Writing Catalog

Jennifer Satnic

Grade: 12


Instructor: Cristian Satnic

Oh Sailor Boy

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Oh Sailor Boy

In the cerulean, boundless sea,
far beyond any shore or semblance of land,
sailed a pirate captain with a voice regal, euphonious,
and rich beyond all wealth.
As he voyaged the waves
with a ship of snow-white sails
and golden-kissed oak,
he sang ballads that carried far over the water;
songs of love and war
and poetic tragedy of every kind.
However, among his crew,
there was not one who could match his voice,
nor did any dare try
for fear of tainting his heavenly gift
with their husky voices of earth.
So the months drudged by,
spent sailing the sea through storm and serenity
with only the captain's song
as their guiding north star.
As he led his ship through seas
both serene and teeming with peril,
there was no song to be heard,
no voice serenading the sea,
other than his own -
until a voice one dawn called back
from amidst the sea itself.

Ears alight with the silver song,
the captain craned over the side
and was met with a head of flaming hair
and wide golden eyes like the dimming sun
gazing up at him in glee.
A siren, a chorist of the sea,
a creature blessed by God Himself
with a voice rivaling the angels;
such a heavenly being
was regaling his ship out of all others
with her gift.
"Oh," cried he,
"Too long it has been
since I've heard another's call accompany mine!
What a joy it is to be honored
with hearing the song of a siren!"
The siren laughed,
"You flatter me, sir,
Your words are too high
and too mighty for me,
for it is I who should praise you;
your song is of a kind that I have not heard
in all my years of travel in these waters.
I am the honored one,
to sing a duet with such a voice!"
The captain,
near ready to make a reply,
head ablur with the praise
and mind dizzy with delight,
stretched a hand out with no mind,
but the siren dipped back into the depths
with a laugh reminiscent of bells
that seemed to promise she would return.

And return she did,
for most of the days that followed,
but never tailing his ship
for more than a sun's course across the sky.
Often, when the siren joined them
as his ship was anchored,
the captain took to boarding a lifeboat
and meeting her in the sea,
each despising the distance between them,
but each unwilling to say so.
So they would meet
at the intersection of their worlds
like two lovers with love forbidden,
blurring the lines
with their heavenly voices
that flew up above to the ship's deck.
There, the crew would catch snippets
of her song,
his laugh,
both too pure for that cruel world.
She seemed to be content
with only the captain's company -
the audience to his songs,
the vessel for his musings,
the voice of silver
that wove with his voice of gold,
dizzyingly blended as one.
Yes - the siren had taken to their captain,
but the crew were simply happy
that he no longer had to sing alone.
On those days,
they could spot them both:
fire-red hair floating in the waves,
cross-legged form in the lifeboat's bow,
sometimes lingering 'till the stars
peeked from their silver shrouds
and kissed the waves beneath
with crystal light.

"How is it," the siren asked
as she rested on one such night,
"that you do not live on the land?
I would imagine
that you humans cannot bear
to be parted from home long,
but yet, here you are,
divided from your birthland
and all your people."
The captain hummed,
"My answer is, I believe,
the same as yours might be:
the land is not my home,
just as it could never be yours.
The sea is my only home,
more than any other place has been,
and the people on this ship
and those in the water beside it
make it so."
The siren could not find
words right to reply,
so she disappeared beneath the surface
with a flustered laugh,
leaving the captain alone
to smile at the stars above;
the audience to his love.

Up on the deck,
the crew lounged,
the day's journey done for the night.
They convened 'round the lanternlight,
retelling old stories
in between intakes of ale.
The first mate,
dear friend to the captain,
sat to the side,
neglected sword in hand
crying out for the sharpening
he had long since abandoned.
his eyes were not on the blade,
or his sharpening tools,
but on the water
and the ghost of
a two-part harmony
from hours earlier
still traveling over it.

"A human
and a siren,"
said a gunner,
tracking the other's eyes.
"Such a tale has never before
been conceived."
The first mate smiled,
support in his gaze,
at last turning from the water.
He hummed,
"Then I suppose
we'll have quite the tale to tell:
the angel from above
and the human from below.
Such a thing
will undoubtedly be passed down
for years to come."
"No one would believe such a thing
came about by mere chance,"
countered the other.
The first mate laughed;
an earthen sound of auburn
compared to that of his captain.
"Because there was no chance
laced in this encounter,
my friend.
Their meeting truly could not have been
anything short of heavenly design."
The gunner scoffed,
turning away.
the first mate gazed back
at the water once more,
another smile crossing his face.
He was merely happy
that his old friend
no longer had to sing alone.

The days dragged by.
The crew's journeys were ever long,
stretching on before them
and fading in the distance,
but the captain did not mind,
for the siren continued to return
with news of nearby ships
or close shores at which to land -
but always with a song on her lips.
And so they sailed joyfully on,
the siren as their angel -
his angel -
sent from heaven to join them-
until the day she arrived far too late.

That fateful noon
as the siren cut through the waves,
hair tangling in the current,
breaking the surface,
she was met with horror:
flames licking at the captain's vessel,
shouts choking the air,
smoke polluting her lungs
and poisoning her very being.
Her face paled;
beyond his ship sailed another,
raining fire on its victim,
raining death on its prey.
As she watched,
an unwilling audience to their slaughter,
a single shot shattered the air.
As she watched,
a useless bystander in their world,
a figure toppled from the deck far above
with arms outstretched.
A fallen angel,
dropping through the ether like a stone
to sink into the depths below.
Darting through water as an arrow,
the siren dove to be their savior.
as she reached the fallen soldier
cast from the cruelty of battle,
a cry broke from her lips
to bubble in the water around her;
for the fallen was none other than
her dear captain.

The siren flew to the surface,
breathing air laced with death,
the captain held in her arms,
red blooming from his chest
and painting the waves.
His dim half-moon eyes,
once so alive with golden light,
found her face,
shaking arm wiping her tears
as the worst of smiles broke his lips
before his arm fell,
never to rise again.
The siren's wondrous voice was not meant
to be spent on horrid grief,
but she wailed still,
mourning her love that was lost
to the sea they both called home.

That was the day,
they say,
that the siren forsook her blessing,
the day that she ceased to be a heavenly muse
and instead transformed into a being of horror,
no longer using her voice to awe,
but as a weapon to lure
and ensnare sailors in a watery grave
in the hopes that one day,
revenge will be dealt,
and she will find the one
who took from her
her love.