I really like what I found during my research into Sirens, though I’ll share that with you on Thursday for our trip into the realm of the Fae.
So for week three of #FlashFicHive I decided to write an anti-hero. Maybe because I’ve been watching the season of Vampire Diaries filled with Sirens and Damon as we knew him from season one? *shrugs* Besides, day nineteen called for a MC who’s flawed/an anti-hero.
So here’s my story for week three (you can read the other one I wrote in July).
The Good, the Bad and the Fugly
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
They were forever provocative and disturbing. Richelle looked away from the other Sirens dressing in glittering outfits, their hair already perfectly coiffed. She was shivering like she had the day of her own initiation.
Shrugging, she pulled up the zip of her shoulderless dress. It was time to show the initiates exactly what it meant to be a Siren.
Richelle walked through the veil separating her world from the mortal realm.
The beach was filled with half-naked humans. A young man wearing only a speedo strutted across the sand towards her. All eyes followed him. It was obvious that he knew what effect he had on others.
She shook her head at his smug attitude. He was perfect, in more ways than one.
‘I haven’t seen you around. Great dress, by the way.’
‘Want to get out of here?’
‘Lead the way.’
They walked out of sight of the humans before she entered the water. He resisted at the water’s edge. Richelle started singing softly, ensnaring his senses. He followed her into the water.
Once they were deep enough that his feet couldn’t touch the bottom, she grinned. Her appearance changed. She knew that her hair became purple, dark at the roots and light at the tips. Her light glittering dress was replaced by black silk and lace. Her make-up became as dark as her soul.
Yet the human showed no fear. She was still singing. He was still enthralled.
Quickly, she pulled him beneath the water and drowned him. His soul slipped out of his body, watching her in confusion.
Richelle dropped his body and sang to his soul. He followed her through the veil where she left him with a Grim in the Otherworld.
She caught a glimpse of her reflection on the walls of water and grimaced. Being a Siren was being a promise of perfection. Yet here she was nothing more than feathers and skinless red oozing everywhere. She needed to feed.
She hated the curse upon her kind to be half-bird, half-woman unless they used enough magic to conceal their true nature.
She returned to the corpse at the bottom of the ocean and fed until only the bones were left. She took them to her realm where she placed them at the roots of the tree that gave life to her kind.
Back with the young Sirens who had to go through their rite of passage, drowning their first human, she was once again the beautiful creature of earlier.
She watched the young Sirens perform the ritual, some wavering at the transformation into a dark creature before drowning their victim.
Other Sirens hissed at them.
It was a dangerous, even hostile, initiation. Being a Siren wasn’t all singing songs and combing hair.
She watched as Meg, the Siren who had disavowed her true nature for almost a century, enter the mortal realm in her true form. She saw the hesitation on the young Siren’s face and knew that Meg wouldn’t be able to go through with it. Not all Sirens were born to seduce and kill – no matter how powerful they might be.
Invisible even to her own kind, Richelle flitted to the mortal realm and to Meg’s side.
‘There’s a way for you to escape your fate,’ she whispered to the terrified girl.
‘How?’ Meg breathed.
‘Don’t enthral, enlighten.’
Richelle returned to her spot on the other side of the veil to watch. No-one had noticed her absence.
On the beach, Meg cornered a kind-looking young man. He had the same athletic build as all the other victims of Sirens, but there was something about him that told Richelle that he never felt smug about his appearance. Just like Meg wasn’t able to be ruthless.
Meg started singing, leading the smiling young man into the waves. The Sirens howled, knowing that she was screwing up her initiation.
‘You’re a beautiful nymph,’ the young man said.
Meg glared at him. ‘I’m not a nymph. Nymphs are foolish creatures obsessed with their looks and seducing mortals. No. I’m a Siren.’
‘You just described what Sirens are.’
‘Then enlighten me.’
Meg’s eyes lit up and she sang to him about the past and the future. She sang about everything she knew. She sang until she dissolved in the water, never to be seen again… though her song was forever carried on the waves.
Richelle nodded at what she saw before it happened and walked away. The initiation was over. A Siren was saved from her fate and could now swim and dance in cool water that the rest of them could only dream of.
I know, right?
So how did I get there? First, I assembled this little gem from my Pinterest board Inspirational Pics for Writing.
Then I wrote a flash piece for Cracked Flash Fiction Competition, playing with ideas for a memorable character. You can read Siren Call here.
Then I played around with everything that can make this Siren even more different from others of her kind and how to make her an anti-hero. Which meant Meg had to become a secondary character and the MC’s redemption.
While trying to figure out how Sirens pick their targets, I heard this song and just knew how they did it.
So the MC is an anti-hero – she is a Siren who enjoys the drowning and eating of humans just as much as others of her kind. But you’ll like her: she saves people too. (She’s a lot like Damon: not all bad.)
The point? Sirens can be good but they can be really bad too.
Oh, as for the title: if you’re unfamiliar with the word fugly, it means extremely ugly (taken from f*%#ing and ugly). I know, I know: I watch too much American television.
What do you think of the story? Do you like the protagonist? I tried for a minimalist approach, though I’m worried that the second half of the story might be more telling than showing – what do you think?