The Write Practice

The Online Writing Workbook

Siren [words on wednesdays]

The word of the week is:

Siren

Definition:

Noun:

  1. a device that makes a loud prolonged signal or warning sound
  2. Greek Mythology each of a number of women or winged creatures whose singing lured unwary sailors on to rocks.
  3. a woman who is considered to be alluring or fascinating but also dangerous in some way.
  4. an eel-like American amphibian with tiny forelimbs, no hindlimbs, small eyes, and external gills, typically living in muddy pools.

An excerpt from The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin

Clarissa swept up her boy, who was wailing like a siren. She held the back of his head against her and he slowly calmed. The scene quieted, and we stood there in silent tableau, but anyone coming upon us would have known that something awful had just happened. Clarissa approached where I lay in a clump on the ground and asked was I all right. I said yes. She pointed to the raven haired woman and said this is my sister Lorraine, and I said that’s Brian. And Brian stood there like Rodin’s Balzac.

siren

Photo by Elizabeth 1986

PRACTICE

Write for five minutes, using the word “siren” as frequently as you can. When you’re fin­ished, post your practice in the comments section.

Also, extra credit if you use the word of the week in your daily practice!

My Practice

In my dreams I see mermaids, sirens of the sea. They call to me wishing me a watery grave. I wake in a sweat not sure what to think, the phone ringing.

I got sucked into a world that ordinary people don’t know about. I am Mr. Average but I had a secret life. A friend at school asked to look after something for him and through that one act of kindness I became one of them.

They rang, I went, into a netherworld of crime and punishment. They told me tale of old and it sounded adventurous and righteous, I was hooked. But now I see it all in the cold grey light of a winter morning.

At first we threw stones at vehicles, armoured ones. We lit petrol bombs and hurled them at riot police. We made crude incendiary devices and put them under cars. We visited people with baseball bats. There was always a target, someone on the other side, someone needing to be taken care of.

For years though, I have heard nothing, we saw each other in the street, a curt nod of a passing acquaintance. I married, I moved away.

Tensions were rising again, I saw it on the news, the riot police were back, the armoured vehicles and Black Widow Marias on every corner. The old hurts, the old righteous offences. It was as if they had never gone away. Change the clothes to an early era, the rhetoric is the same.

I know before I answer that it is them. Calling me from my past. But things are different now, I have a proper job, a lovely wife and two kids, one on the way. Even in recession I can count my blessings. My past is not a blessing. The siren from my sleep, warning me; of sirens wailing in the streets.

“Get out!”

The only words spoken, in automatic, wake Mary, grab the bleary eyed kids and run. Check under the car and go. As we turned the first bend I heard the bang, in the rear-view mirror I saw the flames.

Old tales never die, we are alive because of an anonymous caller in the middle of the night. I drive to the city, to the authorities, we need protection. There’s always someone needing punishment and they had me and my family in their sights. I look at Mary, she is worth it, we married across the divide, moving made it easier but I knew too much for them to ever settle and the recent riots made them queasy for vengeance.

No one ever thanks the sirens but I do.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

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  • http://www.jeangogolin.com jeangogolin

    Ah, how often women got blamed, from mythology to the Bible to fundamentalist religion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Indeed Jean. The mischievous side of me loves that we get blamed. It gives us freedom in our lives because just like men can point back to whoever, we can be excused for our behaviour for the same reason.
      Until we, as women, work out a way to write our “herstory” so that future generations don’t have to endure a collective guilt we will continue to be blamed and shamed.
      One of my favourite daydreams: what if all world leaders and leaders of industry were women, not in the current framework but an entirely new framework. But my head ends up hurting with the philosophical pebbles cast in the sea and I go back to my dusting!

  • http://fantasyfic.wordpress.com/ Sandra Bell Kirchman

    I think I thought too much instead of writing fast. Anyhow, here’s my practice with the word “siren.”

    The sirens screamed in the distance. Ira shivered. He hated the city…so noisy, so full of tragedy. Sure there was an ambulance in Acre Falls—one—and whenever its siren went off, people stared out their windows, wondering if the vehicle was carrying someone they knew. In a town that small, nearly everyone knew nearly everyone else.

