Page 2

She screams. After 100 years, her voice is still clear and perfect, shockingly loud in the cool night. It’s a short, sharp cry, quickly muffled as she’s wrapped up in a big bundle of material and thrown unceremoniously over a gigantic shoulder.

It’s a man, he’s muttering something but it’s hard to make out, and in some unfamiliar language. She tries to listen, staying silent now, for she does not want to harm this person who seems intent on doing good.

He plops her down on the sand and continues speaking, but his words are nonsensical to her. She tilts her head at him, and he pauses, realising she hasn’t been reacting to what he is saying.

“Luke” he repeats, pointing at himself.

She wrinkles her eyebrows and he taps his chest some more, repeating the word.

Realisation dawns in her eyes and she smiles, if a little uncertainly. She does not respond other than that, for giving her name to him could be fatal. He seems uncertain of himself now that he is done rescuing her, which is what she thinks he was trying to do.

He notices the seaweed she is clutching it and makes a vaguely disgusted face. She looks at him as he bends down and then, to her horror, he grabs it from her hand. Disbelievingly she watches him pull his huge arm back and throw it into the sea. Her savage cries for him to stop go unnoticed. Only when he looks back at her does he seem to realise she is upset, and by then she has untangled herself from his long coat and gone running down to the water’s edge.

He lopes gently after her, calling something in his language. She searches frantically along the shore, hoping that her belt will wash in on a wave. He grabs her as she is just about to leap into the water, and she yells at him, her voice wild and uncontrolled. That small, green slip of seaweed is all that allows her to live under water.

He doesn’t react. When she finally ceases her struggling, she limply flops against him. She is unused to the soft, childish limbs of the body she is in, though it used to be hers when she was a young woman luring sailors to their death. They used to become delirious, and leap from their boats into the sea, or steer their ships onto the treacherous rocks around the island, driven mad by her voice. But this man is unaffected. When she turns to look at him, he appears genuinely upset, and shakes his head at her worriedly.

She asks him then, despairingly, what he wants of her.

“To be immune to my voice and to catch me so skilfully, you must have a reason. What do you want? I am no muse to be caught for your inspiration. I will only bring your world harm.”

But he just shakes his head uncomprehendingly. She asks him again what he wants, and he lets go of her with one hand. He points at his ears and shakes his head, doing the same again and shrugging when she raises her voice.

The End

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