A Siren’s Song
When he saw the Siren, his first thought was that she was beautiful. His second thought was that she needed help.
Shadow Sands was deserted by this time of night when the moon cast its pale luminescence across the black sand. Theo was walking barefoot in the shallow of the waves, knowing he was sure to be alone in his thoughts. The water was cold, the tide starting to come in high, sweeping far past his ankles, scattering seashells in its wake. Theo couldn't help but pity the waves for they could never escape their lunar pull. People always spoke of the ocean as strong but the moon controlled the tides. He gritted his teeth. He didn't want to fall into the same trap; better to be the one pulling the strings rather than the puppet.
Perhaps his anger was getting the best of him. Theo knew he'd show them all someday, all the bullies who didn't believe in him. He just had to believe in himself. Idly, Theo washed his hand through the shallow water, grasping a tulip shell in his grip. It was too light in his hand for him to believe it was once a creature's sole protection. "Guess it didn't work out," he laughed bitterly to himself.
That's when he heard her screams. Scream may be too crass a word for the falsetto that pierced his ears. It was a beautiful melody, but it also hurt, like music played too loud too close. Theo covered his ear with his free hand; when he withdrew it, his palm was wet. Blood.
Another wave crashed towards him, violent and ceaseless. Theo shielded his eyes as the salt water sprayed across his whole body. When he opened them, the girl was there, half on the beach, half still in the water. When her tail flipped up, splashing him between her wails, he had to blink again. But it was no hallucination. The tail was the same coral color as the forgotton seashell in his palm.
Her wet blonde hair shielded half her face, but she still looked up at him with amber eyes. "Please," she whispered, voice raw from her high-pitched notes. "Help me."
For a moment, Theo didn't register her words--he was too struck by her beauty. Well, not her beauty exactly. But the grotesque wounds she carried. Whoever had created the beautiful carvings upon her, though was an artist. Half her head was matted with blood, and the mixture of red and yellow created the illusion of rusted cold. Some bit of shrapnel pierced her bare side, but it looked like it was always meant to be there. Like a statue calling a warning to the world.
And her tail. Oh, lord, her tail. When she flapped it up, she shrieked. A combination of art and music that Theo couldn't help but love. The siren's coral tail was split nearly in two, creating a symmetry so perfect.
Theo could hardly breathe. Was this how an artist got his calling? Finally, he crouched in damp sands, no longer caring if his shorts got wet. "I'll help you," he said lowly, in tune with the girl's whimpers. "But I need your voice."
"What?" The girl blubbered, but Theo knew she was in too much pain to question further. Without waiting for a response, she gripped his arm, the nails like talons digging into his flesh. Even his own blood that dewed seemed like a masterpiece. He was nearly euphoric.
"Your voice," Theo repeated and opened his palm to reveal the shell. The siren's eyes widened as he pointed the sharp end towards her chest. Oh, how he could paint portraits of that fear.
As he pierced her heart, the scream that followed was a song that would never end. Not for Theo.
With a tune in his head and a shell in his hand, Theo walked off the beach, intent to pull some strings.