Scroller! I feel ashamed. I’ve just realized I didn’t publish anything for two days! I did write something but just kind of forgotten about it I guess. I’m a bit confused these days… I may or may not be a very confused person in general. My deepest apologies. But what I’ve written is terrible if it makes you feel any better. You didn’t miss anything of importance or style. But still, it’s written and it’s a part of a challenge, so here it is:

Hello for the first time today. If you've been here from the beginning, heads down to you. No wait, the expression is hats, right? Heads down might be the expression ghosts use. You know, those who died because of beheading. They show respect for someone by removing their heads from their shoulders. This is probably a fact, so you're welcome. You've learned something today.

Anyways, the first thing I’ll write (publish) today won’t be another list! Shocking, I know. I can hardly contain my astonishment. No, the thing is, I’m terrible at making lists. I write way too much but somehow still manage to forget the important things. Well, life’s one big mystery, isn’t it? But there’s NOT another list waiting for us, it’s actually drumroll a short story! Isn’t that just punching in the balls, put your head in the mixer, scratching on the table marvellous? No, no, no I’m happy to write a short story sweats nervously, really very happy. No, I am (I am!), I’m just not good at it. I mean, I wouldn’t know, I never really tried. No really, how does this go? Is it a full story or a part of a story? I… what?! What’s going on? I don’t know. But that’s the point though, isn’t it? Yeah, I’ll do my worst. Well, here goes nothing.
Here’s to day five: Write a short story:

The Siren

The summer she spent at her grandmothers’ will stay in her memory forever. She’s never been to Ireland before. The lovely landscape, the fresh smell of mountains, the dancing of the wind… it was perfection. You see, Miriam lived in Brighton with her parents and her older sister, however, not long ago she learned that she has a living grandmother who lives in Donegal, a town in County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. With a few hours of convincing, 75 pages of power point presentation and a lot of puppy eyes, her parents agreed to a visit. The thing was, her parents didn’t like her grandmother. She was her father’s mother and was described as odd, controlling and known to stick her too big nose in everything. There was a bit of a fight between the two families and so they decided to live separately. Still, Miriam wanted to meet her, she was, after all, her grandmother. She had to go alone, though. Her parents couldn’t afford to go with her and her older sister was just expecting her second child. The day came and she flew to Ireland with one way too heavy suitcase and a back-breaking backpack. Ireland was, as expected, stunning. Her grandmother lived in a small house near the famous Murder Hole, which was a beautiful, mysterious beach. Lorcan, her grandmother’s boyfriend (her husband died before the family moved to Brighton) came to pick Miriam up from the airport and drove her to their home.

“Little Miriam!” a rosy-cheeked lady with soft wrinkles and cunning eyes said while crossing the door step, “My, my… you’ve grown, haven’t you?”

“Kids tend to do so, don’t they?”

“Well do come in! Would you like some tea or maybe coffee? I think I’ve just got the right whiskey! It’s probably in the…”

Aurora, Miriam’s grandmother, turned out to be delightfully interesting and livid. She was small but lovingly chubby, with strong, steady hands and an elegant silver bun, that was hugging her neck. She treated Miriam with kindness and love, making sure she slept enough and was never hungry. Miriam on the other hand tried to learn about her family as much as she could. She would help her grandmother with the house work and took care of her garden. With Lorcan, who treated Miriam as his own, they enjoyed many stormy evenings playing cards and drinking “magical” tea, as Aurora called it (there was rum in it).

One day the sun was surprisingly shinning quite brightly, giving the usually gloomy weather a fresh change. Miriam decided to explore the famous beach. Aurora and Lorcan were kind enough to be her guides through the previous weeks but this time she decided to go alone. She went there in the morning, feeling more cheerful than usual. The beach was, to her tremendous delight, completely empty. She walked around a little and then found her place on a rock descending to the water. She lied on her back, closed her eyes and let the sun to caress her bare feet. The sound of the sea was relaxing and the song of seagulls captivating. Miriam began to sing with the waves, starting only with a soft hum. She was singing a song from her childhood, enjoying the sweet peace this place offered her. After she finished, she started a new song. Then another and then another. She sang like she was free after she was locked away for a very long time. Sounds of waves hitting rocks grew louder and… stranger. Suddenly it seemed as if she wasn’t alone. She was afraid to open her eyes, fearing of what she could see. But after she stopped singing, the unusual sounds stopped as well. So, she kept singing, song after song. Finally, she mustered the courage to open her eyes and sat up. Her voice that was just about to sing the story of a woman in love, cracked when she saw what was before her. It was… well, for starters it wasn’t ‘it’ really. It was a ‘he’ per say. ‘it’ looked like a male, a very beautiful male in fact. A very beautiful ‘creature’ actually. Breathtakingly gorgeous, with the most piercing and captivating eyes she’s ever seen, that opened when Miriam stopped singing.

