A tale of a mans encounter with an ethereal temptation.
From the top of a barren cliff-side an old Lighthouse winks its warning. Tonight it goes unnoticed, no vessels are braving the towering waves that surround the bay. The ocean meets the tall white cliffs in a crash of foam and torrential currents. Waves pound the land and the wind howls and roars. No sane man would be found at the cliffs on this unsettled night.
Yet, sat under the lighthouse, heavy wax coat and scarf pulled up to his ears, sits Father Powell. He is unsettled himself; his mood matching that of the ocean. His thoughts bounce fleetingly through his discontented mind, like flies in a jar, searching for an escape. He questions his existence and purpose on Earth. He has not felt guidance nor comfort from the Bible in too long, these days it leaves him cold and empty, a blank void where a man should stand. He has cravings, urges for something more, something new, something fulfilling, though he is isolated on this rock and there is nothing to inspire him.
The wind mists his face with the spray of the sea, he breaths in scents from far away waters and is suddenly overcome with a smile of satisfaction. A genuine smile, unlike the insincere toothed grins he has faked for the past ten years. When had life stopped thrilling him? When did he last feel the air in his lungs and soil beneath his feet? He reaches down to his weathered, leather laces and slowly begins to untie them. He slides the old boots from his feet and releases his toes from the safety of their grey woolen socks. He lets out a sigh of relief into the cold night air, his breath sending a cloud billowing about his head before being snatched away by the wind. He runs his fingers through his dark hair, the wind catches it and flings it violently to and fro. A loud howl roars around the lighthouse as the wind circles it and races across the land. The ocean pursues it, clawing at the shoreline, white foam splashing up to the sky like blood from a kill. He smiles again, loosens his scarf and feels it whip across his face in the wind. He lets out a laugh. He's elevated, perhaps slightly mad. He throws his hands to the air and yells towards the star strewn sky.
'I have dedicated my life to serving you! I have served an empty chasm of lies! I was serving nothing but my own vain egotism! I am nothing but a mortal being, trapped on a treacherous rock. Forever destined to feel nothing but boredom and disdain! Its a lie! I have no purpose, life is nothing but a crude awakening to a lonely death!'
Now here, in the presence of weather only the Devil would conjure up, he feels alive and free, while the gibbous moon hangs low, unaware of the man twirling in circles on the crags below
The ocean continues its unrelenting rhythm of intimidation, crashing the shoreline, waves peak and troughs roll, but the ocean is not just an intimidating churning surface, it has depths beyond mans understanding. The shoreline is jagged and gnarled with unforgiving rocks trailing out to sea. The sea floor quickly drops off into a deep ocean trench and below the waves the chaotic noises quieten and morph. What crashes and churns above is a musical hum below. Deep in the nebulous trench live fish with lanterns, grotesque toothed monsters, bio-luminescent oddities, all yet to be discovered by humankind.
One such aberrant creature pulses its way along the underwater cliff-face. shining a green and blue hazy light along the rocks as it slowly rises up the cliff face, searching for the light of the moon. It reaches a deep, dark cave and floats inside, bumping from wall to wall. The cave lights up, revealing small fish and tiny crawling crabs. A wave pulses through and the light floats deeper inward, revealing slender, sapphire tail flicking from side to side. Bubbles trail from the darkness beyond. Another pulse of water and the floating light moves in further. The tail goes on, curving like the contours of the female form. It flicks casually back and forth, undisturbed by the change in the waters around it. Abruptly it stiffens and sits completely stationary. Reaching out from the darkness appears a pale, skeletal hand. It claws weakly at the rock and pulls the body of the creature to the cave exit.
There she sits, illuminated by the faint green lantern light. The curves of her waist and ivory shoulders are framed in a thick tangle of swirling auburn hair. She sits for a moment stretching her archaic bones, it has been over one-hundred years since her eyes have opened and her limbs have left the cave. She stretches her peculiarly long neck upwards and from between her small coral lips comes a faint croak. Bubbles escape and rise to the surface. She tries again, an unearthly susurrus reverberates through the cave, too faint to be detected by human ears. She hums monotonously, warming her salty vocal chords. After some time of cooing and stretching, she floats onto her back, pulls herself out of the cave and dives down the cliff side headfirst, straggly, red hair trailing behind her, into the murk below.
