Thursday, November 3, 2022

Immersion Chapter 20 The Ship of Sirens

The small sailboat is dwarfed by an expanse of open water with inlets and makeshift jetties that jut from the coastline. There are remnants of industrial activity, torn and broken bridges, and old shipwrecks.

'What happened here?' Renyke asks, pointing at the knotted metal casings of old aircraft and skeletal flyovers. It looks like a war zone.'

'It was just that brother, a war zone. They left because of the gas and radiation, way back after the China Russian wars killed everything off. Even the weeds stopped growing. It's OK now but they never came back to fix it. Not yet anyway, so the urchs and zoners made homes here.'

Renyke suddenly engages his arm extension and catches a fish.

'Can I eat this? Is it safe?'

Flex raises an eyebrow.

'Man, you are fast, I didn't even see your hand move.'

A large fish is wriggling in Renyke's hand.

'Yes, we can eat the fish. Here, I will save it till we make......

Before Flex had a chance to mention a campfire Renyke swallows the fish's head and eagerly chomps on it. The fish's tail fin lets go of one final motor neuron impulse as Renyke swallows it whole.

'Ah man, you droids are sickos. Get me another for lunch, we can cook it, if you don't mind.'

Renyke collects a pile of fish onto the deck, separating one out for Maybeline.

'I never really ate before. Not since I woke in the Alley. Then I felt hungry.' explains Renyke.

'Something must have happened when you, ya know...' Flex trails off as a Large ship approaches.

'Ah *fuxywot, it's a scout ship. Don't look, they will steal your dreams!'

The ship has a large figurehead shaped like a Greek statue. The hull is painted black and a warning horn is sounding.

There is some kind of music bellowing, opera and drums. The noise was captivating and Renyke found it hard not to look.

Dark figures stand on the ship's deck in masks. They carry weapons and begin to pound sticks on the decks as the ship sails past.

'Who are they?' Ask Renyke.

'Stop staring,' Flex hisses, 'They hate being stared at. It's insulting brother.'


'Stop it!' shouts Flex splashing water in Renyke's face.'

The ship moves past, its black hull, a monster eating waves and chanting echoes to the rhythm of the clattering and pounding of sticks. The music is petrifying and exhilarating all at once.

The women stare back at Renyke burning their energy deep into his soul. He finally looks away, releasing his pent-up fear and adoration in a gasp of relief. Water drips from his nose and chin.

'You are going to get us killed, do you hear me....killed, a nasty slow death-by-siren, that's what.'

'But they were so.....'

'Droid got no clue,' mumbles Flex.

A wind rises as the black ship fades from sight.

The sky turns grey and there is a sudden temperature drop.

'See now brother, that's a curse for staring at them. Now we got a storm to deal with.'

There is a small inlet with an old pier that Flex points to.

'We should take cover, no point fighting a storm.'

'How far to Redact?' Asks Renyke.

'We are real close. See that island yonder, it's a peninsular. That is where Redact is. But it is tricky to get there by sea because of the rocks, best on foot my friend. Especially in a storm.'

Renyke is keen to get to the island. It would be a fast sail in the wind and the rain is light. But the POS is not active and he realizes that he is no sailor.

'I am a strong swimmer,' says Renyke, assuming he can actually swim as he had never tried.

'Hahahahahahahaha, what like some kinda reptile droid now are you?' Flex is laughing hysterically when he pushes Renyke just enough to scare him.

'Hahahahaha, what are you Renyke my friend, an amphibian or a smartphone? Hahahaha.
You wanna try that my friend you go alone with the rat on your head, and I will be on my way. I will see your insides washed up on the shore next week and use them for *swapsy-trade. Ain't no fool like a *midcast fool, fresh from the laundry room.'

Flex is no longer laughing. He is warning Renyke behind the joke.

Renyke thinks for a moment as the rain begins to pelt.

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