    Acre Falls wasn’t big enough to have its own police force, but the RCMP covered it sketchily. Too much territory for too few people. The Mounties hardly ever used their sirens, either.

    The distant sirens came closer. Ira was pretty sure it wasn’t anyone he knew. Odds of it being an acquaintance were one in how many in this city? Half a million? Okay, the odds were 1 in 500,000. So why was the hair on the back of his neck prickling?

    • Jay Warner

      great use of the word “siren” and Ira’s internal conflict as he wonders who is in the ambulance.

      • http://fantasyfic.wordpress.com/ Sandra Bell Kirchman

        Thanks, I appreciate your comments.

    • bjhouse

      For writing it the short time we had I thing you did a very good job. Liked it very much.

    • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

      I liked it, Sandra!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470679136 Susan Lee Anderson

      The last sentence gives it the right punch.

  • Jay Warner

    Here is my entry for the day.

    Persistent”, I muttered under my breath, snatching the waxy earplugs from my nightstand and stuffing them into my ears. Still the sirens wailed. I was used to this, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t unusual to hear sirens any time day or night. But I had a rough night and I didn’t want to have what little sleep I could grab disturbed by the incessant high-pitched whining outside my window.
    Eventually I saw the rhythmic blinking of red and blue emergency light s
    through the curtains and realized the ambulance was across the street from my
    apartment building. Drawn to the window like a siren draws a sailor, I carefully peeled back my covers and stepped onto the cold floor, creeping slowly to the window and the scene outside. Who doesn’t love a disaster? But what I saw was my neighbor on a gurney, no rush, no tubes, no hurry, and not even her face visible beneath the blanket. I shrunk back. The police cars blocked both ends of the street, and three more behind the ambulance.
    No wonder their sirens woke me up, I had no idea there were so many out
    there… and I stared mesmerized, turned back to the window, pulled the curtain
    out a little more, and saw two policemen on either side of Craig, my neighbor’s
    estranged husband. His hands were cuffed in silver bracelets behind his back. The police had him by the upper arms and were leading him to one of the police
    cars. I couldn’t catch my breath. A single tear came to my eye. Why hadn’t I
    called the police earlier when the fighting first started? Why had I stayed
    away like Odysseus lashed to a mast, stuffed my ears with wax and callously
    ignored what I knew to be true? Only to have my sleep interrupted by a siren.

    • http://fantasyfic.wordpress.com/ Sandra Bell Kirchman

      Nice unfolding of the story, from grumpiness to visualization to understanding to realization. The thing that holds it all together is the siren. Good job.

    • bjhouse

      Great story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Jay, this is great. There is that line crossing isn’t there – do I intervene or not, do I ring for help or not. Once you cross the line life is never the same, when you don’t and something like this happens the guilt is hard to live with

    • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

      Good story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470679136 Susan Lee Anderson

      I like the unexpected ending. Good story.

    • Missaralee

      Good use of “siren.” Pulling in the mythical meaning alongside the sound meaning really rounded out the piece, especially when you come back around and compare the protagonist to Odysseus. Makes me wonder if Odysseus did the right thing in his own story, too…

    • AH Roberts

      Engaging. A conflict readers can so easily identify with – to get involved or not?

    • Paul Owen

      Nicely done, Jay. I connected with the struggle to sleep right away (happens to me every night!). “Like a siren draws a sailor” – perfect. Could feel the conflict and guilt in the last paragraph. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joyce

      Sirens can mean so many different things.You take us into a scene and leave us wondering if maybe your POV character could have helped prevent such an event.

  • Marell Spear

    The shrill sound split the night, wailing on and on. Wind
    gusting through the buildings had hit the ancient device at just the right
    angle to produce the piercing sound. Years gone by, it had echoed the noon sun,
    called people to shelter during nature’s ravaging weather; or sent the bravest
    to fight the encroaching fires and floods. In her lifetime it had been silent,
    the siren of the old city. It hung on a tower built of steel, on the outskirts
    of man’s metropolis. It had hung a thousand years, and would hang a thousand
    more. She stood in the darkness as the sound radiated off the nearby buildings,
    chopped and stagnant in its unhurried meandering across the environs. She
    turned away and resolved to mention this time in her journals. A piercing
    melody from a time that no longer existed, floating out to ears that no longer
    heard.

