SIREN STORY SURGE continues! You can read about how it started here.
Please welcome our 7th SIREN AUTHOR, J.R. Murdock, writes with near reckless abandon. NaNoWriMo is one of his favorite times of the year. To date he's written 14 novels and hundreds of short stories. Some day he'll write something that will actually be read by those other than his family and pets. For 2012 he set out to write 450,000 words. A goal he set and surpassed!
Siren Story NUMBER 7 by J.R. Murdock
“Jimmy Joe, can you push that there log out the way?”
Jimmy and Bobby had been stuck in the swamp for two days. They’d run themselves out of gas and, after an incident with losing the oars, not had to resort to pushing their boat with a couple water-logged sticks. These weren’t the first ones they’d used as the first few proved to be too rotten to get the boat moving much faster than a baby gator swimming for its life.
“I’m tired Bobby. Can’t we just rest? I’m sure Pa is looking for us.”
“Jimmy Joe, I don’t care what you think about who might be coming to save us. Night is coming again and you know we runs us the risk of getting into some serious trouble. Get up off the floor of this boat and push that there log out of our way.”
Finally Jimmy did as he was bid and they were able to get close to dry ground. Bobby had been stuck out in this swamp for over a week and he could catch things if he needed and right now he was so hungry that he needed.
The boat pushed up onto the soft soil and Bobby hopped out with the tie rope. He secured it to a tree and motioned for Jimmy to hop off. It nothing else it felt good just to stand on ground, even if it wasn’t so firm.
“Look, we need to get us some food. The last thing we need to do is get so hungry we start seeing things that ain’t right. Uncle Fred got so hungry one time he started gnawing on Pa’s leg thinking it was some barbecue gator tail or something like that.”
“I thought he was just drunk.”
“Don’t matter none. Last thing I want is you going and gnawing on my leg.”
“What says I’m the one that’s going to gnaw on your leg? It sure don’t smell like no barbecue I ever ate. Maybe you’ll go all wrong in the head and try chewing my liver out or something.”
“Shut up, Jimmy Joe. We need to get us some eats so just listen. We can’t hear nothing if we don’t quit with the yammering and try to hear our dinner.”
Jimmy shut his mouth and Bobby put one hand to his ear and gave a listen. The distant splash of a fish too far away came from the North, but he had trouble making anything else out.
“Bobby, do you hear that?”
“What do you hear?”
Jimmy pointed off to the East. “Out that way. Like something crying.”
Bobby put his hand to his ear and strained to hear. Sure enough, it sounded like a baby crying. What fool would have a baby out in the swamp? It’d do nothing but scare away any game in the area.
“Wait, start yelling! Maybe they’ll hear us. Maybe Pa is out here trying to rustle us up. Pa! Pa! Over here!”
The two yelled for a time, and then Bobby gave another listen. The crying didn’t seem to have gotten any closer or further away.
“Bobby, I think that baby might be stranded out there.”
He slapped Jimmy in the back of the head. “Dummy, ain’t no one going to strand a baby out here. Quit being stupid.”
This time the crying did grow louder and it sounded like the baby was in pain.
“Get in the boat, we gots to get to that baby before something done eats it up.”
They got in the boat and pushed as hard as they could in the direction of the crying. They stopped several times to gain their bearings, but it never seemed to get any closer.
“Keep going. It’s gotta be over that-a-way.” Bobby put his stick in the ground and pushed a little too hard. His stick nearly snapped.
“I’m scared. It’s fixing to get dark soon. We need to find a place to hole up for the night.”
“And what about that baby, Jimmy Joe?”
“I don’t hear it no more.”
Bobby pulled his stick out of the water and motioned for Jimmy Joe to be silent. The crying had indeed stopped, but now it was replaced by what almost sounded like singing. It was a lullaby that sounded as if the singer had been drinking Uncle Bartie’s shine and gargled some swamp grass.
“What do you make of that? Ain’t no one living out this far.”
“Jimmy, jus be quiet.”
The water around them began to swirl. The singing changed from a lullaby to a chant. Bobby looked into the water and could see women swimming in the water. Beautiful women. He knelt to the bottom of the boat and reached down to touch one.
“Bobby, don’t do that! How you know them ain’t gators or snakes or something.”
To be honest, Bobby didn’t care. The singing called to him. He had to answer that call. He reached down to the water and one of the women swimming there reached up to him. The hand passed the surface and reached up toward his, but the skin that had looked so soft and lovely fell away as it passed into the air. Flesh had fallen away from the bone and two fingers were missing.
Bobby pulled his hand back and resisted the touch. “Jimmy Joe. We need to paddle and get out of here.”
“I’m trying, but this one’s got my stick. Help me Bobby!”
Jimmy pulled on the stick and before Bobby could tell his fool brother to let go, the boy disappeared over the edge of the boat.
“Jimmy!” Bobby raced to the side of the boat, but rather than see his brother in the water, he was a face with no eyes and sunken cheeks and skin the color of swamp grass coming up out of the water. Several sets of bony hands took hold of his shoulders and started to pull on him.
Bobby struggled to pull himself upright and free himself of their grasp, but skeletal fingers stabbed into his shoulders as he tried to pull free. The weight was too much and he flipped over the edge of the boat.
P.S.: This is the 7th Siren Story. If you want to indulge in more sirenness, here is Siren Story NUMBER 1, Siren Story NUMBER 2, Siren Story NUMBER 3, Siren Story NUMBER 4, Siren Story NUMBER 5, and Siren Story NUMBER 6.