint rays of sunlight streaming through the wild surface of the water, he saw something flash across his vision. Struggling to position himself upright, cheeks puffed out with the air he had managed to drag into his lungs before submerging, he hurriedly turned in the water, trying his best to catch sight of what had swum in front of him.
Bubbles escaped his lips in his panic as he saw the silhouette flit past his vision once again. Whatever it was, it was growing closer, charging towards his fallen comrades and with a cloud of dark red fluid, tore the people around him limb from limb.
Angler was left to watch in shock and horror, as in the blink of an eye, the bodies of his devoted followers slowly began to float towards the surface, limp and lifeless. One by one they were ruthlessly slaughtered as they struggled to breach the surface of the water.
Before he knew it, they were all gone, in a split second, each life aboard the ship beside his own had been taken out. The silhouette in the distance paused, seeming to slowly turn towards the Earl, it was hard to make up, what with the edges of his vision shifting to black along with his lack of oxygen.
Gritting his teeth and squeezing his eyes closed he reached up towards his neck, eagerly tugging at the strings around his neck to try and relieve himself of the heavy weight dragging him towards the watery grave below him.
He willed himself not to suck in a breath of relief as the knot around his neck fell apart, the heavy cloak floating away from his body. He felt lighter in an instant, slowly drifting towards the surface, and as he peeked open his eyes to check where the beast had disappeared to, his eyes met the glowing orbs of the monster that had killed his crew.
His eyes widened, bubbles flying out of his mouth at the sudden appearance of the beast before him. He rushed back, trying to push himself as far away from the terrifying-looking creature as he could.
Slapping his hands over his mouth to prevent the extra air from escaping, Angler’s eyes could only widen as he finally got a better look at the being before him.
He recognized that face, and it certainly recognized him too.
Glowing eyes narrowed in their hatred as they stared at the man before them.
It was Loreley, though not as Angler once knew her.
Her legs which had once been weak and bruised from the rough treatment she had endured were now fused, connected to one another, coated in iridescent scales and trailing off into a snake fin. She moved very fast.
She had transformed, what was once a vulnerable young teenage girl, was now a siren. Her blood as cold as her gaze as she glared at the cause of her sorrow.
Angler wanted to plead for his life, to grovel on his knees and beg for forgiveness. But how was he to do it? So many meters beneath the surface, with his lungs screaming for air and his eyes burning from the cold water.
With the look in her cold, glowing eyes, he knew that forgiveness wasn’t an option. Not given so much as one more chance to shoot for the surface, her webbed fingers reached out towards him. Her fingernails narrowed into sharp points, perfect for cutting through the water, shot out towards him.
Too slow for her well-timed movements, he had no way of avoiding her movements, stiff in the water as her arm darted through the water.
His jaw fell slack, bubbles pouring out of his mouth as a muffled scream tore through the water. Her sharpened fingernails had shot out at his face, nails pressing into his eye sockets. His hands reached up to claw at her arms as he felt the way her cold fingers curled around his eyeball, slowly gouging them from their sockets.
What came next was worse.
Worse than the fact that he had been blinded in both eyes, his eyeballs gouged out by a set of sharp fingers, optic nerve severed with snapping jaws was the sound, and knowledge, of what she did with them.
Unable to see, hands pressing against his empty eye sockets, in some vain attempt to try and restore his vision. All he could do was listen, listen as his eyes were stuffed into the young girl’s mouth, as her razor-sharp teeth chomped down on the ocular organs.
The outer film of his eyes split open with a pop, the sound of her jaws chewing down on them with a squelch made his stomach turn.
Fearing that he would suck in water should he begin dry heaving, the male used the opportunity to rush towards the surface. Without the weight of his cloak dragging him down, he managed to find the surface with ease.
Head breaching the surface, he tipped his head back, coughing out the water that had entered his airways and gasping in an eager breath. His limbs waded in the water, keeping his head above the surface despite the ravaging waves.
Angler prayed that perhaps that was all she wanted, perhaps she needed nothing more besides his eyes, and hopefully, perhaps that was all the revenge she desired.
His hopeful prayers went unanswered, crushed by the simple pressure of a strong grip wrapping around his ankles, yanking him under the tide. His hands grappled at the surface of the water, attempting to claw at the surface of the water in hopes of survival.
