Ep.93 – The Siren's Song - Something Under the Water WANTS YOU DEAD!
Something under that water sings beautifully... and hides a DEADLY secret, waiting to bring you under!
Siren's Song by Joe Solmo
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Jacob watched as his uncle headed towards the rustic one room cabin that sat on the riverbank. He wondered how he was supposed enjoy himself up here with his uncle. It had only been three days since his mother’s funeral. A car accident took her from him, she was on her way to pick him up from a friend’s house, after a night of trying out Dungeons & Dragons. The night was fun, he was all smiles until the phone rang at Keith’s house and Keith’s mom had to drive him home. She wouldn’t explain why, but Jacob could tell by the look on her face something was wrong. They never caught the person who crossed the double yellow lines and hit his mother head-on. They fled the stolen car and the scene on foot before the police arrived and found her there. Jacob overheard the officer say that she was still alive when they arrived, but passed shortly after. They found several beer cans in the other car, and thought it might have been a drunk or teens out for a joy ride, but no one knew for sure. There was no justice, just loss. It really wasn’t fair. When Uncle Greg showed up to help them with arrangements and daily household stuff, Jacob was glad. His father seemed lost, he’d just stare out the window at the driveway, like he expected his wife to pull in any minute. At times, Jacob wanted to join him, wanted to believe that it was all a mistake and his mother would be home in time for dinner and complain has his father overcooked the roast. The night after the funeral his father suggested he go to bed early, and to be honest, Jacob didn’t feel like staying up. As he finished brushing his teeth, he could hear his uncle and father talking on the back deck. The window was open on the warm August night. He dragged the stool over to the window he used to use to brush his teeth so he could peek out. His father was still wearing his white shirt and tie, the latter hanging loosely to the side as his father raised a glass to his lips. He turned towards his Glen. “You know why I don’t want to go back up there,” Jacob’s father said after swallowing. “It would do the both of you good to get away. Come up to the river camp. It will be like old times, Jason,” Glen replied. “The boy should be up there too, get away from this place.” “Too many memories. Memories of her. You know not all the memories up there are good ones,” Jason said. They sat in silence for a minute and Jacob got bored. He climbed down and put his wooden stool away. He thought it was odd that his father told his uncle that he met mom at the cabin. When he asked for a school project, his parents had told him they met at a school dance. Jacob snapped out of his memory and looked at the river as it flowed by. So, this was where his father and mother met. He looked up and down the shore and wondered which of the houses had belonged to his mother’s family. He had never met anyone from his mother’s side. She told him they had all died when she was young. Before he knew it, he was standing at the water’s edge. Something had drawn him there. There was something comforting about the way the water lazily passed by the large boulder near the weathered dock. He walked out onto the aged wooden planks until he reached the edge and looked down at the reflection of the sunset and mountains in the river. He stared intensely into the water, there was something there, just under the surface, but he couldn’t make it out. Pastels reminiscent of Easter covered the swirling water, keeping its underwater secrets from him. He slapped a mosquito as it tried to make a meal of him. A look out on the water showed all kinds of insects swimming just above the surface of the water, and he regretted not bringing a long sleeve shirt to cover up. Jacob had never been fishing before, he wondered if he would like it. Maybe if it was a video game. Then he wouldn’t have to worry about the bugs. “There you are Jake,” came Uncle Greg’s voice from behind him. “Let’s get all the bags inside. It’s really cooling down; the browns should be out soon.” Jacob didn’t know what a brown was. He assumed it was some kind of fish, or maybe an insect since there were so many of those out. He grabbed his duffel bag from the back of the truck and with a grunt lifted it over the side of the truck. It took both hands to carry it to the house with a week’s worth of clothes inside it. “What’s a brown?” he asked his uncle as he caught up to him, out of breath. “Trout, boy. Brown trout. It’s on the menu for tonight. They love to eat those bugs there and will be right up near the surface. Easy pickin’s,” Uncle Greg replied. “Eww, they eat bugs?” Jacob asked. “Sure do, it’s a source of protein for them.” “Do they taste like bugs when you eat them?” asked Jacob. “Not at all, they’re delicious,” his uncle replied with a laugh and