Slumber the God
Moonlight mated with the lantern light and gave birth to an awful shade of fear. Voices in argument latched flowed about the deck, some with reason and others bathed in adamant authority. Upon the horizon, pale blue and wicked, there lay a fleet, too far to halt the injustice that was to take place, and too haunted to oppose.
From below deck started the crying of a baby, vague and mild, growing louder and louder as it was carried farther from its mother towards the upper deck where the faithful congregated in wait. The woman, hysterical for the claiming of her child, wailed in pleading upon ears deaf and hands cruel, her begging thwarted by the edge of a cutlass. And so was left only the crying child, a boy of recent birth, to be offered this night to the mouth of the sea that opened in a maelstrom, mighty and famished for a soul. Silent stood the crew and captain in the dead of night, awaiting the babe's arrival among them so that their god could be appeased and their lives be spared.
An ominous wind arose to rock the creaking vessel, the breath of a foul deity that would not allow them passage unless great sacrifice was employed. The captain wept for his son, but his hand, shivering and unsteady in will, took the babe and lifted him above in reverence so that all who beheld the sight, murderers and scoundrels, rapists and thieves, were moved to sorrow. Before their eyes the fury of the whirlpool grew impatient, its foam furious and its water ravenous. It grew impatient and the men on the ship dreaded the wasting of time, for the vessel beneath them would drift ever closer to the gaping mouth with every minute of reluctance. The squall summoned the waves and bade them grow larger to swallow the ship if the offering was not completed.
They stood. Hard men with crude souls, old and young alike, some of many sins and some of few, but all guilty of offences that would not do a prison justice. Their hats removed, the gale lapped at their hair and saline spray spat in their faces, for the sea knows the souls of her mariners. In the din of the churning ocean the Captain his son's brow did kiss and flung him headlong into the water, collapsing to his knees as he heard the horrid splash of the infant's body on the edge of the vortex, the crying little voice now stilled.
From the heavens, like the terrible Horn of Gabriel, the thunder announced the sacrifice and sent down its judgment in streaks of lightning. The men on deck cowered in all directions, their voices raised in fear and superstition. Beneath the ship the waves swelled in giant blackness all around the massive wooden vessel, its sails ripping and yardarms snapping under the force of the bellowing storm. The moon was subdued by the rage of the thunder gods and all light was now extinguished within lamp shade and against sky.
For sullen seconds that eternity embodied, the crewmen sat waiting for the cacophony to pass, huddled and frightened for their lives, about their blindness only blackness and rain. They did not see the Captain ascend the crow's nest and in divine mercy they did not behold the thing below that motivated their leader's prayer to be replaced by utter madness before the powerful ship was obliterated and pulled below where lay the origin of the vortex and the object of their worship, now to be the Keeper of their doom. Their sacrifice meant naught.
A mere blink in the eye of Poseidon, the event was wiped from time as if it never occurred and the maelstrom filled up and unmade itself, the storm gave way to calm and the moon again found her way through the clouds, leaking her light onto the rippling of the surface, indifferent entirely to the lost souls claimed by her Brother not an instant before.
Joan's eyes roamed over the rainbow beauty of the coral reef and the air bubbled up in silver orbs, warping like amoeba tears that fell upward in a surreal play of science. Her hands slowly paddled the water as she glided through the vast blue like a bird sliding through the sky, without gravity's curse of the possibility of falling from her gleeful flight.
Her hair danced over her back as she swam in between the rocks, like floating fire behind her and her pale body almost shone beneath the bright yellow Speedo bikini and flippers she donned. The colorful forest below her in the unfathomable deep blessed her eyes with living buttons of red, orange and blue, some stripy, some dotted and all of which were the creatures she and her organisation had vowed to protect from the mercenary beasts in the service of oil barons and monetary world domination at the cost of all natural things that hold precious commodities.
For seven years now she had been diving the shores of Australia, South America, Africa and the Philippines to aid the World Environmental Society with their research and development to further the rescue of endangered marine life and botany alike. All seemed well in this part of the reef she was investigating today and she allowed her thoughts to travel to the weekend to come and the time she'd be spending with Jason again. Her flesh crawled as she imagined herself in his arms again, his chiseled body tight against hers and his hands roaming over her hips and buttocks. Her bikini top showed the peaks of her breasts hardened, but it was not the cold of the current. She smiled at the mild arousal he instilled in her and decided to go topside to wrap up her report.
The late afternoon sun greeted her and reflected off her goggles, blinding the skipper momentarily before she plucked them off her pretty face, laughing at his moan of malcontent. She just loved giving Victor a hard time any chance she got. They adored one another and he was like a father to her. Against the boat the rippling surface slapped in rhythm with the coming tide and Joan pulled her glistening physique up on the steps, showing off her beautiful features, the cool droplets running off her skin. At a wink from Victor, she gave him a playful salute and unclipped her gear, dropping it to relieve herself of the weight that returned above water.
Satan licked her calf and made her jump, his welcome for his mistress over-zealous as always. She sat down on the bench by the rail and the giant dog placed his intimidating paw on her knee, his nails inches from raking at her skin like the last time he cut her shoulder open in play.
" I found more of those strange moss forests over here, " she reported, referring to an odd occurrence that had arisen amongst the usual points of research they had checked. It had been a few weeks since the first 'Moss Forest', for lack of a better term while they lacked proper knowledge of it, was discovered by herself and then a few other colleagues reported the same discovery in the following days.
It seemed there was a dark green sludge substance that overtook the reefs, like strands of hair-like algae that lay vast and thick throughout the expanse of water around the coast line. It did not reach to the shore yet, but remained in the deeper, colder waters a few miles off the coast and from what she could gather so far, it was not a parasite or a malignant organism, but it did concern the scientists a great deal. It was after all, an alien happening, unprecedented and strange in the marine research field.
The boat moored a few minutes later and Joan and her devil jumped onto the bulwark with great ceremony.
" C'mon Satan! " she called as she jogged to the marina bar to get a quick drink, her loyal canine in tail.
" That is a foul name for a dog, J. What were you thinking? " Victor shook his head, smiling in his laid back manner.
Jason was due in a few hours and he dreaded the weekend. The last time Jason and his friends came to spend the weekend with Joan he spent almost two days cleaning up the mess, not to mention the damage to his CD player. He did not approve of Joan's boyfriend at all, but she was thirty six and he had no right to treat her like a juvenile, although that was sadly the kind of men she was attracted to. The beach bar beamed the weekend to all within earshot, their lights in technicolor and the Baja Men blasting through the speakers, inviting all to join in the merriment. Joan threw back a shot of Olmega and requested another immediately. The redhead shook herself like a wet dog and winked at Jobi, the bar tender who looked like a bona fide Rastafarian reject and always stood ready with another hit of fire water for the natural beauty with the flaming hair who loved the ocean more than she loved anything else. At her feet Satan was lying contented, waiting for his mistress to take him on the boat again and from behind her, Jason snuck up to surprise her.
She almost came off her stool when he grabbed her from behind and in the roaring laughter of the bar staff, they shared a deep kiss evident of their fiery romance.
" Hey you guys are about to make me blush over here, " Jobi, smirked, his golden tooth overpowering the other teeth in his smile.
" Hey honey, " her voice chimed, clear and sweet in his heart, " where are the hooligans? "
She referred to his two friends, Martin and Paul, who accompanied them on their last trip off the island on Victor's boat.
" They're around, " he smiled, remembering the last trip on the yacht with his friends and how he and Joan had made love on the instruments in the 'cock pit', sending the vessel off into an unknown berth which cost them half a day to return from. He turned back his head, searching through the tourists to locate his friends.
On the jetty near Victor's boat, Red Sonja, sat Martin and Chris. They looked like vagrants, but there was a reason they were there. Only their silhouettes accompanied the orange coals of their joints as the scoped out the twilight surfers bobbing in the darkening waters, rising and falling to the will of the weather.
Something caught their eye. Waiting for the next good wave before fall of darkness, there sat on her board a stunning creature who beguiled them at once. Her hair was in a tight braid from the base of her head and it reached right down to her surf board. She rose with the wave, straddling her board like a horse and the lifting and sinking of her proudly seated posture lured both men into base fantasies of being mounted by her. Not only for the marijuana, they found themselves with dry mouths watching her, licking their lips and adjusting their jeans, both hoping the other would not notice.
Both men watched her for the duration of their wait and it was quite the task for them to neglect their attention of her to direct their mental faculty to the old man who had just arrived to get the remainder of his belongings off the boat for the weekend. They nodded in agreement of their mark and got up. Martin looked back at the wave rider one more time to take proper note of her identity and then followed Paul to the Red Sonja, where a most unpleasant task awaited them.
The clock stood at quarter to ten when the properly peppered lovers decided to make their way to the Red Sonja to embark on their journey. Jason's phone rang and he smiled at Joan, relaying that it was Paul, waiting for them on the boat. She heard him inquire to something to the effect of everything being 'cleaned up' while she patted her leg for Satan to come with her.
