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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2321355
Three Sirens come to Glen Hartwell, to lure men to their deaths
In the beige-walled lounge room of the Dorset Hotel in Duchess Road LePage, in the Victorian countryside, sat three elderly men; two upon the faded leather sofa, and one in an ancient floral patterned lounge chair. They had stayed up late to watch the evening news, so had the sound down on the flat-screen TV, so as not to awaken the other guests or staff of the hotel. As the hotel's longest residents and only late birds, they had all become fairly accomplished lip-readers over the years. Danny Lincoln was the youngest at sixty-two, a short fat balding man of American origin. Leslie Dwyer was seventy-something; tall anorexically thin, with shoulder-length grey hair, looking more like a professor or scientist than the tradie that he had been before retiring. The old-timer of the trio was Gordon Mallaby. At eighty-seventy, he referred to Danny and Leslie as 'boys' or 'young men', although neither felt young at all. Gordon was tall, portly, without being obese, and a chain smoker - despite complaints from other residents, and George and Annette Mulberry, the proprietors of the Dorset, ordering him to smoke outside or in his room. But here at 11:00 PM amongst friends, he smoked his favourite brand boldly; just occasionally looking toward the door for fear of George, or worse, his redheaded wife Annette, approaching. Hell hath no fury like a redhead pissed off! he thought. Knowing that he would get told off the next morning if the tobacco smell had not dissipated overnight.

"Gee that weather girl is hotter than hell," said Danny, breaking Gordon's reverie.

"You know Annette would call us dirty old men for entertaining such thoughts," said Leslie.

"'At your age!'" said Gordon, parroting the buxom redhead; making Leslie and Danny laugh.

"Our age doesn't alter the fact that she's hotter than a blast furnace in Hell," said Leslie making them all laugh again...

Until vaguely hearing the sweet female voices singing outside.

"What? Who?" asked Leslie, as the three men rose and started toward the doorway.

Without speaking, they walked through the garish white-blue-and-yellow-painted reception area. Then toward and outside the glass double doors, into the cold May air of the forest not far past the Dorset.

Still, they could not make out the words being sung, yet without hesitation, all three men walked through the dark, sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus forest answering the call of the unknown chanteuses.

For kilometres the three men walked, unnoticing of the cold night air, determined to reach the sweet Siren sound.

As they neared the banks of the foul-smelling Yannan River, for the first time they could make out the words of the song:
"Sailors from across the sea
"Come to meet your destiny,
"Sailor boys both short and tall
"Come to give your very all.

"As the sea comes crashing down
"Seems your fate has run aground,
"Sailors crossing the briny deep
"Come to encounter eternal sleep.

"Sailor boys come hear us sing
"Of myriad new exciting things,
"Come to us from 'cross the waves
"Soon you're sleeping in your graves.

"Mariners both daft and wise
"Come to face the end of life,
"Listen to our song of death
"Soon you'll pass your final breath.

"Listen to our calling song
"Come to us, lads, don't be long,
"From 'cross the ocean's seven seas
"Come here to face your destinies."

Over and over the verses were repeated as the three elderly men approached; unaware of the time or distance that they had travelled. Unfeeling of fatigue or cold; only needing to meet their destinies.

As they approached the Yannan River, they saw three beautiful maidens of indeterminate age, dressed in ancient-looking robes. Watching the three men approach, the Sirens kept singing until finishing, "Come here to face your destinies" one final time.

As the women stopped serenading them, the three elderly men awakened from their trance-like state and looked about themselves in amazement.

"How did we get here?" asked Leslie Dwyer, suddenly feeling fatigued from their long march through the night forest.

"Silence!" cried Chloé, a tall redhead beauty; the leader of the three Sirens.

"You are not here to ask questions, but to meet your fates," said Anastasia; a tall, shapely platinum blonde.

"We're not here to take bull from you three tarts," protested Gordon. He turned to start back to the Dorset hotel, only to cry out, as his elderly back protested at the long march he had already been on.

"It is time, sisters," said Daphne, the youngest of the three Sirens; a medium-height raven-haired beauty.

"It is time!" agreed Chloé. She stood legs spread wide, arms raised to the heavens as though calling to some long-forgotten dark God.

"It is time!" repeated Daphne and Anastasia, also standing legs wide, arms raised to the heavens as though in evil supplication.

"Time? Time for what?" asked Leslie Dwyer.

"Silence!" shouted Chloé. She began shuddering as though in some kind of seizure; and was soon followed by Daphne and Anastasia, who began shaking and shimmying as though in a grand mal seizure.

"What the Hell?" asked Danny Lincoln as the three beautiful women continued jerking and juddering.

