Midnight: Tome of Sirens

Here is my novel in progress for my dear sister Roxanne, who is so much like me it’s scary ❤ 

 

Midnight: Tome of Sirens

          The sea of snow seemed endless to the eye of any being. And the wind howled mercilessly in the night. The vast field was deserted of any known life force; a meadow of death. There was nothing there to the naked eye that would have appeared out of the ordinary.

 Then there was an interruption in the meadows’ icy solitude. A hand protruded up and out of the snow, frosted and blue. It lay limp a moment across the icy snow, before it continued to reach upward grabbing at the blackened sky. Slowly an entire arm came up and out. Shortly after the shoulder and the other arm, clawing and digging out of what should have been a frozen grave. Then the top of a head shown out from the frozen, crystallized tundra and shown a face of a young man who appeared to be no older than twenty three. His long hair covered in ice and frost, as well as his skin and clothes. His breath visible in the intense and extreme conditions, it spiraled out of his mouth rapidly.

          The man was clearly encased in the ice, his being completely thrown into a tailspin from the frigid air. His thoughts thrown about in odd ways; he was very disoriented. He could not remember how he had gotten in this current position. The first and only thing he could remember or even think about was being cold. The wind was blowing harder now, and the young man’s hair was being strewn about, even though it was stiff from frost. Nothing in this world right now could save him, or so he thought.

          Just as he was about to give up all hope, a figure appeared off in the distance. He at first only saw a dark figure moving ever closer, slowly. As it came toward him, he was able to gain focus on it…the figure was small in frame and petite and it had long flowing hair. It wasn’t until the figure got even closer that he realized it was a woman. Her long hair was as white as the snow itself, as was her fair skin. She appeared not to be phased by the cold, as her long white gown billowed in the gusting wind.

          A gruff and coarse voice barely audible came from the man’s mouth, “W-w-who are you?” The man stammered and stuttered, his teeth chattering.

          She did not reply to him, she only grinned at him as she began to slowly wave her hands about in the air. As she did this, the wind slowly died down and the snow became a little less dense. The man was finally able to gain focus on her frail face. She had very soft features that fit her perfectly, her long white hair framing it in a flawless motion. And her silvery eyes glistening on their own, a twinkle if you will.

          Her frosted lips slowly opened into a grin as she spoke, “Don’t you worry,” her voice cutting through the cold like a knife. “Nothing will happen to you, I promise.”

The frost bitten man didn’t have any choice but to trust her. He had a feeling that this situation was going to alter his life from this point on, not that his life at this time was of any major importance to anyone.  As the moments passed, he felt a warm sensation all over his body; he was warming from the inside out. He couldn’t help but stare at this beautiful woman; she looked like an angel to him. She was the last thing he saw before his whole world went black.

When he finally awoke he was warm and comfortable. He didn’t know if he was dead or alive. He slowly opened his eyes, and what he saw was simply amazing. He lay in a large room, surrounded by tapestry and fine fabrics. The soft browns and reds warmed the room in an elegant manor that was pleasing to the eye. There was a small fire place directly across from the bed that blazed. He knew that this place was better than heaven.

Kazimeras stayed in bed staring about the room when he heard the door slowly open. His eyes slowly shifted the direction which he heard the noise. To his surprise he saw a young looking woman walk in. She couldn’t have been any older than he was, most likely she had been younger. She had long, thick silvery hair that grazed the small of her back, and her bright blue eyes compared only to the ice that hung on the windowsill. She had very fair skin and soft facial features, making her look very angelic.

The woman had brought in a tray; it had a plate full of delectable foods, and a large bowl that steamed.  She made her way to the bed and gently sat the large bronze colored tray on the bed side table.

“Oh, you’re finally awake. I was starting to worry that you wouldn’t wake up at all.” She said as she looked upon his wind burnt face.

Kazimeras slowly sat up, his muscles and joints very stiff. He opened his mouth to speak, but it was hard for him to make any clear sounds. His voice sounded very gruff as he spoke, “I am awake aren’t I.” He gently grabbed his throat after he spoke, rubbing it slightly. His head bowed slightly as he did this and his shaggy black hair hung in his face. He bit his lip nervously as he spoke. 

She smiled at him, “Well I am glad. I know you must be famished so I made you soup and some solid food for whenever you’re hungry.”

“Well Miss I appreciate it. It’s very kind of you to help me,” his voice slowly became clearer as he spoke, looking up at her with his deep evergreen eyes.

“It’s no trouble,” she replied.