“No, wait!” she tried to say as calmly as she could, when the creature started to swim away. Did it (he) lived in the water?

“Come closer.”

The shyness and bad comfort were evident in the creature’s movements. Every shift attentive and careful.

“I’m Miriam.”

The creature just looked at her with curiosity, fear and doubt slowly disappearing into the depths of the sea.

“Do you… do you speak? You don’t have to be afraid, I won’t hurt you.” She tried to slide down the rock a bit, getting closer to the creature.

“I’m… well, honestly if you don’t speak it doesn’t make sense if I talk to you, now does it?” the creature crooked a smile and swam closer. Its appearance was so unusual that many might say it was ugly and not normal. It wasn’t normal but that’s what held Miriam’s attention, that’s what attracted her. She tried to get a better look, sliding her eyes up and down the creatures body, at least on those parts that were out of the water, and the creature did the same.

“What are you?” she whispered as she tried to get even closer. At this point she could see most of the creature’s body and… was that a tail?! She gasped and moved away. The creature smiled even widely and swam closer again.

“You’re… you’re… no, am I sleeping? I must be. You can’t be… they don’t… no. no.”

The creature followed her still, making sure they were merely inches apart. Miriam couldn’t do much as she was having a small mental break down, while the creature twirled around, showing of its body. It had gorgeous navy curls with blue/green (ish) eyes that had small golden dots around the orbit. Its body was pale and partly covered in scales. They weren’t as evident on its upper body as they were descending into a beautiful emerald fish tail. Miriam couldn’t believe her eyes. Before her was a merman. A true, living merman. She was going mad. Was she going mad?

“Am I going mad?”

“No.”

That answer shocked her even more and she squeaked as she tried to climb back on the rock.

“You can speak?”

“Of course, I can, don’t be obvious.”

Its voice was a deep, rich baritone that went well with its wild navy hair.
Miriam was still so shocked, she couldn’t speak. She just stared like any sane person would, thank you very much. She still couldn’t quite believe what was happening. Because really, how could she be talking with a stunning merman on a completely normal Thursday morning?

“Miriam.” He tried her name on his tongue, “I like it.”

“Do you…” she started.

“Do I what?”

“Do you have a name?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Well… what is it?”

“Oh, Tomas.”

She raised her eyebrows in surprise: “Tomas? Really?”

“Why?” he seemed insulted.

“Your name… is Tomas.”

“Yes.”

“Huh.” She smiled.

“What?”

“Nothing, it’s just… it’s just so normal. And you’re…”

“Not normal?”

“Extraordinary.”

“Oh.”

Did he just blush?

“I’m not… It’s not my real name.” he started slowly.

“Oh?”

“Yes.”

“So… what IS your real name?” she still couldn’t quite believe she was talking to a merman. When will she wake up?

“Nereus.”

“Nereus… I heard about that before.”

“Most likely,” he agreed, “In Greek mythology, Nereus was the eldest son of Pontus and Gaia. Many of my kin bear this name.”

“Oh, that’s right! He was mentioned in Iliad!”

“That is correct.”

“That’s… wait, how do you know all this?”

“Greek mythology or the literal creation?”

“All of it I suppose.”

He looked at her with amusement: “Do you honestly think I don’t get bored?”

She just looked at him, completely dumbfounded. How on earth could she know that? Until now, she didn’t even know mermaids existed.

“We’re one of the most intelligent species, Miriam. We learn extremely fast and are very curious. Even though I’ve spoken about my species as a whole until now, I must put myself apart from my kin. I’m even more curious than the others, or as my brother would say: much more foolish.”

“Why is that?” the whole situation was so absurd she didn’t know what else to do than to just try and have a proper conversation with this merman. With Nereus.

“Well, you see; my species despise humans. We see them as very stupid and lazy. There’s so much they have yet to discover and yet they call themselves the most intelligent species on the planet. Most of them don’t even believe we exist!” at this point he was resting his arms on the rock, making him and Miriam seem like old friends having a chat.

“But I suppose it’s for the best. We did inquire some humans through the years, but they proved to be useless or even evil. They wanted to use us as a science experiment or just plainly fish out and eat. That’s why my kin tends to stay away from them.”

“But not you?”

“No,” he smirked, “I find your species fascinating. I want to learn more, explore more… and teach you so many thing you oath to know!” his eyes sparkled and he talked with great enthusiasm.

Miriam returned the smile, not being able to help herself not to be taken away by his pulsing energy.

