Finally! Rhonda Parrish’s volume four of her Magical Menageries series, titled Sirens, came out this week. The cover is spectacular.
Sirens are beautiful, dangerous, and musical, whether they come from the sea or the sky. Greek sirens were described as part-bird, part-woman, and Roman sirens more like mermaids, but both had a voice that could captivate and destroy the strongest man. The pages of this book contain the stories of the Sirens of old, but also allow for modern re-imaginings, plucking the sirens out of their natural elements and placing them at a high school football game, or in wartime London, or even into outer space.
Sixteen siren songs that will both exemplify and defy your expectations.
The reviews say things like “enthralling”, “poignant”, “fantastic voyage”, and my favorite, “grabby hands” so I look forward to savoring Sirens this weekend. Today’s guest post is by one of the contributing authors, Mr. Adam Bealby, who was kind enough to throw some words our way. So, the blog is yours Adam!
Hello folks! I’m Adam L. Bealby, author of The Fisherman’s Catch, a story in the rather splendid Sirens anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish. Anna’s kindly given me free rein to do a guest blog and I thought hey, let’s try something a bit different!
‘Carry on…’ is a game I play with my kids for a bit of fun and to encourage their creative muse. You start reciting a story, pause at a cliffhanger or crossroad, and say, “Carry on, carry on, carry on”. Someone else picks up the thread, finds a suitable handover point and passes it back with a second “Carry on, carry on, carry on”. You get the idea.
So, without further ado, I give you (a slightly polished version of)…
The Ugly Siren
by Adam L. Bealby (age 38) and Poppy Bealby (age 11)
A: There was once an ugly siren who was no good at magic glamours. Whenever a ship sailed by the other sirens would assume beautiful female forms in order to run the ship aground and devour its crew. But one look at the ugly siren and the sailors would sail in the opposite direction instead.
The other sirens weren’t very happy about this. They told the ugly siren to take herself down to the farthest end of their rocky peninsula, out of sight and out of mind.
One day, as the ugly siren was basking on her lonesome rock, a whaling ship happened along.
P: The sailors on the whaling ship were chasing a whale. One look at the ugly siren and the whale dived down to the ocean depths, never to be seen again. The sailors were very cross. Then they saw the ugly siren and they were very sick. Several of them puked in a bucket.
But one of the sailors wasn’t cross. And he didn’t puke in a bucket. He looked at the ugly siren and he saw the most beautiful creature in the world.
He was very upset when the captain gave the order to fire.
A: As the first mate made to release the harpoon the sailor pushed him out of the way. The metal stake bounced harmlessly off the rocks a few feet from the ugly siren.
The captain feared that this strange love sickness might spread to others in his crew, so he had the sailor thrown overboard.
As the ship sailed off towards the horizon the sailor dragged himself up out of the water and sat beside the ugly siren on her rock.
P: They got to talking and soon fell in love. The ugly siren realised that the sailor liked her for who she was, not what she looked like. She took him to the other side of the rocks to introduce to the other sirens. In truth she wanted to show off her catch. But when her sisters woke up licking their chops she realised her mistake.
A: Fortunately, the other sirens didn’t like the look of dinner. They’d never seen an uglier human before! He was so ugly they felt sick to the gills. So sick that they puked in a bucket.
With all this fishy spewing going on the sailor made good his escape. He was convinced that the ugly siren had led him into a trap. He jumped into the sea and began to swim away.
P: The ugly siren jumped in and caught up with him. She took the sailor in her arms and tried to explain away the misunderstanding with a big salty kiss. It occurred to her that she had used her powers without realising it, casting a glamour over the sailor to save him from the other sirens. She was so happy!
But the sailor didn’t believe her fishy story. He struggled to get away, and as he did so he drowned.
The grieving siren clawed out the sailor’s heart and let his body sink to the ocean floor. She went back to her lonesome rock and there she stayed the rest of her days.
And when she got very lonely she gave that heart a little squeeze, to remind her that someone, long ago had recognised her inner beauty.
Adam L. Bealby writes fantasy, horror and weird fiction for both adults and children. His short stories and comic work have been published in numerous anthologies, including Pagan (Zimbell House Publishing), Darkness Abound (Migla Press), Once Upon A Scream (HorrorAddicts.net), Sirens (World Weaver Press) and World Unknown Review Vol. 2. He lives in Worcestershire, UK with his wife and three children, and a harried imagination. Catch up with his latest ravings at @adamskilad.
Poppy Bealby is in her last year of primary school and enjoys writing and skyping.
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