Siren in Training
|"The Siren" by John William Waterhouse.|
Image is public domain in the USA.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
“What power?” Lizz huddled into herself, pressing into the cushioned back of the restaurant booth.
“The power with which you were born. The power of the Siren, to lead wicked men to their doom.” Her aunt stood. “I will be gone only a few moments. Do not fret, Lizz. Your power can only sway those unworthy of their mates.”
Lizz unfolded herself and grabbed a breadstick from the basket. She swirled it in her marinara sauce and chewed. From her fourteen-year old perspective, this whole Siren thing sucked. The only boys who would like her were those who would cheat on her anyway — and then they were doomed. What kind of love life was that?
On the pretense of touching up her lipstick, she took the mirror out of her sequined denim purse and looked at herself. Weak chin, bumpy nose, big dark eyes that were her best feature. At least she didn’t have too much trouble with acne, and her teeth were good. As a direct matrilineal descendent of the original Sirens — who were naturally rewritten to make for a better story, or at least a story that didn’t make their “victims” look so bad — she possessed their power. And it was true, Dad had cheated on Mom but wouldn’t leave until she threw him out. He’d gotten drunk and wrapped his car around a tree not a week later. She and Mom both cried at his funeral, but not much.
“Sucks,” she whispered, and put the mirror away. Gnawing away at her breadstick, she felt eyes upon her. Glancing to her left, she caught the man in the booth across the way looking at her. He tried to redirect his gaze, but she held his eyes with her own. He was caught. It was so easy.
She could see him trying to turn away, could feel him drowning in her eyes, his mind racing round the inside of his head like a squirrel trapped in a barrel. She gave him a thin smile, and he returned it, although she could see his fear. Without letting him go, she took in the wedding ring on his hand, saw the touch of gray in his hair. Dude, she thought, you are way too old to be checking out the middle-schoolers, and turned away. She broke her breadstick in two, then dipped it deep in her sauce and let some of the red drip before chomping and tearing off a bite. In the corner of her eye, she saw her released prey slap some cash on his table then fly away. Maybe he’d live long enough to apply the lesson.
“You look relaxed, Lizz,” said her aunt, slipping into the booth again. “More than I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t making you nervous, was I?”
“No, Auntie. Not you.”
“I saw our neighbor across the way, just now. He was in a hurry to leave. Did you have anything to do with that?”
Lizz gave her an innocent smile and blinked several times. “Me? I’m just a girl!”