The Siren’s Bones (Chapter 8)

We have come to the end and again thank you all so much for your following of the tale and for your great responses all the way through. It was a difficult ending for me and a bit of an agony but I had to let it go so here it is!

see The Siren’s Bones on the  header menu at top for list of chapters

They heard thunder in the distance and felt the prickle of their hair standing on end when suddenly and with a loud hissing, St. Elmo’s fire lit up the rooftops on the shore and blue flame surged along the mast of the little boat. Muireal looked as though she had been wrapped up in a bright halo shroud. Everything was aglow and the water became turbulent. When Alasdair looked over the side he saw hundreds of seals. They were swimming alongside and under the boat, bumping violently against the hull until at last it capsized.  Alasdair saw Muireal slip beneath the waves in flickering bursts of light that at last were extinguished and then all was quiet again.

mer upsilon6a

His companions were nowhere to be seen and Alasdair alone somehow found himself on the shore. He told Fiona that he thought  he had seen a dark figure by the rocks and that a large wave seemed to have swept it away, but the events of that bitter day were still confused in his mind and he didn’t know if it was real or imagined. In fear and shame he had told no one that Muireal had been with them that day.

As he finished his story he looked at Fiona with tears running down his face. Fiona leaped up and pounded his chest.  “Why did this happen!” she cried. “She trusted you!” She collapsed into a chair with her head in her hands. Reaching into his pocket Alasdair pulled out the little bone flute he had taken from Muireal’s hand when she was laying so still on the rocks.  He put it on the table and went out the door. Fiona picked it up tenderly and holding it to her heart she slowly walked upstairs.

While life and time readjusted itself, Fiona drifted through the next weeks. The only fragment she had left of her daughter was the little flute and she hung onto it night and day.  Each wave of  memory was a  pearl that scattered  and if she could only find the precise point where that fragile string had unraveled she might put back together that splendid necklace of days with Muireal.  Of course she should have known. Her daughter had been a visitor here and Duff had known that she would not thrive. He knew that she belonged to those who dwelt in that other world, whatever it was, and in the end they had claimed her poor, sweet body as their own. The pain was no less bearable.

selkie and the whales long crop

Finally Fiona had another dream where she saw Muireal laughing and waving from the beach. Duff was waiting close by and Fiona ran toward them but somehow could not reach them. The shoreline kept receding.  Everything was flowing backward to that edge of ocean and sky where the fisher moon casts her silver net over the sea. Fiona knew then that she had to release her precious daughter into that flux of  tide and time and  a voice again spoke in her heart like it did on the night of the shooting stars. This time it said, “before I go mother, you must bless me!”  The next day, Fiona took the little rowboat out to the far end of the loch.  She tenderly released the flute into the depths where the bones of drowned sailors and fishermen, and all denizens of the deep are ground together by sand and tide.  Perhaps some incarnation of Muireal would find it there. This strange and beautiful  journey was over and she prayed that her daughter’s new passage would be blessed and full of wonder.

eagle moon

The people now knew what had happened and there was sadness and contrition in the community but life went on as it always had.  A local fishermen said that one day he saw two seals swimming together and the larger seal appeared to have an injured flipper. He claimed the pair drove a huge shoal of fish toward his nets. It was the largest catch he had ever had he said,  but then, fishermen were always full of wild tales. myselkieChildren at play still found little bird bones, shells  and other treasures among the seaweed.  Down on the rocks by the point, a small colony of seals took up residence. They had never done that before and the islanders decided that it would be unlucky to disturb or harm them and so they were protected and left alone. From that day forward people referred to the point as Muireal’s Lookout  and some nights when the wind whistled a haunted song along the bluffs, mothers told their children that it was the siren, Muireal, playing her flute, and that meant it would be fine and calm in the morning and an excellent day for  fishing.

The Selkie ( one of the Child Ballads-  Judy Collins & Tommy Makem)

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Background:

The Selkies (or Silkies) were shapeshifters in Orcadian myth. They are also part of Icelandic and Faroese legend.  They were seals in the ocean but shed their skin to take on human form on land, often seducing whoever came under their spell. There were children born of this strange union and the Selkie  would come back to claim them.