Martin spat out his cigarette in the water while Paul washed his hands in the lapping warm water of the evening tide. He watched the sensual figure approach them and jolted his elbow into his friend's ribs so hard that he almost propelled him into the wash. The surfer they had been lusting was making her way along the very jetty where they were waiting, her board under her arm and her feet bare. Her lower body was covered only with a string bikini bottom and her breasts heaved as she walked under a tight fitting Lycra shirt that accentuated every curve of her ample bosom, her nipples hard under the wet vest.
" Oh my G..." Martin started, but Paul interrupted.
" Now that is fish I don't mind eating, " Paul panted, sucking on his cigarette.
To their delighted astonishment she came right toward them. The two men found themselves spellbound as her big black stare engaged them. Her expression said nothing, but they could not move in their sexual trance and she knew it. Paul dropped his fag as she dropped her board, walked up to him and as she locked her arm around his neck, her lips fell on his.
Martin's jaw dropped, but the same favor soon befell him and the surfer girl ultimately found herself sandwiched between two grinding male bodies in the dusk of the day.
Jason and Joan found the threesome on the deck of the boat, so entwined in their passion that they seemed a mere step away from actual sex and Joan voiced her puzzlement at the affair to her boyfriend. He denied any knowledge of the extra passenger and he secretly did not like it, but if it were to look like a party, then he figured that the stranger did make it more so. Besides, he found her very attractive and being a closet womaniser, did not see another female as a threat to their plan, but rather a pleasant bonus. Joan did not know about his other liaisons, of course, but it was not her concern, in his opinion.
They departed the safe harbor of Port Gunston in the mid of night and from the shore their gaiety could be heard, the lights on the invisible boat resembling dancing stars on the ocean, their twins reflected in the water. Soon, short of one bell in the morn, the Red Sonja found itself well off the coast and drifting into the unknown of uncharted territories. Only the dead object with stern and bow and propeller knew who was on board. It alone bore witness to the characters upon it and what their intentions were.
Martin wasted no time in inviting the stranger below deck for a little 'motion sickness' and she obliged without much coaxing and no alcohol to fuel her desires. She needed not. Her desires were innately insatiable and she could make quick work of any amount of lovers within a night if she so wished. They disappeared and Paul looked on as he remarked on the good catch they had before Jason and Joan joined them. He petted Satan and took another gulp of spirits.
" Do you even know her name? " she said, annoyed by the woman's blatant ignoring of her presence and her coquettish behaviour on top of it.
" Why ? Can her name make me come? " he laughed and Joan narrowed her eyes as the vile bastard, not just for his insensitivity towards women, but his indifference to the cheap conduct of the girl.
Jason embraced her tightly, as to undo her loss of faith in the dignity and chivalry of men. He planted a gentle kiss on her temple and swayed her softly against him. He was almost in love with her, but his father and mother hated each other and he never allowed himself to feel anything much past casual sex and maybe friendship with women. He grew up around his father's Yakuza friends and had as normal a childhood as he could around the likes of them. He always preferred Caucasian women, though. He did not even like Sushi.
The loud rock music drowned out the surfer's screams, driven by her sexual climax under the force of Jason's friend and Paul noted how he looked forward to 'his turn'. It made her sick. She excused herself and went to look at the lights of the instruments instead, a strong rum in hand to help her numb up and she looked across the vast ocean, her lover, and his gentle heaving that lulled her into a peaceful state like a good husband, attentive and involved.
Paul passed out before he had his turn with the sea whore.
Joan was glad of it too. Jason himself was way passed cut-off time and he fell asleep on the couch. Now it was only Joan and her lover. The night breathed coldly on her hair and she turned the music down into a far away melody that drifted no further than a few yards off the boat. She turned on the radio and adjusted the frequency,listening to the Coast Guard talking to a skipper of another vessel.
"..and it is very big. I think you should come and check it out. Over, " a voice crackled over the waves to the dispatcher on duty.
" I copy that, Mariner, but we need more than speculation on that. We have been receiving calls on this all week and every time we respond, we find nothing out there. Not one of the boats calling this phenomena in has had any trouble, " and it faded into the distance, before more words became audible to her later in the conversation.
"...whirlpool...four longitude...off the coast of....should be warned..."
It made her crazy. She was receiving puzzle pieces and could not make a picture of it, for the omission of the most important sections. From what she gathered, there was a maelstrom somewhere within the airspace of her radio and it had been reported by several people, but the Coast Guard could find no evidence of it. The thought infused her with panic. They were all asleep around her, adrift on a boat that might just sail right into the mouth of a whirlpool and be swallowed into the ocean's deep, anchored or no.
She got herself another rum.
Joan fell asleep. Without nightmares she breathed heavily on Jason's chest on the couch and Satan came to lay at her feet, licking her toes before he too surrendered to the thrall of Morpheus.
The morning came soon and harsh.
Joan awoke to the voices of the men preparing to go for a dive and she was almost certain the night before, the tales of gaping water and the subsequent fear of it, were only fragments of a broken dream she lived somewhere in the alcohol induced oblivion.
" Ugh. Where are you going, Jay? " she murmured, blocking the vicious sun from her sensitive hung-over eyes.
" Diving, hun, " he answered her, pulling on his gear and clipping in his belt. His goggles were already on his head and he looked well-rested.
" Umm..honey, you must watch out for the algae around here, alright? We have not yet established if it..." she started, but he ruffled her hair and assured her that they would steer clear of the algae she was so concerned for.
While she got herself some hair of the dog, the three men disappeared under the surf and she had forgotten about the stranger until she heard a feminine voice behind her.
" Morning, " the stranger said, standing behind her in the sun, her eyes almost shut from the intensity of the mid-morning sunlight. Joan did not want to turn around. The woman repulsed her, but she elected to not rock the boat, so to speak, on a situation that would profit her annoyance none. Not here, afloat on a small area of fibre glass and aluminium, amidst the desert of cruel water as far as the eye could see.
" Morning, " she returned as normally as she could.
" My name is Dee. Yours is? "
" Joan, " Joan still did not favor the woman the respect to face her.
" You are a marine biologist, I hear, " Dee continued, trying to sound as forthcoming as possible to the woman she could feel disliked her intensely, " It is a very interesting job, I'm sure. I love the sea myself, but I enjoy the surface a bit more than the deep, " she giggled uncomfortably, " What were you warning Jason about? " she asked matter-of-factly and Joan cringed at another woman speaking her man's name as if she knew him.
But even in her vexation Joan could not resist sharing the matters of her career with anyone who would care to listen, for it was her passion and she was a scientist for a reason. Her discoveries gave her a great sense of purpose and she could not help but gush whenever a willing ear beckoned her wisdom. So the women found themselves with more in common than either could ever have imagined, filling the coffeepot and making brunch while discussing the marine life of the vicinity. Dee enjoyed the scientific prowess of the redhead, the treasures of knowledge she carried within her and Joan could, in turn, not get enough of Dee's endless tales of superstition and mythology pertaining to all things sea and surf. She told of pirates on ghost ships from the Middle Ages. She told of the Kraken devouring whole ships and the mad sacrifices men would resort to to keep at bay the demons of the deep.
Joan found herself hanging on every word of the obviously educated and intelligent surfer with the black eyes and tresses like a mermaid, which now whipped about in the wind while she told another story.
" There is this one, " she started another, Joan nodding in eager baited breath, "... that is a mix between Biblical mythology and maritime superstition. It is said that the archangels were sent on a quest to save the souls of a damned ship that could not find port ... and during that time the angel Ariel, in his feminine aspect, fell in love with the Archangel Gabriel, the Avenger, and Ariel was cast out of the company of angels and remained in the sea where she fell. And it is said that she was called Lord ofthe Great Waters and Master of the Earth, presiding over the four elements and all things innately wild and untamed, most of all, the sea, " Dee's voice was filled with passion for her storytelling and she leaned forward when the intensity of her tale rose. She was not done with Joan.
" Now it is said that when the storm covers the bed of water and the wind begins to howl through straining sails, the sailors pray to the Lord of the Water - Ariel, Memnarah, Aquarro, whatever name they know her by and sometimes she opens a portal to her appeasal, a maelstrom of great magnitude, wherein she expects a sacrifice to be thrown. And it has to be a male offering. How...cool...is that? " she smiled proudly of her tale, sipping her new cup of caffeine.
But Joan was stunned.
For a long moment she just sat, taking it all in.
" Did I say something? " Dee asked.
" Yes, " Joan replied slowly, her eyes still staring into space while her mind studied the legend in little pieces of reason. " Yes, you did. Did you know that there have been reports of a whirlpool near us just last night? "
Dee's dark eyes looked at her, seriously. Her irises seemed too big for a moment and she banished her smile. Her answer was sincere and her look was urgent.