put his bag down on the old worn couch. “You take the bed; I will take the couch.” Jacob looked at the bed by the window. It had a nice view of the river; he carried his bag over to the bed and plopped in on there without taking his eyes off the river. A boat was heading upriver, the steady drone of its motor almost trancelike. He watched it until it was out of site. “How come you don’t have a motorboat like that, Uncle Glen?” Jacob asked. “Well honestly, I can’t afford one. I am not very good with money,” Glen said laughing as he set down the cooler by the old sink. Jacob had not even seen his uncle to go back out to the truck to get the cooler. “Dad says you whizz it away, but I don’t know what that means,” Jacob said. “Yeah well, when we were growing up, your father had it easier that I did making friends. I found my friend in a bottle. Y’understand?” Uncle Glen asked gathering up the fishing gear and heading towards the door. “Yeah,” Jacob said, but had no idea what his uncle was talking about. The canoe was so shaky it felt like if Jacob sneezed he would send the thing over and he’d have to swim back to the cabin. So he sat very still, white-knuckle gripping the sides of the aluminum canoe in order to prevent his imaginary catastrophe. His uncle paddled them upriver a bit to a spot he said he knew where there was a deep pool that the browns liked to hang out in. They would drift with the current from above it so the fish wouldn’t hear the splashing of the oars and get spooked. Even though he was terrified of the canoe tipping, Jacob wasn’t afraid of the river itself. Once again, he felt a calmness when he looked out on it. There was something familiar about the river, something comforting. It took a few minutes for him to get up the nerve to let go of one side of the canoe and reach down to the water, letting his fingers drag in the cool water. “Well, here we are,” his uncle said and slid the canoe just upstream of a fallen log to keep the watercraft in place. “You ready to catch some fish?” Jacob watched his uncle take a rod out from a tube and fit the ends together until the thing was almost as long as the canoe. He had seen rods in fishing shows before, but this one was super long and the line was brightly colored. He watched as is uncle tied a tiny little poofy thing to the end. “Here take this,” Glen said, thrusting the rod towards his nephew. Jacob reached out slowly to take the rod from his uncle, daring to rise a little from his safely seated position. As he sat back down, he felt something bump the canoe. “What was that?” he asked nervously, looking around wide-eyed. “We just brushed up against a log, nothing to worry about,” his uncle said and started to fit together another rod. “All I have are these fly-fishing rods, it’s a little harder to cast, but the browns love the flies on the end,” his uncle explained and stood up in the canoe making it shake more than Jacob would have liked. Uncle Glen gave a false cast and sent the line shooting out the end upstream. Jacob watched the graceful cast. It was easy to see the bright orange line make its way back downriver to them. His uncle cast this way three more times, explaining to Jacob how it worked, but Jacob wasn’t about to stand up in the boat now. He felt another bump on the canoe. This time he swore he felt something tapping on the bottom of the boat. “What is that?” Jacob asked, terrified. “There are all kinds of noises, kid. It could be anything, a branch, a turtle. Nothing to worry about either way,” Uncle Glen explained and sat back down in the canoe. He reached into the bag he brought with them and pulled out a beer. “If you were another year older, I would let you have one, but eleven is just too young to drink beer.” “That’s ok. I don’t want a drink,” Jacob said. “Good boy, don’t want to end up like me,” His uncle answered putting down the beer to grab his paddle. “Let’s move a little farther downstream and give it another go.” Jacob nodded and looked overboard as his uncle maneuvered them out into the current to take them downstream. Jacob. Jacob can you hear me. His young eyes widened as he heard the familiar voice. It couldn’t be. How could he hear his mother? She was dead! He looked at his uncle to see if he heard it too, but he just guided the canoe down river. Jacob. It’s your mother. Can you hear me, child? Jacob tried to swallow, but his throat went dry. The hairs on his neck stood up. This can’t be happening. “Uncle Glen, I don’t feel so good. Can we just go back to the cabin?” Jacob asked in a weak voice. “Huh? Oh, I guess we could. Didn’t know you get seasick. Our family have been sailors for generations. Must be from your mother’s side. I never met her folks. Probably grew up landlocked,” his uncle said. “Let’s break down these rods first.” Another thump on the boat, this one louder. Jacob wondered if he was losing his mind. Between the thumps and hearing his mother’s voice, he just wanted to go home. Get away from the crazy place. He looked out on the water, and no longer felt a calming sensation. He was terrified. Jacob. I need your help. You will help your mother, won’t you? He closed his eyes tight, wishing it all away. The voice, the bumps, the trip, the accident. Everything. Why was this happening to him? Why was his mother taken from him? Was that really her voice he heard? Was it all in his head? They reached the dock without further incident. They entered the cabin without another word. Jacob went over to the bed and lay on it, facing the river. He didn’t want to turn his back on it. “You want something to eat?” his uncle asked from the small table where he was sitting. “No thanks, I am not very hungry,” Jacob replied, propping his head up on his pillow to better see out the window. He wondered why he didn’t see more boats out on the river, sure it was getting dark now, but still there wasn’t much traffic out there. “Ok, maybe you will feel like eating in the morning. I’ll make pancakes. If you need anything, just let me know, I will be having a few drinks before I turn in, I think,” his uncle replied. Jacob closed his eyes for a second, then looked back towards the water. He closed them again for longer this time, trying to fall asleep and put an end to this day. One less day he had to stay here and he could go home. He wasn’t sure how long he’d slept, but when he woke it was dark out. He could hear his uncle snoring from the other side of the cabin. He sat up and looked out the window, the full moon illuminating the scene before him. He could make out the dock on the shore of the river, a ribbon of darkness flowing in the moonlight. Jacob. Jacob are you there? The voice again. How? Jacob wrapped the blanket around him. Wait. What was that? Jacob. Don’t be afraid. The hair on the back of his neck stood up again as his brain processed what his eyes were seeing. A woman was coming out of the lake, wrapped in a white dress, flowing behind her. It couldn’t be. Could it? “Mom?” Yes, my son. It’s me. Come outside. I will explain everything. Jacob looked at his uncle, passed out sitting at the table now covered with empty cans. He would sleep through the night. He slipped out of bed, keeping the blanket wrapped around him as he made it to the door. He opened the wooden door just enough so that he could slip out, sure to close it quietly behind him. He made his way through the damp grass, keeping his eyes locked on his mother on the river’s edge. He noticed a swirl of fog obscuring her legs and feet as he approached. She reached out to him, but he stopped twenty feet shy. He looked at her pale face, surrounded by her fire red hair. It didn’t look wet, even though she seemingly emerged from the river. I guess anything is possible in a dream, he thought. Jacob. Why do you hesitate. Come here my son. Her voice sang in his ears, but her lips never moved. Was this a dream? “Mom? Is it really you?” he asked. It’s me, Jake. Did you hear me earlier on the river? “Yes. Was that you thumping on the boat?” he asked her, pulling the blanket tighter around him. The night was colder than he first realized. Yes, I was trying to get your attention, son. I miss you and your father so much. I didn’t expect to be back here so soon. “Why are you here at the river? Is the river… ?” Jacob asked. No, Jake. This is where I came from. I had to return when I was done with my life with you. It is complicated. “Are you a ghost?” Her musical laughter filled his ears. My child. That is a good question. I am not sure to be honest. I have been keeping a secret from you for years. I think it is time to tell you of your heritage, my son. But first, I need to ask you a favor… Jacob woke from his uncle shaking him. “Are you okay Jacob, it’s almost nine,” his uncle asked. “Five more minutes,” Jacob grumbled rolling back over. “Okay Jake, I will get started on breakfast then,” his uncle said. “Pancakes good?” The grunt his uncle heard from the pile of blankets he took as an affirmative. Soon the smell of bacon and maple syrup assaulted Jacob’s nose. He rose from the blankets and looked out at the river, remembering what his mother told him last night. It had to have been a dream, he thought. It had seemed so real though. Jacob had to admit he was really hungry, and his mouth watered when he saw breakfast on the table. He ate so many pancakes he thought he was going to burst. He wondered if there was a more perfect food. If there was, he hadn’t had it, that was for sure. “Can we go fishing again tonight?” Jacob asked. “Sure. Didn’t think you would want to after getting seasick last night. We can go right now if you want, just let me finish the dishes,” Uncle Glen said. “No, let’s wait until tonight, it will be cooler. Teach me to cast like you did last night in the yard though. It looked fun, like a whip,” Jacob said throwing his napkin in the trash. “It’s not really like a whip at all, but I will show you. Can you check on our ice situation? Do I need to run into town?” his uncle asked. Jacob opened up the cooler. “Um, it looks like we might