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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Black (10/15/09)

TITLE: Siren Song
By Myrna Noyes


Advancing, retreating. Pushing, pulling. The low, haunting melody hummed around him. It caressed. It teased. It insinuated itself into his very flesh.

David shook his head, trying to clear it, as he leaned, mug in hand, against the sink near the open kitchen window. He had come downstairs in hopes that some warm milk would help him sleep. He'd spent the last hour in bed, twisting from one side to another, while the racy, R-rated images of the "wee hours" movie he'd just viewed replayed themselves in a continuous loop through his brain. He knew he shouldn't have watched it, but Lynda had retired earlier, and he'd been bored.

"Where's this music coming from?" he muttered aloud. "The TV is off, and the radio isn't even plugged in."

Opening the back door, he listened intently. It seemed to be emanating from the brushy, brambly, back fence corner. He'd intended to clean out that area after they'd moved in last month, but he'd not gotten to it yet.

"I guess I'd better check it out." He grabbed the kitchen flashlight and headed out into the sultry summer night. Crossing the shadowy lawn, he picked up a stout stick and then whacked at the overgrowth until he exposed a flat, circular piece of wood, looking like an old cistern cover. The sound was definitely louder here. He leaned down, flipping the lid over.

His flashlight showed what appeared to be some kind of hole. An indistinct glow hovered at the surface, as if from a weak-wattage bulb reaching into dense fog. Before David could ponder that, he was staggered by a head rising at his feet through the haze. He stumbled backwards, breathless and voiceless, as shoulders and a torso followed. He dropped the flashlight in shock, but the moonshine revealed a youthful, feminine form, standing on some sort of platform, attired in a "barely-there" black dress . A misty shimmer clung to the bewitching figure, as she bowed slightly and held out a large tray, inviting in a low, Lauren Bacall-type voice, "May I offer you some dessert, Sir? You'll find my treats are quite tasty." David stared at cut-glass bottles containing various dark liqueurs and at gilt-edged plates of rich, decadent pastries and confections.

This is some bizarre dream I'm having, David assured himself with a nervous chuckle. And since it's not real, what would it hurt to indulge a bit? His mouth tingled as he swallowed bite after bite of the delicacies presented to him, and his blood seemed afire as he sampled all the drinks.

When he finished, the woman smiled, throwing him a flirtatious wink as she sank back down into the hole. He scooped up his flashlight and trained it on the spot, but saw only a black void.

A stomachache and a headache vied to awaken him the next morning. As he trudged into the bathroom , Lynda looked up from bed and asked, "How'd you get all those dried leaves and twiggy pieces on your robe?"

David glanced down at himself, the events of his dream flooding back. He cast about in his mind for a plausible reason. "Ummmm... the cat must've brushed against me on her way in last night."

Lynda seemed to accept that and settled back onto her pillow.

David was now desperate to inspect that corner of the yard, but he was already late for work, and the busy day and evening flew by with no opportunity. Bedtime came again, and soon after turning out his bedside lamp, the siren song began anew, drawing him like a magnet back to the pit. He glanced at Lynda, who snored softly in oblivion. With a sense of both curiosity and unease, he slipped from their room and out to the backyard.

Many covert encounters followed. Months passed. His marriage ruined, addictions gripping him, and his job in jeopardy, David met the now-familiar enchantress one frigid winter's eve. No tray of delectable delights welcomed him this time. Instead she beckoned David to draw closer. "Come with me tonight." she whispered in seductive, silken tones. "I'll show you things you've never even imagined before."

David hesitated, glancing back at his dark, empty house and reflecting on his dark, empty life. From the pit came muted sounds of belonging-- clinking glasses, women giggling, that old compelling music.

"Well, are you coming?" she purred.

As he began to step forward, an almost-forgotten childhood memory verse flashed through his mind, "The wages of sin is death..."

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This article has been read 627 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery10/23/09
Good title for the theme of this piece. It reminds me as well, of the adage of the hammer cloaked in velvet. I was rooting for your MC to make the right choice from the very beginning. I'm left wondering if he heeded the still small voice her heard at the end.
Genia Gilbert10/26/09
Guess we're supposed to wonder....? A good picture of the fruits of giving in to "just a little temptation." Very well written.
Deborah Engle 10/26/09
This is dark, per the topic. It actually felt quite eerie, and I didn't want to keep reading because it brought to mind some difficult times from my past. All that to say, the mood you set is excellent, and the writing is top notch.
Beth LaBuff 10/26/09
This is a compelling allegory, that sadly is all to true. Very nicely written.
Marita Thelander 10/26/09
Sad how easily we can be decieved, isn't it? Well written piece.
Kate Oliver Webb 10/27/09
You conjured up an eerie mood; I almost didn't want to read to the end, but I couldn't help myself. Excellent imagery, and perfect ending, because it leaves us to complete the story ourselves, making our own choice between good and evil.
Joy Faire Stewart10/27/09
Excellent analogy of the wages of sin. Top notch writing on topic and perfect title.
Mona Purvis10/27/09
Very well written with just the right amount of suspense. It reads like a parable to me...leaving the ending open.
Great entry and right on topic.

Betty Castleberry10/27/09
This is over the top creative. Your muse must have been working overtime. I enjoyed reading this well written piece.
Patricia Turner10/27/09
There's something a little eerie and surreal about this story, though I think I recognize it from one or more of the proverbs. Definitely a good fit for the topic. Great title and message at the end.
Bryan Ridenour10/27/09
WOW. This is superbly written and gripping to the very end. Great reminder of what happens when we hide God's Word in our hearts. Now hopefully he responded appropriately.
Carol Slider 10/27/09
What a compelling story! You painted a very vivid allegory of temptation and where it leads: reality and science fiction/fantasy mingled. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 01/27/10
Myrna, I'm going to feature this piece on the Front Page Showcase for the week of February 15. Look for it on the FaithWriters Home page--and congratulations!