Sunday February 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the siren.

Max woke me up just in time to catch the final five minutes of the hockey game this morning. Thankfully the only tense moments involved waiting for the online stream to load, as Canada was up 3-0 and they were rarely challenged during the small portion of the game we watched.

That was a pretty dominant defensive performance, giving up only three goals over six games and finishing things off with back to back shutouts. Not nearly as dramatic as their gold medal game in Vancouver, but at that time of the morning I will not complain about that.


The siren which sits atop the towering pole in the main square is silent now. Only echoes linger, but they too will be gone soon. A chilling wind blows from the north, bringing with it hints of the winter that is drawing steadily closer.

It is almost enough to clear the stench away from this town.

I walk the streets, utterly alone. Even the strays that once pestered passersby are gone. If I had more sense I would join them - those that are still alive, that is. Though keeping company with those that were taken in the first attack may be a better choice than to be here, breathing this air.

Those savages will return, of that I am certain. Still I roam through my town, searching. The ticking clock in the back of my head is growing louder and more menacing, but I cannot leave yet. If there is a heartbeat more to spent here then I must spend it.

Though my chances of success fade with every step I take, I cannot leave without finding her first.


Greg said...

I thought you might be pleased about the result. The media have been praising Canada quite a lot for the win, and it seems thoroughly deserved. And, thanks to you, I knew what the shutout they kept talking about was!
That quite a bleak and chilling little story this morning, even if there's a hint of hope at the end. I like how the siren is used to introduce everything, and that its silence is, in a way, the most disturbing thing of all.

The siren
Onstage, sat in the spotlight, she was enthralling. Her hair shimmered lustrously, cascading down her neck and over her shoulders, falling behind her back to end, unseen, somewhere around her waist. Her dress was sequined and dazzling, figure-hugging, and yet concealing enough that every man (and woman) in the audience unconsciously leaned forward, itching to tease it from her milky-pale shoulders and watch it slip, tantalisingly slowly, down her slim figure, past her hour-glass waist, and hit the floor after lingering on her shapely, long legs. She had her legs crossed as she perched on the stool, singing along with the piano. Her voice quivered with emotion, and a single tear trickled down a cheek, and everyone held their breath, waiting for the right moment to step forward and brush it away.
When she left the stage, and the spotlight winked out like the death of an angel, their was a collective sigh and a sense of sadness permeated the whole room.
I walked backstage to her dressing room carrying a bunch of flowers, sure that in the yellow electric light and drab, dusty surroundings here she would look far more human, far more normal. I knocked on the door out of habit.
"Come in!" Her voice was perfectly pitched, perfect modulated, and it sent a shiver down my spine. How did she do that without the acoustics of the stage?
I pushed the door open, and there she was, smiling at me from a battered wooden chair, her feet propped up on an old apple-crate. The light in the room came from a single white candle sitting on a rickety side-table, and it made the shadows dance and sway like they were trying to hide something. And still she was the most erotic, seductive creature that I'd ever seen.
"You're a Siren," I said, holding the flowers out. "They said you were, and I had to see for myself."
She frowned, and I felt as though as I'd murdered my own child. "My mother was a Rhinemaiden," she said. "I suppose I'm a second-generation Siren. Does it matter?"
"Does it matter that ten percent of the people who listened to you tonight will drown themselves because of it?"
"We can't escape what we are."
I pulled the hand-cuffs from my pocket. "But we can police you."

MosesMalone said...

I just laid in that bed staring out the window. The sky was so clear I could see actual stars. I guess I assumed that was something you only saw when you were outside. From my window back home, I could see my neighbors. I liked seeing people. I liked when they left their lights on at night so I could see how they decorated their houses. I liked when you heard their forks on their plates. I loved when they laughed. I cringed when they yelled. I tried to carefully listen to hear if we were were watching the same show. I stopped breathing when teenagers snuck into the alleys to smoke, drink, and kiss. I studied them and tried to imagine I was old enough to be there too. The country was quiet in a suffocating way. I could hear bugs outside. Would they come in? I do not like bugs. All bugs are considered dirty when you live in a city. I couldn't imagine a country bug being friendly and less dirty. I knew the front door was unlocked and open so we could "catch a breeze." Why weren't there any fans? I wanted to lock that door. I wanted to close the windows. I couldn't sleep there with all that quite country noise. It wasn't until I heard a siren pass by that I finally relaxed and felt safe.

Marc said...

Greg - I'm glad you appreciated what I did with the siren, as I really just used it as a launching point for the rest of the story.

Fascinating scene, with an ending I was not at all expecting. Great descriptions throughout.

Mo - good to hear from you :)

Some really nice work here, I particularly enjoyed the progression of the narrator's feelings.