" Yes. I know of the whirlpool, Joan. Contrary to belief, I am not on this boat to fuck your friends, " she looked sharply at Joan now, like a soldier, not a harlot, and the scientist felt her skin shift tighter on her arms and neck. She was in the presence of a higher purpose.
" Why are you here? " Joan dared.
" Don't worry why I am here, girlfriend. Just be glad I am. You are not the only seeker of truth. You are not the only protector of Mother Earth, " she smiled again, reassuring Joan of her friendship, " ...and before this weekend is over you will see through the company you keep and you will cry."
A long silence pressured the minds of the women and the last words Dee revealed disturbed Joan no end, but before she could raise her question, the three men surfaced loudly, puffing and splashing, and the two exchanged glances that they would take up this conversation in due time. But it was to no end, a closed topic.
Paul was done waiting his turn. He made no secret of his intentions toward the mysterious stranger, and pushed up hard against her with his big wet body, his hair unkempt and his eyes hungry. His rough hand slipped over her hip and he pulled her against him, where she could feel his manhood hard against her. Dee smiled.
" Not now, Cowboy, " she teased and walked past Joan for another drink, grazing her hand softly over her new friend's arm, affectionately, reinforcing with the gesture, Joan's trust in her.
Jason came to sit with his girlfriend, tossing aside a container that he brought up from the deep.
" So what did you guys see down there? " Joan was sincere, but she still could not uncloud her mind of Dee's words, the true roots to which she intended to fish a bit more as soon as she got time alone with her again.
" We...uh..." he seemed distracted, his eyes falling along the line of the ocean's horizon behind his sunglasses, "...saw those algae things you were telling us about. I mean, damn. It was creepy, baby. The one minute we were still diving a few feet lower toward the...uh...lower reef area, and the next moment there was nothing. I mean, nothing, " he motioned wildly with his right hand, spilling his rum.
" Nothing? "
" Nothing, except them things. I mean, there was like a huge underwater forest, right? And the next thing all them colors and fish and everything was gone. All around us were just dark green hairy shit, like strands of gross green stuff, floating through the water, " he took a swig of rum and added, "...and it touched my leg. Man! Grossed me out, but it felt kinda silky, sliding over my leg, ya know? "
His description matched exactly what Joan had discovered in her research dives. She herself dared not touch the long green algae for fear of the unknown biological effects it may have had on her. She nodded, smiling, but her head was spinning in thoughts and legends and the whirlpool...a myriad of interesting and dangerous things.
" So...what's in the baggy thing you brought up here? " she asked, laying her head on his shoulder. At once Jason became dismissive and short with her.
" It's nothing. It's just some stuff we found...uh...down...just don't, " he waved a finger at her in semi-drunken warning, " ...don't go snooping in it. It's none of your concern, 'kay?"
She raised her brow at him.
" Oooh. "
He did not like her mocking of him and motioned to Martin to put the bag and container away. She knew something more than a weekend trip was up, but the little voice in her head warned that discretion was the way to go and she looked at Dee, who was already eavesdropping on her and Jason's conversation and Joan could see that the other girl shared her thoughts. Joan decided to change the topic and hopefully distract Jason's vigilance, so that she could investigate his secrets when his guard was down.
" Hey Dee, what's your full name? Where's Dee come from? " she deliberately raised her voice to include everyone in the conversation.
" Must be Dee-licious, " Paul remarked, grabbing his package with a steady hand and blowing a kiss at the unfazed stranger.
" Sure is, " Martin noted by himself, reminding all that he knew first hand, not disclosing that he passed out on top of her the night before, just short of the big moment.
Dee smiled proudly, again seducing her redhead friend with that gleam in her eye. The glint that came just before an interesting tale. Joan found her beautiful now. Without prejudice blinding her, she looked at the woman in front of her, standing with the posture of a statue, like a captain at the head of his ship. She looked proud and strong, her tresses like wildfire, lapping at her hips and her body curvy to a fault, almost a tad overweight, but streamline in its femininity.
" Well, " she answered, "...you probably would not believe me if I tell you, " her voice came clear, her eyes feeling out Joan's. Dee walked over to Joan and Jason and combed the sea with her gaze before she paid them attention once more.
" Dee is my initial. My name is Daveigh, " she said.
" Davy, like a guy David? " Jason attempted to ridicule her, but his snickers fell on annoyed ears as Joan hushed him.
" Daveigh, " she continued to then spell it out to them and then she dropped the bomb. " Daveigh Jones. "
" Daveigh. Jones? " Joan repeated, amused and amazed alike.
Daveigh nodded like a schoolgirl who was certain of an answer.
" Cool, huh? " she said again, and Joan shook her head while laughing heartily.
" Are you serious? Your name is Daveigh Jones, " she laughed as the girl retrieved something from her bag. She knelt in front of Joan and handed her her drivers licence.
" Daveigh. Jones, " Joan saw it with her own eyes in the immortal words of the DMV and handed it back to the girl amidst the awing of the boys.
Jason got up to check the coordinates of the boat. Paul and Martin discussed the next dive on the following day with great care and planning, without disclosing what was to be lifted.
At once Jason noticed something odd on the radar screen. They were still anchored at the same location, the same co-ordinates still beamed on the instruments, but an unsettling spot sat on the screen where there had been nothing but blank black the night before. He checked, and rechecked. Yet, there it remained, a foreboding pimple on the face of the vast expanse in their path to the next dive.
" What the fu..." Jason's words vanished somewhere and he hardly noticed.
He looked up to the true screen of the boat, ahead, and saw nothing under the welling waves yet. It was odd for something to show on radar and not to the true eye. Besides, this was a landmass of impressive size, not a lost rubber dinghy, adrift. He called his friends to confirm his discovery. The thing lay right in the way of their next dive site, but that aside the curious appearance as if from another dimension needed to be validated. Satan had his head hanging over the gunwale, staring at something below the current, passing under the keel.
The gathering at the Control Station drew Joan's attention to and the men whispered in urgency as she approached, attempting to complete their confined conversation before she would come upon them. Daveigh however, chose to pet Satan instead, not at all concerned about the goings on at the helm. After all, her demeanor was proof enough of her disconcern, born out of knowledge that stretched indeed farther than her library of maritime mythology. Daveigh Jones knew more than she led on, but it was not her place to interfere. No, her purpose here was quite a bit more basic and unrefined.
Suddenly the band of friends saw it. Dead ahead.
From the rising and falling blanket of water emerged a landmass the size of a small island. What unsettled the beholders most was that there grew nothing upon it, nor was there just sand, as a beach would look. Instead, it was void of botany or animals and its surface was alien to their eyes. The island that had risen from the deep, out of nowhere within hours, had upon its surface a smooth rock-like matter, porous in places and covered in what seemed to be a thin layer of algae. That was all. For all they knew it could have been a leviathan chunk of protruding rock from the reef below, but such a thing would have caused considerable tremors and rousal of the ocean's rage. Satan became increasingly restless, crying and taking shelter below deck.
Astonished they stood, frozen for a long minute, their awe certainly from fear.
Joan's sense of adventure was driven by her curiosity and she immediately felt urged to investigate the anomaly.
" I'm going. You guys coming? " she decided out loud, going for her diving gear.
" I wouldn't, " remarked Daveigh casually.
" You know something I don't? " Joan almost snapped at her, but Daveigh's look just confirmed her insinuation. Something about the stranger's tone made Joan reconsider, although she was not happy about it and she watched as Jason readied himself for the dive, along with Paul. Martin elected to stay behind and pilot the boat, monitoring the gauges and instruments carefully, because where islands spontaneously emerge from the deep, there was bound to be more eerie happenings that could manipulate and confuse the bearings of a vessel --- and should such a landmass have brethren, there should be a capable skipper on alert to avert them.
Jason planted his lips firmly on his beloved Joan's pout, his passion suddenly high in the face of the excitement.
" Please be careful, " she implored, but he ruffled her hair and winked, assuring her that he would get as many pictures as possible to aid her in her research. This would be quite a find to add to her name. As the two men became submerged in the water, Daveigh came to the side of the boat with Joan to watch them go under. She waved dreamily with one hand, and with the other she caressed with her fingertip Satan's snout, from his forehead to the end of his muzzle.
" Good luck! " Joan exclaimed.
" You're gonna need it, " Daveigh said under her breath, her malice ignited.
Under the surface of the breathing water the two men sank deeper and deeper, like two amphibian mutations in bright color. Immediately both realised that the beauty of the reef was doused by the peculiar hairy algae once more. A most grotesque sight it was, a few fathoms beneath them, welcoming them in its majesty of misery, for it had an essence to it, as if it were alive. As far as the reach of their sight lay the desolate expanse like a world lost and forgotten, inhabited only by the phantoms of the lives it claimed, hungry to add to the population. However the sight abhorred them, the water remained pristine, the hue of its beauty unchanged by the distasteful unfamiliarity that surrounded them.
