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The Foggy Sea -- FWG Flash Fiction for 7/1/2023

This prompt reminded me of all the submissions we read for the Merciless Mermaids anthology.


“She’s an old one.”

“Aye, and she’s ridin’ high. Prob’bly stripped o’ her guns already.”

“’At’s a schooner, ya dolt. Naught but two guns at most on ’er.”

It was my first venture into the Foggy Sea. Over the centuries, my village had salvaged many vessels from those time-cursed waters. Pa shut off the outboard outside the fog bank.

“Unship ’em oars, Lad. We pull water from here.”

“Don’t wanna wake what lurks below,” Josiah chuckled as he stuffed plugs into his ears.

Pa handed me a pair of my own. As I stuck the waxy bungs in my ears, Josiah pulled on the oars and we passed through the fog’s veil into another world. Like a blanket smothering the sea, the air was thick and moist. With every breath, I envisioned spirits of dead sailors invading my being. Then I heard them, despite the earplugs.

Keeping time with the clang of the ship’s bell as she rocked on the gentle waves, a chorus of the most beautiful voices I’d ever heard pushed past the meager protection in my ears.

“Turn us ‘round!” Pa shouted. “They’s still aboard ’er.”

Instead of turning, however, we plowed on toward the derelict. When I turned away from the ghost ship, I saw why. One of Josiah’s oft-used plugs hung half-out of his ear. The song of the sirens held him enthralled. Any closer and their call would overcome us all.

Besotted as he was, with his mind destroyed, he offered no resistance to Pa’s knife thrust.

“Help me,” Pa cried, dragging Uncle Josiah, still gasping for air, to the gunwale. “They only like ’em fresh.”

The sea boiled around where he hit the water. I stared in horror as Pa, tears streaming down his face, rowed with all his might for home.

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