    • http://fantasyfic.wordpress.com/ Sandra Bell Kirchman

      Eerie…and it makes you wonder. :)

    • Jay Warner

      I liked the element of time and history in this piece. It evoked strong images and impressions. The only thing that didn’t ring true were the words “unhurried meandering”. I was more caught in the jarring cacaphony of the siren reasserting itself in a shrill and piercing way and I think that there might be other words that would fit better in your narrative. Good job, though, I liked it.

    • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

      Good snapshot, nice descriptive phrases. I’d rethink the verb “radiated,” especially paired with “chopped.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Marell, good piece, I can see it in my mind’s eye.

  • Xaviera Gp

    I hear something at the end of the street, it seems like there´s been an accident. I realize now that my predictions are right, you can hear the sirens in the back. The sound penetrates through the wallls of my house making me have a headeach.

    I grab my coat and go outside, since I was thriteen I´ve been studying parademic medicine, so maybe I can go and help someone.When I get there I spot a girl covered in blood. I look closer and find a piece of glass in her head, i remove it and sterilize her, I follower her towards the hospital trying to keep her alive.
    The years went by and I helped the women I meet that night, I asked her out and after some months I asked her to marry me.
    I will always remember that night where I met her.
    My little siren.

    • http://fantasyfic.wordpress.com/ Sandra Bell Kirchman

      I love the sentence at the end. The story starts with a siren and ends with a siren. Great tieing up of loose ends.
      I found the story a little hard to follow regarding the details. The time line seems to be out of whack…or something. Also, there are a lot of typos that detract from the flow.

      • Xaviera Gp

        Thanks! It means a lot to me! I will work on it!

    • bjhouse

      I saw a lot of typos. Iknow just a story you made up in five minutes so if you would go back and it again I know you would change some of the tenses. The story line is good. I like how the main character ended up marrying the girl in the accident. One thing about the story is that you would have to check your facts about you taking care of the girl. Must have the right informaton. You did a good job in using the main word.

      • Xaviera Gp

        Thank you so much! I will definitely try to work on it!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Xaviera this has good elements to it. If I were you I’d copy it to yesterday’s practice and work on the typographical errors. Just double check a piece of glass can be taken out of a head at the site of an accident. Hone and polish, but good try.

      • Xaviera Gp

        Thank you, I will work on it! It means a lot!

    • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

      “The years went by…” It sounds like you met the same woman, but is a little unclear. If it is, I’d like a little more detail about how the paths crossed again.

      • Xaviera Gp

        Thanks! :) It means a lot!

  • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

    This is my first time here, but won’t be my last. Haven’t done a writing prompt in ages, so this was fun!

    The screams split the air, jarring me from a deep sleep. Sirens blared in the distance, growing louder as they neared our house.

    I stumbled out of bed, groping for my glasses and fumbling for the lights.

    “Mark,” I grumbled. “MARK! Something’s happening. Grab your robe!”

    We raced down the hall toward the front door, reaching for the knob.

    “OUCH!” The hot metal scorched my fingers. “There must be a fire in the hall!”

    We knew the building was old, but the rent was too tempting. We rushed through our inspection, eager to move in before the landlord found another interested renter.

    The sirens squealed louder, and I watched smoke roll under the door.

    “Quick, open the window and see if anyone’s outside.”

    Mark raced to the frame and fumbled with the latch.

    “OPEN IT!”

    “I can’t,” he groaned. “It’s painted shut!”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470679136 Susan Lee Anderson

      I lived an a house like that, windows painted shut. Your last sentence actually made me laugh. Sorry, if that was not the effect you were going for. Liked it.

      • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

        Yeah, I can see that! Not the effect I was going for, but totally understandable. Most of us have been there!

