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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2228132-A-Knell-from-the-Sea
by Echo
Rated: E · Fiction · Death · #2228132
The story of a specially lucky fisherman.

He stepped into the sandy part of shore, enjoying the feeling of the soft, cool substance under his feet. A smile crept up to his lips without him knowing. That morning, he was feeling especially good. He didn’t know why, everything had been pretty much the same as every day. But his heart felt so light, like he had no worries in the world. Like he didn’t have three hungry mouths that needed to be fed waiting for him at home. Like he wasn’t exhausted from working too much. Like it wasn’t his fourth day of going about without any proper food. It felt like he'd been born just yesterday. He hadn’t felt like this in such a long time that he had almost forgotten he could actually feel happy and carefree.
He went to his small drifter which was patiently waiting to roam the vast waters. He started untying the ropes that bound the boat to some rocks, the smile still on his face. He was sure that something good was going to happen to him. He just had this special feeling in his gut, and he knew from experience that he should trust it.
In a few seconds, the drifter was on board, and Hudson started smiling even wider. It was a nice morning. The sun hadn’t come up fully yet, and the autumn early morning was pleasantly chilly. There was a nice breeze too, making the weather all the more perfect. The only thing he needed to complete this beautiful day was a good catch. He sat on the small deck, staring into the horizon, watching the sun's red and orange rays coloring the sky. Once he'd gotten tired of looking at the sky, he looked into the waters. They were exceptionally clear and the surface shone, reflecting the subtle light it received from above.
Even so, as the day went by, Hudson felt his good mood slipping away little by little. Again, there was no fish. It was strange. Really strange. Hudson had been fishing in this sea for more than ten years, and it had never been like this. Even in the worst weathers, there would still be some small fishes. So why now…?
Suddenly, he got an idea. He could stray from his usual path just a little bit, and go explore another area. At this thought, he started smiling once again. He got up and began guiding the drifter to the right slowly. He had never done this before. He'd never needed to come this far for fish, but today he had to. His parents and younger sister were hungry, waiting for him at home. He remembered the hopeful look in his mother's eyes this morning while she was sending him away. No, he just couldn’t come back empty-handed. He wouldn’t be able to look into their eyes like that.
He took a long and deep breath, and pressed his lips into a thin line. He had to do it for the sake of his family. In fact, he was a little bit afraid. Many things could go wrong. There could be a cyclone out of nowhere. He could lose his way and never find it again. He could come across a strange sea monster. But he had to man up and try this out.
It was approximately two hours after his turn-taking, and he was feeling frustrated. Again, there was no fish. Could it get any more strange? Where had all those fishes gone? Hudson cursed through gritted teeth. He was trying so hard not to lose the tiny hope in his heart. He looked up at the sky once again, putting one hand over his eyes to protect them from the excessive light. The sun was almost in the middle of the sky, so it must've been near noon.
When he looked in front of him once again, there was the silhouette of something like a small island. He didn’t know what came over him, but he started sailing towards that direction almost instantly. It felt like the tiny piece of land was calling out to him. Again, it was a weird feeling he was experiencing today. But he just shrugged his doubts away. Maybe it was his destiny to come to this part of the sea today, after all these years of practically living on the water.
As he got closer to the island, his heartbeat picked up its pace little by little, as if he was super-excited to meet some beloved one after a long time. He even started sweating, but he couldn’t stop advancing towards the island.
He first heard the voice before he saw its owner, and his heart skipped a beat or two. His breath caught in his throat, and his eyes widened involuntarily. The voice was unlike anything he had heard before. Soft yet strong, clear yet sharp, sad yet refreshing. The song was in a language he knew nothing of, yet Hudson could feel his heart getting filled with a queer kind of sadness. Still, he couldn’t help but to drown in the beautiful sound. But after a few long minutes, he focused his attention to the front once again, and what he saw took his breath away.
