❝My family lives near the siren camp. One day, we will learn how they make their strange blue fires, the Seaflame that burns even underwater.❞
For now, we must respect the boundaries and the danger they pose to us. We go through the world deafened by cotton and soft wax in our ears, so they may sing without ensnaring us. We learn to speak to each other with the hand signs one of my grandfathers, who has long lost his hearing, teaches us, and develop it further, for they are mostly old soldiers’ signs. We go out paired with our hounds, who alert us to what we cannot or do not notice with one of our senses so restrained.
And we never, ever swim in the waters, never even approach the shores without a partner on the watch, ready to pull us out of the clutches of any sirens who become hungry. Bathing is done using the streams that lead into the loch or the rainwater we collect.
For all that they can and will eat us, given the opportunity, they are not bad neighbours. They do not bother us if we do not bother them, their presence keeps us safe from other trouble (for their songs lure and trap the monsters of the woods beyond the plainslands just as well as they do humans), and they trade us fish and kelp and other bounties of the sea for the things we make, like combs and baskets and nets, for they seem to be fascinated by our tools and craftsmanship.
And one day, one day, they will trust us enough to share the secret to, and a spark of, their Seaflame, and we will never suffer the cold and wet of winter again.
Fictober is a challenge where writers respond to a prompt a day for the whole of October.
This year's prompts are from Deep Water Prompts on tumblr.
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