As they glided, they both heard a distinct sound, unnatural to what divers normally perceive from the sea when they explore the depths. From all around a deep roar crawled over the ocean floor, a monstrous breath, heaving and exhaling without stir of current, its maker unseen. Like the heartbeat of Poseidon pulsed lazily the in and out of the growl that haunted the undertow, shuddering the whale's call and overcoming the tranquility of the submerged desolation. Submarine thunder crept in tremors --- touching their ears and all living things that could listen to its rhythmic dirge.
With the global positioning system Jason found his way to the island. It was quite a swim away, as he did not want to bring the boat too close before knowing exactly what it was and determining the island's submarine reach before being surprised by shallow laying rock. As they neared the structure lying shallow under the mirror roof of the below, they gradually noticed that the snaky algae now made way to same matter of which the protrusion consisted. Under their floating bodies now it was smooth ocean floor, still absent any life or growth and so it continued on their way nearer to the island. Finally they set their feet down, removed their flippers as they towered out of the surface and walked out onto the landmass.
The day was wearing on and they had but an hour or two to complete their exploration. The GPS displayed now the exact bearings that would have located their next recovery, the contents of which could drive them to kill.
Joan's eyes strained under the distance of her search. Even with binoculars she could not see where they had surfaced. Martin kept his eye on Daveigh more than the panel of gauges. She was a phenomenal lover, as was her physical skill in the art of erotica and he looked forward to another, hopefully more sober, encounter with her. He looked at the concerned Joan and imagined her prowess at sensuality and it made him smile.
" Don't worry about them, babe, " he comforted her, but she only sighed and went down to the galley for her hands to be occupied in the preparing of dinner and thus similar occupation of her terrible imagination. She found it locked and had to get the key from the cabin first. Odd. Satan had been sniffing at the door all day.
Joan's nerves were getting the better of her, not just for her lover's journey into the unknown, but for the eerie similarity between Daveigh's story and the odd happenings that were possible in their berth. She was growing peckish and she made her way to the fridge. In the back space of the galley stood a drum, a giant ice bucket in which normally ice would be kept for the fish caught on weekends such as these. From the fridge she gathered ingredients for an omelette meal and set it all down on the steady counter. Her dog circled the galley aimlessly and his strange behavior was unusual to her. She patted his huge black head for comfort. For an extra bite she thought to make some fried fish in batter, the way her father taught her in his restaurant when she was a teenager.
Joan went to the drum, hoping that it had been stocked properly while she was at the bar with Jason. Its sides were indeed very cold against her testing touch and she lifted the lid. Inside there be no fish. Instead she discovered the top of Victor's head, his scalp bare and bloody and below it the rest of him, broken in half without uncertainty, stuffed into the barrel.
Joan could not contain the bile that came up in her and spewed out her forced vomit, bringing through it a gargling scream that possessed the entire boat. On deck, where Martin was making advances towards Daveigh with her breasts in his cupped hands, the shrill alarm of Joan's horror ensued, followed by the mad barking of the dog. At once they both rushed to the galley and found the hysterical woman on her knees, rocking like a disturbed patient at an asylum, her face covered in puke and her hands folded before her mouth, shivering profusely. Daveigh rushed to her and pulled her to her feet. She glanced back at the corpse in the barrel and knew that a confrontation was afoot, and a vile and dangerous one at that.
Both Daveigh and Martin played it cool, whilst believing respectively, that both of them had the edge on the other. They flanked Joan's quivering frame in support and led her to the bedroom as swiftly as the could manage. Martin rushed to the medicine cabinet for some painkillers to calm her and left Daveigh to see to her. Joan's eyes were bloodshot and her jaws chattered in shock, but she managed a whisper to Daveigh.
" I think...I th...Martin must not know, but I think they did this. The last time...they...he told me they threatened..." she stopped short as Martin entered the room with some medication. The pills were already dissolved. How convenient. It reeked of chemicals, the mask of aspirin insufficient. Daveigh gave Joan a reassuring wink as she laid her back against the pillows, pretending to raise the glass to her lips.
A woman's voice called from the deck, where they heard Satan growl in warning. He bristled and yelped. As unnatural and diabolical as it seemed to him, Martin quickly ran up to investigate, while the surfer girl disposed of the poison in the glass. Daveigh placed her index finger between Joan's eyes on the bridge of her nose, and the scientist simply fell asleep. A few minutes later he came back, bewildered and annoyed, shaking his head in impatient defeat. Daveigh caressed Joan's brow.
" No worries, love, " she said deliberately, "...we'll get the coast guard over here in no time. You just get some rest."
She could tell that Martin did not like that at all, but she watched him pull out all the stops to act normal while thoughts of his arrest and conviction, thoughts of his friends who were at risk as well, floated through his murderous head. Then again, she did not intend to call the coast guard at all.
Jason and Paul undid their gear and dropped it to the ground momentarily, awed by the empty charm of the barren island. The two men roamed on it like out of place subjects in a perfect painting of a distant planet most serene, its alien surface in grey and beige and its single peak lifted high above the mirror of the water that surrounded it. Not a single thing grew upon it. Paul swept his hand over the floor of the island and it unsettled him greatly to feel the slimy sensation of it, like a pebble from the bottom of a pond riddled in scum. Of course any thing that had been submerged in water would have a measure of sludge to it, but still it made the birth of the thing in a matter of hours seem even more resolute in their confused logic.
From the other side of the rock's peak came a woman's voice, very similar to that of the calling woman on the deck of the Red Sonja. Both men froze, staring at one another in astonishment. Where would she have come from? There was not shelter, nor vessel from which she could have stepped onto the island and yet, here was her voice, clear as day. She was humming the sweetest melody, haunting and melancholy, repetitive in its cadence and tune, as the sun to the sky was. They motioned in agreement to seek her out and slowly stalked toward the peaking rock, hoping to catch a glimpse of her from the summit thereof.
Her voice was beautiful. Unmatched. Nothing they ever heard before compared to its perfection. It was neither shrill nor deep and it flowed like a mountain river thawed in spring, undeterred and without pause. She did not once stop her melody to breathe for the next. It was quite odd, the incessant voicing of song. Paul and Jason did not react, but for the chase to discover the source of their thrall. Her song was omnipotent and seeped through their bodies like an electric current. It could have come from the sea itself, but that would be absurd, although absurdity had been accompanying them for a good while. They scaled the pinnacle of the rocky mountain of the island and below they beheld a most celestial vision.
The young woman lay on her back in the shallow waters that played on the beach. She was far, but close enough for them to see that she was completely naked, her bare flesh white as snow on her perfectly proportionate body. Small nipples danced as the water rocked her breasts and her arms outstretched next to her like a snow angel. She had a perfect face and her hair was yellow like the sands of the Sahara beneath her back, swaying along with the little waves that played against her, running up between her slightly open thighs. Her singing was utterly sweet, but the men who now slowly approached her were motivated by her bareness almost as much as her song.
In all this it never occurred to the aroused fools that her presence there was absolutely unnatural, and so they stole towards her until their powerful bodies blocked the sunlight and she opened her breathtaking blue eyes, her lips still slightly agape in her ventriloquist vocals. Paul wasted no time in formalities and immediately laid his body on hers, prying open her thighs with his knee and sinking his hand between her legs and then into his pants. Jason was used to his friend's obscene behavior and did not deny entertaining the idea of getting in on the action himself. The woman did not seem bothered by Paul's lewd intentions and even as he kissed her, her voice carried on drifting about them, but the men were so fully intoxicated by her spell that they did not take issue with this paranormal happening. Jason looked in her eyes as Paul attempted to penetrate her, but found that her body had no accommodation for his actions.
In a blink her body opened up where a minute ago he was denied. From her lower abdomen sank her flesh and brought forth a cavity that bore tentacles like that of a manowar. The hideous tails grabbed hold of his body and pulled him against her, allowing him no escape, rendering him powerless against her strength, while her beautiful face gave way to a diabolical mouth with which she proceeded to stretch over Paul's entire face, pulling it off the bone with one bite, leaving his dying body shaking profusely in shock.
Jason's eyes welled up with tears, but he knew not why. His mind would not accept the lies his eyes told and he screamed in madness, finding himself racing for the other side of the island as swiftly as he could. Without contemplation on the abhorrent thing he just experienced or much concern for what might await him in the water, he clipped on his gear and soon found himself as deep and far from the unholy island and its predator as he could.
As far as he kicked his feet, he imagined the filthy demoness in pursuit, even more repulsive under water than on land. He imagined her gaping face of ragged teeth, void of a nose, eyes staring vacantly like that of a fish chasing through the murky deep while the eerie green hairy algae wrapped around his legs to trap him. But his disturbed mind was merely playing tricks on him...about the latter. What he imagined taking place in the wake of his escape, was in fact quite accurate.
