Wings of a Siren
Song of the Siren
Dragon Soul Press 05/30/2023
Come take a dive.
From sirens, mermaids, selkies, and more, these tales of the deep will tug at your heartstrings. Love can warm the iciest waters, but revenge is best served cold. Watery graves await for those who push boundaries or stray too far.
Features stories by J.M. Rhineheart, Emma K. Leadley, K. Parr, Andria Kennedy, Fred Phillips, Barend Nieuwstraten III, Claire Davon, Nicholas Nethery, A.D. Watts, Toni Mobley, D.L. Lewellyn, Rienne French, Seth Taylor, Derek Kho, Anwen Redlake, and D.R. Birdsall.
“You may find these to your liking.” The hovering clerk stood close by, his manner bordering on obsequious.
“Hmm,” Thelma said, sniffing at the merchandise on a nearby rack. The wing coverings were grey with white tipped feathers, perhaps taken from a seagull. She waved a dismissive hand at the offering. “No. That is not for me. I want something more…distinctive.”
Thelma fixed the clerk with a haughty stare. He scurried to another rack, where feathers dipped in dye were grouped together. The 25% off sign in the center of the rack showed that not many of her kind desired dyed feathers. She thought back to her last sister who turned up in such a contraption. Anemone may still have the silly get-up somewhere, but she never brought it out in public. The wing coverings were in a corner out of the way of the other, more traditional human costumes. After a decade in the business, this place had gained a reputation of carrying items for the discerning siren.
“Thelma, what about these ones?”
Her friend Peta, was holding up a promising collection of dotted brown feathers that made an arresting image indeed. She tilted her head and mentally fit the rig over her tatty wings and then shook her head.
“I don’t want something that matches my hair color, sister,” she said, her voice sliding down a minor scale in a gentle reproof. “I want something that complements me and stands out, while still being tasteful.”
Peta had the kind of beauty that some referred to as handsome rather than pretty. She also had shoddy wings, with ratty feathers, the tendons giving them structure but little else.
When Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter gave the sirens wings to help search for her daughter, whom the women counted as a friend. It proved impossible to find Persephone in the underworld. When they failed, Demeter showed no mercy, and cursed the sirens to have shabby wings. Although that curse had faded over time, the older ones still showed the evidence of their punishment.
“You are too picky, Thelma,” Peta said.
“I merely know what I want.”
How the owner got the idea to provide them with wing sheaths Thelma was not sure, but five months ago her closest rival Melanie had revealed magnificent coverings that gave her wings the sweep and radiance of blue plumage. Melanie wasted no time in showing them off to all who came around. Thelma sniffed at the conceit at the time, thinking it would fade away.
“It’s almost always near to impossible to meet your demands.” Again Peta spoke in a compassionate manner. Theirs was an old friendship, in the way of childhood friends.
“High standards should always be striven for.” Thelma’s retort was off-hand as she continued to examine the collection.
Thelma had watched as one by one her sisters had turned up with similar mechanisms. They went from being an oddity to a sensation. As much as she hated to admit it, she had been outdone. But that would not stand. She would find the superior set. Demeter’s curse may have faded, but the younger sirens alone benefited. The older ones, like her, still had wings that were poor, disheveled things. Melanie had tried to get Thelma to join her in the costuming, but she had refused. Until now.