The Siren’s Bones (6)

Thanks to all for your patience and support. It looks like there will be another chapter (seven) after all. The story keeps getting more convoluted although so far everyone has assured me it’s readable! Writing a story in serial form has definite challenges.  Though still in need of a few revisions I won’t hold it back for fear of tossing it out totally, so here it is.

(For the time being  and for convenience, the Siren’s Bones story chapters are on the menu header)

Chapter Six

seaward ho

The Captain went away again and the boys came back from school. The eldest son, Hamish, was getting ready to take on an apprenticeship on the mainland, but still, Fiona was glad to have their company and their help again on the little farm. She hoped they would bring some light to these past dark days.

With her brothers back, Muireal finally roused herself from the lassitude of those last months and seemed happier for a time. However, she had begun to wander off again on her mysterious excursions, and it happened one terrible day that she did not return home.  It was the night that St. Elmo’s Fire lit up  the masts of ships on the sea and electrified the steeples and rooftops on the shore.  Fiona and the boys searched for hours, which turned into days but it was as though Muireal had been spirited away by the fairy folk.  Fiona felt that something much darker had occurred though what it was she didn’t know.

Her anguish was a wave, gathering momentum as it sped toward the shore and just when she felt she could not bear another moment it would subside back into the deep ocean of her being and she would lie down exhausted until the next one began.

She should have known.  The signs had all been there.  They had been living in some other realm, one where they were ghosts, unable to touch each other, trapped between shifting veils of grief and guilt, uncertainty, and divine decree. When the Captain sailed away still silent and uncommunicative, Fiona wondered what would become of them all.

churchyard hill skye1

Prior to Muireal’s disappearance, there had been an accusation from one of the islanders.  A farmer’s wife claimed  that Muireal, in passing, had cursed a pregnant cow who subsequently died after giving birth to a deformed and stillborn calf.  Superstitious mutterings began to grow among some, including speculation as to what or who might be to blame for a fishing boat that had gone down off the coast, or for the recent poor fishing yield.   Whether or not they actually believed it had something to do with Muireal’s effect was unimportant. The fact was that Muireal frightened and disturbed people. Her oddness coupled with her beauty only added fodder for those who still loved to gossip of  witchery and banshees.  A small  but “polite” delegation from the village meeting hall was sent to Fiona’s cottage demanding that Muireal be sent away to an asylum somewhere for the strange and feeble minded.

the highlands and loch

Only one person stood up in defense. It was a boy named Alasdair who lived on a neighbouring croft and who sometimes helped Fiona with her own farm chores.  He was an engaging, good humoured lad and always greeted them as he passed by on his way to market.  Alasdair was the only other person besides Fiona and her sons who seemed to understand that Muireal, though peculiar, was certainly not dangerous or feeble minded. He would often sit with her on the bluff and listen to her play. He was even familiar enough to tousle her dark bronze curls affectionately. He was able to make her smile. He convinced everyone that Muireal’s esteemed father, the Captain, would have to be back from the sea before any decision could be made. The delegation was somewhat relieved and went home after that.

Muireal who was hiding in her room heard everything.  To make matters worse, during the past week Fiona had found her down at the beach in a very distraught and agitated state, but this time it was due to her female cycle, which had finally begun.  Muireal was alarmed and confused by what was happening to her. The sight of blood terrified her.  Perhaps she was remembering that terrible night when she looked out the window after hearing the screams of her mother. In the light coming from the kitchen, she had seen Duff bleeding profusely from his wound as he ran.

 

Although Fiona reassured and calmed her, Muireal became withdrawn again. There of course were those awkward changes in body and spirit that were normal for girls of that age, but this was much more.  To Fiona, Muireal still looked lucent and changing. The web of her fingers appeared more pronounced and the bones more delicate. Her eyes had grown luminous with a liquid sadness. One day Fiona found Muireal tracing the webbed fingers of her hand with a filleting knife. Instinctively Fiona knew that Muireal believed that separating those tiny fingers would make her into one of “them,” one of the island folk. Those fused bones were the cause of her shunning and muteness. Fiona quickly took the knife away. She wanted to tell her daughter that those very bones were the precious pearls of an unspoken enchantment that had not been forgotten. This disturbing event only added more anxiety to her growing premonitions.

Muireal

And so it was, on that chilly spring morning, Muireal walked up from the beach.   She placed a little bouquet of  seaside daisies and various bird bones and shells on the table by her mother’s plate. She then put her arms around Fiona’s neck and hugged her tightly. Fiona stopped and kissed her daughter tenderly before setting out the breakfast. Afterward Muireal went over to the hearth and picked up the little flute that had lain untouched for months. She turned and waved to her brothers as she headed down the beach path before disappearing from sight. Fiona again felt that familiar stab of fear and unease. “Don’t go too far and be back in time for tea.” she called out anxiously.

 

It was not until weeks later that Fiona was to find out what had really happened to that wonderful creature, her beloved daughter, and it was young Alasdair who would bring the news.

seaside daisies2asmall

If I Was a Blackbird 

… I’d whistle and sing,
And follow the ship that my true love sails in;
And on the top rigging I would there build my nest,
And I’d pillow my head on my young lover’s breast.-

stargazer

Chapter Seven

Silly Wizard was a Scottish  folk  group extraordinaire and very popular in the 70’s and 80’s, partly due to the unique vocals of  lead singer Andy Stewart (1952- 2015). Though they sang traditional ballads they also wrote and composed their own songs.

76 Comments Add yours

  1. milliethom says:

    Your story is continuing beautifully and totally enthralled me. I’m anxious to know how it will eventually play out. Lovely writing Cybele.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am thrilled that you approve and are enjoying it. That means a lot to me when other and more accomplished writers give me the heads up! Thank you so very much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. milliethom says:

        You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to finding out how this story ends!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope it doesn’t disappoint! It was a difficult ending !

        Liked by 1 person

      3. milliethom says:

        If the ending’s anywhere near as good the rest, I’m sure it will be excellent. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. oh I read this after the last one. Thank you so much for your support!

        Like

  2. perhaps you may have missed the last paragraph in Chapter six under the image where she does leave the house on a spring morning never to return? Thank you so much for reading Doda. It’s such a compliment to me that you have taken the time to catch it all up!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DG MARYOGA says:

      I go back to check it out before reading the last part (7 II ) … Thanks Cybele dear 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. DG MARYOGA says:

    Mesmerising accounts and facts that seize the mind and the strongest emotions as the story unfolds.I was fascinated by St.Elmo’s fire phenomenon and your photography which comes from some “other realm”.I caught myself being in an atmosphere of mystery and suspense.
    Oh Cybele dear,you are a contemporary A.Radcliffe …

    PS:Sorry for being so late again,we spent some days in Santorini,and before leaving there was a horrible hail/rain storm that left me without Internet.I was completely cut off.Unusual weather for the Greek standards …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh what a delightful comment Doda! A tad Gothic it is!! I’m on air! Weather is so strange lately- but we always have wind storms on the west coast where I live – and power outages!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DG MARYOGA says:

        We had experienced an unbearable heat wave before the catastrophic rains.It’s blustery today but quite cool …

        Liked by 1 person

  4. DG MARYOGA says:

    I was in a hurry to go on with the 7th chapter and I said nothing about the wonderful ballad you included…. So apt for your story dear friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved Silly Wizard and their songs. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DG MARYOGA says:

        The fisherman’s lament is so dramatic and so is the plot of your story …
        Alasdair’s news has such a sad emotional impact … I go on with the last part …

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Norma says:

    NO, the series is coming to a close now, I guess. What a series! Moon. I loved them all. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 🙂 (it was a struggle ending the tale!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Norma says:

        …but it ended on a good note. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Another beautiful chapter, Hannah! I love all the details you add that support the intriguing story. I anxiously await the secret of Muireal’s departure 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much Pam! and it’s up in tow parts but take your time. I certainly am taking mine these days lol!