Until suddenly they seemed to be growing; stretching wider and taller, till each woman was nearly four metres tall and a metre or more wide.

Then as the night air became increasingly Antarctically cold, the three women began bending and cracking, their bones breaking loudly; reforming until they no longer looked like young beautiful women, but more like some kind of avian fiends from some nightmare realm.

Their faces, although still human, now had long, curved beaks. Their hands had turned to long, wicked-looking talons and were now attached to vast feathered wings. Their bodies were now like that of some midway stage between pterosaur and bird, and their long legs were spindly and black with thick veins, and ended in long talons with scythe-like claws.

"What the fuck?" asked Gordon Mallaby.

"Let's get out of here," said Leslie wisely.

However, when the three men turned to leave, they found that the increasingly frosty night air, combined with the long walk they had just finished had reduced them to the frail old men, which they normally refused to admit to being.

"Hold fast!" shrilled Chloé; and the men did as ordered, virtually frozen to the spot from cold, fear, and exhaustion: "Now my sisters!"

At Chloé's words the three Sirens raced forward to begin pecking at the old men; slashing at them with their talon hands, and ripping at them with the razor-like claws on their avian feet.

"Help me!" shrieked Gordon Mallaby:

Gordon was too hysterical from terror, agony, and disbelief to realise that there was no one to help him. The only people within kilometres of him were Leslie Dwyer and Danny Lincoln. Leslie was already dead; Danny was crying and shrieking at the same time as the Sirens pecked at him, slashed at his face and neck, and rended his abdomen, legs, and crotch with the sabre-like claws on their feet.

"Stop! Help me!" shrieked Gordon, as Chloé used her taloned feet to rip his abdomen open, allowing his entrails to fall upon the dried pine needles and gum leaves on the forest floor.

"God save me!" cried Danny; before changing it to: "God take me! Save me from this horror! Take me! Take me now, Lord!"

As though in answer to his prayer, Anastasia slashed open his throat with her beak, ripping open his carotid artery and killing him in minutes.

Finally, Daphne and Chloé joined forces to rend and rip Gordon Mallaby, until he joined his friends in the blessed relief of death..

Then standing as they had done earlier, or as close as they could manage in their current form, the three Sirens shrilled their prayers again. And again their bones began cracking and rending, ripping and mending, until they had changed back into their guise as three beautiful maidens.

"A good night's work," said Chloé looking at the three eviscerated corpses, their intestines and blood staining the forest floor red, white, pink, and brown.

"Yes, sister," agreed Anastasia and Daphne.

The three women set out along the bank of the Yannan River, heading as far away from the death site as possible before the corpses were discovered sometime the next day.

Over at the Yellow House in Rochester Road in Merridale, they were sitting down to breakfast shortly before 7:30 the next morning.

As per usual Sheila Bennett, the second-top cop of the area, and a Goth chick with orange-and-black-striped hair, was listening to her MP3 player while waiting for her meal.

"What is she listening to now?" asked Natasha Lipzing. At seventy, the tall, thin grey-haired lady was the oldest resident at the boarding house.

"The Devil's Advocates, of course," said Tommy Turner. A recent retiree, Tommy was short and fat, with shoulder-length blond hair: "Who else does she ever listen to."

Taking off the headphones, Sheila said: "I listen to Elvis or Chuck Berry sometimes. Also to the Doors, or Credence, or Normie Rowe, or Russell Morris. Especially his classic stuff like 'Wings of an Eagle', or 'Sweet, Sweet Love'. But at the moment I am listening to the Devil's Advocates, a new song of theirs called 'Siren Song'. Apparently, it's based upon an ancient song used long ago by the Sirens to lure sailors to their deaths."

"Tell me you don't really believe that," said Terri Scott. At thirty-five she was the same age as Sheila and was the top cop of the BeauLarkin to Willamby area of the Victorian countryside. A beautiful ash blonde, she was also engaged to Colin Klein.

"No, but it's still a great song," said Sheila, starting to sing:
"Sailors from across the sea
"Come to meet your destiny,
"Sailor boys both short and tall
"Come to give your very all...."

"Spare us the gory details," said Colin Klein. At forty-eight the redheaded man had recently retired from his position as a top London crime reporter to take up work for the Glen Hartwell Police Force, after meeting and clicking with Terri.

"If that's how you feel," said Sheila putting on the headphones again.

"Here you go," said Deidre Morton putting a plate with half a dozen vegemite crumpets in front of the Goth cop. Deidre was a short dumpy brunette in her early sixties, who put most Michelin-star chefs to shame.

"Thanks, Mrs. M.," said Sheila getting stuck into her favourite breakfast.

"That's what I like to see, a healthy eater," said Deidre.