A female Selkie however, usually did not fare as well on land. There was once a man who was enamoured of a Selkie . He hid her seal skin so she would not be able to return to the sea. Filled with longing for her home and her companions she wasted away with grief and died.

Sule Skerry is a small remote island or skerry in Northern Scotland off the Orkneys where a great Selkie supposedly lived.

Stranger still, in the outer Hebrides the clan MacCodrum ( a sept of the MacDonald’s) still claim to be the descendants of such a union!

64 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy J says:

    I love this story and my picture I got with it. It is as deep as the sea and I will treasure it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so very much Amy!!! I’m very happy you do!

      Like

  2. milliethom says:

    A lovely, hopeful ending after the traumatic events of the first part of this chapter. Well done with this whole, enchanting story Cybele. I love the mystical/mythical aspects of it and your wonderful images and heart-rending music enhance it perfectly. A captivating and beautifully told story, and I really enjoyed reading your little section on the background to these myths.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your generous reading of the tale and for your beautiful comments all the way through! The background of a myth is always interesting isn’t it!?

      Like

  3. katieprior says:

    Beautifully enchanting prose, thank you for sharing your wonderful storytelling with us. It captured the feel of the old faery tales perfectly, very evocative! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh I am so pleased people are still reading it! Thank you so much dear Katie!!

      Like

  4. Captivating story! I couldn’t stop until I read all the chapters. Loved it! And those pictures….amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much for reading Ceakay! I’m going to be reading today at the Storyteller’s sandbox but other than that will be a bit scarce till I move!

      Like

  5. sixpixx says:

    Just reread all the chapters (as I have to watch, back to back, a whole season of a TV series – can’t abide those cliff hangers) and, in so few words, you elicit such emotional engagement with the characters and care for how the narrative unfolds. Bravo, I was spellbound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh I am so pleased you liked the story and thank you so much for the re- read and wonderful comment! That means a lot to this poor storyteller ( amateur lol)! Though not prolific I love to write!

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  6. You are so talented, Cybele, you should be world-famous for your storytelling!. The Siren’s Bones held me in its thrall from beginning to end. I also love your choice of music to go with your stories, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. many thanks Sarah!! Coming from you that means a lot to me! I have just started your story by the way!!

      Like

  7. DG MARYOGA says:

    I am still under tension after reading the last parts …
    Your story has literally grabbed me Cybele.The last part gave life to Muireal and Duff …
    They still live in the ocean,they belong to that other “Sphere”.You have so effectively woven mythology and legendary folklore from the Holy Land of your ancestors.Mesmerised by your plot,your intense accounts and your majestic photos with the otherworldly light.I am still under the spell of enchantment as I speak those words …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. many happy thanks Doda!! I am honoured to have a blogging friend with such kindred sentiments. I appreciate your poetic comments so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DG MARYOGA says:

        My pleasure Cybele!We are sort of kindred spirits 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Well done, I really enjoyed it, for such a sad story it ended on a hopeful, yet wistful note

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Julz!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoyed your amazing tale from beginning to end. The images are all so perfect for the story as well as the song! Your work is inspiring, Hannah 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am very happy you enjoyed it Pam. Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comment!- Glad you like the music too!

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  10. Norma says:

    Like all good things come to an end so did this marvelous tale. I loved and enjoyed it from the very beginning, Moon. Great story telling. The story flowed so smoothly and I enjoyed every bit of it. (And I didn’t doze off – this I say, cause I did the binge reading on this and was at no point felt tired…I had to finish it off today itself.) 🙂 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It means so much to me! Thank you for taking the time to read it (and not doze off! :). I’m quite high from all your lovely comments on each chapter this morning!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Norma says:

        I guess then we’ll be hearing another one soon (that is of course, as and when you have the time to write and share :)). I find it so difficult to have these series written and can only work on short stories. It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, effort and time – and some people think what is in writing. 😉 So, I admire anyone who takes their time out to write and share their stories with others on blog space and so by default I admire all the writers at WP too. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For me it’s often that I get a picture or vision in my mind from something visual as do many. I write a little something which then starts to develop. Quite often I have no idea where I am going with it. I just hopefully let it unfold on it’s own- if that makes any sense! 😀 But I thank you so much for your support!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Norma says:

