I glare at Ted, within a catfish’s whisker of snapping my fingers to call up a quake (yeah, finger snaps’re not just in the movies, kids).
‘How did you come by this jewel?’ I ask the old drunk.
‘Yer know wotitis?’ he slurs.
I tip more rum into his glass and inch it towards him, shrugging. Going ‘god’ won’t help me learn more. I take a lesson from the muses, who know something about managing human tales.
“Tell me your story, Ted,” I say.
So he begins.
Yer wouldn’t think it to look at me, barkeep, but I used to captain one of the great sailing ships, Thetis. I was a privateer, employed in finding new trades to make me investors richer than the gods. This voyage was the first one I’d financed meself. I was young and fit and thought the world of meself. Nothing could take me down! Leastways, that’s what I thought.
Anyway, so I’m on night watch, and I ‘ave the deck, to meself. It’s my favourite time on the water: moonrise. Resting strong hands on the tiller, I don’t need to pilot my ship so much as guide her. The beautiful old gel responds to my slightest touch. I bring her about, watching the moon.
Slowly the ocean moves from darkness to silver, glowing light. Wave tips glitter like jewels, and the constant rushing sound lets me know me navigation is sound. I still keep me wits about me. There are tales of unmapped shoals near this coast, and more’n a few sailors report seeing ‘strange things’, without ever reporting wot it was they really seen.
A mist closes in around me ship and I swear, trying in vain to steer around it. Instead, I am surrounded by damp air. Humidity beads my hair and I can no longer see a way forward with any clarity. I grasp the tiller to slow Thetis down, but before I can do so, the vessel shudders to a stop – and I look round, in time to catch a glimpse of something that appears to have landed on me deck with a splash. A quiet laugh warms the air’ n I see the dark shape of something gliding in the mist. Hurrying after the intruder, I think to corner it now, when . . . .
A glint of silver, salty droplets arcing through glimmering sky and – is that a tail? I hear a strange gagging sound, a slipping, too, and I light the fog light. My hands shake, clutching for the wick. Something has boarded me ship – something inhuman.
“Hello?” I hesitate, unsure and catch meself, wondering for a moment just why this should be so. After all, this is my boat. I am the Captain – and whatever this creature is, the law of the sea says I am in charge. So. . . I clear me throat and try again.
But she gets there first – opening her lips, releasing a series of sounds that drive me to me knees in an instant, as I lose all control and cum, right there on the deck. There’s no warning, no heat, no rising warmth or pounding blood – just me, on me knees, shaking with the sudden impact of orgasm. I shudder as her voice surrounds me, honey-sweet and filling me with liquid pleasure so that I can not move and simply remain in place for some time, feeling the heat and desire wash through me until I can take it no longer.
I hold my ears closed and beg her to stop. Whispering, speaking, eventually shouting and crying out – and she hears me. And speaks.
“Are you all right?” Her speaking voice is only marginally less seductive than her song, and I know now what she is.
“I will be.” I stand up, feeling myself stumble, forced to reach out and hold on to me mast. “Please don’t do that again. Who are you?”
“My name is Ariadne, and I have been Sent,” she replies. I grip the railing again when she speaks. I am shaking and sit down abruptly, pulling a coil of rope between us.
“Sent by whom?” I want to know. “How have you calmed me ship?”
She laughs – and I move back, away, as my body responds again – inappropriately, uncontrollably, and brimful of barely-contained desire. Again. I blink. And again I wish for rum. And her lips.
I stare at her. She glistens in the moonlight, water running off her pale breasts onto her belly and me ship’s deck. Her upper body is human, but more perfect than any woman I’ve ever seen in port. Her breasts are like two enormous pearls with pale, perfect nipples and she does not appear to notice me looking – nor to mind. But then, I remind meself, why would she? She isn’t human. I repeat that to meself several times over to calm my body down. It doesn’t work.
“Magic. How have you caught a siren?” she responds. “You ought not to have seen me.” She pouts and I smile. I can’t help it. Nor can I help looking at her in the moonlight. Her tail fin flaps a little near my hand. It’s longer than I thought it’d be; too beautifully gilded and jeweled. I reach out my fingers – and she curls her fin away in one deft, muscular movement.
“That is not a good idea, Captain,” she says. “To touch me without permission would see you drowned.”
“I don’t remember that being part of the legends.” But I remove my hand. “And how could anyone miss you?” I asked, more to myself than her.
She shrugs – such a human action – but her shrug draws my gaze back to those impossibly perfect breasts . . . and there it stays. For a while. I’ve been at sea for far, far too long.
“There is a lot more to me than the tails,” she laughs, flapping hers near me fingers again. “You may touch my fins, if you wish.”
And I do, expecting to feel scales and wet fish-like skin but her tail is smooth, silken and softer than liquid. I watch her face while I touch her, sliding me hand all the way along the taut muscle beneath the glittering skin – and she lies back. And allows this. And sighs, and moans. When I reach the part of her where her body changes, she releases a sound that I think I know, and cries out.
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