He smiled to the best of his ability at her, his face seemed awkward. “May I trouble you for your name Miss?” His voice trailed with a hint of shaky nervous laughter. He felt like the question was inappropriate; although he did want to know her name. It seemed she brought some childish features out in him.

“My name is Audra,” she said smiling at him, “and how about yours stranger?”

He stared at Audra a long moment. A name? He couldn’t remember anything that had happened to him before getting stuck out in the frozen wasteland. But he didn’t want to seem rude. He had to think up a name quick and on the spot. “Kazimeras…my name is Kazimeras.”

“Well it is a tremendous pleasure to meet you!” She said happily. And she began to place the food accordingly on his bed spread, making sure that the soup remained perfectly balanced on the try. “Now, you obviously don’t have to eat all of it, but I do want you to eat enough for you get your strength back.”

Kazimeras nodded slowly, “Yes of course, I am quite hungry.” He then picked up the silver spoon and dipped it into the soup, eating slowly.

Audra smiled as he ate; she knew he would gain his strength back, which was perfect. She watched him eat all the food he possibly could. It made her happy to see him slowly growing stronger.

As weeks passed by, Kazimeras recovered and was able to help around the mansion she had brought him to.  He found that he was fond of swords and the way they move in hand. So he had begun to teach himself slowly the art of the blade.

Audra came to see what he was doing. She watched him swing about ferociously and with such anger. Kazimeras knew nothing about his past…other than the fact that the snow spat him up and out of the ground.

“You’re getting much better Kazi,” she said in a loving tone. Audra had become quite fond of him and the time they had been spending together.

Kazimeras looked up at her, sweat rolling down his face. “Why thank you Miss Audra.” His voice shook with awkward laughter.

“You know…I think I know something that might help you with your fighting technique,” She said as she turned and walked into an old worn down shed. Audra rustled about in the shed for several minutes before emerging with a large wooden scare crow. “Here, you can use this as your opponent.”

“Thank you again Miss! This should help me indeed,” he replied to her smiling. He then began to attack the scare crow.

He continued to get better, but still even in his battle rage he had developed he was still ever so kind to Audra. She was always supportive of him and his swordsmanship, and gave advice where appropriate. She felt love and compassion for him. But there was a dark streak about her that was soon to come forth and wreak havoc.

Kazimeras walked through the hallways of the mansion. The lights from the torches granted little to no illumination. He felt warm and comfortable there in the mansion; every thing was right. A slight breeze welcomed itself in the hallway, tossing his thick black hair. In the soft light, he caught a glimpse of something white and shimmering. He stopped as it floated aimlessly down and landed carelessly on the ground. He gazed down at a fragile looking white feather; it at perfectly on the dust covered floor.

It was another cold desolate night at the mansion and Kazimeras had just finished with his practice for the day. Usually when he had walked inside, he had been greeted by Audra and a hot meal. Instead he was met by a dark and empty house. The house itself looked like it hadn’t been lived in for years.

Kazimeras panicked. He didn’t know what to do. So he ran through the house throwing doors open calling out for Audra. But she never came. All he heard were the soft echoes of his screams.  He broke into a cold sweat…he didn’t know what to think. She woke him up that morning as she always did in a sweet manner. She didn’t even come out to see him practice as she always did.

Hours began to pass by as Kazimeras sat in a petrified state staring at the dust covered ground. Had all this been a sick hallucination? Had he been in some sort of nightmare? Nothing in the house made sense to where Audra could have gone. His lip was raw from his constant biting.

A haunting melody broke the silence and isolation of the dreary mansion. It was hypnotic and intoxicating. The intense vocal precision was bone chilling. Kazimeras remembered reading a book in the mansion’s library about the hypnotizing Sirens that used to run about the countryside; both of the haunting creatures using their voice to lure out their prey.

Kazimeras quickly covered his ears, he didn’t want to fall victim to the song. But as he went to cover his ears, he felt a soft feathery brush on his cheeks. He whirled around to look behind him. And there he laid eyes on a most beautiful creature; a woman with feathered arms and bird like scaly feet, draped in a white silky dress. Her skin melded with the white feathers to make the interchange between the two undistinguishable. And her eyes, the same icy blue as Audra’s.

“Do not be frightened Kazi…” her voice enchanting even when she spoke. “I understand you do not know anything from your past, and I would like to help you.”

Looking completely startled Kazimeras replied, “What do you know of my past Audra? Are you and your kind the ones that spat me into that infernal snow to die?”

“Heavens no, why on Earth would I have saved you if I were the one who cast you there in the first place?” She said as a wicked grin formed on her face.  “I saved you Kazi because you were mine to begin with.”

