WWIn: Siren

Wednesday Write-in #16

Prompts (what I used)

siren  ::  bark  ::  neon

I looked up the definition of siren to start, and by the way discovered that there are a group of salamanders of the family Sirenidae. This influenced the direction I took with the story.

It’s the first bit of prose I’ve sat down and written since NANO. If you would like to know what animal it ends on, it is an adult grey seal, because I am crazy like that.


Under the Waves 

She would return to the water to give birth. The rocking tide and scurrying crab in salt water pools. In this light her flesh looks dull, muddied by sand and wind which takes her long brown hair and whips it against her cheek. She carries her heaviness, picking at the shells, the curling discarded claws gone white. The pains were infrequent yet, and she thought about how she had ended up here, back at the surf line.


She had tried to run from her beginnings, her sea smitten fancies that had married her to a sailor at fifteen. She hadn’t been afraid of losing him to the sea, sure that her pull was stronger than any storms. And when she’d lost him anyway, despite not being afraid, she’d run to a city. Smoke filled her lungs in sweaty bars and she’d hung over the creaking piano lid, singing herself inside out. She hadn’t wanted to love anyone; it was money rather that meant she was bellyful and belly up, left with guineas and sticky memories. She’d come back, very slowly, so slow she thought she would die on the way.


The sea plaited and pleated with the run of small waves.  She waded into the foam laced surface, hiding its banquet of seaweed, fish, monsters that lurked in the deep. She thought of him down there somewhere, with all the other dead sailors; their ruined bodies and boats. Perhaps his ghost would rise up, called by her again, and she would feel his warm touch dragging her somewhere safe where the fish were neon bright, the coral dazzling her like gems in a necklace. Water carries sound quickly, perhaps it would carry her moans to him and he would remember, he would remember her even in his salted pickled life. His eyes would be large as pearls in an oyster’s clasp, glowing in blind darkness for years. His bones would shine through him like a fish’s skeleton that you can see lacing up its flesh, the ribbon of the tail pulling it out cleanly.


She was pushing as the sea surged around her, numbing her. Time had dissolved and she was floating on pain, breathing in and out of her chapped lips as if her lungs were seagulls about to lift off. It would be easy to swallow this salty world, all her history in one long draught. She collapsed around her stomach, voided. Beneath her the baby turned, its skin the waterproof bark of a birch tree, silver, grey, brown pebbling its back.

Word Count: 424


18 thoughts on “WWIn: Siren

    • Thank you Craig, that’s quite touching! I’m glad you enjoyed it, wanted it to be very sireny and abandoned without saying it as such.

  1. Hi Becca. I have to say I found this very strange. But in a good way 🙂 I could really feel her emotion.
    Your descriptions of the sea are very vivid and I love the third paragraph where you write about the dead sailor.

    • I think the strangeness is consistent over my work lol. Thanks for the comment on the third paragraph, I enjoyed writing that bit especially!

  2. Great imagery, lots of litttle gems ( eg. love singing herself inside out: reflects what’s taking place very well.) You do a great job of building up imagery so it becomes more powerful. You also weaved the story very seamlessly into the narrative. I wouldn’t change a thing so can’t give any constructive feedback !

  3. Great imagery, you do a great job of using subtle repetition to build very powerful imagey. You also do a great job of weaving the story seamlessly into the narrative. I love this piece and can’t give constructive feddback because i wouldn’t change anything.

  4. Pingback: Featured writer week 16 | CAKE.shortandsweet

  5. I loved the imagery and the lyrical quality, but not sure about the reference to the city, probably because I was picturing a mermaid!

    • I think the city reference is too vague myself, it would be better if it were an actual place. The second paragraph is meant to ground her as a human figure and give her some back story, although you could read her as a mermaid that’s been given legs also…thanks for commenting! If you’ve alternatives to ‘city’ that’d be kool.

  6. I get in a certain mood, an off one, when I’m near the sea (a frequent occurence). You know that feeling? when you stand at the edge of bluffs and look down at the waves washing in and drawing out, leaving behind seafare in the tide pools? That’s where my mind went while reading your story. Thanks for the good work.


  7. Hi Becca, I loved this story, I think it’s because your imagery is very vivid and the woman and sailor characters and the ending leaves you wondering. I especially liked the descriptions of the coral and the sea creatures, good work 🙂

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