"I don't know why?" said Freddy Kingston. Also a recent retiree, Freddy was tall, portly, and bald, other than a Larry Fine-style ruff of curly black hair around the back and sides of his head: "The more she eats, the more it costs you."

"I don't take in guests to make money," said Deidre: "I do it for the company."

Before she could explain more, the phone in the hallway began ringing.

"Oh darn it," said Deidre, going to answer it. A few minutes later, a little green in the gills, she returned to announce: "They've just found the remains of what they think were three elderly men, near the banks of the Yannan."

"They think?" asked Colin Klein, as he Terri, and reluctantly Sheila stood up to head outside; with Sheila carrying a brown paper bag with three vegemite crumpets in it.

Around the same time, Annette and George Mulberry started down to help serve breakfast to the guests at the Dorset Hotel. Beside them yawned Lizzie Enrich, an attractive twenty-year-old leggy brunette; the hotel's maid-cum-waitress-cum-general dog's body.

"Wake up, Lizzie," ordered Annette Mulberry, a beautiful forty-something, redheaded, chestalicious woman.

"Sorry, I'm still not used to getting up so early."

"If you're unemployed, you can sleep in till noon," teased the redhead.

"Don't tease her, honey," said George Mulberry, a huge burly man who looked more like a wrestler, than a hotel proprietor. He gave Annette a generous pat on her generous behind, drawing a giggle from Lizzie.

"What's that smell?" asked Lizzie, wrinkling up her nose as they approached the lounge room beside the dining room.

Annette sniffed then said: "Tobacco smoke! That Gordon Mallaby has been ignoring my rules on smoking in the hotel again."

"At his age, he should know better," said Lizzie, deciding that agreeing with Annette would get her in good with the proprietress again.

"Wait till he comes down to breakfast!" threatened Annette.

However, Danny, Leslie, and Gordon did not come down to breakfast, a fact that went unnoticed in the mad rush to feed the hungry mob. It was only when they went up to make the beds after breakfast that they discovered that Leslie Dwyer's, Gordon Mallaby's, and Danny Lincoln's beds had not been slept in the night before.

"Where could they be?" asked Lizzie Enrich.

"Probably hiding somewhere," suggested George: "'Hell hath no fury like a redhead pissed off!' remember."

"And this redhead is pissed off," agreed Annette: "But they can't have spent the night outside in that hellish cold."

"Maybe they left early this morning, making their beds before going," suggested George, acting as peacemaker.

"Leslie and Danny, maybe," said Annette: "But at eighty-seven Gordon is too frail to make his own bed."

Half an hour later Terri's police-blue Lexus pulled up near where the three old men had been killed the night before.

"Derek, Chezza," said Sheila by way of greeting to two senior paramedics standing beside their ambulance: At sixty-three Cheryl Pritchard was the senior paramedic of the area; Derek Armstrong was a forty-nine-year-old black ambulance man, who had only recently started dating Sheila Bennett.

As Terri and Colin started toward the crime scene, Sheila stayed to chat to Derek.

"It seems strange to see that macho Goth chick going all girly girl toward a man suddenly," said Terri when they were out of earshot of Sheila.

"At her age, she can't afford to play hard to get," said Colin.

"What do you mean 'her age'? I'm the same age as Sheils!"

"Yes, but you're already engaged."

"So what's this about you lot thinking three people have been killed ... and they might be males?" asked Terri as they approached the crime scene.

"Not up to your usual level of total perfectionism," teased Colin.

"Take a look for yourself," said Jesus Costello (pronounced 'Hee-Zeus'); the administrator and chief surgeon of the Glen Hartwell and Daley Community Hospital. He pointed to what could best be described as a splatter of bones, flesh, and organs spread across the dried pine needles and gum leaves of the forest floor.

"Yeech!" said Terri, managing, just, to keep down her breakfast: "Frankly I envy Sheils now."

"Why?" asked Tilly Lombstrom, a tall shapely fifty-something brunette, and Jesus's second in command: "Because she's chatting up a tall, handsome black man?"

"No, because she doesn't have to see this," said Terri: "Any clues what did it?"

"If we were in America," said Elvis Green, the local coroner, and an avid Elvis Presley fan: "I'd suggest a pack of ravenous bears; or in Canada, some rabid moose. But since we're in Australia, I can only shrug and say 'I don't have a clue'."

"My guess is it's one of those wacky backy Colin Klein monster cases," suggested Topaz Moseley, a gorgeous thirty-two-year-old platinum blonde nurse.

"Why does everyone always blame me?" demanded Colin.

Before anyone could answer, Terri's mobile phone rang.