Kazimeras looked at her as if to be studying her face, he was confused. “What are you talking about?”

“Well as you can imagine, with a handsome treat like you my sisters were bound to get jealous. So they took you from me and tried to put you somewhere where they thought I would never find you…but I did.” She stared at the ceiling as she spoke.  “When you were encased in snow, I felt cold. When you hurt, I hurt. It was all a matter of looking in the right places. And I am just glad I found you when I did.”

“So they threw me out because they were jealous of you? And took away any and all memories of the time I had with you?” Kazimeras’ voice slowly rising with intensity as he spoke, “I don’t know if I can believe this.”

“Of course not…and now I am here to wipe your mind clean again. And it pains me to do so my love, it really does.” Audra said as she had tears swelling in her eyes.

She lifted her wing like arms and flapped them slowly at Kazimeras, and his eyes rolled back in his head. He then slowly sank to the dust covered ground and was fast asleep.

She choked on her words as she spoke, “I love you Kazi.” And with that she took off in flight through and out of the mansion.

Kazimeras awoke with the sole memory of stumbling upon this old abandoned mansion and its charming décor. He found himself wandering about until he came to the library and picked up a book entitled, The Siren’s Song.

Not knowing what to make of this book, he slowly began to flip through the dusty, worn pages. His mind flooded by all of the words. This creature of Greek mythology here in this frozen wasteland, to Kazimeras seemed to be impossible. Greece was very far off. He was intrigued by the idea that someone at one point wanted to learn of these. Still looking at the aged paper and the dull faded ink, he felt so attached to the book.

He shoved the large tome in his satchel and wandered through the dark and dank mansion. His footsteps were reverberating through the halls, and his feet kicking up the dust collecting on the floor. Clouds of musky dirt bits floated in the air aimlessly. His thoughts were like the dust, cloudy and near blank. He couldn’t remember anything except for waking up, and finding this large book of myths. He found his way out of the house and he followed the overgrown pathway that went away from it. Kazimeras turned and looked behind him, there stood a magnificent and abandoned mansion overlooking the frosted and frozen sea. He began to walk away from this place, this place that had him in some sort of spell induced coma.

Trials

    “Now this is all very important Laima, you need to avoid him at all cost!” Audra said to a smaller girl who was a mirror image of herself. “He is what has made us weak. My love for him is dying with me…and I don’t want you to find him.” She paused a moment looking into the girl’s glass like eyes. “There is something not right about him.”

          Laima stood staring at Audra, “We are the musical mistresses of the sea…” Her thought process broken by waves crashing into the rocky ledge they stood by. The sky was darkened grey and the rain and snow had come in pairs in the previous days. “Our voices are the key to the hypnotic trance that sailors fear, the music that the towns’ people dread. We are supposed to be invincible and impervious to mortals and their sick games.” Laima’s voice began to trail off again. She began to feel lightheaded; she knew that Audra’s time was about to expire.

          The sky grew darker as Audra clutched her sinking chest. She slowly kneeled to the murky and saturated ground. Her white skin that once held a radiant, refreshing glow now appeared dreary and dismal. As she looked up into the eyes of Laima, hers lost all luster and clarity. Her long thick tresses of hair fell limp to her body, becoming stringy and gaining straw like texture. Audra didn’t fight the inevitable fact that her body was deteriorating before young Laima. Her arms quivering, she allowed them to give way as she fell upon the water logged earth. As she lay there, her soft white feathers began to protrude from her flesh to be forever exposed. The wind tenderly tousled them about. The soft and elegant fabric she wore clung to her body as she then lay motionless.

“Laima,” She took a slow and shallow breath, “take care little sister. May Achelous watch over you.” With her final breaths of life, Audra began to sing. She sang the song of the sea, ever so softly.

As if the sea itself knew of the loss of a friend, it ceased its relentless lapping upon the rocky ledge. The clouds then released the rain, as if to be crying upon the limp body of the deceased child of the sea.  

Laima fell to her knees beside her sister. She had never experienced this sort of severe loss before in her short life. Her sister to her was near selfless and suffered more than anyone. She felt a twinge of hatred to her other sisters immediately at the thought. She knew it was partially if not all their fault for Audra’s death. They were the jealous ones that took the man she loved away. But, mother too had loved a man such as the one Audra did. It was a curse to be bound to one man and die alone. Laima wished that this curse plagued her other sisters. The ones who were undeserving of a curse free lifestyle.

She looked up into the charcoal colored clouds that wept over the loss of one of natures greatest musicians and sighed heavily. Laima knew she had to avoid whoever Audra spoke of. This man that wandered the earth held her fate in his hands. She tried to push the thought to the back of her mind, but is stayed festering and bothering her.

