BEWARE! DARK SEAS: The Bargain by Debbie Oliveira

Welcome to Beware! Dark Seas Halloween showcase, an annual author & artist showcase that features talented creators. Come back each day, the entire month of October for a scare! Prepare for dark stories, myths & legends, and creepy creations that will make the hair on the nape of your neck stand up straight. May the water have mercy on your soul.

A full posting schedule can be found here.


The bargain

BY debbie oliveira


Little can be said for the day the women spend on land. If the men had the words –


Poems and songs would be written. Long, idyllic, and perfect epics, slaved over candlelit desks under the dark of the stars. Melodies sung in vast halls, echoing across windowpanes and chandeliers, only to fade in the distance. Shanties and stories would be slurred in the early hours of the morning, their meaning no more important than the fever behind the eyes that spoke them. Words would perforate the walls and the minds of men.

But the words leave when the women do.

So the men only wait.

They feel the wind changing in their bones, and they know the day will come.

Bristling winds shake the earth at dawn; the ocean screams and moans and crashes; the scent of salt and blood and damp seep into the roads; the sun hides away behind the clouds.

The first one rises.

She is dark, eyes like the universe and and hair like the clouds, her skin covered in petroleum scales. She comes from the deep, the heavy sand of the ocean floor, where the ancient monsters once died. And they wait for her, they wait for her eyes to meet the horizon and her feet to meet the shore.

“Come,” she sings.

And the sirens who become women follow her out of the sea and into the land of men.

“Come,” she whispers.

Long before the dimming of the sun, after all the women had gone, the men despaired. They were dying dying the saddest death; the loss of existence. Each year would pass, and fewer and fewer people lived by the earth. The wars stopped. The violence thickened behind fear.

Until a wanderer found the last woman.

He arrived to the shore with her in tow, and announced her everywhere he went. The men rejoiced and sang and drank. Parties and raucous laughter shook the evening air. They had found an escape. Her beauty unparalleled, she was graceful and soft and perfect.


She had not been asked.

So when the time came, she had no interest in men.

At first, they only grinned. But soon, they questioned.

Shouldn’t she think of humanity? They begged.

What about her own humanity? She said.

They cajoled, they connived, they coerced, and —


She sang her vengeance upon them. She mourned her song into the water. The sea welcomed her like it welcomes all things, in a thrashing embrace. She belonged to it, and it to her.

And when the men threatened the sea to return her – out in the chaos of a storm, screaming at the crashing waves – only a siren met their call.

Skin white as the sand, veins spiderwebbed across her body. Webbed fingers. Sharp teeth. Slitted stare of a predator.

She would bring her sisters to land for a day. And the men would keep the human progeny.

They barely thought of the consequences.

And the day comes.

Will you stay? A young man says. He is lying in his bed, exhausted, but the raven haired siren has already risen.

She hums a quiet melody.

Will I see you again?

She turns and smiles a wicked grin, teeth sharp and still covered in blood.

“Of course. Wait for me.”

He almost smiles, but her frigid stare stops him. Her eyes are milky white and directionless, and he will never see her again. He may never be chosen again.

He hides the shaking of his hands to bid her farewell, and cleans himself from the blood. She does not look back.

The others join her by the shore, some unspoken clock guiding their steps. They crawl back into the under sea, dragging limbs through the sand. Their once seaweed-wrapped bodies sink into the water, and little remains of their visit but the mess they leave behind.

The young man visits his father.

Finished? He asks. He is not looking at his son, but at the stew he’s been working on all day. He was not chosen.

Yes. The young man replies.

Was she kind?

It was fine.

He will not touch the bruises, or his father will worry.

If the men had the words.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR debbie oliveira

Deborah-Oliveira  Slytherin. Sarcastic quips. Third Culture Kid. Brazilian-American. Feminist. Writer. Video Editor. I will never be satisfied.

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