The algae stirred ever so slightly, harmless to the fleeing man who was screaming blue murder inside himself with every kick of his feet, every paddle of his arms, the weight of his diving gear forcing him downward to the deep. Nothing so absolutely evil had ever befallen him and he feared for his life, his soul, his sanity.
Daveigh made her way up to the deck with Martin in tail. He knew. She knew.
He realised that she was a legitimate threat now. He followed. Should she discover that he had destroyed all communication equipment, he would be ready to cease her heartbeat instantly and feed her to the sharks. What he did not account for was that she had no desire to involve the authorities and that made her even more of a wild card. She was there for one reason only, and it had naught in common with illegal diamond trafficking or murder.
Knowing that the man on the boat was out to kill both Joan and herself for their discovery, she elected to act as coquettishly as possible. There was the power of persuasion. There was the power of co-operation, and the power of pussy, the latter being the most fool-proof right along with the helpless woman method. She did not, as he expected, go right to the radio to raise alarm, however, and instead he watched her undress completely and dive into the water in the leeway of the boat. Martin was quite relieved. Not only did her oblivion win him time until his friends returned, but as a fillip he could get some action in the meanwhile.
Joan was slumbering in a dreamless sleep, invoked by the woman who saved her from the dreadful death in the milky glass that Martin concocted especially for her. She was resting peacefully now from the horrific sight of her father figure's maimed corpse.
Daveigh drifted on the surface of the deep blue, belly up and arms outstretched, her nudity sublime and her face riddled with seduction. She motioned to the big man who watched her to come into the water with her and he wasted no time of course, to join the beckoning concubine who's eyes held unspoken promises he was dying to help her keep. From below her came a formless darkness and Martin froze in dismay at the vision of the shapeless mass that moved with speed toward the light above the water. He stood well back, regretting the doom of the beauty he had been so eager to have again, watching her blissful un-knowing as the shape finally reach her.
Jason surfaced, erupting from the water in a crown of foam, gasping for his freedom. His eyes were massive and hysterical from behind his goggles and he made for the steps of the boat with all he could muster, screaming incomprehensible lunacies, pleading with Daveigh to get out of the damned blue. She looked about her, bewildered, and then dropped her face under to see what was below, but she found no reason for his madness.
Jason clung to Martin and they exchanged harsh whispers as the gruesome tale was quickly relayed and in return the discovery of the murder and its subsequent chain of events was revealed to Jason. Daveigh took her time to come aboard the boat and threw on one of the men's shirts, her concern mostly for the new dynamic among the four players on the deadly chess board called Red Sonja.
The men bickered amongst themselves, angry gestures translating their words to Daveigh, who realised that Paul's absence meant that they had run into the siren 'Dwidskreet' , one of an army of deadly sea monsters from whence by speculation most mermaid lore had originated. She knew their names and where they roamed, but she was not prepared to play that trump card until the opposition folded.
The atmosphere was tense as Jason told Daveigh that Paul had died in a shark attack and he went below deck to ascertain the condition of his girlfriend. Joan lay in the dusk of the room, light departed from it at the command of the late afternoon. She awoke when he entered the cabin and he took her in his arms to tell her of the dreadful thing that had happened. She was calmer now, and rational, and she asked about the composition of the landmass. Jason was taken aback by her ignoring of the devastating news that a friend had died, but he informed her of its texture and color nonetheless.
" I have to see this for myself, " she suddenly said, raising herself from the bed and collecting her gear.
" No! No, it...." he had to think of something other than ' the island has a flesh-eating mermaid on it ' to keep her from acting on this madness, "...looked like it was going to sink soon, darling. The tide was coming in very fast and it will be completely under water by the time you get there. Rather we try and go around it. What do you say?"
Joan made no effort to hide her annoyance.
" And why should we go around it, Jay? Why do we not just turn back and go back to the harbor so that we can report Victor's murder instead? What on God's earth is so important that we do not do what normal sane people would do when two people of their party has died already? What is it that keeps you here? " she barked at him, her hair swinging wildly at the shaking of her head in vexation. With that said Jason found himself without retort in the span of her patience and she turned to go.
Her first step on the stair upward was marred. Jason grabbed her violently by the arm and whispered hard in her hair.
" Do not test my patience, pet, " he snapped, convincing her once and for all that he had something to do with Victor's death. He pushed her up to the deck and took her diving gear. He put it with Martin's and his own.
" Now why don't you be a good girl and get some music on, " he ordered, " and Daveigh can fix us some drinks, " he called out to the naked girl in the men's shirt.
The two women exchanged glances. The die was cast.
With good Reggae and bad rum the foursome went into the evening, the highly strung situation making for an awkward ambience as the two men stood at the helm, trying to make sense of the thing that ate Paul. Jason's Japanese mother had him believing in the supernatural since he was a small boy. Martin worshiped Jason and being a desperate leech who always believed everything his friend spat out, he was not hard to sway to accept the ridiculous tale. All radio contact was gone now and they did not know about all the reports that the coast guard had received of a terrible maelstrom in the vicinity, as luck would have it, of the immediate area off the location of the hellish island they had discovered this day.
But Daveigh knew.
Joan could not stop talking about her desire to explore the island for herself, as it sounded like a find that only came along once in a lifetime. She spoke of getting the men intoxicated so that she could go as soon as possible.
" They are trying to go around it, but Jason says it has a lot of rock surface underneath outside the coastline and they wanna round it by a few miles, " she whispered to Daveigh, who was sipping a cup of strong coffee, black and bitter, the way she liked it. " Now why..." she realised her voice was too loud, looked back at the two by the instrument panel, and continued with her discussion,
" ...why do they need a few miles to go around it, Dee? "
Daveigh admitted she had a good point, but she knew what lay a few miles south of the island and it was exactly where she needed to be...with this very boat. So she backed the boys' plan of a detour so broad under pretense of reasoning that the maelstrom may be off the coast of the island and they needed the extra distance for safety sake. Joan took the bait.
" Listen, just wait until tomorrow. Once they are past all danger, we'll call the coast guard and ask for help. You have the co-ordinates of the island. We can always come back to find it. But first you have to do the right thing. We have to get away from Jason and Martin. We have to get to harbor and we have to report Victor's murder. The right thing first. Research later, " she reiterated, prompting Joan to think on it and she realised that rushing into things without priority would indeed sabotage their survival. And so the women obtained their bearings into the uncharted territory of the coming hours, where there were indeed, monsters.
Jason's mind tormented him with vivid flashbacks of the surreal demise of his friend, but he had to keep his head. He had to circle the island as wide as possible without leaving the surrounding few clicks, so that they could pick up the containers stashed with diamonds on their way back to the harbor of Port Gunston from where they embarked. By that time they would have rid themselves of the women, along with Victor's body. The sharks would be glad of the free meal.
The night matured into a black blanket of stars and the ocean was sleeping under it. Calm it lay. Dead calm.
The party of four had shallow glasses tonight. They were now divided in two factions, intent on some sort of engagement. Far off a distinct sound was born. Immediately Satan jumped up, peaking his ears, yelping again. His nose was pointed upward, examining the air for a scent, but his smelling was left unsatisfied. They all heard it. They all looked about the darkness that surrounded the Red Sonja and they all found themselves blind to it. It was a vague hissing and it was definitely not anything aboard. It came from the wasteland of black liquid they were isolated by and it did not come nearer and it did not diminish. They each ran their eyes to one another, each as confused as the next. For this neither team had a plan.
For a long while the people on the boat remained mute, listening. The wind rose from behind a wave the boat mounted, sudden and unexpected. It brought upon it the unfamiliar sound, delivering it to their fearful ears. They moved steadily through the water still, even after several hours of drifting off the course of the island. Daveigh placed her hand on Joan's arm. Her eyes were serious as a heart attack and Joan understood that the words that Daveigh spoke were gospel. Religious doctrine to which she had to keep, no matter what.
" You know they wanna kill us. "
" Yes. "
" You know there is a vortex somewhere near here. You can hear it. "
" Yes. "
" You know that we have to get back to port before they do. 'Cause either they go back or we go back. There is no way around this."
" Yes. "
" Now you will keep Satan up on deck. You will hear my voice, but you will treat it as a sexy party favor and mix the drinks like it's your birthday, you hear? "
" Yes, Daveigh. "
" You must get Jason to bleed and you must get that blood somehow into the water before I come back on deck. "
Joan looked at Daveigh in utter astonishment, suddenly babbling in protest to the blood matter raised, but Daveigh's grip on her viced painfully.
" You will do as I say or I swear by the god that lies beneath us that I will send you to your fate if you don't. The only thing that keeps you breathing is your gender, dear Joan, so please do not fuck with me. Okay, honey? "
Joan's heart pounded uncontrollably and she was terrified, surrounded now by souls which imparted their ill will towards her.
