When the visitors arrive, Sylvie is a hard-working ex-pat living on an Italian farm.
The wind whistled mellifluities through an enclosed bamboo shelter, only roofed from the protection of the dancing sun. Amongst the cicada calls that warmed olive, tomato, and grape groves, a cloudless blue spread towards a similarly-coloured sea, hazy mist the only divider.
This hide on the cliff looked down to white stone, orange roofs: rural Capri.
It didn’t used to be so warming.
I snapped my notebook shut. Its pages were ruined with my research, with tales of a time when the creatures of the sea, Sirens, stole the souls- and, in due time, the lives- of three human woman, virgin Greeks who lived on the land. The Sirens discarded their old forms to the rocks so that they could slip themselves into the guise of the maidens they encountered and abused.
Those previous forms were told, in the English tales of my childhood, to be Mermaidian; on the other hand, the Italian story told that the Sirens were what I had always known as ‘Harpies’, women whose bodies were that of birds, but with the dainty, snide heads of musical women.
They had drowned many a sailor, but the seamen had once been warned, and the Sirens had no ruined lives to drink from. Thus, a new plan was formed, one that took different angles from society. The Sirens took the three lives. However, once they had become mortal in form, the Sirens regretted their choice. They discovered no way to remove the aging process that they had set upon themselves, and when time wearied their figures, they were in agony.
Those past tales haunted my dreams, for the Sirens swore revenge on the Italian world; they swore that they would return, through rebirth, to wreck havoc on the new land. Despite those memories, Italy chose to be my home, and its stories became my own culture. Little did I know how much my blood would be mingled with that time.