"Yes," she said, listening for a few minutes before disconnecting: "That was Annette Mulberry at the Dorset Hotel. She says three of their elderly male residents are missing. Possibly since late last night."

"Aha, the case is thickening, my dear Watson," said Colin as they turned to depart.

"How come I always have to be Watson?" teased Terri.

"Come on Mycroft," said Colin to Sheila: "The case is that peculiar-shaped thing at the end of your leg."

"You mean a foot?" asked Sheila, reluctantly abandoning Derek to follow them across to the blue Lexus.

"Exactly," said Colin, opening the back door for Terri to enter first.

A short time later they were in the blue-white-and-yellow reception area of the Dorset Hotel, listening to Annette Mulberry.

After listening to the redheaded proprietress without learning anything new, they did thorough searches of the three men's bedrooms without learning anything.

"Looks like it's time for Slap, Tickle, and Rub," said Terri, as they returned to the reception area.

"What, with everyone watching?" teased Colin.

"Don Esk's three Alsatian crosses," explained Terri.

"Is Don fit enough to lead the dogs?" asked Sheila as Terri pulled out her mobile phone. Donald Esk had just recovered from a serious case of radiation poisoning.

"No, but they obey Lisa Williams his fiancé now, since she's been caring for them while he's been ill," said Colin as Terri rang Lisa.

Disconnecting, Terri said: "She was reluctant to leave Don alone but I promised to send Greta Goddard to watch him while she's gone."

Nearly an hour later Lisa Williams, a tall beautiful twenty-eight-year-old turned up in a police-blue Land Rover, with the three Alsatian crosses in the rear.

After sniffing some clothing from the three men, the dogs set off excitedly into the neighbouring forest, with Lisa struggling to keep up with them.

"Slow down!" ordered Lisa, without success; finally she risked handing the leashes to huge, burly George Mulberry. Fortunately, the dogs were too excited by the chase to even notice the change.

Perhaps ninety minutes later they arrived at the slaughter scene as Jesus, Tilly, and Elvis were just finishing up.

"Back again?' said Tilly, surprised.

"Yes, and now we can confirm the remains are three elderly men," said Terri: "Danny Lincoln, Leslie Dwyer, and Gordon Mallaby."

"All from the Dorset Hotel," said Sheila, doing her best to help Colin to shield Lisa from the gruesome sight just ahead of them.

Despite the people's determination to go no further, the three dogs almost pulled George Mulberry off his feet in their insistence on going past the slaughter site to the river beyond.

"Here we go again," said George as they started off along the bank of the murky Yannan River.

"Why do these wacky cases always seem to involve the Yannan?" asked Lisa, having narrowly avoided seeing the remains of the three elderly men.

"Yeah," agreed Colin: "Maybe we should have to have it drained, or rerouted inland somehow. Maybe to South Australia, so all the wacky backy cases can bug them instead of us?"

"Or we could stick up signs along the banks saying, 'No Monsters Allowed'," suggested Sheila.

By nightfall even the dogs were exhausted and seemed to have lost the trail of the three Sirens, so Terri phoned to have Alice Walker and Jessie Baker, two local cops, come to pick them up.

The five young men, three brothers, and two workmates were approaching the Free Love Sex Lounge in Gordon Street LePage, at about 10:25 that night. All virgins, they had never been to the Sex Lounge but had mates who had spoken highly of its cleanliness and the proprietors' honesty.

About time I got laid! thought Malcolm Beadles, although not quite twenty-one yet.

"This is gonna be great!" said his younger brother, Nigel, a thin lanky eighteen-year-old redheaded man.

"It had better be if we haveta pay for it," said Leroy van Dorkins; who was known to be a bit of a tightwad.

"Better to have paid, than not get laid," said Virgil Perry; a sixteen-year-old, blond youth, who looked older. Virgil fancied himself as a bit of a poet.

"What he said," agreed seventeen-year-old Willy Beadles, drawing laughter from the other youths.

The three men continued along Gordon Street until the neon sign outside the Free Love Sex Lounge was clearly visible.

"Here it is boys..." said Malcolm; stopping as he faintly heard the sound of women singing in the distance.

"What is...?" began Nigel, unable to finish his sentence as he and his brothers and mates went into a deep trance.

"Hello boys," called a forty-something blonde in a Madonna Cowgirl Stage costume.

However, the five youths suddenly turned back the way they had come and started quick-walking away from the sex lounge.

"Was it something I said?" asked Martha, the blonde prostitute.

"You probably reminded them of their mothers," teased a sixteen-year-old ravenette, Trixie, standing beside her.

"Ha-ha," said Martha heading back inside the Sex Lounge.

Answering the Song of the Sirens, the five men walked for ninety minutes or so, until reaching the banks of the Yannan River as the three beautiful women finished their song for the umpteenth time that night.

"What? Where?" asked Malcolm Beadles looking around himself, unable to remember the long walk the five men had been on, although he found himself gasping, out of breath.

Deciding not to risk the young men fleeing, Chloé dropped her raiments to the forest floor, revealing herself in all he naked splendour.

"Jesus," said Larry van Dorkins, deciding this was better than paying for it. He walked across to the tall, busty redhead and was soon making love to her, with a fair bit of help from the more experienced Siren.

Following suit, Daphne and Anastasia dropped their robes and soon all five young men were making love to the Sirens, up to three at a time with any one woman. After nearly three hours, the orgy ended as the five men collapsed, mentally and physically exhausted from their first and last time making love to a 'woman'.

Only when the men were too fatigued to run, did the three women stand and raise their arms to the heavens in supplication.

Again they began shuddering as though in some kind of seizure; all three women jerking and juddering, until suddenly they started growing; stretching wider and taller, till each woman was nearly four metres tall and a metre-or-more wide.

Then as the night air became increasingly frigid, the three women began bending and cracking, their bones breaking loudly; reforming until they no longer looked like young beautiful women, but instead in their true form ... like gigantic winged nightmares.

Their faces were less beautiful due to the long, curved beaks. Their hands and feet transformed into great talons, with long talons with scythe-like claws.

Only Willy was still awake, and, horrified by the transformations of the three women tried to pull himself to his feet to flee. But even that effort was too much for the youth, who soon collapsed unconscious to the forest floor of pine needles and gum leaves

Screeching more like pterosaurs than any kind of bird, the three Sirens raced forward to rend and claw at the prostrate men. Shrieking in delight as they clawed and pecked at the unconscious men, soon reducing them to the same bloody mess of brains, bones, entrails, fæces and urine as the three men the previous night.

At 7:30 the next morning they were sitting down to breakfast at the Yellow House, so named due to Deidre Morton's obsession with the colour yellow, which the house was painted inside and out, as was most of the furniture in the boarding house.

"I've been meaning to ask you," said Natasha Lipzing to Terri, Sheila, and Colin: "Since we're out in the bush, where Russell Street can't see you, why do you bother still wearing your police uniforms, instead of street clothes?"

"Yeh, it'd be a lot more comfortable," put in Tommy Turner.

"We get given two uniforms a year free," explained Terri.

"So why should we wear out our own duds," said Sheila, as Mrs. Morton placed a plate of vegemite crumpets in front of her: "Yum, yum!"

"Besides, with all the psychos and monsters we keep encountering," said Colin: "It doesn't hurt to have the uniforms as a sign of authority."

"Especially since many of the monsters look like beautiful young women or harmless old men," said Terri: "So if the onlookers decide to join in, they know we are the cops, not just out-of-control bullies."

"Is there a difference between out-of-control bullies and cops?" teased Tommy.

"Maybe not in New South Wales, or Queensland," replied Sheila: "But we like to think there is in Victoria ... at least in the bush."

Before they could discuss it anymore, Terri Scott's mobile phone rang:

"Yes, Maggie," said Terri, listening for a few minutes: "That was Margaret Beadles reporting that her three sons, Malcolm, Nigel, and Willy, didn't come home last night. They were off on some secret boys' night out with Virgil Perry and Leroy van Dorkins, so she didn't expect them until after midnight. But they still haven't returned."

"What about Virgil and Leroy?" asked Natasha Lipzing.

"She rang their homes, in case her sons stayed over, but no sign of them either."

"So where do we start today?" asked Colin.

"Since we've got nothing to go on with the three old men, I suppose we spend the day searching for the five young men," said Terri: "I'll activate Alice Walker and the other pro-rata policewomen to help us door knock the various towns."

"Wacko, they'll be chuffed at some extra moola coming in," said Sheila.

"She went to the same schools, the same classes as me," pondered Terri: "So how come she can't speak English like me?"

Sheila just shrugged and kept eating her beloved vegemite crumpets.

With the aid of Jessie Baker, Stanlee Dempsey, Drew Braidwood, and the four pro-rata policewomen they scoured the towns surrounding Glen Hartwell, with black and white photos of the five men. Without success until a little after 7:00 PM when they encountered Martha and Trixie, who told of their near encounter the night before.

"They were definitely heading here," said Martha: "After twenty years in the game, you know the look of excited expectation on the faces of young virgins who are planning to become men."

"Then the singing started up and they changed their minds," said Trixie.

"Singing?" asked Terri.

"Yeah some women far off singing," agreed Martha: "It was too far away to make out the words though. They may have been chanting, not singing."

"Do we have any Druids, or Wiccans in the local area?" asked Colin.

"Not to my knowledge," said Terri.

"Not since Old Mother McCready drowned kilometres away from any water source," pointed out Sheila.

"Yes, but we're fairly sure the Dark Obelisk caused that," pointed out Colin. [See my story 'A Dark Obelisk'!]

"The what?" asked Trixie.

"Never mind,' said Terri: "So where did the five men go after changing their minds about visiting here?"

"They just reversed direction and went back the way they came," said Martha, pointing back down Gordon Street.

"Who fancies a few more hours with Slap, Tickle, and Rub?" asked Sheila, drawing groans from Colin and Terri.

"You can get that here if you're willing to pay for it," Martha shouted after them as they headed back down Gordon Street.

It was nearly midnight by the time the three Alsatian crosses led them to the mutilated remains of what had been five young men only a day earlier.

"Now what?" asked Colin.

"Now I wish Old Mother McCready were still alive to help us track down the psychotic loonies or monsters that did this. All we know so far is that women singing may have called them to their deaths."

"Hey, just like in that Banshee case," said Sheila. [See my story, 'A Banshee Shrilling'.]

"But we cremated the Banshee," pointed out Terri Scott: "Unlike Dracula in umpteen movies, the Banshee can't come back after being cremated."

"Or can she?" asked Sheila.

"She's been listening to the Devil's Advocates too much," joked Colin.

"No, seriously, the Banshee made people explode like these have done."

"But these people haven't exploded, even if it looks like it," pointed out Terri: "They've been pecked, clawed, slashed to mince meat."

"Pecked!" said Sheila: "It's the Dino-Birds again!" [See my story 'The Beldame'.]

"No, it's not," said Colin: "The Dino-Birds, were super fast and ran down cars on Williamstown Road! These have been lured to the River."

"And the Dino-Birds didn't sing like women," pointed out Terri.

Well, there goes another damn fine theory," said Sheila.

Across the Yannan River, the Sirens watched the police with interest and just a modicum of trepidation. Reluctantly, they decided to wait a day or two until making their next kills.

"So what's our next move, honey?" asked Colin as they ate breakfast the next morning.

"I've been thinking about Old Mother McCready," said Terri.

"You're not thinking of resurrecting her?" teased Sheila, between mouthfuls of vegemite crumpet.

"No, but we were put in touch with her through the Celtic Club in Gallipoli Parade. So that might be a good place to start asking around."

"To see if they know any more witchy types?" asked Sheila.


A little more than an hour later they were standing at the bar of the Celtic Club in Gallipoli Parade, Glen Hartwell.

"So, Morris..." said Terri to the head barman and proprietor, Morris O'Shay; a tall muscular redheaded man, who looked more like a weight-lifter than a bar-hand: "I don't suppose you know of any more people with strange powers since Old Mother McCready's mysterious death."

"She means witchy types," explained Sheila.

"As a matter of fact yes, she goes by the name Magnolia."

"Magnolia?" asked Colin

"Well ... her original name was Mavis, but that didn't sound witchy enough to her, so she changed it by deed poll to Magnolia."

"Where can we find her?"

"1/21 Calhoun Street, Glen Hartwell."

"That's Old Mother McCready's address."

"Yes, Magnolia's her niece. She inherited her aunt's house."

"Well, at least we know the way," said Colin.

1/21 Calhoun Street, was the right-hand half of a sub-divided yellow weatherboard house. It contained a lounge room, a small bedroom, a kitchen, and a small shower room-cum-toilet cubicle.

Unlike her aunt, Magnolia McCready was happy to admit to being a witch.

"A Wiccan, actually," corrected the tall thirty-something redhead with electric blue eyes: "My aunt was reluctant to admit her heritage to strangers but I have no such qualms."

"We need some information about women who sing to lure men to them, then rip them into something akin to mince meat?" said Terri accepting a cup of strawberry tea.

"That sounds like the Sirens," said the curvaceous redhead, handing cups of strawberry tea to Colin and Sheila: "Tall beautiful women, who sing to lure men to a nearby water source to drown them, or rip them to shreds. They say unholy prayers to unholy dark gods and transform into huge, avian monsters to rip, rend, peck their chosen victims to death."

"I thought Sirens were mermaid-like creatures?" asked Colin.

"Only in modern legends. At some stage, someone decided the legend was too much like that of the Furies and changed the Sirens into mermaids. Originally the Sirens were bird-women."

"So how do we defeat them?" asked Terri between sips of strawberry tea.

"In Jason and the Argonauts when Orpheus played music more beautiful than the Sirens' singing, they were compelled to commit suicide for being outdone."

"Hey, we can play them my Devil's Advocates MP3s," suggested Sheila to amazed looks from Colin and Terri.

"Or maybe a Katherine Jenkins, or Jackie Evancho CD?" suggested Colin.

"What have they got that the Devil's Advocates haven't?"

"Well, they sing beautifully," suggested Terri.

"One more thing," suggested Magnolia as they stood up to leave: "If you go hunting for them it will pay for any men to wear earplugs, so they don't fall into a trance."

"Or we could just use the girl squad," suggested Sheila: "Tezza, me, Wendy Pearson, Alice Walker, Greta Goddard, and Hilly Hindmarsh."

"Oh yes, one last very important thing," said Magnolia, holding out her right hand: "You owe me fifty bucks for the consultation ... Wiccans gotta live too, you know."

"Okay," said Terri as they returned to her blue Lexus; "So we go and get my collection of Katherine Jenkins CDs..."

"And my Jackie Evancho CDs," added Colin.

"Then we load them into Wendy Pearson's multi-disc CD carousel and play them continuously to drive the Sirens to suicide."

"I still don't see why the Devil's Advocates' songs wouldn't do?" said Sheila, pouting.

Ignoring her, Terri said: "And we need to get earplugs for Colin, Jessie Baker, Drew Braidwood, and Stanlee Dempsey."

"Then how will they lead us to the Sirens?"

"Martha and Trixie could hear their singing, so there's no reason why we can't."

However, it would be another three nights, the 7th of May, before the Song of the Sirens sounded again.

Around 10:20 PM Joanie, Jenny, and Cora Wellins were walking arm-in-arm with their boyfriends down Baltimore Drive, Glen Harwell, heading toward the outer edge of the township.

"We'd better turn back soon," said Cora, a tall thin sixteen-year-old strawberry blonde. Despite being born and raised in the countryside, she had never trusted the forest at night.

"Why, 'fraid a bunyip might get you?" teased her boyfriend, Wally Tucker. A tall raven-haired boy of nineteen he had always believed, 'Get your girl afraid and she'll snuggle up to you for protection'.

"Ha-ha," said Cora, sounding anything but amused.

"Yeah, there haven't been any bunyip sightings around G.H. in thirty years," teased her sister Joanie. A tall, curvy ravenette, just turned nineteen, Joanna was the bravest of the three sisters.

"Then it might be a rogue Thylacine that somehow survived extinction, and is waiting to pounce on scaredy-cat Cora!" teased Jonny Gullawandi, a tall half-breed Aboriginal youth of eighteen who was dating seventeen-year-old Jenny.

"Tassie Tigers are so named because they became extinct on mainland Aussie two-thousand years ago; but only eighty-eight years ago in Tasmania," pointed out Jenny, a medium height, slightly cuddly blonde; the brainiac of the Wellins sisters.

"Thank you, professor," said Brody Huband. An eighteen-year-old blond youth who dated Joanie. Brody was known to be almost insanely fearless, so he liked to tease the others about their courage, or lack of it.

"Ha-ha," said Jenny, glaring at her sisters, who had joined the boys in laughing at her expense. Just because I'm smarter than them! she thought.

"Maybe it is time to head back," suggested Jonny, realising they had teased Jenny too much.

"Why? Are you...?" started Brody, stopping as they heard the Song of the Sirens faintly from the distance.

"Ooh that's creepy," said Joanie, and the three girls turned and started back down Baltimore Drive.

They had gone half a dozen paces before realising that the boys had not started back with them.

"Brody?" called Joanie as the girls looked back to see the three boys racing off into the forest as if the Devil were on their tail.

"Where the hell are they going?" asked Cora; unaware how prophetic her words were.

"Who knows?" said Jenny: "Let's head home. It's getting chilly."

Not far away, at Mitchell Street, Glen Hartwell, Terri Scott, and co were just setting out for their nightly vigil. Terri had taken Sheila's recommendation to leave the men safely out of it and just take the girl squad in Stanlee Dempsey's police-blue Land Rover. Besides herself and Sheila, there was: Wendy Pearson a tall honey blonde, aged forty-five, who looked more like a fashion model than a cop; Hilly Hindmarsh: aged fifty-six. A tall, Teutonic, blonde; Greta Goddard a tall, shapely silver-blonde. At age sixty-nine in 2024 Greta was still fit and worked pro rata when needed, and Alice Walker, a forty-six-year-old brunette. An amateur weight-lifter, and gym mate of Sheila, Derek, and Cheryl, Alice was a tall, attractive widow.

They had been patrolling for three nights without any sound of the Sirens, using a hi-fi unit welded to the roof of the Rover, plus a carousel of Katherine Jenkins and Janet Evancho CDs.