The wind began to pick up again as Laima walked back inland. The rain was saturating her delicate white locks, causing them to stick to her face and neck. Raindrops stayed perfectly in place on her soft, white face as she ventured towards the small hut she had come to know as home. As she walked her bare feet sank into the mushy soil and snow. Laima kept her hands hanging loose at her sides as she sauntered forward. No matter what she did she couldn’t pull her mind away from the thought of the man that held her like a puppet, or the sight of her dead sister.  Her frozen lips trembled at these thoughts as tears ran down her cheeks intertwining with the rain.

There was a sense of hopelessness that enveloped her at the moment. Of course she reserved every right to feel that way. After all, she had been abandoned by the only person that had ever listened to her. And now she was trapped alone in this world to wander. Wander without purpose. She had never seen the man she was to avoid. Her other sisters wouldn’t allow it. They didn’t want her to know what the cursed man looked like. They wanted Laima to fall just as Audra did. The thought of this enraged Laima, made her want to destroy nearly everything in sight.

Laima finally made it to her small hut and pushed the crudely made door open. She gazed about the room at the small table and chair that appeared to both be near their expiration, the fire place that was held together by clay and an odd assortment of rocks and the small pile of moss and dead grass she used to sleep on. She went and sat at her rickety old table that she herself was quite fond of. She let her fragile fingers gently drag across the splintery surface, as her eyes stared into the empty hearth. She felt so lost and disjointed. Her face slowly began to feel like it was on fire, she was so frustrated. Laima stood up quickly from her chair and stomped back out into the cold slush and rain. Her teeth grated together and eyes squinted. She released a painful screech that could shatter any glass. Her lament was all she could feel at this time now. She wanted nothing more than to be with her sister, but she knew that was impossible now. Laima let her head hang down in agony and dismay. No one could possibly settle the demon awoken within her. Her body lurched as she sobbed; no matter how hard she tried she was unable to control her self. Her cries grew more violent and exasperated; they then went back into the harsh screeches.

As her temper increased, the more treacherous the weather became. The sleet became hardened ice shards and the wind picked up drastically. The force from it alone could tear apart a small tree. The sky grew darker as her screams carried on and echoed about the rocky shoreline. The sea slamming into the trembling shore, pushing itself up as high as it could get. The storm itself had fused with her anguish, fear and rage; a storm of lethal caliber. The ice shards tore open her soft flesh as she remained in a heap on the ground screaming. The scream slowly and almost unwillingly morphed itself into a hypnotic sonnet.

Kazimeras felt something horribly amiss as he went further and further away from the sea. He turned to see the demonic clouds that had came to rest over where he once was. A chill shot down his spine as a tune struck his eardrums full force out of the muffled sounds of the wind. His eyes were wide open now, his body became stiff. The tome that he had shoved in his small satchel seemed to burn through the material and on his leg. Leaving this town would not be an option at this point for Kazimeras. The song continued to ring in his head, wrapping itself around his consciousness. His lips trembled in anxiety, he felt his body turn itself around and saunter back to the small town from whence he came. The tome continued to burn into his leg, only when he reached out of the village limits did the burning subside. Walking back towards the sea, he found himself being impaled by the ice shards falling from the sky. Kazimeras was in such a trance, he didn’t flinch when the ice came about his face and sliced him. All he knew was, he had to go to the origin of the hypnotic sound. It was an intoxicating sound that he positively couldn’t get enough of. He finally was able to make it to the coast…where he had found the source of his new found addiction.

Her chest heaved up and down for what felt like an eternity, though she truly wished it had been. The storm began to settle itself and the waves began to recede to their normal back and forth rhythms. Laima’s hair clung to her face from the ice, blood and tears. She knew she looked dreadful. The simple white robe she wore was torn to bits nearly; far beyond a tailors repair. She would have to make do until she was able to go and get new robes.  She slowly brought herself to her feet. Laima sensed immediately that she was no longer alone. She began debating whether or not she should kill who watched her or continue her tantrum. She casually turned around and surveyed the area. That’s when she saw a tattered young gentleman standing there in worn clothes. His black hair saturated by the sleet, and his sun kissed skin bruised. She stared at him, deep into his green eyes, unblinking. She felt like a deer struck with complete fear, she could feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins. Something about him made her heart skip a beat. She had to muster up the courage to speak; he was invading on her privacy after all.

“Can I help you sir?” Laima said. Her soft voice cracking slightly; a lump began to form in the back of throat. Sir? God why not throw him a banquet! And for the love of Achelous talk like a sane person!

He stood there a moment, taken aback by the question. Come on, you can do it. Just tell her why you’re here. “I… I heard music, a song actually. And it was coming from around here. I was… coming to see who could be making such an enchanting sound.” Kazimeras quickly turned his gaze to the ground after he spoke. He felt ridiculous for saying something like that to a beautiful young lady.

“A song… from over here? I am afraid you must be mistaken. For the only sound you could have possibly heard would be the sea itself.” She paused a moment. “And yes I will say the sea, she sings to all a beautiful song.” There, decent recovery from the sir incident. At least he isn’t very articulate.

His hands became sweaty as he stood there gazing upon her. Ok, was it possible that I was mistaken? I know I could have sworn that the enchanting sound was a woman singing. “Well, then the sea is whom I seek then. She captivated me with her melodic prowess.” He grinned innocently. His green eyes glistening as he spoke.

Laima looked to the sea, “She’s right there,” her delicate arm lifted and pointed to the water. Oh good he bought it, or if he didn’t he’s a really good liar.

Kazimeras strode closer to Laima. He was walking to where her perfect arm had indicated. As he passed her, he felt his body tremble. It was like adrenaline purged and ravaged his body. He could feel his fingertips tingling. He took a deep breath, he could smell her. She smelt like the sea. This was a scent that he was fond of; and a hint of something else too. It wasn’t just the sweet aroma of salt and water that drove his body into frenzy. His eyes rolled back slightly as he tried to remain composed.

Laima looked at him amused, “Umm…are you alright? You look kind of uncomfortable.” HAH! This man is losing it, and to think I was worried.

“No I am fine…Miss…” He paused a moment to wait for her to insert her name.

What he wants my name now? Ugh! “Laima and you are?” She retorted with a devious smirk.

Her grin made him weak in the knees, “Kazimeras…a pleasure to meet you Miss Laima.” I sound like a babbling idiot! He stumbled slightly, his equilibrium was off now. Regardless of his inarticulateness and lack of true abilities to impress this new found beauty, he couldn’t stop staring into her glass like eyes.

“You have an interesting name….Mr. Kazimeras…to destroy. Your mother and father must have wanted you to be a warrior of some kind?” She asked inquisitively.

Kazimeras turned to the sea when he spoke his response to her, “To be honest, I don’t remember my parents at all.” He paused and turned back to Laima’s perfect face. “All I can remember is waking up one day in an abandoned mansion, and nothing else.” His eyes looked lonely and sad.

Wow, I didn’t think he was going to get upset. Ah poor human. “I am terribly sorry to hear that. I couldn’t imagine not remembering almost my entire life!” Laima replied, making her voice sound as sincere as possible.

The wind had begun to pick up again, and the sea grew more violent. It was a good time for Laima to retreat back to her small hovel of a house; that and the night slowly moving in, and rest to be had.

“It was a pleasure indeed to meet you Kazimeras, but the night is drawing near and Mother Nature is growing fierce. So I am off. Take care of yourself, and don’t listen to the sea too long,” Laima paused, her malevolent grin returning. “She has a history of hypnotizing her listeners.” She then turned away from him and began to saunter to her home.

What does she mean “hypnotizing”? The sea cannot actually speak. And if it could I am most certain she wouldn’t try to persuade me in any such manner. His mind raveled and whirled at the situation presented to him. Her words trapped in his sieve of a mind. He couldn’t speak. Thoughts tapering over his eyes and weaving through his nerves as his palms began to sweat. It was like his body fell into ice water.  His muscles became tense and rigid. His eyes followed her contently. No matter what he did he was unable to release his gaze. That and he was unable to speak, it was as if his vocal cords had tied themselves in a knot. Kazimeras didn’t know what to do at this point. He was almost away from the village when he was jerked back by the haunting melody that this young woman was saying came from the sea.

Laima entered her home, gently closing the wooden door. She knew he stood outside flabbergasted at her. It’s as she wanted it. Manipulation of feeble minds is what she was made to do. Her dampened hair stuck to her face as she began making a fire. The dark and cold establishment was starved for illumination.  A spark flashed subtly as a blaze slowly began to form itself. She felt a slight of guilt as she warmed herself by the small blaze. She dare not peer out the window to see if he had remained standing in the horrid weather. What he did was not her fault. Standing out in the cold snow and rain was his foolishness. She sat down cross legged on the dirt floor staring into the flames. Something felt wrong to her. She had a troubled feeling in the pit of her stomach that made her nauseous. She lay down immediately after the feeling of discomfort settled in, and drifted into a restless sleep.

