Siren Song II


by George Dismukes

When seven people go missing from a dive boat found floating atop THE GREAT BLUE HOLE OF THE CARIBBEAN, there is panic to find them and learn their fate.

When Angie Holland saw the story on National News, her blood ran cold. She feared the worst. “The bitch is back!” If she was right, she knew she must take action, immediately. To tell someone… anyone, the truth would do no good. Whoever she told would think she had gone over the edge. So, her mission was very personal. She had to go to Belize and finish what she thought was over two years ago. Twenty-four hours later, she was on a plane, bound for Central America.

But questions abounded: What had gone wrong the first time? Why wasn’t the siren dead? And if blowing holes in her with a bang stick didn’t do the job, what would?

As the plane jets south, Angie knows none of the answers. But she does know, this time, she must not fail. Untold lives depend on it for hundreds of years to come. And when it is over, nobody will know except her, and a small contingent who surrounds her.


by Cheryl Peyton

Sixty miles off the coast of Belize lies the Great Blue Hole, the largest marine sinkhole on earth, at 1,000 feet across and over 400 feet deep. As seen from above, it is a circle of sapphire blue, edged by a necklace of coral, surrounded by a turquoise sea.

This deep funnel was formed at the end of the last ice age when an above-ground cave became flooded by rising sea waters. The limestone ceiling gradually weakened and collapsed, allowing light to reach into the interior of grottos that encircle the walls starting at 120 feet down to their floors at 150 feet. