by Max Turner
Not on water or on air, but through time and space. I floated and was moved along to an
unknown destination. Rudderless.
I should put my feet down sometime, I thought. I should stop floating through the life laid
out for me, and stand still for just a moment and try to understand what was happening, where I was going and if that was where I should be.
I should look inside for just a moment, to see that thing I hadn’t wanted to think about.
That thing that I didn’t want to have to confront because it was simply too hard. So big and
dangerous that it would destroy worlds, according to some.
I fell backwards from my chair and then I was in a boat.
Dropping my arm over the side, I felt the warm water against my hand and heard the soft
lull of a musical voice telling me it was taking me to safety.
I opened my eyes.
There was nothing but blue. Blue skies, blue seas. The blue shades of the creature’s flesh
as he peered at me over the bow of the small boat.
“I’ll take you home.”
I frowned, because I could barely see land, a strip of darkness splitting the two hues of
blue. And it was growing ever distant.
I was being pulled further out to sea.
I closed my eyes again, mouth dry and body tired.
I understood what it was to want safety, to go further from land, from people and words
and noise. Away from conformity and being what was expected. I wanted that and yet had never
been brave enough to grasp it. Had always been told I shouldn’t.
But now this creature, this siren, pulled me through the waves and deeper out to sea.
The words were lyrical and penetrated my mind, echoing and whispering.
I floated on.
And when I opened my eyes again the light blue of the sky had been replaced by deeper
colours, almost purple and dotted with stars.
The boat was still.
Just as I always had. No choice or a lack of bravery? I wasn’t sure.
For a moment the boat rocked. And then a sharp pull and it was under.
I was under the water. Floating for a fraction of a second before hands pulled me down.
They weren’t harsh, they weren’t cruel. They held me gently and tenderly caressed me.
“You are home. Breathe. Breathe.”
I breathed in and found I could. Freer than I ever could. As though a weight had been
lifted from my chest.
I opened my eyes and everything was blue.
Blue water, blue flesh, theirs and my own. They smiled at me.
Hundreds of them, maybe more. All with outstretched and welcoming arms. These sirens
whose sharp teeth so many feared, their love was palpable. They weren’t to be feared or reviled,
they had no agenda but to save me.
And it was clear to me then that I wasn’t floating any more.
I had found my place in time and space and it was with my kind. Others like me that I
had never known existed.
And they were right, I was home.
Max Turner is a gay transgender man based in the United Kingdom. He is also a parent, nerd, intersectional feminist and coffee addict. Max writes speculative and science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, gothic horror and LGBTQ+ romance, and more often than not, combinations thereof.