However, his attempts were fruitless, in a swift tug, he was pulled beneath the waves. There was a moment of what could only be surmised as serenity, before, bubbling towards the surface of the water, was a cloud of crimson.
Angler didn’t surface after that.
It was assumed all of the crew died that night, the destruction of the ship pinned down to the awful storm. However unbeknownst to the siren, in her rampage, tearing people limb from limb, slaughtering and torturing them, she had missed out on one.
Hands darted out of the ocean, trembling fingers gripping onto the smooth boulder, pulling himself from the cold depths and onto the lone boulder, was a fatigued older man, panting and heaving as he collapsed against the dry rock for a moment of peace.
3 Months had passed since the destruction of the ship.
3 months since the massacre that had occurred in the waters that fateful day.
Having witnessed her bleeding daughter being tossed into the river, Loreley’s mother never gave up hope that her daughter might return that day.
Several fishermen told about mysterious encounters. They told of having seen the Loreley alive. Now, Loreley’s mother sat, on a similar tug boat, with Loreley’s father by her side, scouring through the waters in hopes of finding their daughter.
She turned to glance at the other male sitting in the boat, oars in hand, leading them out to the river. They had met him on the pier before setting sail and had asked to borrow his boat. When explaining the reason for wanting to go out, the male took on a grim expression.
The older woman was surprised to hear that he was no stranger, rather a survivor of the wreckage that had taken place that night. After hearing that the couple were Loreley’s parents, he had offered to take them out into the sea, to the scene of the wreckage where he had seen Loreley last.
So they sat in the boat atop the water, the waves, significantly calmer than that day three months ago. The man had said nothing the whole journey, as soon as they had sat in his small sailboat, he took hold of the oars and began rowing.
Sweat was building on his forehead, head tipped down towards his knees, he grunted continuing to row under the beating sun. The look on his face was one she couldn’t quite describe, one that must’ve been a look of trauma, even without looking he seemed to know where he was going. Surely the scene of the tragedy was burned into his mind.
“A tug boat?”
Loreley’s mother heard her husband mumble curiously, she tore her gaze away from the stranger and gasped as she saw a lone boat, floating and bobbing along the waves slowly approaching their boat.
The man rowing lifted his head curiously, brows furrowing he hurriedly turned the angle of the oars to rush towards the boat. Perhaps there was another survivor?
As they approached the boat slowly, Loreley’s mother gasped sharply, letting out a shaky cry of disbelief, leaning against her husband for support.
Even from the distance they stood, the horror of the inside of that small boat was clear. The light wood insides stained red, a small pool of nothing but crimson liquids filled the base of the boat. Laying within the pool, was a young girl, no older than 17, wearing nothing but the blood she was bathed in.
It was hard to see past the gruesomeness of it all, but as the boat grew closer, the could see under the blood coating her face.
“L- Loreley--” the older woman choked out.
They had thought that she was dead, lying so still in a pool of her own blood, but upon hearing the sound of her mother’s voice, the young girl’s eyes snapped open.
She sucked in a sharp breath and sat up hurriedly, rocking the boat with the force of the action. She stared wide-eyed at the people in the boat opposing her, not a hint of recognition in her eyes.
“Loreley -- my darling--”
As the older woman attempted the reach her hands out to the young woman, the teen bore her teeth with a loud hiss, turning around she threw herself into the water. Disappearing into the chilling depths leaving a cloud of red blood dispersing in the waves behind her.
“I would stop if I were you, Ma’am”
She jumped upon hearing the stranger speak up for the first time since leaving the shore. Gaze falling to the man he stared out at the waters their daughter had disappeared into.
“That ain’t your daughter Ma’am, your daughter died that day three months ago” he mumbled gruffly, turning to meet her eyes with a piercing stare.
“That thing we just saw? That was a monster”
In the days that came, a story seemed to spread, the story of shipmates hearing a beautiful tune aboard their vessels, filing out onto the deck in time to witness a woman, a woman of superior beauty sitting upon the rocks. Her slender fingers combing through the long locks of gold hair atop her head.
They say she sang the sorrowful words of a love she had lost. Singing rhymes of her child and her love lost at the river. Along with the tale of the beautiful woman, came more tragedy, when the tide rose lives were lost. Sailors entranced by the beauty of her song drawn out into the water, disappearing for the rest of their days.