    • Jeff Ellis

      Not the sort of situation I would be able to handle, claustrophobic as I am. Great practice, I liked it and it was well written :)

      • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

        Yeah, being trapped in a burning building isn’t on my bucket list either. Thanks, Jeff :)

    • http://fantasyfic.wordpress.com/ Sandra Bell Kirchman

      Great storylet. You have shown so much of the characters in such a short framework. They seem as real to me as our neighbors. The situation is definitely urgent…it is a familiar scenario to many people, if not in real life, then from TV or movies. But your characters make it seem okay. The faint touch of humor reassures me.

      There are only two things that I would mention. First, they are rushing down the hall to the front door. When the knob is hot, they deduce that there must be a fire in the hall. If they were in the hall, wouldn’t they have seen the fire?

      The second one is very minor. “We rushed through our inspection,…” I would have put “had” in front of “rushed” to indicate that it was an earlier time. When I first read it, I thought they were inspecting where the fire was in a rush to get out the door. Of course, when I read the rest of the sentence it made it clear that it had been previously. “Had” would have avoided that little bit of confusion.
      Otherwise, brilliant writing!

      • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

        Thanks, Sandra! I did wrestle with the hallway issue and trying to convey they were in a multi-fam building. And thanks for the tip on “had rushed.” Didn’t think of that!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Susan Rinehart, welcome to thewritepractice.com. I like the premise of a fire in an apartment building and how characters react. If you were going to make it a more rounded flash fiction, I would throw in backstory elements from the characters.
      Having read the other comments, changing the building’s hallway to corridor would neaten up that issue of two halls.

      • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

        Thank you, Suzie!

    • AH Roberts

      Good set up. Makes me want to read more and discover the details… do the characters make it? Is there some story to the fire? I agree with the suggestions that you can add clarification by distinguishing between hallway in the apartment and the building’s hall by using a word like corridor for the latter.

    • mariannehvest

      That was scary. I did understand that they were in an apartment. The end when the window is painted shut is a great detail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470679136 Susan Lee Anderson

    She has red hair. It is as if she were born with a warning label framing her
    head…hot and alluring…but “Caution,” don’t get too close.

    She’s
    always known it since that pituitary stage. Young boys drawn to her, wanting to
    impress her with quips and shy smiles. The power originating from a coppery
    recessive gene is rare, and she understands the magnetism there too.
    It has
    taken maturity to tame the flames. She now recognizes in herself, a siren. Tis a
    lot of responsibility, navigating through traffic and stop lights.

    • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

      Good picture, Susan. The part about her understanding her beauty at an early age — I’d love to see more description there, particularly including the teenage boys. Go from the young ones’ smiles to the older ones’ struts. You could have some fun with that :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470679136 Susan Lee Anderson

        Susan thanks Susan. This was a cut and paste and I made some mistakes there, I know. It would be fun to develop this further.

    • Jeff Ellis

      You have a strong character here, I would like to read more about her and where her early realizations lead her to later in life. Great practice, Susan!

    • http://www.facebook.com/jack.dowden.12 Jack Dowden

      That’s a cool line, “Tis a lot of responsibility, navigating through traffic and stop lights.” I’m going to steal that, just thought you should know. Regardless, nice job!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470679136 Susan Lee Anderson

        Stealing sentences? That’s a new compliment. Thank you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Susan Lee, I like this character, she has self awareness, I would like to see her develop.

    • AH Roberts

      Enjoyed this character development.

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      Nice twist!

    • Paul Owen

      This is engaging, Susan. Now I want to know more about your character, and what’s coming next!

  • Jeff Ellis

    Mela sat on a cool face of rock jutting up from the sea, whistling quietly to herself as the run rose on the horizon. Her’s was a different tune than her sisters’. It was heavy, where their’s was light, patient when their’s was rushed. She whistled for herself, when her siren sisters sang only for others.

    From where she sat, she could see the white of new sails breaching the seam of the horizon, Her slow song swept across the sea unbidden into the ears of men too long apart from their lovers. But it was only a song and she a singer. The chill morning wind ruffled the collar of red and blue feathers that bloomed from her clavicle, causing her to tuck her winged arms in closer to her body.

