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