Her tuneless hum reverberates through the underwater canyon, it fades into the darkness until it is gone. Fish continue their back and forth swimming and crab-like creatures emerge and resume crawling around the rock face. The ocean waves roar on overhead. A strange stillness comes about, almost a silence. The ocean seems to hold its breath and its busy creatures slow to a halt as if listening for something. A creepy, yet beautiful song faintly rises from the sinister depths. The fish wait in a trance, bobbing in the rhythm of the ocean, hypnotized by the calls from below. The song slowly moves closer, there is a glow of light; blues, greens, turquoise, aquamarine, indigo, jade, rising out of the deepest, darkest, depths of the trench. The song eerily reverberates off the cavernous walls.
She appears from out of the darkness, illuminated in the colors of the ocean. Her eyes glow green and the sapphire tail sweeps the water, pushing her into the moonlight above. She breaks the oceans surface, making barely a splash and lunges into the moonlight, breaching like a sea-mammal, splashes of light and color fragment as she plunges back to the water and surges forward below the surface, heading straight for land.
Father Powell has wandered closer to the waters edge, and finds himself in a small cove, the waves still crash around him and the wind howls past his ears. He squints out to sea, is that a boat he sees? A turquoise light has appeared about a mile offshore, like non other he has witnessed at sea before. It is traveling fast, no boat moves in such a way, he closes his eyes and shakes his head, before refocusing on the light. It is still there, clearer now, closer, brighter. It is almost to the cove entrance. He feels a moment of fear, unable to fathom what he is seeing. The light is definitely coming from beneath the surface of the water. A strange giant sea-creature? He has heard tales of hideous monsters lurking in the ocean and suddenly they all flood back to him. Toothed snakes, flying demons, giant women with octopus legs, dragging vessels down to an ocean graveyard. This is Gods punishment for doubting him! His worries are eased when the light fades and vanishes.
The moon bobs on the horizon, ready to leave this night in complete darkness. Father Powell stands as still as he can, straining his eyes towards the water, searching for a disturbance. Nothing but waves and white water meet his gaze. The moon falls completely behind the earth and darkness replaces it. He waits for his eyes to adjust, his hearing becomes sharper and the sound of the waves seems to subside. Soon the wind has calmed completely and falls into a gentle breeze. He hears a soft lapping of water at the rocks.
The glow returns and with it the most winsome song he has ever heard. It is a female voice, but it sounds almost as though it is laced with the delicate tones of a harp. It is captivating, yet eerie with an unearthliness that unsettles him for a moment before he is overwhelmed by an uplifting warmth. He feels himself walking to the water, stepping easily over gaping cracks in the rock like he is floating. The air is full of nothing but the sound of music. He pauses at the edge, balanced on a boulder and waits.
He sees her sat on a rock, shrouded in a surreal light; the most alluring creature he has ever beheld. He must be near her, he leaps from the rock without hesitation, splashing into the water below him. He is in the light now, swimming in the hypnotic glow. The maiden is no longer sat on the rocky outcrop. He searches the water in a desperate panic not to lose her, he flails and turns, thrusting his head under the surface. She appears beneath him, smiling, gesturing for him to join her. He takes a deep breath and dives down into the illuminated water. She lures him into an underwater cave, it opens up into a breathtaking dome of aquamarine light fragments which shimmer from crystal encrusted walls. He does not question why the water is so warm and without hesitation swims up to the alluring face before him. She coyly turns away, flashing her beguiling sea-green eyes at him from over her shoulder. He feels a tug on his lungs as they remind him to breath but the glow of her eyes draws him nearer, he must kiss those pink lips, he has a burning desire to consume every inch of her being. He swims frantically to reach her and unfaltering, he takes her in his arms, grabbing at the back of her head, gripping fistfuls of thick, red hair. His lips meet hers in a delirious urgency and he feels her long fingers grip at his shoulders in response. He looks into her eyes and feels a heavenly sense of enlightenment, a feeling of complete submission and content overcomes him. He wants to give in to her completely but the light in the cave begins to fade and the tugging in his lungs becomes more urgent. He turns to look back for the cave entrance, he needs air, but the siren takes his face in her hands and kisses him again, filling him with warmth and relieving his anxiety. The pain in his lungs dissolves completely as she slowly pulls him down into the deepest part of the cave and he smiles his purest smile, his head full of the whispers of her requiem, while the lighthouse winks its warning on the cliff-side above.