“So, why didn’t you tell me your real name?” she asked after a while.

“Oh, I…well…” Nereus looked away, his enthusiasm slowly sinking, “I didn’t… I heard you and… It was just so beautiful, I couldn’t… I HAD to see, to hear… and there you were, so… you’re so… I didn’t want to scare you, so I thought maybe with a simpler name I could… you know.”

Miriam’s eyes widened before she burst into laughter.

“You thought…? Oh, dear god. You’re a merman and you thought your name would scare me off? That’s adorable.”

Nereus blushed even harder and avoided her eyes.

“Hey, sorry. I didn’t want to insult you.”

“You didn’t.”

“Still, I apologize. Now… I heard you too, do you know how to sing?”

Nereus thought for a moment and then opened his mouth. But the only sound that came out was this weird gruelling sound, similar to a seagull’s scream, Miriam heard before. He stopped disappointedly, his eyes clouded with sadness.

“Alright, so this wasn’t exactly… the best I’ve heard, but I’ll help you if you want me to?”

“Really?” his eyes lighten up with excitement, all of his colors shining brightly.

“Of course,” she laughed, “Try this.”

She sang a simple sound, trying to explain how her vocal cords are positioned. Nereus tried and tried but somehow couldn’t exactly sound the way he wanted.

“This is hopeless!” he sighed and almost disappeared under the water completely.

“Hold on.” She climbed down the rock and descended into the water, “Maybe if you swim while you do it? It could make you more comfortable.”

They tried to swim in circles, but nothing worked. They were so occupied with what they were doing, they haven’t noticed the change in the weather until a huge wave wet Miriam’s hair completely. The wind began to blow widely, making the sea waves dance with madness. Miriam tried to swim toward the rock but the sea was too strong. ‘So, this is how I’ll die?’ she thought. Suddenly a pair of strong arms circled around her waist, moving her with such strength, she seemed as light as a feather. Nereus placed her on the rock so she was sitting faced toward him.

“Thank-thank you.” She managed to gasp out when she calmed down a little.

“Don’t mention it-mph!” the wild took another blow to Miriam’s drenched body, making her fall into the water again, right onto Nereus. Weirdly enough, she fell in the most awkward way possible. Nereus tried to catch her but as he did, their lips found each other, making them kiss for the very first time. They parted quickly, both embarrassed and amused at the same time. When Miriam was safe on the rock again their eyes met and the both started to giggle uncontrollably. They stayed that way for a while, Nereus watching over Miriam, making sure she doesn’t fall in the water again, and Miriam making sure she holds the rock she sat on for dear life. A few minutes later sea calmed down a little and so did the wind that seemed so filled with rage before.

“Thank you. Again.” Said Miriam.

“No, it’s… it’s nothing, truly!” Nereus smiled, “Besides, you tried to teach me how to sing for the whole morning!”

Miriam laughed and winked: “Want to try it again?”

“I…what?”

“The singing.”

“Oh.”

“You meant…”

“…”

“Oh.”

Nereus tried not to think about the kiss but honestly it was the freaking most amazing thing he has ever experienced. It seemed as if something changed in him the moment their lips touched, even if it was only for a little while. He closed his eyes, thinking about her soft lips against his (he really couldn’t help it, don’t blame him) and opened his mouth.
Miriam’s eyes widened and her lips spread into a wide grin.

“You did it! You can sing!”

“I can sing.” he said, not quite believing it himself, “I can sing!”

“Yes, you can! And beautifully so!”

His smile was the single most beautiful thing she has ever seen and her heart made sure she knew it.

“Can we… I mean, I don’t know if it’s appropriate but, could we possibly sing together?” Nereus asked with such shyness and awkwardness Miriam couldn’t help but laugh.

“Of course, we can, you idiot!”

“Who’s an idiot?”

“Come on,” she smiled, “I’ll teach you something.”

And this is how she spent every day until the end of her visit. Her grandmother and Lorcan didn’t have a clue, but let her be alone, as long as she came home for lunch and dinner. They still played cards in the evening and Miriam still helped with the house work whenever she could. Nereus waited for her every hour of every day. Their friendship blossomed and so did their songs. They composed, swam, talked and taught each other many things. Miriam somehow still believed she was dreaming every time she saw this majestic creature before her eyes. Dreams or not, she didn’t want it to end. Nereus was the single most interesting person she has ever met and he seemed equally eager for her company, if not even more. But as days went by, Miriam’s departure was soon to take place.

“You’re leaving.”

They were in their usual positions, Miriam on the rock and Nereus in the water, resting his arms beside Miriam’s folded legs. They were discussing the different politics and cultures when Nereus suddenly stated said fact.

“You’re going away and you’re going to leave me behind.”