      Like

      1. I am going to choose a time without any distractions 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. afairymind says:

    Another enchanting chapter, Cybele. I look forward to discovering what Alisdair saw. 🙂 I love the song ‘If I Were A Blackbird’, though I’ve not heard this version before. I used to have a really haunting version with female vocals but I’ve no idea who the singer was!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved Silly Wizard and the Chieftains! 🙂 thanks so much for your approving comment Louise from one storyteller to another!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ” Her eyes had grown luminous with a liquid sadness.” Ahh, that’s so lovely, Cybele! Your words and exquisite images are breathtaking as always!!! Love and hugs dear friend! xoxoxo ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Aisha!! I’m so glad when people enjoy my posts and stories!! hugs to you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Captivating story! Well done. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for the visit Lizzie and your lovely comment!

      Like

  10. Boudicca says:

    The story itself is like the tides….ebbing and flowing, neverending, with the faint line of the horizon always there – in sight but out of reach.
    Wonderful work

    Liked by 1 person

    1. many, many thanks Boudicca. What a poetic compliment!

      Like

  11. Peter Nena says:

    I thought the story was still going on, but it had ended . . .
    I was left hanging. Thirsty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Peter! I am in the process of writing the last chapter ( next week)- so hard to say goodbye to a story!!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. PS hope you are well my friend!

      Like

  12. This is just so magical, Cybele, and has left me quite breathless with anticipation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh thank you so much Sarah! Another coming soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Fantasy Raconteur says:

    I look forward to the next chapter. This story is wonderful! I really love your writing=)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m honoured! Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Adrian Lewis says:

    Beautiful stuff, Cybele, just wonderful. Adrian 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Adrian! So glad you have enjoyed it.- one more installment!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. What a cliff hanger! I can’t wait to hear what Alasdair has to say.

    The song is lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so pleased you want to read more! Thanks Deb! Yes, I loved Silly Wizard way back when!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Well, as I’m listening to this beautiful music, I’m wondering just what it is that Alasdair discovered. Can’t wait for the next chapter but I will! Such beautiful photos as always. Have a great week, my friend! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks my friend! And you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Ali Isaac says:

    This is so enchanting and enthralling! Looking forward to the next instalment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. many thanks for the lovely support Ali!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ali Isaac says:

        Looking forward to reading more!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. sheldonk2014 says:

    I saved this for when I could really enjoy without any distractions
    Great read
    Simply beautiful images
    As always Sheldon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and as always my thanks Sheldon!

      Like

  19. Anita says:

    Another great chapter… You know, every time I eagerly read and finish one, I think I should wait until the entire story is done so I can binge-read all chapters. Then you post the next chapter, and the cycle repeats… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh that is such a nice comment Anita!! You can always go back and re read them all! lol! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anita says:

        Maybe I’ll do that when the story ends. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I so appreciate you taking the time to read any of it Anita! Thanks so much!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. lauramacky says:

    You are really amazing. No blog is like yours! So original!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. awww- a tad eclectic eh? Thank you Laura!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lauramacky says:

        Just so well done!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m honoured my friend!

        Like

  21. Maria F. says:

    Great storytelling, I love the first one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Maria! yes that first image came out well- very stormy with the filter I used!

      Like

  22. Both mystical and melancholy in the mood and the telling Dune Mouse. A lovely tale!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Haunting and poetic Cybele, I’ll look forward to magical seven!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very pleased by your comment Andrea as I am a great admirer of your prose and posts! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. smilecalm says:

    like an epic
    needing operatic
    soundtrack,
    congratulations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh my! I do appreciate your great comment Smile!! Thanks for coming by!

      Like

  25. Wonderful story. I am in suspenders as my little brother used to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am thrilled you like it Sherry! Needless to say I always post new chapters with great trepidation and breathe a sigh of relief when I get a comment like yours!! 😀

      Like

    1. Many thanks again Br. Andrew!!

      Like

  26. Dagmar says:

    anxiously awaiting the next chapter of this so enticing tale!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I will try not to disappoint!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love this tale

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Andrew!

        Like

  27. As usual superb images, Hanna.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Kate!!

      Liked by 1 person

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