A woman was lying on the soft sands of the island, roughly where the waves met the land. Her bare skin was milky white, like a porcelain doll, seeming to reflect the sun that shone on her. Her long hair covered her chest, and it possessed the purest golden color Hudson had ever seen. Her eyes were wide and expressive and dark, darker than most people Hudson knew of. She had a tiny nose, and her pink lips were so full and round. Her collarbones were somewhat prominent, and her lightly toned abdomen lead to…a fish's tail?
It was then that the reality hit Hudson, and it him really hard. The woman was not any normal human being singing on a lonely island in the middle of the sea. She was a siren. And Hudson knew what seeing a siren means. From when he was very young, he had heard tales of people who had gone to the sea and never came back from the elders. He could still hear his grandmother's voice talking about sirens, and how no human could escape the certain death caused by them.
However, he couldn’t stop himself from stepping out to the island when his drifter reached it. He barely had the presence of mind to tie the small boat to some rocks, and then he slowly approached the creature. As he drew closer, he could see more details. The siren's lower half was covered with light purple scales, each of them shining like little silver coins under the midday sun. Also, her skin seemed to be so soft, even slippery, more like a fish's than a human's.
Hudson's mind screamed at him not to get too close, but it was useless. It felt like his body had a will of its own. He went closer and closer, until he was just ten steps away from the creature. From this distance, the siren's voice could be heard louder and clearer. Hudson sat on a rather small rock, trying his best to control his erratic breathing, but the more he tried the less success he found. So, he just decided to surrender to all the ecstasy that the voice brought him.
Now that he was seeing the siren up close, he noticed all the tiny details. Like how the veins showed up on her milky white neck when she hit a particularly high note, how her long eyelashes cast a subtle shadow on her cheeks, how her chin quivered when she sang some certain parts. Hudson drank everything in, like he couldn’t get enough of the sight and sounds around him. He had come across many beautiful people in his life, and he had heard a lot of nice voices, but this was something beyond human. He wasn’t even sure if he was awake or dreaming, alive or dead. He might've just died the moment he saw the creature and gone to Heaven.
Hudson didn’t know how much time had passed, but when he eventually found half of his senses, it was already dark. A shiver ran down his spine. How could he forget the time? And most importantly, how could he forget about his obligation as an eldest son?
The siren was still in the same position, still singing, not once sparing a glance towards Hudson. It was like even the siren was too engrossed in her own singing that she couldn’t notice anything else. She was even more beautiful now, under the soft light of full moon. Her pale skin and her purplish scales shone along with the sea’s surface. The scene was too mesmerizing for Hudson to tear his gaze apart from. And that was how he spent the night, without having a blink of sleep.
It was in the dead of the night, just before the dawn, that the hunger and exhaustion from previous days combined with the sleepless night started to take their toll on Hudson's body. His vision got blurry and it wouldn’t clear, no matter how much he blinked. After a while, he tried his best to ignore his vision and focus on the voice. He listened to the siren singing while his energy level went lower and lower, until he fell face first on the ground, not able to keep sitting. A single tear dropped from his eye and the dry soil beneath him sucked it in immediately. He knew what has been awaiting him since the beginning, but he didn’t think it would come this soon. But then again, Hudson was somehow content. He'd never imagined his death would be this beautiful.
Little by little, the siren's voice started lulling him into the sweetest sleep he'd ever had. Slowly, a smile made its way to his lips, as childhood memories began dancing in front of his eyes. They felt so vivid, like they were happening right then and there. The sugary smell of the pie his mother baked, the color of flowers growing in their garden, the touch of the pleasantly cold water of the sea as it washed over his bare feet in small waves. Hudson's breaths got shallower and came out in short puffs, and his eyelids slowly closed, with the smile still remaining on his face.
The sun had fully come up, the sea was calmer than ever in this season. There wasn’t even one single piece of cloud in the sky, making the sky look like a big blue ceiling to the world. The surface of water sparkled like it was made of millions of tiny glass beads, reflecting the sky above it perfectly.
And in this fantastic morning, on a lonely island, a siren sang magical tones, but her only audience were the rocks and the sky and the sea.
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