Emmanuel stood on the beach, her t-shirt and sweat pants drenched in blood. Her body trembled turbulently as her hair clung to her face and neck. A tall red haired girl stood before her and grabbed her by the shoulders, “where are you hurt?” she bollard. Emanuele slowly looked at her blood covered hands, “Um, this isn’t my blood.” She rubbed her hands over and over on the sides of her pants. “Lilith, she, she’s…” she stopped and closed her eyes. “She killed a guy. I mean he did attack Raven, so he had it coming, but there was so much blood. And the screams.” Emmanuele fell to her knees weeping. The girl knelt down in front of her. “Attacked?” she took Emmanuele by both hands. “How was she attacked?” she whispered. Emmanuele frowned, “What do you mean?” She climbed to her feet. “Mya are you like Lilith?” she asked then took a couple steps back. Mya sighed then held her hand out to her. “I’m sorry if Lilith scared you. None of us would ever hurt you. You’re like family.” Mya hung her head. “I’ve got to go get the others and pack.”
“So you guys are gonna just run?” she asked as she took two steps towards Mya. “Look this is all new to you, but no one else can know about us. They’ll come for us, catch us then dissect us.” Mya began to cry.
Emmanuele was torn, she was angry and confused, but she was also afraid for her friends. “I don’t want you guys to go. And not just because we qualified for championships.” She ran to Mya weeping and embraced her. “You guys are better than sisters.”
“We think of you as a sister too, but now they will come for us. This isn’t new to us. We’ve run most of our life.” She forced a smile as the two parted. Emmanuele scratched her head, “There has to be something we can do. I bet Memé has an idea.” Emmanuele looked up at Mya, “My grandmother is a witch. She prefers enchantress, but …” “Your grandmother is a witch and we’re just finding out?” Mya smiled, “I guess a girl has her secrets.”
“Memé has secrets, but she also knows a bunch. I’m going to go to her.’ She began to walk towards the parking-lot. Mya chased after her. “Maybe you should shower and change first, just sayin'” the two girls giggled then continued towards home.
Lilith stood on the pool deck near the University’s athletic fields. Her long blond hair clung to her like a second skin as she stared down at her reflection. A moment later her sister, Raven, silently took a step alongside. Raven’s jet black curly locks tumbling down her back, a stark contrast to her sister spoke quietly, “they will come for us.”
“Let them come.” Lilith replied, her voice cold and raspy. She slowly turned towards her sister, who only stared directly ahead. “You and I, we’re strong…”
“What you did was reckless and stupid. We… we all pay for your indiscretion.” She turned to Lilith. “I was starting to like it here.” She looked over her shoulder as the others joined them. “We need to determine an exit strategy.”
Emmanuel ran to Raven and stopped sonly steps away. “Exit? You’re just gonna leave?” she whined then pointed at Lilith, “Because of her!”
Lilith lunged at Emmanuel, with her jagged teeth flared. Raven grabbed her sister and shoved her to the ground. “Seriously? You’d attack her? She’s like family.” Raven knelt beside her, “What’s happened to you?”
“What’s happened to me?” Lilith jumped to her feet eyes wide. “What’s wrong with all of us? Why do we fear humans? We’re so much more.”
“Humans killed my family,” Ruby replied, then the others nodded in agreement. Aubree and Emie stood next to Emmanuel. “We finally found a home and it is again lost to us. I’m tired of running and being afraid.” Emie nodded, “There’s gotta be a better way, we just put up the Christmas decorations and everything.”
Emmanuel sighed then looked over at a seething Lilith. She frowned as she realized Lilith’s human form was drastically deteriorating. “Um. What’s going on with her?” she asked aloud.
Raven shook her head. “This? This is the result of selfishness. When one does not have concern for the whole and simply does what pleases them. Now she has to return to the sea.” She growled. “We haven’t been here long enough to find a witch that can help us, now we are on our own.”
“Why would mermaids need a witch?” she asked as she looked at each of their faces, one by one.
“Its been our experience they are the only one’s with knowledge of our kind.” Ruby replied.
“Oh, that’s kinda convenient, as my Memé, she’s a witch. Like told Mya.” Emmanuel said in a shaky voice. “I was going to her and see what you should do next. I’ll comeback with news” She added then left.
Raven watched her leave then turned to her sister. “In spite of your efforts to destroy us, it would seem the fates are again in our favor.”
Emmanuel entered the kitchen and smiled as she saw her Memé taking a pie from the oven. “Hey Memé.” She called out.
Memé turned to her with a smile. “Well, ello love! How was your day?” Emmanuel’s smile quickly faded. “My relay team needs your help.” She replied then sat at the kitchen table. “Oh child that’s sweet, but my swim days are long since gone.” Emmanuel burst into laughter, “No Memé not that kind of help.” Emmanuel leaned forward to whisper, “You know the thing you thought I didn’t know but I know … that thing.”
Emmanuel’s Memé stared at her as if searching her thoughts then sighed. “How long you know child?” she asked then cut a slice of warm pie and sat it on a small plate. “Known since momma died, but I need help right now. We can talk about this another time. This is really an emergency.” She pleaded.
“What’s wrong baby?” she asked as she went to the screen door of the kitchen and a petite hand holding a sizable amount of cash, reached inside. Memé took the cash and handed the slice of pie out the door then stood before her granddaughter. “You see my team, they’re mermaids, well Sirens is what they said and, ….” Memé stepped back, “Sirens? Here? Your teammates?”
“Memé, you gotta let me finish. They need help some kinda bad.” She continued to plead. Her grandmother nodded then sat at the table across from her. “See Lilith, she’s basically the leader. Well she killed this guy and now some secret specialty task force is coming for them and Lilith is going all full blown Siren and doesn’t even look human again and they’re all scared the task force is going to eradicate them.” Emmanuel let out a deep breath then sat back.