"I just hope we can unweld the hi-fi unit undamaged and get our money back after this is all over," said Terri as they drove at random near the forest not far from the Yannan River.

"Relax," said Sheil; "If we can't, we can keep it at the Station, ready for other cases requiring music to defeat a monster."

"Are you expecting a lot of those cases?" teased Hilly Hindmarsh.

"Are you forgetting that we used a CD of John Pickering and his hideous Picks shrieking out Peggy Sue to destroy The Whistler?" [See my story, 'The Whistler'.]

"Trust her to remember that," said Hilly.

Before Sheila could reply from behind them the Sirens started singing:

"Sailors from across the sea
"Come to meet your destiny,
"Sailor boys both short and tall
"Come to give your very all."

"Hold tight," called Sheila, almost rolling the Land Rover as she did a sharp U-Turn.

"To what?" shouted Wendy Pearson, as she and the other three pro-rata policewomen slid around the rear of the Land Rover.

"So what's first tonight, Chief?" asked Greta Goddard, climbing back into her seat.

"O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho, I think," said Terri, just before it started playing.

"Hey, they've got a clip of her singing that before Barak Obama in 2010 on YouTube," said Sheila: "He stands up and applauds at the end."

"And you're telling us that, why?" asked Hilly.

"When I know stuff I like to pass it on."

"Thank God she doesn't know much," teased Alice Walker: "Or she'd never stop nattering."

"She never stops nattering now," teased Greta Goddard.

"Ha-ha, it is to laugh," said Sheila as they sped as fast as safely possible through the sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus forest.

By the banks of the murky, fouls-smelling Yannan River, Chloé, Daphne, and Anastasia were singing:
"Mariners both daft and wise
"Come to face the end of life,
"Listen to our song of death
"Soon you'll pass your final breath..."

As Wally Tucker, , Jonny Gullawandi, and Brody Huband arrived at the bank, still held entranced by the Song of the Sirens.

While the three females continued singing:
"Listen to our calling song
"Come to us, lads, don't be long,
"From 'cross the ocean's seven seas
"Come here to face your destinies."

Finally, as their song ended, they raised their arms to the heavens in foul supplication ... only to stop as the sweet sounds of Jackie Evancho came through the forest, approaching them.

"What is this blaspheme?" demanded Chloé, as the police-blue Land Rover came into view.

As the Sirens glared at the approaching vehicle, the three young men, still entranced, started slowly walking toward the Rover.

"No! You are our captives!" yelled Daphne, and the three women began singing again:

"Sailors from across the sea
"Come to meet your destiny,
"Sailor boys both short and tall
"Come to give your very all.

"As the sea comes crashing down
"Seems your fate has run aground,
"Sailors crossing the briny deep
"Come to encounter eternal sleep.

"Sailor boys come hear us sing
"Of myriad new exciting things,
"Come to us from 'cross the waves
"Soon you're sleeping in your graves.

"Mariners both daft and wise
"Come to face the end of life,
"Listen to our song of death
"Soon you'll pass your final breath.

"Listen to our calling song
"Come to us, lads, don't be long,
"From 'cross the ocean's seven seas
"Come here to face your destinies."

At the sound, the three men turned back toward the Sirens for a moment, clearly uncertain of which sound to follow. Then Jackie Evancho's sweet voice gave way to Katherine Jenkins singing 'Abigail's Song' from the Doctor Who special 'A Christmas Carol', and the three men turned back and lurched across toward the approaching Land Rover.

Even before it stopped, Alice Walker, Hilly Hindmarsh, and Wendy Pearson jumped out of the rear of the vehicle and dashed across to push plugs into the ears of the three men, who immediately collapsed from exhaustion.

"No!" shrieked Chloé, as Sheila, Greta, and Terri leapt out to help lift the three youths into the rear of the vehicle.

"You blasphemers!" shrilled Anastasia.

For a moment it seemed as though the three Sirens would charge the police women. But as the sweet sounds of Katherine Jenkins continued to play the creatures shrieked in rage and terror...

Then, as Magnolia McCready had predicted, they raced across to throw themselves into the three-metre-deep waters of the murky Yannan River.

After a few minutes, their lifeless corpses rose to the banks, to be winched out, smothered in petrol, then burnt to ashes.

"Who ya gonna call: The Girl Squad!" said Sheila, putting her arms around Terri and Greta.

"Personally I prefer sitting in the car next to my honey, Colin," said Terri: "Rather than next to you, Sheils!"

"How dare you!" said Sheila, making the six women laugh as they returned to the Land Rover.

© Copyright 2024 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
© Copyright 2024 Mayron57 (philroberts at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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