    It was going to be a cold day, and cruel, and she would know a full stomach before the sun set. Mela whistled to herself and waited for the men to crash upon her beautiful song as they always did. And when they did, her sisters and she would eat well. As was life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1470679136 Susan Lee Anderson

      Is she an angel? This reminds me of my favorite poem, maybe it’s better called a sonnet: Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabelle Lee”

      • Jeff Ellis

        I am going with the greek mythological description listed above, with sirens being winged creatures, and in this case also women. Annabelle Lee is one of my favorite poems as well! Thank you so much for the kind comparison.

    • http://susanstilwell.com/ Susan Rinehart Stilwell

      Oh wow, I LOVE that, Jeff. Such descriptive, beautiful prose. My left-brain is SO not wired that way!

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Susan! It just takes practice, you’ll get there :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Jeff you are in good company with your love affair of Annabelle Lee. Vladimir Nobokov used it for the inspiration behind one of his novels. Guess which one?,

      • Jeff Ellis

        The only work of Nobokov’s I am familiar with is Lolita, is that the novel in question?

    • mariannehvest

      I can see this very clearly Jeff. I think the pace is great just enough information to keep me reading but not so much that I get confused.

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Marianne! I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

  • Jeff Ellis

    Ooo, I loved your practice Suzie! Great idea for a modernization of the siren’s call. Also, “The siren from my sleep, warning me; of sirens wailing in the streets” has an awesome cadence! I am so jealous of that line!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      thanks Jeff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.dowden.12 Jack Dowden

    Sirens aren’t something you see every day. One walked past
    me this afternoon. It was raining. I’d forgotten my umbrella, and the drops
    beat as if the sky was giving me the finger. She walked past, though maybe walk
    isn’t the right word.

    She strode past. Quick, but controlled. She was in no rush,
    and if the rain wanted to fall down on her, that was too damn bad for the rain.
    The water seemed to ebb around her, even as it fell. Looking back, I can’t even
    remember what she wore. A dress, a coat? I recall lipstick a shade of red wine
    and hair that could’ve been brown.

    In her eyes was lightning.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Jack what a lush piece, so much going on in such a short space. Good practice

    • Missaralee

      “the drops beat as if the sky was giving me the finger.” Nice image.

    • mariannehvest

      I like this a lot. There is a lot of detail here.

    • AH Roberts

      Love this! Great job.

  • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

    (Pardon any typos; I keep getting sucked in with ideas while I’m reading on my phone! I’ve gotta start waiting until I’m around a proper keyboard.)

    The Simpsons provided tonight’s mindless distraction over the bar at Odyssey Lounge. Homer’s sirens were beautiful women whose embrace may even have been worth dying for. Mine were long-dead or fictitious men. Jim Beam. Jack Daniels. Johnny Walker. Whatever it took to drown out the memories. Sometimes succumbing to one siren’s call led me into the arms of a siren more fit to the more Classical description. But for tonight…my eyes close…

    WHHRRRROOOOOOOOORRRRR! I know it’s a dream by the third-person perspective I’m offered. A younger me, bereft of the three-day beard and dissheveled persona passed out back at the Odyssey, leaps out of bed and into action. Dog tags jangling their own alarm and voice joining the sounding siren, rousing my squad. Not nine months ago we were a rowdy bunch of misfits, looking for a place to belong. Now the fires of war had forged us inti a band of brothers. A shimmering sensation takes us to the muster point, ten minutes later on the helipad, where an Osprey awaits us, each dressed out for the combat we can hear has already begun. The gunfire and radio chatter are our sirens’ call.
    “Ready for one more, little bro?” The dream has transported me into my old self. I feel the grin creeping onto my face, mirrored in the all-too-similar features of the one battle-brother with whom I share a mom and dad.

    A scratchy feeling across my cheek is all it takes for me to come to. Some soft hand across the accumulated stubble is rewarded with beligerent mumbling. Bleary eyes open to the disapproving glare of an all-too-faithful bartender.

