Siren Song

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Red Writing Hood is the Friday prompt from Write On Edge, and here’s the prompt:

For Friday, let your character be inspired by music. It doesn’t have to be a specific song or genre, it doesn’t even have to exist anywhere outside your mind. Show us in 400 words or less how your character reacts to a piece of music. It can advance a story line or provide a character sketch–or both!

My post doesn’t quite advance a story line or sketch a character – it’s more of a snapshot of a world a story could exist in, I’d say.  This particular world reminds me a bit of something Sheri S. Tepper might set her story in.  If you haven’t read anything of hers, I recommend it.  I guarantee it’s better written than my prompt-response, and she draws you into the surreal worlds of her imagination amazingly.

Check out the other posts HERE, or submit your own.


The man struggled against his bonds, eyes wide and bloodshot.  He had been fighting desperately to escape since before dawn.

The captain watched him from the high deck, her deeply tanned face expressionless, her eyes shadowed.  She turned to her second and commented, “It’s good that you caught him when you did, Miss. Guthrie.”

“Seems like there are more each year trying to ‘take back the sea’, though I never expected one to try on your ship, Ma’am.”

The captain snorted.  “Ships are no place for men.”

Guthrie nodded agreement, the beads on her fine braids rattling faintly against each other.

“Maybe at one point,” the captain added musingly, bracing herself against the helm.  “Old ship logs indicate that, once, men were the seafarers.  In fact, most of the logs seemed to indicate that women on board would curse the voyage.”

Guthrie grinned, “I’d rather a cursed voyage than one that never made it to its destination, any day.  How’d’you suppose they did it?”

The man they had known as Miranda until a few short hours before thrashed and let loose a hoarse wail, tears coursing down his face.

“My guess is they’ve just gotten sillier over the generations, less able to cope.  I’m just glad we don’t hear those frequencies.”

“I read that the sirens might not have always been around,” Guthrie suggested, “That men used to be able to sail as easily as you or I.  Then again, the author was a man.”

The captain barked a laugh.  “Not exactly a scholarly work, then.”

Guthrie joined her in laughing, but her eyes were troubled as she watched the captive man.

“Might he be less affected if we moved him to the brig, Ma’am?”

“More likely, he’d be mad by the time we make port.  The water amplifies the Sirens’ song, or so it seems.”

The man let out an agonized screetch, his entire body pushing at his bonds, pushing towards water.

“What do you suppose it sounds like?” Guthrie asked wistfully.

“Not for us to know, gods willing.” She straightened herself up and passed the helm off to her second.

Guthrie took the wheel and turned her gaze out to the deep blue of the horizon, listening to the creak of timbers, the slap of waves against the hull, the fluttering snap of the sails.  That was the only music she needed.



  1. COOL!

    Love it. What a fantastical idea. I very much enjoy the mythical music connection that lead to the scene. Awesome.


  2. Brilliant! I love the direction this went, and the “song” at the end was audible from here. I would read more … 🙂

    • thanks! I was originally planning on leaving the only song as the one that neither character could actually hear, so I’m glad to hear that the song at the end fits.

  3. Love the abstract take on this prompt. How the water make things sound and finally in the end we learn “the song.”

  4. Love the twist. Finally, men put in their place 😉

    Interesting concept having sirens turn the men insane with their songs

    • The whole siren’s song thing has always been about how men are driven to go to the sirens, and usually die in the process… it would make sense, if they really existed, to replace the men with a crew that isn’t going to jump into the water when they sing 😛

  5. I like the twisting of the traditional gender roles, women as the fearless captains of the seas. Just a little thing, but I might capitalize the “c” in captain, as it seems to be her only moniker and such a term of respect on the ship.

    • good point, and yeah, I couldn’t imagine ‘The Captain’ as having any other name for most of the people in her life.

  6. I, too, love the play on gender roles! I always like unexpected elements to a story.

  7. Guthrie is a great name—also the first capital of Oklahoma.

  8. This world you created seems so solid, I could feel myself on that ship. Intriguing and I’d like to read more.

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