Jason noticed that the compass acted up. He frowned upon its spinning needle, like a game show wheel of fortune that determined his fate. On the sea a compass was vital. A lost vessel was a doomed vessel. He reached out and tapped Martin on the shoulder, drawing his attention to the instruments, their lights flashing insanely and the compass still spinning, gaining speed and never halting its haunted gyration. A shudder pulsed through the great mass of water, rocking just once, the Red Sonja's keel. At once, all the instruments died. But the lights of the boat stayed on.
" It can't be electrical failure, " Jason said, his voice riddled with worry, " 'cause the lights are on." The engine shut down and the vessel floated at the mercy of the big blue and its demeanor. Jason recalled the events of the day and his heart became filled with panic. He knew the propeller was caught in the green hair that grew in the surrounding waters. Martin was checking the toolbox for the right tools to fix the problem in the engine, but their time was up.
With that, in the soft howling of the wind, pregnant with the awful unknown sound of approaching turmoil, Joan sat petting her dog as Daveigh began to sing in a husky whisper. Her song gained volume gradually as it floated over the great waters in the black night and the men turned to listen, their eyes growing wild with passion and their ears deaf to everything but the siren's song. All motor skills surrendered to the will of Daveigh Jones, their gaze emptied with each word she uttered in a beautiful melody on a voice that could make time lie still. Her mouth curved in allurement as she brought forth a most intricate tongue that sounded something between Portuguese and Dutch, the words of her song without doubt written by obscure scribes from ancient and far depths not meant for discovery.
Joan's flesh crawled, not only for the sheer awe she felt for the perfect vocal of the surfer girl, but that there was no denial that she now found herself in the very heart, the inner sanctum of the supernatural, the stuff of myth that had been told by mariners over the ages past. Things that were hidden in old books in the back of libraries were unfolding right before her and she was steeped in arcane things that never left witnesses to their existence.
Martin was still alert enough not to notice what was happening to himself and Jason.
" Man, that is beautiful, Daveigh baby. What are you singing? What do those words mean? " he asked, seeming genuinely interested, but hypnotized nonetheless.
She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.
" It's a hymn...to my god, " she purred sensually, and Joan's heart jumped once more at the unnatural manner in which the girl could answer Martin while the song continued, undeterred around them.
" The words say : ' I think of you when I sin. Not your disapproval thereof, not your firm reprimand of me, nay. I wish I could share it with you, to draw you into the warm pleasure of that taboo that stains your piety, that which lives in me.' "
" You sing that to the Being you worship? Suggestive and blasphemous, " Joan was puzzled.
" Yes. You mortals are so petty. You reserve your worship for higher powers than yourselves, while all the time those equal to you are the ones you truly give your heart to. Your gods should be the men and women you love, not the forces you can not control, for those things are wild and outside. They will do what they will, regardless of your prayers. Save your prayers for the souls you share your heart with....for to find yourself worshiped in the temple of your god is the meaning of devotion. It is the essence of being whole, " Daveigh spoke among her own singing, her words otherworldly and powerful, precise and certain.
With the aggravating wind that swept over the deck, the light bulbs flickered. Satan's pelt shifted as he looked about for the things he smelled in the night air, his hair raising in dislike for the singing woman. He could not help but join in the pitch, the melancholy melody swaying him to howl in chorus with her. Joan dared not touch him now, she felt. It was as if something told her that the canine was in synch with the ill will of the siren that found herself upon the deck of her dead friend's vessel.
Something about Daveigh became right out evil, her eyes froze over and whatever spoke to Joan in warning had vacated the mind of the beauty in the men's shirt. Then she continued her melody alongside the primal bellow of the black animal as she led Martin below deck, looking back at the stunned redhead and amongst the siren's wild wind-flustered dark hair, she discerned a wink from an eye white as pearl and dangerously empty as the ancient desert.
Flickering lights strobed on Jason's empty face, as the singing now came from all four directions upon the wind that bore an omen most foul. He stood still by the dying instruments and broken compass with the useless needle, his hair playing in the breeze that came into the little cockpit he stood in. Behind his silhouette Joan noticed storm clouds gathering swiftly as if attending a funeral they were invited to. The dog bellowed along with the strange hues of tone that floated on the sea, much closer now to the drifting vessel. Joan dared not venture to think that maybe there were others like Daveigh about, because she knew the undeniable truth in it might provoke their arrival.
Yet, here came the voices from unseen divas, plural and omnipresent and the research scientist was thankful that she heeded the warning of going to the island. Her flesh crawled at the thought of the things she may have encountered in the water at nightfall. She took a blanket to wrap around her and made her way to her lover, who stood mezmerised by the sounds that drifted above the splashing and sucking sound of the approaching maelstrom. He watched her as she passed him to the container he was hoarding all throughout the trip. He watched how she opened the little trunk and discovered the pretty contents of it, for which her dear friend Victor paid with his life. It angered her, but she played the game calmly, her pokerface properly fastened to her intentions.
Her assumption that he could not move while under Daveigh's spell was proved horribly wrong as Jason lunged forward and grabbed her once more, as below deck before, but this time he had her hair in his fist, his other hand on her throat and she knew it was time to show her cards.
Satan charged at his mistress' assailant, but was met with a blinding kick to the face, sending the dog a few inches back, just enough to get it out of the control station. He shut the door quickly with his foot, the dog raging and barking outside the door. Joan dropped her blanket where she hid the steak knife she held and stabbed Jason in his side, but her reluctance to violence gave her a weak attack and she merely grazed the man who was now wide awake, the siren song out of earshot outside the compartment they were in. Her knife fell from her hand in the pressure of her failed motion, his torso too thick for the knife to enter and she was met with a shattering blow to her face. Joan blacked out immediately and fell to her knees against the control board cabinet.
Daveigh thought to be creative in her certain victory over the womanizing thug and conjured up in her fish mind, what fate would suit the sinner in her embrace best. He had his hands already slipped in between her legs, even in hypnosis being base and disrespectful. She sank to her knees. Her idea came to her like a shining orb and she dropped Martin's pants like a willing whore, hungry and teeming with excitement for the best kind of suckling kill she knew. She opened her legs and he salivated in his trance.
Her lower body gave way to a myriad of squid like tails, her tentacles powerful enough to trap a shark on feeding. The bluish green translucent appendages, each about three feet in length, wriggled and twisted on the floor where she sat, her face positioned just right to partake in a poetic blow job of just deserts. His hands rested on her head and had he looked down like any considerate lover, he would have beheld the birth of the octopus things that her body regurgitated onto his feet to hold him fast. He would also have seen the beautiful face open up from below her eyes, an adept rearranging of cartilage to bring forth a circular mouth of razor sharp teeth in soft tissue. Retractable like a cat's nails they were. Her teeth sank back, hidden, into the succulent flesh, mimicking exactly what most men wanted to feel in front of a kneeling woman.
The ignorant hoodlum groaned in ecstasy as she wrapped her mouth around him. Martin threw back his head, his eyes shut in a delirium of beguiling voices and the pleasures of erotic sway. He ignored the sensation of a hundred long fingers wrapping themselves around his legs and buttocks to prevent his escape. His next thrust burned like sunburn and stung like a thousand bees. Wincing, he caught his breath, the excruciating pain coursing his veins like venom. He vaguely recalled the near fatal jellyfish attack he survived two years before and he looked down on innocent eyes staring at him. The rest was a bloody mess of tissue and skin where his penis was amputated by the pretty face that would be the last thing he ever saw.
Jason heard his friend's blood curdling scream amongst his summoning of all things holy. But there was nothing holy on the Red Sonja this night. Quite the contrary. He dared not open the door for fear of the siren song impeding his abilities and his goal. His girlfriend was halfway to the state he wanted her in eventually, so he decided that there was no time like the present and took the knife to her chest.
Satan went berserk as his owner received two powerful stabs from the hand of her lover. The animal jumped up, yelping, barking desperately in his voiceless prayer to save his owner, but the door held him back. The voices were a molten choir of unholy beckoning and the dog understood what they wanted - it was the same thing he wanted - and the demon dog threw his primal instinct into first gear. Satan was now a hunter, a predator and a relentless beast that employed his very basic nature to save his mistress.
A few yards from the closed door stood he, watching his target on the other side of the window that filled the top half of the door. He ran his limber tongue over his snout and braced himself for the attack. With ancient skill and speed the big black dog launched his heavy body towards the see-through square that kept him from his Joan. Jason saw him coming and tried to pull the flare gun from the casing it lay in to injure and hopefully kill the tenacious animal. He was too slow and the canine hunter flew into the glass, shattering it on impact and landing with his powerful frame on top of the bastard who hurt his owner. The window's explosion woke Joan from her black-out and she saw a million shards of glass lying about her on the floor, some stained with crimson and she knew that a war was being waged.
She saw Jason lying on the floor, wrestling with the vicious animal which was coming into its name. Jason held the dog's fangs back with the blanket he wrapped around its head as it frantically snapped forward at him. She looked down slowly, her world spinning and foggy. On her hands and chest the blood grew dark and much and she realised that she was about to die in the darkest night of all time, in the most evil of co-ordinates amongst the most wicked sea monsters. In her canned ears she could hear the bewitching aria still, never abating, lending the sky a hymn and the water a killing.
