Thursday, November 24, 2011

#FridayFlash: Siren in Training

To nap, perchance to dream. To dream, perchance to wake up with a story idea…



Siren in Training

"The Siren" by John William Waterhouse.
Image is public domain in the USA.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
“You are not shy.” Lizz’s aunt pressed her lips together for a moment. “You merely fear your power.”

“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!”

24 comments:

  1. Oh snap! We're both on Sirens this #FlashFriday. Great little piece and cool reinvention of the mythology.

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  2. I love it! She's going to be dangerous in a few years.

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  3. Just a girl? Does that mean all women are like that? God dammit, I knew it!

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  4. Sirens certainly seem to be the order of the day. Good reinvention of the mythology.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  5. Hi all!

    Quinn, I liked yours too. Must be the week for it.

    Antony, I think she's dangerous now. :-D

    JohnW, she was being demure. I think. You never know, after 2000+ years there's probably a lot of descendants…

    Sonia, I liked her too.

    Thanks, Adam!

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  6. I liked the way you modernised the idea of a Siren.

    The call of a Siren can just be in a look - I think she's much more than just a girl!

    Good story!

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  7. Nice. I never imagines sirens were reluctant to lure men. They need you to write their PR.

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  8. Hi all!

    Raven, I think Lizz has a good singing voice, but as you point out, she has other means!

    Helen, yes she is, and thanks!

    Tim, maybe when she gets a little older…

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  9. Haha great story... struck a nice balance between middle schooler and femme fatale, love it!

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  10. They've come a long way since the days of Odysseus, but Siren's are every bit as dangerous today as they were back then.

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  11. Great story. A myth nicely transformed into something modern.

    And I'm with John. There's a good chance there are some real ones out there...

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  12. Man, oh man. I really feel sorry for the fellas when she gets a bit older. Still, sounds like she'll get a bad lot, too. Nobody wins, really. Great retelling of the siren myth. :)

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  13. Hey all!

    Lee-Ann, I have a feeling the force is strong with this one. The original myths say their island was littered with the corpses of men who refused to leave them.

    Steve, I think she's doubly dangerous for not being conventionally attractive!

    Thanks, Julie, and welcome to the free-range insane asylum!

    Craig, statistics would suggest there's a *lot* of them!

    Maria, isn't that the way Greek myths go, nobody wins in the end?

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  14. I love seeing monsters getting an airing in fiction that aren't vampires and werewolves, and it's been so long since I read a siren story! Great to have the idea of that power from a teenaged perspective. I have to wonder how much her father's "accident" was down to her.

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  15. Very cool story, and I particularly loved the last line. :D

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  16. I enjoyed your modernization of old mythology, FAR.

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  17. Hey all!

    Icy, I'm with you, except my list is vampires and zombies. I expect it was more her mom's doing, given that she got the power from her.

    Cherie, she seems to have reached an accommodation with herself, no? ;-)

    Thanks, Chuck! This isn't my first, though — did you catch Chimera, Inc back in May?

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  18. Am I alone in sympathising for the 'man' who as fas as I can tell did nothing worse than look at somebody?

    I mean he's there eating his food one minute and the next is being hypnotised by a teen monster. Tough break.

    Rant aside, this was cool!

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  19. Peter, if he was pure of heart, she would have had no power over him. But yeah, he probably had no intentions beyond looking. Maybe that's why she let him go. Gotta be careful around them Sirens!

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  20. I'd like to think I'm immune to her :)

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  21. Hey Larry, I missed this one last week.. Great spin on the old tale. It's funny but I'd never thought of sirens as kids until now...like so many other mythological figures (the minotaur must've been a bullock at some stage surely! ) There's a whole series waiting to be written.."the mythology kids" tee hee

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