The morning came all too quick for Laima, she felt tired and listless from the previous days events. She could hear the soft rapping of the wind against the windows. Opening her eyes slowly, she was surprised to see the sun dancing across the wall. It was a sight that was unfamiliar to her, but welcomed. She sat up wearily, her muscles and joints aching. She felt a sharp pain in her forehead; the cold granted her a headache. It was a wonderful start to her day. Laima stood up and walked to her table and stared down at the splintery surface. Her mind boggled at her evident depression. Though she dreaded the idea of even thinking about it, she couldn’t help but wonder about Kazimeras first thing in the morning.

Laima turned and gazed silently out the window. She felt like she was looking for him. Shaking her head to correct herself she turned away. He wouldn’t have stood out there all night; this odd man who has no memory of his life prior to only a week or so ago. She decided that this man was a menace to her and to release any and all thoughts of him from her mind.

Unfulfilled

It had felt to Kazimeras as if months had passed since he saw the mysterious beauty. Her face was emblazoned into his mind. He found himself in a village that was eight or nine days walk from the sea.  Here he had made his home. Kazimeras was certain that he would be able to make a life there and avoid any more memory loss. He thought the sea to be inexplicably evil. The tome he carried with him, The Tome of Siren’s, had convinced him. Every time he flipped through the yellowed, aged pages he felt like he was being sucked into a rabid nightmare. He read tales of sailors doomed by their hypnotic songs and lost forever. Kazimeras refused to become one of the siren’s victims.

He was sitting in the village tavern talking to one of the locals, “So, how do you feel about the sea?” This question was directed towards an older man whose graying hair and beard showed the tests of time. The man’s face wrinkled and aged; he looked tired.

The man took a moment to respond as he took a long drink of his ale, “The sea…she is a demon she is, possessing more demons within her.  I stay way from the sea now lad,” He paused to take another drink. “I would recommend that you do as well. She harbors creatures that would rot away any man, sailor or not.”

Kazimeras looked horrified at the man; he swallowed hard and replied, “So you say that these creatures are able to rot away flesh?”

“Aye lad, rot away a man’s flesh just by the sound of their bewitching voice,” the elderly man retorted combing his arthritic fingers through his coarse beard.

Kazimeras nonchalantly stuck his hand in his satchel and gripped the tome that had become sacred to him. This old man spoke of terrible things, he wasn’t sure if it was true.  Paying his tab, Kazimeras quickly left the tavern. He hurried himself to the edge of the small village and yanked the tome from his bag. He began flipping through the pages feverishly and scanning for anything in relation to what the old man had said to him.

About halfway through the tome, Kazimeras found something that made his stomach turn. It was a crudely drawn depiction of a siren hovering over a rotting corpse, clearly laughing. The image was tattooed into his psyche. Such a beautiful creature capable of complete devastation and destruction horrified him. He forced himself to keep reading. The information flooded his mind as the details grew more grueling. He read how the locals associated sirens with Maro deives. He learned that Maro deives were supposedly women dressed in white clothing and rode white steeds; that they were the bringers of the Black Death. The achieved this terrible task by stoking the hills with fire, and where the smoke spread is where the Black Death began. He continued to read on about the miraculous gods who strived against the sirens.

“Dievas the Chief God ordered his children to harness the sirens and make them assist the mortals of earth. His daughter Aušrinė, the morning star came from the heavens in attempts to reason with the rebellious and murderous sirens. Aušrinė failed at bringing the sirens to order and in defeat returned to her father Dievas with the news. Outraged at his daughter’s failure he sent his son Praamŷius down to make his attempts. Another series of failures followed his son when he returned to Dievas. He cursed them for coming to his country from Greece; they plagued his tundra and his frozen sea…”

Kazimeras slammed the tome shut. He couldn’t read anymore. These invasive creatures took this land away from poor defenseless people and sculpted it against the will of the gods. He shoved the tome back in his satchel hastily as he brushed his thick black hair from his face. His lips quivered inadvertently.  He buried his face in his hands and cried for hours, until he felt the slightest touch on his shoulder.

“Excuse me sir, are you alright?” Questioned a female voice. It was very sweet sounding and soft; gentle and kind.

Kazimeras looked up and into the eyes of a small young woman. She had long flowing red hair that cascaded over her shoulders, a fair complexion that would make any other woman envious and deep brown eyes that twinkled with care. His words were caught in his throat.

She smiled at him as she continued, “You look like you could use a hot meal and a nice rest.” Her voice had a hint of an Irish accent.

