#2138

Sometimes I am Scylla and sometimes I am Charybdis and sometimes I am the thin strip of safe water between them with teeth snapping on one side and vortex gaping on the other but most days I just hope I survive, it doesn’t much matter how, and I often wonder what it would be like to be a monster so hideous and fierce that everyone avoids you, so insatiable you become synonymous with certain death, and it occurs to me that I don’t think I’d mind trading my humanity for the ability to swallow down the world until either it left me alone or there was nothing left in it to eat, that’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me, so uh do I submit an application or do I need to get myself cursed by a witch or what?

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#2037

here is your trident and here is your scepter

“Miss Draye,” the captain removed his hat politely as he approached the group of women clustered on deck, “I must ask you ladies to stay below for your own safety. The deck of a ship in battle is no place for a woman.” Victoria Draye, bravest and boldest of the young women traveling on the Valiant, pursed her lips and took a step forward to place herself between the captain and the girls.

“I truly appreciate your concern, Captain,” she offered, gesturing out to the ships gathered round their own like vultures, “but it seems you are vastly outnumbered with little hope of victory. We will not sit idly by and wait for our capture; we will succeed in defending our lives in combat or take them beyond the reach of our captors. Now,” she gestured impatiently with the hand not holding her pistol, “have you firearms for my companions or not?”

here is your charm to lure the men closer

“Be brave, my friends,” Victoria handed each girl a borrowed pistol, locking eyes with each for a second of camaraderie and comfort. Some took the proffered weapon stoically, others with much hesitance. She showed them how to load and fire, then pointed out to the circling ships trading cannon fire with the Valiant. “Remember, these are not normal privateers, and if this ship is taken we shall not be freed or ransomed. The fate that awaits us is much, much worse, and it is better to die defending ourselves than to be captured. Do you understand what must be done?” One by one, the girls nodded assent and readied their guns.

here is your kingdom of water and death

“Little girl, you had better set down that pistol or you’ll bleed all over that pretty dress,” The enemy captain, just moments ago congratulating himself on an easy prize, was quickly growing irritated by the young women clustered at the side of the Valiant’s deck. Each held a pistol to ward off the pirates, though clearly only the ringleader knew how to handle one. Still, none of his men would risk a possible lucky shot when they knew the ladies were their’s already.

“If you insist, then I suppose I must obey,” Victoria feigned regret as she carefully placed her pistol on the deck between them. As she rose, she stepped quickly backward to come in line with the other girls, scooping up a small cannonball as she went. Together, as if they had rehearsed it a hundred times, the girls moved back and sat upon the railing. Victoria climbed onto the railing itself, light as a gull. “We shall not be coming with you, though” she said, and before any of the men could move the girls had shot themselves, their bodies falling back into the cold water below. Victoria lifted her chin, stared down the captain, and stepped off into nothing.

here is your vengeance in immortal myth

James struggled to row the launch on his own, though he was still grateful the captain had loaned it without question. Most of the crew knew only bits and pieces of his mad quest, but he had had to tell the entire story to the captain in order to explain why he wanted to go alone. In the distance the ship’s lanterns bobbed and swayed, a comforting presence; besides the gleam of starlight, the tiny launch sat in darkness. James took a deep breath to steady his nerves, then called out softly, “Victoria? …Tori?”

here is your trident and here is your scepter
here is your charm to lure the men closer
here is your kingdom of water and death
here is your vengeance in immortal myth

The water around the launch began to foam and roil. James grasped the sides, searching for the source of the disturbance. Something approached, something from deep in the water…

“Jamey? My little Jamey James, is that you? My, how you’ve grown!”

James spun around. His sister rested her elbows on the edge of the launch, floating as calmly and prettily in the icy water as any sea creature. She looked just as he remembered, though her skin was a pale gray and her dark hair hung in wet strands. He thought something seemed… off… about her torso, too, as if it were much longer than it should be, and her pupils took up far too much of her eyes. Her teeth, too – were they always that sharp?

“Sis…” James let out the breath he had been holding as all around the boat girls rose smiling from the water, all lovely and strange as his sister. He wiped away sudden tears and took his sister’s cold, webbed hand in his own. “How I’ve missed you!”

#1822

You haunt me, monstress! First my dreams and now in literature. What do you wish of me, why do you call to me from your prison in the dark depths? You make the saltwater in my blood rush like the tide; you stir the wreckage of ships and ocean liners buried in the silt of my stomach. Do you need your story told, perhaps? Has your tale been so twisted through the years that you crave retribution, if only in the form of the truth written somewhere, anywhere, for someone to find? There’s so little trace of you left in song or myth after all these years, so you must fill in the gaps for me. I am good at telling the monster’s story, and I will tell yours if you need. I am not afraid to be pulled down into the whirlpool if you are not afraid to show me your true form.

#1800

I wake with salt water in my throat and Charybdis curling my tongue, so thirsty I feel like I’m going crazy, I need to swallow the sea, swallow the world.

Charybdis. 

Charybdis.

Charybdissss…

I wonder – if you were changed back, returned to the fair body for which you longed, would you be happy? Or would the insatiable beast still live inside you, like the woman lived inside the beast for so many millenia?

I think you would dream of shipwrecks. I think you would wake with blood between your teeth.