Thursday, July 22, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #16

by Beth Harar

The young woman did not sense his approach because she was singing. At the end of the beach, where water meets sand, she paid homage to the ocean. The waves swept at her feet and, in the dark night, she almost glowed.

Not affected by her demon song, William crept forward. The creature thought that her repulsive chant would shield her from harm, and her ignorance made him quiver.

He took one step, then another. And when he was almost close enough to grab her tousled hair she turned.

“I’m sorry,” she said, smiling at him. “I didn’t know anyone was nearby.”

His lip curled and he took a step forward. The woman hesitated and took a step backward, towards the sea. “Did you hear me singing?” she asked.

William raised the knife.

In one swift movement the woman turned and propelled herself towards the ocean, but he was equally quick. He caught her white dress and yanked it down so that she plunged face first into the sand. She fought back, kicking and clawing, but he pinned her to the ground.

“Let me go!” she cried, stretching her free arm towards the sea, as if it could give her salvation.

But William was unaffected by her pleas for him to stop. She would not get away because he was meant to kill her.

Her death was his treasure and his gift to the world.


Aniket said...

I've always stood by the notion that a good mythological piece could not be told in just 250 words. Thank you for proving me wrong.

Jade L Blackwater said...

Nice job building tension - this piece has good flow and the descriptions bring the scene to life.

Peter Dudley said...

Are there any boats nearby? The sailors would thank the lad.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Hmmm...makes you wonder what the woman was?

JR's Thumbprints said...

I liked the mythological creature, she seemed polite, and because of that, I wasn't too happy the lad killed her. Neat story.

Precie said...

I'm with JRT about the girl. She's depicted as so innocent, so earnest in her celebration of the ocean, that his actions seem almost unjust.

Overall, vivid and well written.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Pete's comment is helping me understand who she might be. Or perhaps he's just plain nuts. Either way - well done.

Kimberly B. said...

Wow, creepy! In a really good way. I especially like the ambiguous nature of this piece. Very nice!

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Right up to the end I was hoping she would turn the tables on William and he would die, not her. Good job.

Deb Smythe said...

Good story. And, yeah, like Katherine, I was hoping the "young woman" would turn the tables.
Beautifully written.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Beth!

I was thinking mermaid, with her singing to the ocean, paying homage. Maybe she lured one too many to their deaths? And he took it personally.

Dottie :)

JaneyV said...

The clue's in the title folks - she's a Siren. With her song she lures sailors into the rocks so that they all drown. The innocence, beauty and attractiveness are part of her deadly arsenal. But perhaps I am like William and immune.

I think you did an amazing job making the hero seem the villain and the murderess seem the victim. I really loved this!!!

Laurel said...

I love this and wanted to know more about William. Things to love:

1. Peaceful, beautiful image in the opening. The song is the only hint of what she is.

2. Jarring switch of tone from William's PoV. Goes from visual to visceral.

3. He comes across as psycho until you put the riddle together. Title, beautiful woman at the shore singing over the water. Turns out she's the monster, not her stalker.

Great piece of work. Really enjoyed this.

Vincent Kale said...

I liked how you turned the myth on its head. How many sailors have crashed their ships against the rocks and drowned at sea because of the Siren's song? Because of William these shores are now safe.

The only suggestion I had was to change the choice of the word "quiver" in the second paragraph. Is he trembling because of her ignorance or is he upset by it? Maybe "bristle" would work better?

Good job!

SzélsőFa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SzélsőFa said...

i admit i had to read Laurel's comment at July 29, 2010 7:39 AM in order to get ANY sympathy towards the male character.
still i believe sirens sing for a reason, and people should not force to enter places where they sing - but that's just the opposite to anyone's opinion i guess :)))

great writing, with an interesting theme. it really got me thinking -