Sun, Ship, Siren
They blamed the sun, so jolly and yellow, too full of itself and too bright, hanging up above the world. Well, that is what the most-bitter said, for the sun was beautiful and bright, and brought joyous color to the world, like the emerald green of grass and the endless blue of the sky. These were colors no one wished to miss, brought out only by the sun.
Still, everyone blamed the sun, the beautiful sun, for drawing the sirens up out of the depths to sing their terrible, beautiful songs and keep little girls from sailing their toy boats across their swimming pools on sunny days.
The sirens would swim up from bottomless blue abysses, shining with all the azure colors and shades from bright to dark, and sing their songs that would sink the ships of the little girls sailing them across their pools, above the glowing infinite and unknowable depths as beautiful as they were terrifying when contemplated. But little girls in sun-dresses did not contemplate the depths, though they might draw them with their crayons on rainy days when they were stuck inside.
Blonde little Shannon was sick of being stuck inside on the hot, sunny, beautiful days, kept away from the backyard by her mother, who warned her away from the depths of their big above-ground pool. Shannon wanted to sail, but she could not because the sirens were in the pool, singing, and all her little ships would sink under their spell.
But as little girls often do, she disobeyed her mother and slipped outside, intent on sailing her little ships by making the sirens go away, though she wasn’t certain how and had not really considered it beyond the desire to do so.
Outside in the pool, the sirens danced through the sparkling blue waters the shade of the pool’s plastic walls. The twirling top halves of thin, beautiful women with flowing hair, never quite deciding if they were made of flesh or of water and wearing nothing at all over their perfect nakedness. They spun and bobbed around the round, blue pool and sang their siren’s songs to the sky and the brightly glowing sun that shed it’s happy warmth blithely down upon the tense world.
Shannon knew that if you looked down under the water from above, like from the upstairs window, you could see the siren’s bodies going down forever and ever into the blue abysses, like strange pillars of liquid that simply merged with the blue waters. And instead of the rubbery blue sides of the cheap bargain-price chain-store pool, it was just an infinity of blue shades making up the pool’s sides, stretching down like a ring of what might be immeasurably-long cerulean kelp or the tentacles of sleeping octopi rising up.
Of course, it was only on days where the sun shone so brightly that you could see that far down into the pool. Other days, when it was cloudy or rainy, you could see the blue plastic bottom, and when mommy put the pool cover over the top of the tiny ocean, you couldn’t see the pool at all.
With a small toy ship clutched under one arm, Shannon climbed the little plastic ladder leading over the lip and stood there near the top. Her head poked over the rim of the tiny spirit-haunted azure ocean, and her face pinched in a thoughtful and considered expression…for a little girl. The sirens spun and danced immodestly past her, ignoring her or never seeing her, singing their beautiful ship-sinking songs.
Shannon took another step up, able to see a bit down into the pool now, and one of the blue sirens floated over to her, gently and gracefully, like a wave upon a wind-calm beach. It regarded her with steady blue eyes made all the more beautiful because they smiled, filled with joy and happiness, her voice like a sighing wind across ocean waves.
Now, the Elders said that the sirens could be chased away if you read from the books, but Shannon was a little girl, and did not yet know how read the books the Elders read, or what books they were talking about. So she stood there in her sun dress on the plastic pool ladder and frowned at the siren before she told it to please go away so she could sail her ship.
Shannon was very polite, you see. Her mother had raised her well, even if Shannon was disobeying her right now and talking to the sirens. The siren, however, merely smiled and drifted away, twisting and turning and singing its beautiful song as the warm yellow sun sailed immesurably through an unblemished blue sky above.
Shannon frowned again, more deeply this time, then sighed and put her little ship in the water. She pushed it and it drifted out across the pool, between the sirens, bobbing gently on the waters between them. Shannon rushed to the other side and climbed up the side of the pool, hanging on by the sturdy plastic ring topping the pool’s wall, exactly as her mother had told her never to do. She reached for the ship, splashing, but it sank down into the blue depths before her now cool, wet fingers could grasp it.
Defeated, Shannon dropped back to the cool emerald grass there in the shade on the side of the pool. Nearby on the cool ground lay a small plastic boat where some other child from the neighborhood, or maybe one of her siblings, had forgotten it. Without a considered thought, she grabbed it and ran back to the ladder. Once ascended, she launched this ship out among the sirens as well.
She did this because plastic, you see, does not sink. She had seen this on a children’s television show earlier that day, when the funny man in the television had thrown rocks and spoons and things like that into a tub of water to see what happened.
But the little plastic ship began to flounder and capsize when one of the sirens swirled past it, and even somehow dragged the little ship around and under without really touching it or seeing it. Shannon sat down on the top rung and removed her shoes, determined to go rescue the floundering, sinking vessel.
Her mother caught her by the waist just before she plunged into the blue abysses among the sirens, and was hauled back, kicking and wet, complaining about her sinking ship that spiraled down, down, and down into the endless blue-shaded waters the sirens swam in. She did not even hear her mother’s chastising speech as she was dragged away and back into the house, away from the singing sirens and the happy sun.
Copyright (c)2006 Raven Daegmorgan