The Lady beneath the Waves

The Lady beneath the Waves

Traci Kenworth

 

“I’ll be roasting marshmallows over the fire all through the night,” sang Jeremy, Beth, and Quigley.

I eyed them as I maneuvered the small boat through the waves. The three finished their chorus and searched for another tune. “Why not The Lady beneath the Sea?” I suggested.

They glanced nervously at each other then out over the rails at the foaming ocean.

“Maybe not such a good idea,” Quigley muttered.

“I dare say not,” Beth said.

Jeremy simply tapped his fingers on his knee. “It is a good, far-carrying song.”

“Far-carrying down to the bottom of the ocean.” Beth stuck her lower lip out.

“I hear she grants wishes,” I said. “And isn’t that something we’d risk at this point? Our parents are gone, our village flooded, and we escaped with no more than our clothes on our backs. Maybe she can turn our luck around.”

“Or deliver us to a water-filled grave.” Quigley’s stare rested on the increased waves of the water. “Think it’ll ever stop?”

Beth hung her head. “What will we do?”

Jeremy shrugged. “It depends on how far we have to go to find land now.”

I nodded. “See. The Lady is our best hope.”

“But she only listens to sailors,” Beth said.

“I hear it’s the pure-hearted.” Jeremy tapped his knee again.

“Let’s try it. What’ve we got to lose?” I turned the wheel slightly as the boat began to pick up speed again. We’d been traveling a day with no hope, nothing in our pockets, and the hunger and the thirst were beginning to get to us.

“What if she throws us to the sharks?” Beth’s lower lip quivered.

“We’ll probably end up food for them sooner or later anyway.” Quigley pointed out.

Beth thought a moment then nodded at us.

I began. “All right then. Lady of the Sea, hear our summons—”

The boat rocked furiously.

“Lady of the Sea, please listen to our hearts. Judge us as you will. Brave or foolish.”

The ocean calmed.

Quigley got to his feet and walked to the railing. He turned to us excitedly. “It’s her. I can see her face in the water.”

Beth, Jeremy, and I joined him.

Beth sucked in air. “It’s really the Lady.”

The figure in the water stared up at us. She hooked her fingers onto the boards of the ship and pulled herself aboard. Brushing her long bluish-white hair back, she studied each of us. “Ask what you wish, but only if your heart deserves. Otherwise, you might find yourself my slave on the bottom of the seas.”

“Let’s do this as a team,” I said. “No selfish wishes. Only for each other.”

She nodded at me. “You speak well, boy. Name your desire.”

“I would ask that you put us on dry land, somewhere safe, with plenty to eat and drink.”

“Done.” She snapped her fingers and we were no longer on the boat, but an island off the coast of the Americas.

She turned to Jeremy. “You?”

“I wish for gold and silver so that we may never starve or thirst again.”

Pots of each showed up at our feet.

She peered at Beth, who slunk back. “I want our families back, our village restored,” Beth said.

The lady frowned. “I cannot interfere with death. Choose something else.”

“A hook then.”

“A hook? What for?”

Quigley stepped forward. “To bind you to us so that you must always answer our wants and needs.”

A terrible rage swept her. “You will answer for this.”

And so there the lady stands, no longer chained to the ocean, but between the chasms of rock. Waiting, hungering and thirsting for revenge. One storm-filled night, the mountain broke from the flooding. Just before we were swept out to sea, the lady grasped Jeremy’s and my hands and pulled us to safety.

“You two have proved yourselves worthy of your wishes. The other two did not. So they will become my sirens, searching for but never finding release as they dash themselves upon the rocks.”

Photo Credit: Xanert at Morquefile

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