    “Come on, Z.” Its the soft hand’s voice this time, another siren’s call. “Let’s get you to bed.”

    It takes two guys to help me out to the waiting car, halfway dragged between them. I didn’t catch their names; we’ll call them Scylla and Charybdis.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Oh Justin I love the tying up of The Simpsons to Odyssey and of course (the bit of me that lives in Ireland) James Joyce.
      I like the imagery of war and the stuff that comes back home the interior baggage. Good practice.

    • AH Roberts

      Nice imagery. I’m pretty impressed that you worked in a Simpson’s reference AND that it worked so well!

      • http://www.buckleadership.wordpress.com/ Justin Buck

        Thanks! I remember not being able to read Homer in Junior High without seeing yellow cartoon people. :)

  • Steve Stretton

    The sirens shrieked. They wailed, they sang and ever closer we came to the rocks, the sea raging about and over them. The ship’s captain was on the intercom, “Prepare to abandon ship.” The words rang in my ears as the sirens were suddenly silent, their singing done. We had been lured to their design, and though it was the ship that sang, it was the sirens of old that had created that song.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Steve one of my favourite sci-fi books is the Ship that Sang by Ann MacCaffrey. This just transported me to her world for a few minutes. I love to experience connections like that. Well done.

      • Steve Stretton

        Thanks Suzie, I didn’t expect that. I must look up her book.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

          Oh do, it is not her best, the crystal singer and the books on the dragons of pern are the best but it was so out there. She died November 2011, she lived in Ireland at DragonHold-Underhill but was American. Some of her short stories are sublime.
          Did I mention I liked her work!!!

  • David L

    The dogs were the first to hear the distant wail of the siren. They began their subsequent howls. When I finally hear the siren, my subsequent reaction was to think of the yokels in my hometown that mispronounce siren by saying, “SI-reen.”

    Within a few minutes there was a cacophony of sirens coming from every direction. Their destination was just up the road from my office. Seems a carload of beautiful women with questionable motives, sirens if you will, swerved off the road to avoid a mud puddle. This mud puddle, coincidentally, contained a siren. Fortunately the siren was spared but the sirens were not. Their car was on its side in the ditch.

    The emergency vehicles quickly arrived, turned off the sirens and began the rescue efforts of the sirens. Meanwhile, an oblivious siren scurries from the puddle into the nearby grass.

    • Missaralee

      I assume the siren in the puddle was the tiny animal, not a sea woman. If it was a sea woman siren, no wonder they swerved to avoid her!

    • mariannehvest

      You really got that word in here. Three kinds of sirens. I’d forgotten about the reptile siren. Well done.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      Good job David, you have them all here.

    • AH Roberts

      Wow … the mythical reference, the mechanical siren AND the salamander siren. Now that’s using the Wednesday word as much as possible!

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      I don’t know how you used them all!!

      • David L

        about half of this is from real life experience…

  • mariannehvest

    Bowed lips, bouncing ringlets, brazen body, she was a cliche in real-time, a high school queen. She smiled on the nerd, surprised him with one touch, seduced him with two, married him before he found his lost cortex. Dumb? maybe, but she understood one abstraction, cost/benefit ratio.

    • Missaralee

      Nice, that blonde is a stone cold economist. My kind of lady. Really great flash fiction, too. All tied up in a bow in seven lines.

      • mariannehvest

        Thank you MIssaralee.

    • AH Roberts

      A character I think we’ve all seen or experienced or known! Good description. And, nice character expansion at the very end.

      • mariannehvest

        Thanks so much. I always wonder if those “dumb” ones are really dumb. I guess some are and some aren’t

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

      great description Marianne, a complete story

      • mariannehvest

        Thank you Suzie and thanks for the great prompt.

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      Oh, I like this one!

      • mariannehvest

        Thank you. I can’t get much done in five minutes, but I’m glad you enjoyed it.

        • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

          A lot of us write for more than five minutes, so cheating’s ok…

  • AH Roberts

    A year of planning. Months of anticipation. Weeks of hard work. Hours on our feet. A final 2,000-mile trip. We had come so far, the chance to shine our own siren call. Now, the moment was nearly at hand.

