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SIREN SONG (CHAPTER 20)

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STORIES

Dihaan!

12/16/20236 min read

“But that makes no sense.” Vienna blurted out.

“No, Vienna, what makes no sense is the fact that you made me think we were friends and then you just… ghost me? That’s not right! You’re the first person I’ve solidarized with. And I told you everything you had to know about me, about Evelyn and Elswyth.” Elliot trotted out, seeming frustrated. “It’s not your fault. I get the…the mutiny… threw you off. But you could’ve at least talked to me.”

“I’m sorry, but I didn’t know what to do!” Vienna replied defensively. But she did feel shitty for what she’d done. “You’re planning a mutiny against your sister, Elliot. That’s not right, either.”

“I know it isn’t.” Elliot said. “But I have my reasons.”

Vienna opened her mouth to reply but Elliot shook his head.

“I’ll tell you all of them. It started out last year, as a joke of sorts. Something for kicks. I was never really going to go through with it. Heck, we didn’t even have any communication with other worlds to go through with it. I was the only one who knew at first, I made it all up using a map and thumbtacks, like a kid playing at pirates. Then I started therapy, on Evelyn’s request. Both Evelyn and I had to meet this Siren three days a week, individually, and talk to them about everything that had impacted us that day. I… started opening up to my therapist. I told her about my childhood neglect, the fact that Elswyth had never given me the care I wanted, the fact that Elswyth hadn’t cared for how we would feel about moving from Terra to Niflheim. I’d been depressed all my teen life, or so my therapist had said, but it was the subdued kind. My stupid vents are the result of my therapy- that’s why I keep talking shit about Elswyth. And then I turned 15. Elswyth began forcing me into more suits, more balls, and more manners. I had to start hunting, I had to always wear crowns, and I had to be the very perfect prince to ever exist. I finally knew I was done when her expectations soared. I was so done with her, I wanted to make her feel some of the hurt I’d felt all my life. First the neglect, then her high standards, and now the oppression. I felt like I should revolt.”

“…so you made a plan.” The words escaped her lips slowly. She didn’t know what to feel.

“I won’t go into details. It’s too complicated. I established a network, a form of communication with the Sol Dynastia. I was feeling everything out, trying to see where it would go. The maps and notes you saw, they were my final plan.”

“What do you even intend to do?” Vienna asked, utterly at a loss for words.

“That’s up to them.” Elliot said coldly, his grey eyes even darker than usual, almost charcoal. “I’ve signed them over with anything they want that doesn’t include loss of life or direct destruction. I’m not into that. I just want to show her I’m capable of so much more than being her little puppet prince.”

“But, Elliot…”

“Vienna. You said you understood me. You said we were friends. You can’t break that now. You know what it feels like to hurt. I might seem different, but inside…we’re just the same, you and I.”

***

What was that?

JUST WHAT WAS THAT?

Elliot’s words had shaken her to the core. She didn’t know how she’d staggered out but she had done it, she’d bid him good night and she’d ran out, and now she was here on a hill, looking out at the starless dusk sky while the silhouette beside her sat in the dim violet light, seemingly content.

“I’m sorry for not telling you anything, but you know it was a secret.” It was all Vienna could do to keep her words steady after her confrontation of Elliot. She was torn between two sides, one of which told her to spill everything to Elswyth, and the other which was calm, cool, and told her to keep it bottled up. She’d done it before. She could do it now. She’d made friends. She felt accepted for who she was. Here she wasn’t that random girl who wrote stupid poems, who had a book underway but was still awkward, rude and clumsy. She wasn’t that girl who shied away from people, she wasn’t that girl who had no manners, she wasn’t that random chick who acted like she was above everyone, she wasn’t that sister who treated her brother like trash, she wasn’t losing all her friends here, she didn’t feel like her friends were leaving her because, damn, that was stupid, why didn’t she feel content with just herself? She wasn’t judged for her black curls or the fact that she was putting on weight or the fact that she cared about her appearance, she didn’t have to worry about what people thought about her or her clothes or her personality or her opinions. She didn’t have to let go of her dreams for somebody else’s, she didn’t have to be the best because nobody judged her for what they were, nobody told her she should stop singing because her voice sounded too masculine, or that her nose was way too sharp, or that her legs were like cow’s legs, she didn’t have to hear comments about her skin or her nails or her eyes.

Damn it, she liked it here.

She felt like herself. She wanted to stay here.

Was that bad?

Of course it was. Her family was back in Terra. Her friends. Her relatives. Everything she knew. She had grown up there.

Why couldn’t have she have her perfect story? Her happy ending? Where was the happily ever after for girls like her?

Thrown into situations she wasn’t meant to handle.

Why did she have to make the choice? Why couldn’t she have both?
“Look, Vy.” Dimitri started, still looking off into the dimly lit sky. “You don’t have to feel sorry for not telling me everything that’s going on in your life. It’s alright, because we have separate lives, don’t we? You have the right to keep information to yourself.”

Vienna smiled. Her friends could always cheer her up somehow. It was magical, in a way that could make the darkest day light up.

“Do I also have the right to remain silent?”

Dimitri snickered. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in court.”

Vienna face-palmed, laughing. “Where’d you even read that? I thought you wouldn’t get the reference.”

“I live, breath, and chew Danika Hahn.” Dimitri proclaimed proudly. Vienna burst out laughing.

“That’s not even how the saying goes, pridurok.” Vienna snickered.

“How’d you learn that word? I thought you wouldn’t get that reference.” Dimitri asked, moved to laughter himself.

“As they say, I am a bit of a genius.”

They laughed until they couldn’t anymore and then headed home, the violet sky transforming them into godly beings who perhaps, just for once, might have the power to change their own fates.

***

Since the talk with both Dimitri and Elliot, she’d felt giggly, gleeful and cheery, and then burdened, shivery, and guilty. Vienna didn’t know how one person could feel so much simultaneously, but she’d burst if she didn’t tell anybody.

And she knew the perfect person to tell.

Vienna was a firm believer in the motto: “bad news first, then good news to gloss it over.” But she suspected that Elliot’s plan wasn’t really something to gloss over, so she started with the good news, which she lied about a bit at the point when she had to tell Lynn exactly what she had hidden from Dimitri, but Lynn giggled all the same when Vienna recapped his ‘Danika Hahn quip’.

“Mit is such a nerd.” Lynn laughed. “Sounds like you two are really good friends.”
“Lynn!” Vienna made as if to swat her contemporary and Lynn ducked, now in a proper fit of laughter.

“I’m right though.” Evelyn spat in between fits of laughter. “Like I always am.”

“Mother’s always right.” Vienna laughed nervously. Now that the good news was over, she would have to break the terrible part. Evelyn obviously must’ve already known it, but her face was alabaster white by the time Vienna finished her morbid tale. She feared she had taken it too far, that Evelyn’s asthma must have kicked in and that she would suffocate and possibly even die, but Evelyn only took a few whiffs of her advanced Brandy Rose-colored inhaler, which sent up puffs of blue smoke into the misty air in Evelyn’s room. The detail had always been amusing to Vienna, but now she found it serious and mystic.

Evelyn looked like she was on the verge of discovering all the world’s terrible secrets when she spoke again.

“It was time you found out, Vienna.”