It wasn’t a question.

Miriam, who was ardently avoiding the mere thought of her leaving, because the moment it came to her mind, she had to stop herself from weeping. Which was ridiculous, of course. Why should she be this miserable? She knew the merman only for a few weeks, it made no sense. Still, she couldn’t help it. She looked at him regretfully: “What would you have me do then?”

“Stay.” He said with no hesitation.

She wanted to say something witty, anything. But the only thing she could manage was a weak: “I can’t.”

His arm reached for her and hers responded. Their fingers touched and their eyes met. The rest of the day was spent in silence.

The last few days were calmer, the weather gloomier. Unusual friends shared a few stories, but mostly silence. They tried to sing, but their voices behaved on their own, songs written by sadness. They could sing and sounded just as good together as the did before, but even the happiest of songs sounded tragic and miserable. On the very last day, the day of Miriam’s departure, Nereus didn’t come to their usual spot. Miriam searched the whole beach but there was no sight of the merman. She tried to call him but heard nothing. She then started to sing, hoping he would join in. At first, she thought she heard nothing but when she listened more closely she could hear a faint sound of his sorrowful voice. But it seemed as if it was coming far from the open sea. Must have been the wind then, she thought.

“Miriam, the plane won’t wait!”

She didn’t say goodbye, not really.

“I’m coming!”

I’m leaving.

I’m sorry.

She couldn’t really remember the car ride, her mind occupied by something (someone) else.

“… so, it is an interesting concept, is it not? Miriam, what do you think? Miriam?”

“Yes?”

Her grandmother gave her a look of disapproval.

“Have you been listening? Oh, never mind. We were just discussing some myths and legends of this place. A young girl mentioned she saw a merman this night. Isn’t it fun? Beautiful, the imagination of a child.”

“A merman?” the conversation suddenly became interesting.

“Yes, dear, do keep up. You do know the legend of the Siren, right?”

Miriam shook her head, persuading Aurora to tell her more.

“My, I’m sure I told you the story at least once! Well, there were many tales about mermaids and sirens, mind you, they are two different species, but as well as in many other areas, humans had ignored this fact completely and used the two terms as synonyms. I can feel the ancient Greeks turning in their graves. So, the legend says there are other inhabitants of the sea. Very intelligent, very curious. They’re half human half fish, as usual, and they possess the ability to sing beautifully. All good and well. But! Here comes the trick. Every mermaid or merman in born with a specific ‘Siren song’ so to say. However, they cannot sing it unless they meet their One.”

“Their One?”

“Their soul mate, or something of the sort. I believe their song develops after they do some kind of a ritual with their loved one, something of a more intimate nature I believe.”
Miriam’s eyes were so wide at this point, anyone looking at her could be sure they will fall out.

“Intimate… like what?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Don’t ask us, old people. Like a kiss I should think.”

“A kiss.” She whispered to herself. Could it be? Could she make sense of what she’s just heard?

“It’s all a silly story really.” Laughed her grandmother, “But a romantic one.” She shared a fond look with Lorcan who drove the car.

It was silly. It truly was. How could Miriam be sure Nereus really existed anyway? Yes, she saw him and talked to him and… touched him, but how could she be sure? It could have been an extremely vivid dream or maybe there was more in that magical tea then just some rum. Her thoughts were interrupted by their arrival at the airport. The small family parted ways with a few tears and very tight hugs. Miriam was to visit again in the summer, this time maybe with her whole family. Her arrival home composed of even more hugs but fewer tears. Somehow, she managed to fall back into her everyday routine. Day turned into weeks, weeks into months. She learned how to enjoy her old life once more, thinking of the magical journey as if it was a beautiful, distant dream. She still wasn’t completely sure what happened and if what she thinks is real IS in fact the truth.

She was walking down the shore one day, just leaving a chat up with a friend, when she caught an interesting conversation.

“… I’m telling you! It’s the TV and those video games!”

“I couldn’t agree more, Helen. Mine’s living in a completely different world! Where are the days of hanging out on a playground?”

“Don’t even mention it. I can’t have a proper conversation with either of them. Just the other day, my younger one started to describe this cocking up story about a blue haired man in the water, claiming he was a merman!”

“A merman?”

“A merman! He was supposed to be hiding under the pier. It’s the new technology, I’m telling you! It’s the…”

Miriam stopped her steps, staring into thin air. Could it… No, no way. It’s not… But what if…? Before she could think the whole thing through, her legs started to move and suddenly she was running toward the pier. The sun was just about to go down and she waited until the air was clear and she was left alone with the sea. She sat on the edge and closed her eyes. Without a second thought she started singing. Soon, a familiar baritone joined her…