    Disgorged from busses into the darkness, we steeled ourselves for the final moments of quiet, reflection and preparation. With both stunning speed and agonizing slowness, night gave way to dawn, shadows lengthening and then disappearing as the sun climbed higher in the California sky. We were a
    quiet lot, the normal exuberance of teenagers checked by the battle between
    nerves and excitement that raged within all 240 of us. From surrounding city
    blocks, we heard calls of instruction, the clatter of tools, the quiet rumble
    of idling vehicles and brief measures of music and warm-up scales. We passed time in quite conversation, checking instruments, repositioning helmets and making sure the magic suits were fastened “left over right.”

    Finally, in the distance, they began: sirens. The calling song of shiny emergency vehicles grew more distinct as they edged closer. In no time, they flashed past the end of our street, cruising by on the main boulevard. Those sirens beckoned us forward, sirens providing the siren song calling us to our destiny – the 95th Tournament of Roses
    Parade.

    • mariannehvest

      What a great scene. The sirens add to the excitement. I thought they were soldiers at first. I enjoyed this very much.

      • AH Roberts

        Thanks much.

  • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

    I’m posting a little late…

    My practice:

    I used to go to the bar every
    Thursday night. Every Thursday night was her night. The night when the
    beautiful Shay LeCrassy sang. I often wondered why she sang in such a seedy,
    run down place. Vic never bothered to do up the place new, and the varnish on
    the bar was faded, the tables and chairs carved into by teens and drunks. There’d
    been a period a couple years when you’d hear sirens blaring from a block away
    and know the cops were at Vic’s again, breaking up some sort of fight.

    Shay
    was too lovely, too talented to sing in a place like that. Her voice was a beautiful
    soprano, and she’d awe everyone with everything from songs like Fever to
    Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Her voice glided right into you, caught you up in a
    dreamlike trance, and all you wanted to do was sit and listen, listen to her
    voice. I felt like Odysseus on Thursday nights, drunk on the beauty of her
    siren’s song.

    Soon
    that was what everyone started calling her. Siren. They’d shout out requests to
    her, “Siren, sing us that True Blood song, you know the one that goes I wanna
    do bad things to you. I know you know it sweetheart.” And Shay would smile, and
    sing something sweet instead. One night, as the bar was closing I got up the
    nerve to go talk to her. She was tired, but she chatted with me and as I walked
    all the way home, I felt light as air.

    Early
    the next morning, I walked back to Vic’s. I’d forgotten my wallet there because
    I’d been so nervous about talking to Shay. As I got closer to the bar, I hear
    the wail of sirens, and there in front of the bar, were both police cars and an
    ambulance. Vic was standing out front, tears streaming down his face. I went to
    him and for several long minutes all the old guy could do was hold onto my arm
    and cry. Finally he took a shaky breath.

    “It’s
    Siren,” he said, “she was shot last night. They found her body this morning.”

    I stood stock still, too stunned to move or
    say anything. Shay with the lovely face, with her siren’s beautiful voice, was
    gone forever.

    • mariannehvest

      Man that was a shock. That could be the beginning of a murder mystery.

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        It could be….I never write mysteries. It was a fun scene to write though :)

        • Jess

          Giulia, this is fantastic!! You’ve already got me hooked on a story that isn’t even being written! Guard this carefully, because there are so many ways someone could pick up where you left off!

          • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

            Thanks! It’s still simmering ;)

    • Carmen

      Yeah it was a shock, I like the irony how the Siren character died as oppose to hurting others. The word evoked a seedy bar setting from me as well.

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        I’m starting to wish I had more of this story to write for you guys, but I don’t right now. Hopefully I can develop it a bit more.

    • AH Roberts

      Nice set up. You may not normally write mysteries, but this is the start of a story I’d like to read!

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        Thanks!

    • Thomas Petri

      I could see this going places. really interesting :)

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        Glad you liked it!

