calm sea during golden hour



This is the first chapter of my book which I will publish once it gains public recognition. I would love some support from my viewers as it helps a young writer, yours truly, out, and it would also assist me in my writing journey. Thank you!


Dihaan Khan~

7/9/20236 min read

Siren Song

Chapter One

As Vienna watched, the oblong maroonish sun dived down into the smooth overlapping waves of the sea, merging the sky, sea and sun together in a blissful, glowing harmony.

The sky was sprayed across with orange, pink, and yellow, and all sky colours exotica. No clouds scudded along the salty sea breeze, presumably all home to wherever they went home to, in the bosom of a cloud Heaven. It was such a mesmerizing sight that for a moment, she lingered, watching the sky, glued to the wooden balcony railing, a lone ebony silhouette in the oblivion of the majestic seaside, until the call of the sirens drew her back in. They are commanding, demanding, authorative, gray spirits ambling around the gray air arbitrarily. There are perhaps 3 of them this time- somehow it is hard to tell, they move so strangely that all you can see of them is a circuitous blur. Their eyes are wholly white, giving them the expression of blindness, but whether this is true, Vienna does not know. When any of them speak, all the others’ mouths unhinge and drop to their ribs in synchronization, huge voids of terrifying black, wide open as their unearthly voices issue forth.

“Vienna Alcestis Hawthorne of the earth-dwelling semi-mortals, you have been summoned to Niflheim.”

Their mouths slowly slide shut, like garage doors on well oiled hinges. They wait, bobbing up and down, which would seem rather comical if they weren’t so menacing.

Vienna tries to process the information, her mind racing as she stands there in the treehouse, on the unstable planks of grey wood. Semi mortal is the only word that leaves a lasting impression- she’s never known anything else than being human- gosh, she’s never known anything else outside the wide wacky world of normal. Her thoughts streaming through her head like Shanghai Maglev trains, she brings to mind the first time these ethereal spirits had revealed themselves to her.

It had been perhaps 5 months ago, in the frigid nips of December weather. Overwhelmed by the cold and frost, the night had arrived early, and it was 8:00 pm when Vienna had been turning in for an early night, almost asleep under her sheets when the strange unnerving siren song first beckoned. It was a series of wails, high pitched but somehow bizarrely beautiful, tugging at the heartstrings. It lured her, the tune strangely ethereal and magnetic, inviting, calling from outside the heavily rimed window.

She had gotten up, bewildered, and walked to the closed window, a single, huge square of tempered glass, obstructed by the rime and frost. Wiping a sphere in the middle of the window with the sleeve of her wool sweater, she peered outside, knowing she was not feline but still disappointed with the poor eyesight her eyes provided her with.

The outer landscape was bleak, ivory snow coating the land like a wide spread shroud, a dark expanse of sky stretched above it, sprayed with glowing constellations of which she recognized only a few. Tall spruces and firs trees flanked the wide clearing outside their house like guardians, comforting and old. There was no one out there but snow, dancing around in the form of elaborately tailored intricate flakes. No clouds were visible. Nothing was.

Until she saw them.

Floating around in the dark, abstract shapes too enigmatic to even comprehend. Hooded black figures, ragged odd spirits forming a cult like circle. She stared at them for a while, frozen. Suddenly, the spirits instaneously looked up at her, and she took in their wide blank eyes, seemingly blind, and their bony jaws. Scared out of her wits, Vienna rolled to the side and flattened herself along the wall after snatching shut the plaid beige curtains, her heart racing along triple-time.

“This is not happening right now.” She whispered under her breath, her voice sounding ethereal in the silence. She wasn’t even sure whether what she had seen was real, it had been so dark out, and perhaps she was dreaming. She had never seen anything like this before, and was duly horrified. Vienna couldn’t even call out because no one was home- her parents were out at a dinner, her younger brother out at a sleepover with his kiddie friends, and oh dear God, she was alone with these-these ghostly apparitions-

She was in a full scale panic when she felt a cold wave, cutting her down to the bone, went through her. She wavered, and fell back against the wall. When she looked up, however, her nerves were to be tested further.

