A man washed ashore last week. He looked as though he had not eaten in weeks and was barely clinging to life. I, along with much of the town, was elated when we discovered it was Will Harper who had washed ashore, and that he would make a full recovery.
The fishing vessel named Prosper had set sail three months prior. It never returned. 18 men, including Will Harper, were all presumed to be dead. However, with the return of Will Harper came stories; stories of how they had found an island lush with jungle, with friendly natives and enormous wealth. He told stories of how the crew of the Prosper had found a paradise, and wished not to leave. Only Will Harper was willing to sail the Prosper back home to tell their families that they were not returning, however on the return trip as the Propser’s only sailor he did not last long as a squall overtook him quickly, sending her down to the depths and Will Harper alone at sea for weeks.
At first people didn’t believe him, the Prosper was a small enough vessel and Harper a copedent sailor enough to make it back in one piece, surely he was not telling the entire story. However as days went by his story did not change, in fact the more he told it the more he lit up with joy in describing the place he had seen. Only a couple days had passed before he was trying to get another vessel together to sail back to the unknown island. With his fantastical tails and unwavering faith he eventually was able to muster a small crew and another fishing vessel named the Vandal; of which I too joined purley out of curiosity.
Four days ago we set sail with Will Harper leading the way, the captain Fredrick Gould in command, and thirteen others who wanted to see what this unknown island paradise had to offer. The Vandal had made quick work getting out to sea, but struggled to maintain heading with this inexperienced crew of adventurers and thrillseekers. Capitan Gould was perturbed by their lack of experience after quickly becoming seasick, but Will Harper kept his eyes facing east, continually looking over the horizon through a spyglass.
Yesterday, Will Harper exclaimed loudly to the entire crew that he could see it, just over the horizon, and they had but barely a couple hours to go. After three days at sea the crew hurriedly began to do what they could to steer and speed the vessel towards where Will Harper had said it was. After an hour we began to see something breaking through the horizon. We all smiled at one another as we continued to sail. As we got closer, the shape on the horizon got bigger. As the shape on the horizon got bigger, our excitement grew bolder. As our excitement grew bolder, we looked at the shape harder. When we looked at the shape harder, we saw the lie.
The shape that had grown out of the horizon was not a lush island as Will Harper had said, but a jagged outcropping of rocks breaking the surface of the sea. Before we had time to correct out course the wind began to pick up, filling the sail and pushing us towards the outcropping. That’s when I heard it. Over the cursing at Will Harper, over the commands being yelled by capitan Gould, over the gusts of wind, I heard it. I heard a melody pierce through the air and into my soul, a soft lullaby that filled my heart with a peace I had never once felt before. All at once every other sound faded away, I know not if it was due to being filled with the melody, or if it was because the other began to feel it too. As the Vandel approached the outcropping I saw them. Maidens swimming in the sea along the rocks, beautiful women with silky hair of jet black, pale skin with a bluish tinge, and tails like that of fish.
Will Harper was the first to jump in, and as he did one of them turned and swam over to him before opening her arms to greet him. As she breached the surface the face I saw was that of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, her small features and slender frame were dwarfed by the rocks and the open sea; despite this, her mere presence commanded our attention. Soon, more sailors were jumping off the boat and swimming over. Harper got there first, and the melody began to grow quieter. As it did, I could hear her speak in a honey soaked voice that filled every pore with ecstasy.
“Welcome Home,” she said. At those words I jumped in. As I jumped off the bow I could see more of the women circling the other sailors, their melodies joining that of the first, filling the air with a cacophony of song. I didn’t care, I was no longer anxious or afraid. I was full, I was light, I was happy, and nothing would ever feel as good as listening to these words, to these voices. Through the songs I could hear cries, but I did not care. As I swam I saw the blue ocean begin to turn red, but I did not care. As I moved to the voices an arm that was without its sailor got in my way, and I moved it. Nothing was going to keep me from the voices of the angelfish before me.
I found myself almost at the outcropping when she swam to me; I am still unsure if it was the first one I had seen or if it was one of the others; but I no longer cared. Her hands grabbed my arms and pinned them to my sides, and for the first time I looked into their eyes. Their eyes were completely black, empty, and soulless. The melody intensified as her mouth smiled, her pale blue lips pulling back revealing numerous rows of sharp bloodied teeth. She pulled me in and I closed my eyes, tears of joy as her cold skin touched mine. Over the melody that filled me, she whispered a single request in my ear.
“Bring us more.”
Today I woke up on the shore, the one who found me says I have been gone for three weeks, but it only feels as though it has been a day. I can still hear the melody faint in the back of my head, but it is fleeting, and quickly fading. I need to go back, and I need to bring more.
Credit : Peter Cyrus
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