need some for later. What happened to all the beer that was in there?” His uncle looked in the cooler. “I guess I had a few more than I thought. A trip into town it is then. Do you want to go with me or hang out here?” “I’ll stay here, Uncle Glen,” Jacob replied. “I want to draw a little,” he said and went for his duffel bag. Inside was a sketchbook and pencils. He pulled them out and brought them to the table. “Suit yourself. I won’t be gone long,” Uncle Glen said and headed out the door. Jacob sighed as his uncle left. Could it be true? His uncle returned hours later, it was mid afternoon and he smelled of alcohol… bad. Jacob couldn’t get within ten feet of him, he reeked. “Come on boy, time to teach you to cast like a master,” his uncle said and grabbed the tubes that contained the rods they used last night. Jacob. A chill went down his spine as he stood in the yard. Was his mother really calling to him? Jacob I can’t get any closer. Are we set for tonight? Jacob nodded towards the river. He didn’t know if she could hear him or not, but the nod seemed to answer her question. Thank you, my son. See you at sunset. “You always just stare off into space, boy?” his uncle asked scratching his head. “You weren’t watching, now pay attention…” An hour later Uncle Glen was passed out on the porch and Jacob had the rest of the night to himself. He would wake uncle when it was time to fish. Jacob managed to get his uncle up just before sunset, and get him into the canoe. He even helped paddle this time. They made their way up river even faster than the night before and passed the fallen log even earlier. “Let’s try a little farther upriver,” Jacob said. “Is that okay, Uncle Glen?” “Sure boy, keep paddling, I’ll get the rods ready. Jacob continued to paddle up river, pushing against the current. The sun was beginning to drop behind the mountains, similar to last night when they were out here. “Is this a good spot?” Jacob asked. “Good as any to start,” His uncle replied and threw the little anchor overboard to keep them in the spot long enough to fish it. He handed Jacob a rod and grabbed one for himself. “Go ahead and give it a cast.” Jacob hesitated. “You go first, I want to watch you cast one more time.” He felt something against the bottom of the boat. Was that a thump? Glen cast out towards the shore where there was a bend in the river, the insects swarming just above the surface. He felt something and tried to set the hook, but lost it. He stood in the canoe making it wobble until he got himself balanced. Are you ready now Jacob? “I need a little more distance,” Uncle Glen said and cast again, this time his fly landed inches from the bank. “That’s the sweet spot, right there,” he said and began to strip in the line. Now, Jacob. Just like we talked about. Jacob picked up the tube that the rods came in, it was made of fiberglass, not very heavy, but it would have to do. He slid forward in the canoe slowly until he was near his uncle. “Uncle Glen?” “What is it boy? Don’t you know you have to be quiet when fishing?” “This is from mom,” Jacob said and swung the tube into his uncle’s gut, catching him unaware. His uncle pitched forward and the canoe began to list towards shore. “What the… did you do that for?” his uncle growled clutching his belly. Jacob answered him with another swing, this one right behind the knees, causing his uncle’s legs to buckle, he fell back and went overboard. The canoe stayed upright, just like his mother promised him it would, like it was held in place. “Help me out of the damn water!” his uncle called out grabbing the side of the canoe and shaking it. Pale arms reached up from behind Glen and snaked around him. Good job, my son. He must pay for what he did to me. He was jealous of your father and I, and when I turned him down he decided if he couldn’t have me no one would. First, he kidnapped me from the river onto dry land with my newborn fry, you. Then your father and Glen fought over me, like some kind of prize. When I died my soul went back to the river where my people live. Where your people live, Jacob. Jacob listened to the explanation from his mother as her face came up next to his uncles. A large flipper slapped the water as she dragged his uncle father from the canoe. We have avenged my death, my son. Now we must avenge our kidnapping from our people. Paddle back and call your father up here. Then we can be together again. Then I can teach you about your heritage. I can show you how to change your form, to live in the water, or on land. Jacob paddled away as he heard his uncle splashing behind him, crying out for help. He wouldn’t look back, not after what his uncle and father had done to his mother. No wonder she was so sad all the time, he thought. He put the paddle across his lap and let the current take him back to the cabin now that the waters behind him have gone silent. Soon he would be reunited with his people, under the river, just one more wrong to right…</pre>
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