The Passed Note Issue 4 June 2017 - Page 47

Desolate and empty I lay upon the damp sand, the shore lapped spitefully at my feet—taunting me, I knew it wanted to take me back.

“You're alive!” Summer cried, laughing and sobbing, falling to her knees and looking at me in a way that both terrified and mollified my heart. She wore a thick woolen blanket around her shoulders and a smile that looked like the first day of spring.

“See, the siren listened! We have been rescued.”

But my sister did not know the truth. The siren was not a thing of magic and wishes and life. The siren, quite simply, was death. She was drowning. She was hopelessness. I may have been wretched from the siren's clutches by weather-worn sailors on a promise of rescue, but she had called me with her dark and wicked demand. So no matter how much salty sea-stained water I vomitted from my lungs, I shall never get her darkness from my mind. One does not look at death without being scarred.

~

The dirty white sails rippled with the prevailing wind, bulging like the stomach of the long-gone captain, whose body had been sent to the deep. Wood creaked and groaned as the ship rode the gentle waves back towards the English shore. The sun shone but did nothing to warm my heart.

“Land ahoy!” yelled a sailor, who dashed below deck only to return with a bottle full of a foul smelling black liquid.

“Here, Benedict,” Summer said with a blossoming smile across her rosy, if not shallow, cheeks. “You got your wish too. We're back at the English shore—just like you whispered into the siren's purse.”

The memory prickled my skin and forced the hairs on the back of my neck to quiver.

“Hey, you can see ghosts now. That’s pretty cool, right? How did that happen?” I fought to keep the stickiness of tears out of my voice.