The spirits were now in her room.

Hovering around, examining the large, airy beige bedroom, their blank eyes widening as they noticed the golden fairy lights strung up on the walls, the LED strips changing colour, chattering to each other in a language she didn’t understand, all sibilant hisses.

Thinking herself dramatic even in this situation, she clamped her hands over her mouth and surveyed them silently as they floated around the room leisurely. Self- judgement was a skill she had grown to master, and judging others was something she never had to learn- it was primal human nature.


But the endeavours of the spirits were strange, acting like middle school girls, full of awe at everything they saw. As she thought about it, despite their appearance, their demeanour was more odd than terrifying, really.

“Excuse me, er, unknown specters I see in my room.” She blurted out in a moment of valiance. “Not to be rude, but can I help you with anything?”

She played the words over in her mind, and to her it seemed like it was spoken with all the casual idiotic elegance of a 14 year old British teenager, which she was.

The phantoms instantly ceased movement and in a single sweeping formation, came before her and bobbed up and down, staring at her enigmatically.

“We come from Niflheim, Vienna Alcestis Hawthorne.” Vienna watched their jaws unhinge, in wonder and fear. “We take shelter from the fury of the moon. Perhaps you do not know us, we are the Guardians of Niflheim and occasional roamers of Terra, we are created of smoke and we are far superior than any puny mortal. You are a mortal, of course, Vienna Alcestis?”

“Yes.” She replied, her mind already processing the information, slightly daunted by the ethereal power and manner of these specters, or Guardians of whatever they were. Or maybe she was daunted by the fact that she was most probably going mad, or hallucinating. Any of them.

“Very well.” They say in unison, mouths voids of universes. “We know your name, but now you shall know ours.”

“We are known as Perimetri Custodes, or the Perimeter Guards in Niflheim. On Terra, however, we are not known at all, but you, Vienna Alcestis, might call us the Sirens.”

“Sirens.” Vienna said under her breath, tasting the word. It felt feathery on her tongue, and though she had said the word before, this time it seemed new, to have a new meaning, a mystical ring to it.

“And now we must say goodbye, Vienna Alcestis.” The Sirens said, looking up in sync mysteriously, as if hearing something Vienna didn’t. “May you live a wondrous afterlife shielded from the horrors of the Sun and the Moon, and may your days be voids of black where nothing interrupts, not even the deciders of dawn and dusk. This shall not be the last time we see you, Vienna Alcestis, so be on your guard.”

With these words, the Sirens immaterialized, with no words or vortex. Gone, leaving Vienna in a speechless wake. She had met improbable specters who feared the Sun and Moon, gotten to know them, and watched them disappear.

She was going mad, Vienna decided stiffly, and climbed into bed, leaving her mind to doubt the past half hour’s incidents until 3:00 am, when sleep finally came, and she embraced it welcomingly, awaking the next morning with the vaguest of memories of the incident.

She saw the Sirens 5 more times over the course of three months.

They visited her once in high school, twice when she was in the library with friends (leaving Emilie, Faye and Sarah to stare at her like she was strange, which must have been evident because she was smiling into thin air), and twice when she was at home baking or gaming with her younger brother Asher. She didn’t much mind by then, and considered them something like those fairy godmothers princesses had in stories except 1. She wasn’t a princess and 2. The Sirens weren’t fairies. They were much less pretentious and more unnatural, though she had gotten used to them by now.

That day, she hadn’t been thinking about them at all. Their visits had lessened over the days, and she had almost forgotten about them. She had been volunteering as lifeguard at West Wittering Beach as a replacement for her cousin who worked shifts there, and after a day of shimmying children away from the red zones, she had climbed up the precarious wooden steps to the small treehouse from where the lifeguard kept watch, her elbows on the railing, her eyes on the sunset.

And now we spiral back to the present…