Kazimeras nodded slowly at her invitation. He didn’t know if he could trust this sweet woman or not. He knew he could win a fight against her physically if needed. But he didn’t feel she was a bad person or a threat at all. He softly replied, “Thank you for the kind invitation Miss,” he paused a moment and smiled at her. “My name is Kazimeras, and whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?” That’s right lay on the charm.

“You can call me Ona; it’s a pleasure to be meeting you Kazimeras!” She chimed happily.  “Now come on now and follow me! I just finished fixing supper.” Ona turned and started heading back towards the center of the village.

Kazimeras followed her, making sure not to be too close. He still didn’t trust her, regardless of her sweet nature and demeanor. She looked like everyone else in the village apart from her fire like tresses. There was something about her that didn’t sit correctly in Kazimeras’ mind. Whether it was bad or good he couldn’t tell.

He followed her to a small house that looked very sturdy and quaint. He felt a sense of security when she welcomed him through the door. She then smiled sweetly as she set her basket down next to the hearth. Ona’s pleasant smile caught him off guard. He wasn’t used to this kind of hospitality from a stranger.

Ona’s house was small and cozy. Her walls were hung with dried foods and a fire blazed in the hearth as she began scooping food out of a pan. It was humble and charming. Kazimeras liked it there.

“I hope you like stew Kazimeras!” She beamed as she set the bowl down on the table.

“That sounds lovely Ona, and I must say you have a charming home.” He replied as he sat at the table. “And thank you so much for your kindness.”

“Not a problem Kazimeras! You just rest up and eat, you’re skin and bone!” She said as she sat down with her own bowl across from him.

They both ate in silence and enjoying each others company. This gave Kazimeras time to think, to think about Laima. Someone he had pushed to the back of his mind. Her perfect face popped into his head as he ate. He felt upset immediately thinking of her, but perfect at the same time. Her icy face chilling him to the bone. He shivered slightly and looked back to Ona, “This is delicious!”

“Thank you, I am glad you like it.” She retorted casually as she continued eating.

When they finished, Ona set up a spot for Kazimeras to sleep. She then went off to bed herself. He laid there and stared up in to the darkness, his eyes slowly adjusting. All he could think about was Laima; nothing else came to his mind. The song he heard they day they met was trapped in his ears. He could feel the blood pumping through his veins as they became cold. Kazimeras knew he had to stop thinking about her. He pulled his blanket tighter around him as he shivered. His teeth chattered as he laid there; his eyelids became heavy and weary. Finally he succumbed to uneasy sleep.

Night had befallen the sea as Laima left her small hovel. She danced in the light of the moon as she sang her song. Tip toeing on the jagged rocks that made the cliff overlooking the sea, she spun in circles. The waves grew more vicious and malevolent against the rocky shoreline. The wind picked up speed and strength as the song continued. She was summoning the one who made her supposed eternal life cursed; the one who made it so she wouldn’t live forever. Laima’s song grew more intense as time passed, her patience was running thin.

Kazimeras awoke in a cold sweat, his heart pounding in his chest. He felt an odd sensation in his ears. He could hear the song, she was calling him and wasn’t sure if he should answer.  He then felt something soft land on his arm. Kazimeras carefully picked it up between his fingers, biting his lip. He saw a delicate white feather.

Like a Knife

            Kazimeras could hear the wind rapping against the small house. His chest began heaving up and down rapidly. Quickly he took his hand to it to try and settle his chaotic fit. Kazimeras could feel his mental stability deteriorating. All he could do was lay and stare panic stricken into the darkness. His breaths became shorter and stiff. The air in the house grew stale. Kazimeras’ teeth began to chatter in his shock.

Outside the wind began to howl and bluster mercilessly. An odd hour of the night was approaching and is was coming to consume. Kazimeras’ head spun about in a whirlpool. These Sirens were after him, no doubts about that in his mind. He crumpled the feather violently as he sat up. He was striving to stay away from the sea, but this song made it near impossible to accomplish. Kazimeras looked across the small house to the bed where Ona slept. A smile came across his face. She seemed to be no older than he was, but he felt a sense of protection from her. Odd he should feel such a thing from a harmless towns person.

Kazimeras stood up and grabbed his satchel. He hastily pushed his hair out of his face as he sauntered quietly over to the door. He held the feather firmly in his fist. He grasped the door handle and pushed gently so as not to wake Ona. Then slipped out the door, he didn’t know how long it would take him to get back to the village on the sea. But here in Skuodas, there was a safe distance from it and he was able to live. How the song of the sea had reached him was beyond him. But he knew the demonic forces conjured from the Sirens was possibly enough to trek the hundreds of miles to reach him.