Memé shook her head, “Of all the people here, they find you.” She laughed. “There is a spell that could make them invisible to the agency, but there is no time to gather everything. There are seven artifacts. I own two of them. The others are all around the world, but have to be gathered before Christmas morning.” She stopped and looked at her granddaughter, she could see the desperation in her eyes. “There is a temporary spell that can be made of three artifacts.” Emmanuel leaned close, “Would that three include the two you already have?” “Yes it would..” “Oh good, then this should be easy.”
Emmanuel’s grandmother stood then made her way to a locked door opposite her. “Nothing easy about Siren’s. Come with me.” She replied then led Emmanuel into her secret room. Inside were faded antique parchments, skulls of animals Emmanuel had never seen before, hand carved jewelry boxes, ancient books, ornate jars and bottles. Emmanuel spun around the room trying to absorb just a portion of what she was seeing. Then her grandmother handed her a conch shell. “Dis is a conch found at White Cap Bay. Put to your ear and tell me what it say?”
Emmanuel placed the conch shell to her ear and smiled, “It’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.” Her face lit up like a small child. “What’s she saying?” “She is begging to be set free. She is the voice of Adeline and her spirit is trapped inside. She was once a Siren Queen.” She took the shell back from her granddaughter and tucked it under her arm while she sifted through a pile of papers before her.
“So, I’m guessing that’s one of the two artifacts?” “It is indeed child. It is indeed.” She snapped her fingers then went to an old trunk in the far corner. “Ah, this is it.” She said as she took a small crusted anchor from it. “This is Niko’s. ” She shook her head, “Poor desperate old fisherman. Did all that dirty work for a Siren who could never fall in love wit him.” She laughed as she slammed the trunk closed.
“Now what do we do?” Emmanuel asked as she followed her grandmother back into the kitchen. “I take these to St Michael’s up the road, you have to go and bring back Sh’eenaz tail and meet me there so we can get them blessed before Christmas morn.’
Emmanuel took her keys from her pocket, “Where would one find a Sh’eenaz tail? The fish market?” “You close child.” Her grandmother laughed as the two went out the back-door together. Emmanuel looked down and saw the plate her grandmother had handed out the door earlier and saw what appeared to be a finger. She scrunched up her face then chased after her grandmother.
“You need to go to Bremervoord’s Fish Market. In the office is a shadowbox of a framed mermaid’s tail. You need to grab it and bring it to St Michael’s.” “I didn’t know I’d become a thief.” “No its no theft, we’ll bring it back once the spell in complete.” “Yeah, but I’m pretty sure old man Bremmervoord doesn’t know.” Emmanuel’s grandmother laughed aloud. “He should be gone home by now. You just have to sweet talk his grandson Cash. You can do that, just flutter them lashes and tell him I sent you.”
Emmanuel rolled her eyes as she walked towards her car, “Oh yeah, cuz that always works. Who does she think I am Lokey?” She groaned.
Aubree, Emie and Lea stood at the car looking back at the house. “This sucks, we were going to the championships next month.” Aubree grumbled. “Well, now we’re down two swimmers.” Emie said. “Two?” Lea asked. “Yeah, I mean Lilith can’t go out in public anymore and Emmanuel lives here and we don’t have a home anymore.” She replied.
They looked up as Ruby and may come out of the house with Raven and a heavily shrouded Lilith followed. “Emmanuel came through. Her grandmother can do a temporary spell so we can get out of town and start a new life. She’s starting the ritual and Emmanuel is getting the last item she needs.
Lilith snarled, “then we’re all just gonna live all happily ever-after?” Raven rolled her eyes and they all took one last look at the house.
Emmanuel’s grandmother stood at the alter in a dark rode she looked up at the doors of the church flew open and the siren’s entered. She smiled, “Emmanuel should be here soon.” She looked at Lilith. “Bet you’ve never seen anything like us before, have you?” Lilith hissed. Emmanuel’s grandmother grinned, “Oh, if only.” She replied as a bloody Emmanuel entered the church, carrying the mermaid’s tail.
“Child, where’s the frame it was in?”
“Memé, the agents came they killed Cash and they’ll be here soon.” She groaned. Her grandmother looked and saw blood oozing from her granddaughter. She took the tail and placed it with the other items then glanced at Lilith. She smiled, “Gimme your hand!” She demanded then cut the palm with the dagger on the table. She let the blood from the wound ooze out onto the table then over the artifacts and began to chant.
The doors of the church flew open and two agents stormed inside. Lilith snatched her hand away from Emmanuel’s grandmother and tossed off her coverings. She was nearly all Siren if not for the two legs she raced towards the agents on. As she jumped on top of one of the agents she yelled back at Emmanuel’s grandmother. “Do not stop, not matter…” she shouted then been into the throat of the agent pinned beneath her. As she stood the other agent held a gun at her. She held up her hand to stay the others. “Raven you were right. You must tend to what is left of the clan.” She smiled and looked back at Emmanuel’s grandmother. “I knew you needed my blood for the spell and to restore your granddaughter’s life. Now I shed the rest to seal it.” She shouted then turned to the agent as she shot her. She fell onto the agent and bit into her throat.
Emmanuel stood with her grandmother who continued to chant and an iridescent haze rose from the items and filled the room just as four more agents entered. The haze faded and Emmanuel’s grandmother took the blood from the alter and placed it on Emmanuel’s wound. “You must go with your sister. One day we will speak and I will tell you all that I have not shared before. Don’t worry for the agents….” The church bells chimed to signal the Midnight call. The spell had been completed before Christmas day. She took in a deep breath then nodded as the girls held hands and walked past the agents, completely undetected.