  • Carmen

    In all the haze and blindness of a nightclub, she called out to me from the other side of the room. She was not moving, she was sitting on a solitary stool against the wall, I could not see her face, like the light bounced off her leaving only shadows. All I saw was a figure and two milky white legs, neatly folded one over the other. She should have been lost behind the masses of bodies grinding in time, swaying together like anemones in the water.

    So why did I look? Had she spoken? Over the noise of club, I could not have heard her, but some thing had pulled my gaze in her direction. I could not look away, I had the most irritating feeling that I had heard her speak, just inaudible, just out of range. What had she said? I wanted to know what she had said.

    Perhaps she spoke to all the men in the club, a siren who laid out fishing nets and lines to see what she would reel in. The thought that there might be others lent urgency to my pace as I traversed through the reef of dancers, following the invisible fishing line.

    • Steve Stretton

      Loved the mystery of it, the ending that just begins a new tale. Well done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.tobar Karl Tobar

    On the Mythological Siren- their singing would actually cause a lot of death from the sailors crashing into the rocks. The legend says that their singing caused a fatal lethargy and that on the island they were surrounded by rotting corpses who were simply unable to leave and starved to death… and this is the official logo of the Starbuck’s corporation.

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      Haha. That’s funny. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, though. Mars Bars are named after the god of war, but I don’t see any battles being waged because of the highly-processed chocolatey bars.

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        No, I think people only get nasty if they haven’t their daily dose of Snickers candy bars.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Suzie-Gallagher/100001281206171 Suzie Gallagher

          We used to have Marathon bars, I liked them and they changed the name to Snickers, they changed nothing else but I don’t like them anymore. Remember Woden? Well we see him every week!

          • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

            Nope, don’t remember that one…

    • Paul Owen

      Ha! I like it, Karl. Although I feel anything but lethargic when leaving Starbucks!

  • Thomas Petri

    This was a fun practice.

    I couldn’t leave her. I knew that already. Of course I couldn’t. Her voice, like a siren’s song, called me to her every time I turned away. Every time I had had enough, she lured me back with sweet words and her warm flesh.

    Those were nights I remember best. The angry sex and the shouting followed by smokes and exhausted dreamless sleep. Then I would wake up and regret it all the more and think of Penny back home.

    I had been a slave to her song for years as I danced around Penny’s questioning stares, making exquisite excuses for my whereabouts last night and the night before. Still, as I lie and tell her I’ll be home soon, I only hear the siren next to me, trying to shipwreck me on her bed.

    I close my hand around her throat and tell her to close her eyes. She does and the pulsing blood slows to a trickle. It’s quiet now.

    Her siren’s song ended, I sit back down on the bed, as I hear the song of another siren coming to take me away.

  • Paul Owen

    A bit late on this, but oh well…

    I’m
    walking back to my apartment. Walking delicately, that is. The sidewalk is
    glistening with what appears to be water now, not the freezing rain we had
    earlier. A siren is wailing in front of me somewhere. Wonder if someone had
    weather trouble, or some other kind of trouble. I don’t think I’ve caused any
    trouble, tonight at least, so that siren must be headed elsewhere.

    I
    pass a couple headed the other way. Next there’s a guy paused as his dog takes
    care of business. Even less eye contact than usual tonight, barely a quick
    threat scan as people draw near. It feels cold, and none of us trust the
    pavement to be only wet.

    There’s my building on the left. I’m on the
    first step when it happens. Black ice! Good thing I was holding the railing, or
    there could have been a new siren headed for me. I stumble into the building,
    relieved there’s no one loitering inside like last time. Unlocking the door and
    walking inside my unit, I hear my playlist still going. It’s part way through
    one of my Iron Maiden favorites, and I grin at the stereo. They don’t call
    Bruce Dickinson the “air raid siren” for nothing.

  • Joyce

    The sirens screamed, louder and louder. As they neared the scene still screaming no words were heard. People moved here and there rushing to help. Who were they helping? There was a jumble of people hovering around with anguished faces. I tried to push my way through the crowd- getting nowhere. The distance between me and the emergency grew magically. As i moved forward they moved away. Sirens continued to scream. Talking to anyone, useless. I saw mouths moving but heard only the scream and wail of sirens.