Satan was badly injured, several blades of broken glass lodged in his body, tapping his blood, but he fought valiantly. His weakened state was Jason's saving grace, but the aural thrall of the sirens now had free passage to him and he found himself unable to resist their call. In his final attempt to kill Satan, he wrapped the blanket over the animal's front section and lifted him into his arms. Jason carried the dog out on the deck where the night was breathing ice and the waves matured their juvenile state into full fledged mounds, thrashing the boat in their rising and falling. He reached the rail on the right side of the Red Sonja and lifted the weak beast over it. As the vessel descended with impact behind another wave, he unceremoniously dropped the dog into the raging ocean with a blunt splash, among the hissing of the fierce whirlpool's sucking drain of turmoil.
The song became overwhelming to him. Many voices, bound into one language of a distant world, came upon him and he felt his body rocking under their spell, although inside him he was alert and aware of all that was happening. He simply did not feel like reacting. He did not want to escape. He found himself wanting to hear more and he was utterly in love with the voices that relayed him his doom. That was the essence of the Siren Song.
As the moon penetrated the furious clouds ever so slightly, Jason looked on the heaving waves to see his lovers, but there was nothing. Phantoms of the spray they were. All he could see was the colossal churning hole but a few strokes from where the vessel was bobbing, pale blue on black. The light would catch the edges of the violent clashing foam with a perfect white twinge and the liquid tongues lapped against the glass fibre like hands on a drum, to which the sirens would time their phrasing. It was remarkable and quite beautiful, like an army of Amazons marching to battle.
Behind him, the bleeding scientist limped painfully, utilising her every motor skill only to remain upright in the twirling world she had to make her path through to do as Daveigh told her. She had to get his blood into the sea and after what he had done to her father figure and her dog, she was looking forward to it. Joan pulled from behind her back, a harpoon that was amongst the diving gear and swung it with all her might. It struck the dog killer on the back of his neck, opening an ample gash, but not enough to kill him. He turned, holding his hand over his new wound, the sirens incapacitating him so that she could complete her task. But his blood was nowhere near the sea yet. He looked at his hand, moving very slowly as his will fought the thrall.
Joan stood too close, her head spinning and her ears ringing in the impending coma she was slipping into. Her eyes closed involuntarily and her legs gave way. In the dark of her shut lids she did not see his leg lash out and he caught her right in the face, her cheekbone exploding under the force of the kick. She screamed faintly, her breath weak and her limbs numbing. Joan felt like she was being swept by a strong current and forgot to draw enough breath before going under. She felt his angry body fall against hers, his hands on her throat. In her growing darkness she placed her hand on his and accumulated as much blood on it as possible. The redhead flung her arm over her attacker as hard as she could before she slipped into oblivion.
Through the air, occasionally blinking in the shy moon rays, a few droplets of Jason's blood traveled in a black rainbow that reached its arch to the sea. Joan's objective was successful. Now their voices were deafening in the rushing of the mad ocean vortex. A drop of blood infused the surface of a rising wave, its plonk below the water clear and distinct. The pulsing Jason experienced in his dive intensified. His fate was sealed. Ariel, the great Lord of the Waters, caught his scent and she inhaled deeply in a vindictive sigh. The daughters of Aquarro were relieved of their proverbial leashes and they rejoiced at the dog killer's misfortune.
Jason's strangulation was weak and he rolled off the beautiful woman he once loved. His ears screamed under the strain of the shuddering power of the soprano onslaught as he lay on his back on the deck, looking up at the cruel sky, birthing a storm. Void of thunder, the clouds lit up with mute lightning every few seconds. It was a herald of celestial rage. His neck burned like a giant paper cut. A scratching came from the topside of the boat, a few inches above the keel, as if the Red Sonja had run aground on the the rocks. Then he noted a thump on the bow, the siren song now dying away, merely dancing in the wind. Soon, quite rapidly, the wild swells diminished under the power of the slumbering god and she made the sea to calm above her.
More and more scratching, thumping. The vessel seemed riddled with knocks and Jason dreaded the amount of damage he would have to repair to get back to port. He had no intention of diving anytime soon. Cackling softly, then outright laughing, the pirate diamond smuggler lay alone on the open sea and reviewed his luck. The dreaded song that rendered him helpless had waned and he reckoned that Satan had stilled the hunger of the deformed fish bitch who killed his friend on the island.
From his prone position his gaze wandered about the edge of the gunwale. Over the side, Jason saw two pale hands with catlike fingernails latch onto the boat. His heart exploded in fear. He sat up, scurrying for the harpoon Joan had used on him, as more hands appeared over the side of the vessel, the night filled with grotesque squeals, some bubbling as they surfaced, some wailing in the still dark. The bulbs flashed wildly in their surges and it lent his eyes a most ominous vision of the monstrous things that had come to collect him. Perching over the side, the beauteous faces peeked, some with blond hair, some with black around petite faces of perfection. Angels in likeness, the women stared at him through sapphire eyes and others held a dark gaze through eyes like coal, but all possessed the same look.
Their screeching like pigs to slaughter, their comely bodies crawled onto the deck and over the roof astern with stealth precision. Jason felt his mind slip as he watched the innocent stares of the demonesses that surrounded him. Some cackled, some grunted and others were quiet, but the whirlpool continued its unrelenting rush as they came closer, crawling suggestively, hiding razor death within their cavities and the flashing light on the doomed vessel only added to their frightfulness. Oh how their nails played on the polished deck, drawing in the wood malicious symbols as they crept closer. One by one, their pretty faces caved slowly, displacing their structure to accommodate their kill comfortably.
The coward in him, the one that occupied fully his sense of responsibility and propriety, made his move. He reached for Joan's body, not to use her as shield but rather as substitute, and he pulled her limp frame over him as offering. A taunting laughter ensued from behind him, ridiculing his attempt.
Daveigh walked around him and crouched down to take Joan, amongst his pleading and reassurance of friendship that fell null on her ear. Daveigh simply shook her head, negating his effort. Jason found his voice in desperation.
" What is this? Why are you doing this? " he screamed, his voice breaking like a juvenile's.
Daveigh placed her finger between Joan's eyes again, as she once did to make her sleep, and the redhead opened her eyes slowly. She blinked a couple of times and almost managed a smile when she saw her friend.
" We'll get you healed up soon, " Daveigh winked at her, smiling, " ...I have friends in high places." The thunder cracked on cue as the ocean released a shudder from below.
" You hear that? " she played with Jason, his eyes bulging in their sockets from brute terror. " That is Aquarro, the slumbering god that lies on the ocean floor since before time. The island you did not quite conquer? Notice how it would randomly sink or rise? Joan, " she lazily shot her eye to the shivering researcher before looking back at Jason, "...the hair-like algae that had been infesting your precious reefs and stretching for miles? All these things are part of him. Our lord of the vast water. Her face lies on the bottom of the ocean where she chooses to manifest, the size of a small continent in your measures. The island you so eagerly wanted to explore, Jason, was in fact the tip of her nose protruding when she rose and broke the surface."
Joan's eyes filled with tears as she listened to the madness and just an inkling of truth about it frightened her to the edge of her life, especially the thought that such a thing could exist right below where she was right now. Jason would shoot his eyes across the gathering of beautiful devils, and find himself constantly not waking from his waking nightmare. He simply could not conceive of such things being real and he felt his mind breaking as Daveigh continued with her beloved ghost story of superstition and myth.
" The algae that intrigued you so was in fact her hair, tresses of submarine majesty that encircles her lovely face. The crown of great Ariel reaches for great distances, merely covering the floor, not killing it. He is after all the dark angel that rules the elements and heals the wild things. So, " she suddenly barked at Jason, the sensual monsters humming with her movement as she jumped on his chest, "...tell me Jay...what do you think that maelstrom is? "
Her playful sadism seeped through the words and Jason lost control of his bladder. Joan frowned, very upset, shaking her head in disbelief, as Daveigh kissed Jason on the forehead and whispered, " Just like your ancestor kissed his son before he attempted to offer his infant son as substitute. "
Jason remembered his superstitious mother and her stories. She did tell, on occasion, of the great forefather of Jason's father who tossed a baby, brought forth from his own loins into the gaping mouth of a sea god to salvage his own fate. But the child was taken by mermaids, rescued for his innocence and placed on land by Daveigh Jones herself and the treacherous captain paid with his life and the souls of four and thirty men aboard. His mother spoke of the stain that lay on the bloodline's name for their cowardice, and how each of them in the line, should they be men of ill-repute, would be thrown headlong into the maelstrom of the slumbering god Aquarro, by one of his names.
Daveigh made her way to Joan. She put her arms around the shivering lady, and hushed her terrible weeping.
