The Death Song.

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Part 1: Phillip Wilkes.

It was like living in a nightmare. When his feet touched the board of the pier he collapsed with a sob. The men around him were asking a hundred questions but the words blurred in his ears and all he wanted to do was to curl up on himself and scream so that he could block out the Siren’s song that he could still hear. He could still fell the power of it tugging him to head back to the sea and jump in.

“Phillip!” he heard his mother’s and sister’s voices blend together. It wasn’t as lovely as the voice of the Sirens calling to him but he forced himself to listen. He turned in time to see them bearing down on him in a flurry of dresses. They collapsed onto him, their bodies pressing against him, kisses on his face and strong arms winding around him to hold him safe from the lure of the monster. This time the sobs broke free and he could not muster up any feeling of shame as hot tears flowed down his face and the pathetic blubbering noises he made as he allowed himself to be buried under his family.

“What happened out there?” his mother asked, pulling away and looking at him. He swallowed hard a few times and vainly tried to wipe his face clean of tears.

“It was…Sirens,” he whispered. It was as if the word itself held power and he felt the tug of the ocean rush back to him. He heard a gasp ripple out from around him as those nearby heard what he said. The word was picked up and travelled around, stirring up even more noise. He ducked his head and covered it with his arms, feeling the pull of the ocean clawing at him as the word seemed to vibrate through him. He felt his family press over him once more for a few seconds, driving back the lure and then hands were plucking at him gently to pull him to his feet.

“Come on darling, up you go,” his mother said softly, “Let’s get you home yeah?” He looked around to see that the others had already melted away into the crowd. He felt a wave of loneliness and fear wash over him. He wanted nothing more than to tear away from his family and to go and find one of the crew. Together they were strong enough to face off the Siren’s call but apart, they would be helpless. He felt a sob choke his throat but his body was not strong enough to resist the pull on his arms. As they headed deeper into the village he caught a flash of pale skin, paler than was normal. His eyes flicked up to see a beautiful face peeking out from under an old, wide brimmed hat. He jerked to a stop with his cry of horror stuck in his throat as she melted away into the crowd.

“What is it Phillip?” one of sisters asked. He looked around frantically, trying to catch a glimpse of the face of the Siren. But there was nothing.

“Phillip?” his mother asked, her voice laced with worry.

“Nothing,” he said, his voice sounding very far away, “It was nothing.”

They ended up at the village Hall instead of his seashore home, wrapped up in thick towels and dripping all over the Mayor’s rug. The Mayor, John Randalf, didn’t seem to mind as he pulled up a chair to complete the rough circle they had formed in his office. It felt as the entire village had squeezed themselves into the small room somehow and the noise had died down to just a light buzzing of sound. It made Phillip’s head feel strange and he kept trying to catch a glimpse of the sea but failing. For some reason it made him feel on edge.

“You boys want to tell me what went on out there?” the Mayor asked. There was a thick silence at first and then Henry began to tell their tale of horror. It was a slow hesitant story, because Henry was a good man and didn’t want to make it look that they had all failed to hold out against the Siren’s Song except for him. But the truth was the truth.

“We should have all died,” he muttered to himself, “We would have all died if Henry hadn’t saved us. If he didn’t hold out against those Siren’s, none of us would be here now.” The voices around him had begun to blur into a soft background noises. It was only when it stopped entirely that he realized that his words had been said out loud. He looked away from the window, where he had unconsciously been trying to see the ocean. The faces of his crew was facing him; some angry, some shamed and for some reason Henry was looking away as if saving them was something that he was to be blamed for. Phillip looked at the Mayor square in the face; the silence in his ears was being filled with a gentle buzzing noise.

“It’s the truth. None of us, not even Simon, held out. I was one of those that he had to dive in to save because I was heading to my death. If he hadn’t chosen to save me first, I would have been on a rock out there in the Nine Sisters, dead and eaten. Because of him, we are alive.”

The gentle buzzing had grown so loud now that he could no longer even hear himself breathing. His stomach gave a sick roil and in the next second, he bent over and threw up all over the Mayor’s shoes and rug.

When he came to himself next, he was at home and tucked into bed under several thick blankets. The buzzing in his ears was still there and he felt restless. He tossed aside the blankets, shivering a little at the waft of cool air and brushed over his body. He was clad only in a short pants. He swung his legs out of bed and his head spun uncontrollably. He groaned and collapsed onto his side, holding his head. Just then he heard soft strand of sound. It pierced its way through the buzzing in his head like a beam of light that gets dispersed in a mist. He focused on it and the sound resolved itself, chasing away the buzzing and he finally heard what it was. It was a song. The words were still unheard. He pushed himself up, steadying himself for a few second before pushing to his feet. It was as if the unheard words were compelling him to move. They led him out of his room and into the kitchen, holding onto the walls for support. His family lay asleep around the kitchen table. The thought passed that maybe he should wake them and tell them what was going on but it slipped out of his mind as quickly as it entered. He moved as softly as he could around them and then out of the door.

It was a clear nigh with a bright mood and the stars were sprayed thickly onto the darkness of the sky. He took a deep breath filling his lungs with salty sea air and another scent that he knew was familiar but could not place. A trickle of fear rolled over him but he shook it off because the words were much clearer now. Yet still he could not fully make them out. He looked around trying to pinpoint the source of the song. Finally his eyes rested on a figure that stood on the shoreline, seemingly illuminated by the moonlight. The trickle of fear ran through him again but the figure raised its arms to him and he heard the words this time.

“Come to me.”

It was a lovely, rich melodious voice that hailed him. At the sound of it, all his fear vanished and he was filled with a wild happiness and began running toward it. His bare feet slipped over the sharp rocks, cutting deep but he felt nothing in his ecstasy. When he arrived at the water’s edge figure resolved into a young woman with pale skin and the most beautiful face that he had even seen. It was the Siren from the Nine Sisters. The one that had hunted them at the end. They stared at each other.

“I know you,” he panted, unable to find any other words to say. She smiled with a mouthful of too sharp teeth.

“I know you too,” she said, her voice soothing away all the wave of terror that lurked at the edges of his mind. “I have come to take you away.” He smiled at her as she extended her hand to him. He took it and followed her into the warm ocean waters. He knew without a doubt that she was taking him to his death but he couldn’t find it in his heart to care.

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