His mind was made up as walked down the cobbled road of Skuodas. He debated his route to return to the Siren shore. Whether or not he was to follow the main road south and then west through Palagna or to trek across the uplands through the harsh tundra. Kazimeras wasn’t sure he should make this journey unaccompanied by anyone. But knew it was too late; he looked around and caught eye of a brown spotted mare. She didn’t look  to be anything young or spry, but she had to do. Kazimeras quickly hopped on the horse and took off into the south.

“What was that?!” Laima turned her head to the east as the wind tousled her hair. She squinted her eyes slightly as she gazed inland. “Something is amiss this night…” her words slow and articulate.

The eastern skyline bore no sign of light at first. Then Laima saw a small spec attached to a figure. Her heart sank, it’s presence felt devious and unwelcome to her. She watched as it ran closer to her fast, they were obviously on a strong and steady steed. Laima kneeled down on one of the large boulders and waited for her guest to arrive.

Within a few moments she saw quite clearly who was coming to chat. She saw a top a large black stallion a handsome man with jet black hair and slate gray eyes. His facial features stern, but did not blemish his elegant face. He stared straight down at Laima, a malevolent grin upon his face.

He spoke at her in a heavy accent with a kind of chuckle, “Well well, there you are my pet.”

Laima stood up and glared at him, “Who do you think you’re calling pet?” Her voice cold and snide.

“Oh please darling,” he paused as he hopped off his steed. “Is there really such a need for a cold attitude?” His grin widened.

“Who are you and what do you want?” She snarled; the wind still biting at her face.

The man leaned in smiling at her and gently let his hand graze her soft cheek, “My name is Juozas my dear.” He then pushed some of her white hair from her face, “And I am your worst nightmare.”

Laima’s eyes grew large at his statement, she had never before felt afraid like this. She knew she had fallen into the clutches of the sirens natural enemy…the hunter. Her heart continued to sink, she felt frozen in place…a moth to the flame. “I…..uhh,” she stammered and stuttered; her lips quivered fiercely.

Juozas snickered, his eyes aglow with delight, “Oh this is going to be so easy…”

No matter what Laima tried, she was ensnared by him. Her breaths grew short as her chest tightened. Laima felt as if there were a massive vice clamped down on her and began squeezing the life out of her. Her vision began to blur, all she could do was listen to her heart pounding in her ears and Juozas’ malevolent chortle.

Kazimeras halted his horse, the eastward blowing wind carried something with it that made him uncomfortable. The mare reared fearfully at the ghostly howls of the wind. She wanted to flee back to the safe haven of town but they were in the middle of nowhere. Kazimeras urged her to press on, part of him felt the fear; the other part felt the need to continue.

The old mare pressed on reluctantly, her old worn body swaying as she walked. Kazimeras took his hand and gently combed his fingertips through the horses’ mane to keep her calm. He wondered if someone would keep him calm. His nerves were shot at this point and all he could think about was getting back to the sea…and her.  He could feel something wrenching in his gut. It made him begin to push the mare harder than he had been. The horses breaths heaved as she began galloping and Kazimeras felt more at odds with his feelings.

Juozas crouched down beside the fallen Laima. Reaching out he gently stroked her face, a crooked smile curling on his lips. “You have fallen too easily my little one. Pity…I thought you’d pose more of a fight for me.” As he spoke he scooped up the disheveled siren and held her in his arms. Her body lay limp and powerless. “You will be a lovely addition to my—” He stopped as he felt a force coming swiftly from inland. His thought processes completely disconnected itself from the moment as he felt a threat approaching.  Juozas set Laima down on the soggy earth; drawing his sword, he waited patiently for the unwelcome guest.

Laima felt the damp earth soaking her tattered clothes, it chilled her to the bone. More so because of the hunter looming over her. Regardless of her immobile state, she too could feel something fast approaching. Although she did not feel fear, she felt safe. An odd comfort that she hadn’t felt in many moons. Laima’s mind was going wild as she lay there. Her body a victim to the hunters paralysis, she screamed at her body to move.

I need to get out of this! I can’t move. She kept repeating this to herself as she kept trying to move. I can’t lay here and let him hurt whatever is coming this way, and I can’t let him take me! Finally she was able to open her eyes with much convincing.  Her eyes slowly gaining focus, as she saw Juozas standing over her, sword drawn. Okay Laima, you need to get up. You can’t let this hunter win! She closed her eyes once more and began to concentrate as hard as she could. Trying to move herself and siphon some power.

Her struggle was useless. No matter how hard she concentrated, nothing came from it. All Laima could do was lie and wait for whatever was going to happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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