Spirits were high on the Golden Raider. Everyone made it back with their lives in tact and they had plundered more gold than the last two voyages put together. All that remained was the two day sail back to Mantwega to stash the booty and replenish the stocks. They’d done the journey a thousand times in the past, but most of the men were already three sheets to the wind and it was only a matter of time before a crap game turned violent. The Captain tried shouting orders in earnest, but his voice was no match for the maelstrom of laughter, glass smashing, ale drinking and accordion playing surrounding him.

The Captain began his ascent to the crow’s nest accompanied by his horn in an attempt to restore order to the ship. The seas were acting kindly now, but he knew how quickly the winds could change. As he put the horn to his lips, he became distracted by the faint whisperings of a lone, solitary voice. It sounded like the voice of a wench- one of the cabin boys most likely brought one on board when he wasn’t looking. The Captain knew the problems wenches caused among his men, but he couldn’t see one anywhere. The voice grew louder with every second that went by. It was like nothing he’d heard before: soft, melodious and it cut right through the sprawling cacophony. Soon the sound began to affect every man on the Golden Raider. From where the area was filled with raucous excitement, everything was now still. The sea was still, the air was still and all other actions ceased- all in reverence to that fantastic, mysterious sound filling the senses.

The Captain peered out into the open water and in the distance, he thought he spotted a figure. He reached into his breast pocket for his periscope and put his eye to the lens for a better look. The picture was blurred but he was certain he saw a woman. Could she be the source of the mysterious sound? Although she was so far away? The image became clearer the longer he stared and he began to make out her countenance. She looked like a maiden of no older than 20 with fire red hair. As the ship moved closer towards, he could see her smooth skin and thought he could see a tail where her legs should be.

The Captain stood mesmerised at the woman before him and for that moment nothing else mattered. Then, in an instant the sound stopped, the woman vanished before his eyes and everyone on the Golden Raider returned to their senses- just in time to witness the ship collide with the rock face right in front of it

Photo: ‘Turtle Bay’ by Laura Breshock

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