        Oh, wow! Letting the story unfold is also a task as you just have to give yourself into the process. 🙂
        I’m training my mind to do just that, currently…seems difficult. And so I admire all the writers who write for their readers as writing is a painstaking process.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. yes, sometimes too after you post you realize oh-oh now I’m committed! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Peter Nena says:

    Am I allowed to grudge you for ending this story? It shouldn’t have ended. It is just beautiful. It can be read by anyone. Adults, young adults, children. But it should have continued some more. The lives of Muireal and Duff as seals, how they could transform into human beings, where they really came from, how they used to live there, etc. I wish to know more.
    Thanks for the delight the joy and delight inspired in me by this story. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. grudge away Peter! I am so happy you enjoyed the tale and I’m pleased it left you speculating. There must be a poignant mystery in it’s telling and I think I left you with that! I love our coastal seals! We have many here sunbathing on rocks and bobbing up in the waters. But alas I think the Selkies don’t migrate this far! Thanks so much Peter. I’m always pleased to hear from you.

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  12. Amy says:

    I agree with Genie. Love these images, and the song too! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. afairymind says:

    A beautiful, haunting tale, Cybele, accompanied by a host of gorgeous images. I’ve loved reading this from first word to last. I hope Muireal and Duff live a happier life in the ocean than either managed during their time on the land. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh thank you so much Louise! yes there’s been a bit of mystery and speculation as to whether they are alive in the great sea and wherever it is I like to think they have passed through into a better world.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Kerena says:

    What a splendid story, Cybele! Even though I cried, it was really quite a magical story! You do know how to weave marvelous tales, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so pleased you liked it Kerena!!- and even that it made you cry though I’m sorry! I had a lump in my own throat as I finished it. It was a hard ending and I struggled with it. Thanks so much dear friend!

      Like

  15. Genie says:

    Hauntingly beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Genie!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I loved this tale Hana! Such wonderful folklore with beautiful images, and music to bring the tale to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I so appreciate your support! Thank you so much for reading and for all your lovely comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. What a beautifully sad story. Excellent writing and illustrative photos, Hannah. Can’t wait for your next tale! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading Linda, I’m very happy to get your lovely comment and that you enjoyed it (though sad!).

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I loved reading this story Cybele, selkies are close to my heart and you did a great job of building this world and telling the story. Your writing was lyrical and had a beauty and enchantment of its own, to match the magic of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh thanks so much Andrea, that means a lot to me. I struggled with the ending! I didn’t want to slip totally into fantasy with it so I hoped the reality elements would add to the mystery of speculation! ? There are still a few wording tweaks to do. Btw If ever you would like to email me (anytime) you will find it on my “contact me” profile!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. robert87004 says:

    Excellent story, Hannah. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Robert!!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I loved the entire story. So beautifully done. I loved the pictures and music with it. Sets a dark, chilling and romantic mood. I have heard of Selkies before – wonderful mythology. I hope you do more stories like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sherry I am so happy that it didn’t disappoint. I really struggled with that ending. I did love that little Muireal! Thank you so much for such a positive comment!!

      Like

  21. Congratulations on finishing the story! I loved reading it and as always the photos are gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Christel!

      Like

  22. Another nice story, Cybele! And Judy is one of my favorite singers. I also remember Tommy Makem hanging our with the Clancy Brothers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Crow- and for that bit of info re Tommy who passed away some time ago I believe! Judy Collins had an amazing voice!

      Like

    1. thank you Maverick!

      Like

  23. Boudicca says:

    A great finish! ….you held me captive all the way through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad you liked it Boudicca. I hope putting it into two posts wasn’t too awkward or long a read! Many thanks!!

      Like

  24. Sue says:

    Marvellous! Both the haunting tale and your fabulous images, Hannah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Sue!!! I had to divide chapter seven into two posts or parts. It was a bit long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sue says:

        But you finished it!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. oh thanks so much for commenting!!

      Liked by 1 person

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