" Don't cry for him. His fucked, " she said sincerely, " You did good, Joany. The man threw your dog overboard. Now you might want to close your peepers for this one, honey. Don't look, okay? I can tell you are a bit squeamish. "
Joan found Daveigh's odd personality disturbing. She had an indifferent cruelty to her, while being extremely protective and affectionate to those in her charge. She was very glad that she was on the right side of Miss Jones, if there could be such a thing.
Jason's screaming drowned in the bellow of thunder and whirling water as the sirens squealed like swine in their frenzy. Joan did not look although there was a great measure of sick curiosity that she begged to feed. She briefly opened her eyes, and then found that she could not close them!
The monsters had their terrible mouths all over her soon-to-be late lover and she saw specifically how two had bitten off his feet and suckled at his calves to make him smaller for the sacrifice. Others had done the same to his hands and he bled profusely in the devil's moon, their teeth clamping on his bones in a horrible crunching and the lapping sound of their tentacles drinking. Joan vomited once again over the side of the boat, screaming and crying when she could catch her breath.
" Don't fall overboard now! " Daveigh joked as she watched the maidens finally lift the spasming, maimed body of the half-alive man into the air, waiting for the prayer. Daveigh got up and stood among them, overlooking the fury of the maelstrom, bottomless and massive a chasm, and she sang out the Prayer of Giving in a voice that could make the heavens cower in awe.
With that, they tossed the screaming man into the beckoning oblivion of the deep and listened to him drown in the salt of the ravenous waters. At once there came a roar, deep and eternal over the sea, from the sea. It was an earsplitting display of godlike power that challenged even the Titans of the Sky above the sky. Joan plugged her ears, her jaws rattling from the tremor of the god that she helped sate. The sirens, as if called back to their lord, quickly departed the deck and splashed into the water, sinking below and becoming one with the deep again.
Her tears burned her eyes and she held fast to her mind as Daveigh Jones came to make her rest once more, in aid of her sanity and strength.
" I told you not to look, Joany, " Daveigh said nonchalantly, " I'll have you healed in no time, okay? Now listen, when you wake you will not speak of this, right? Hell, if you do they're gonna lock your ass up anyway so...don't tell. "
" I won't tell, " Joan answered wearily, barely able to muster a sound anymore, " I just want to go home. "
She felt the index finger of the pretty monster rub her forehead and she left the world behind.
Gradually over the next hours the god had sunken back into the ocean floor, his lust sated and his sacrifice claimed. Like a colossal sand shark it had buried itself below the sand, lying dormant until Daveigh Jones called upon her as the hand of fate. For now, it slumbered.
The Coast Guard was alerted by a tourist who reported she had seen a boat afloat, seemingly lost at sea, when she and her brothers went out to catch a few big ones in the deep sea, quite a few clicks from the coast line of Port Gunston. They followed the co-ordinates that the beach bum gave them and found, on the open sea's mild temper, the Red Sonja. Aboard the vessel only two living souls were found. A young woman was locked in the head, comatose and wounded, but the two stab wounds she suffered seemed superficial and almost healed completely, however the bruising around it was not consistent with the tissue damage of such a wound. With her on the boat there was a black Rottweiler, clearly injured by broken glass and the cause of the oddities baffled rescuers.
Clearly the dog had been thrown through the window, but why? The woman was obviously stabbed, but her injuries were a week old when she was found. No evidence of what took place on the vessel was conclusive. The cabin was clean, save for a mess on the floor that resembled vomit and smelled like fish entrails. In the galley there was an empty barrel and the fridge held nothing but salad and beer. They did however find the instruments trashed and the engine broken down. There was but one conclusion to be drawn. Pirates.
Three weeks later, after being released from hospital with amnesia, Joan was on her way to see her psychologist, who had helped her deal with what was clearly a case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She knew playing the amnesia card would absolve her of all the things she could not share with those in control of her fate, by law.
But she remembered. She remembered every gory detail and she was set on finding proof so that her tale could be told. Unfortunately for Joan her research team had not been successful in retrieving the algae from the ocean where she had discovered it a few weeks before. It had disappeared as if it were never there. The reefs were their old beautiful self, teeming with full color beauty and life where once lay the horrid hairy green.
Her phone rang. On the other side of the line she was delighted to hear River's voice. She had been Joan's research assistant on the Great Barrier Reef a year or so back and they were close friends, sharing any news either thought the other could utilise to further their discoveries.
" Hey girl! No, I'm okay now. No more nightmares, " she lied when River inquired to how she was coping. Joan's face changed as she listened to the excited voice on the line telling her that the Australian team had found traces of the green algae she wrote her report on.
" Don't! Don't explore anything, River, " she exclaimed in severe urgency, " Do not go there until I am with you, okay? I have good reason. Trust me! " she reiterated. She redirected her cab driver to her home.
" I'll be on the next plane, babe. Wait for me. I'll see you soon, " she said, feeling a nervous excitement well over her to introduce the modern world to the existence of mythological creatures, hang the science. The hunt was on.
Within a day and a half River and Joan found themselves on a rescue chopper. She had made sure that they get an aerial view of the area well before making their journey there on the water. She wrapped a tight cloth around the mouth of her common sense and memory and forgot that she was terrified.
Her camera at the ready, she sharpened her eye on the breathtaking beauty of the sea below as they flew in the silence of anticipation. The machine was exceptionally loud and she was thankful for the radio contact they shared.
" Okay, Jo, here is wheresabouts we got the first sample of it. Near ten kilometers, I tells ya! You can see it here if you look close, " River's voice cracked over the earpiece. They had contact with the tower too, where Jeff sat, listening to River's obscene use the English language. He was a Brit from a Literary family and he loathed any form of lingual abuse, constantly engaging in playful taunting with River.
Joan saw it. From above she could see the whole thing and her heart throbbed in terror. Even River could not believe what she was seeing, for Joan had not disclosed any of the supernatural elements of her weekend hell until she could prove it. River looked at the redhead next to her, an expression of bewildered horror on her face that spoke truly that she knew Joan had seen this before. But Joan could not speak. Her face was tilted down to the scene below and her eyes hidden behind her shades. She could not move as her heart simply stopped beating in her chest for the vision her eyes told of, and her brain shut down in its mercy.
The shock was simply too great, for what she saw shook her to the core and her trauma aboard the Red Sonja took a backseat to the awe she could not contain.
" River! River, tell us what you see, love, " Jeff spoke into the mic, his ears peaked for the young women's voice through the white noise. It retained its scratchy oblivion for a bit and then the astonished voice of River came over the waves.
" Jeff, you will not believe this! " came her voice, shrilly and static. " For a stretch of miles, I tell ya, miles, there is this face! It is humongous, like a city under the sea big but it is a woman's face. Her nose is sticking out the waters and above the water it looks like a seal island or somethings and Jeff....." she was silent for a moment.
" River, can you hear me? "
"...Hey Jeff, this shit is unbelievable. I am not flying over this thing, man. I am not! Around this face on the floor there is this wicked long green hair, I mean, long, like mermaid hair and it goes on for like, miles and miles, almost to the coast line! " she exclaimed. " You know the maelstrom Joel was talking about that they heard was here? "
" Yes? Have you found it? "
" Yes, Jeff, it is the thing's mouth! It is a lot bigger than they reported yesterday. Joan, are you seeing this?" he heard River say before she continued, this time much calmer. It was a calm not of reservation or serenity. It was a calm that soldiers felt. It was the calm of those who were doomed.
" Jeff, Jeff this thing is becoming bigger. I'm trying to fly around it but this instruments are going apeshit. No matter how I try I can't make them right and the machine is just going to the whirlpool! The face is stretching her mouth wider, Jeff, so much bigger than it was this morning."
" Listen River, keep steady. I'm sending the boys out to come get you, " Jeff yelled, immediately dispatching another unit to the vicinity.
In the background din of static, while he radioed the other unit Jeff could hear the research assistant utter an unearthly scream and she began to weep, panic-stricken. He grabbed the mic tightly and jammed it to his mouth.
" River, they are coming, okay? Hold on! "
But she was lost in a maze of hysterics, hopeless to her piloting prowess and mad with what she beheld beneath. The face of Ariel, Aquarro, the sea god of sirens and bad men lay vast, even without the magnification of the water.
His mouth was now fully agape, its maelstrom the doom of anything adjacent and furious in its power, the diameter of it stupendous. Her nose rose continually upward from the deep, almost bringing with it out of the surface, her face itself. Over her the captivating blue water persisted, tumbling and turmoiled in its perturbation.
On the radio Jeff paid attention to every sound and word that River could bring him. Her frenzied crying disturbed him and he could do nothing more but listen.
He jotted on a note everything she had described and shifted his decision on the sanity of it aside to accommodate her emergency. Through the crackling static she screamed and wept in fear and then her voice virtually broke the headset, as her last words thundered over the speaker before shutting all communication for good.
" Sweet Mother of God! She just opened her eyes! "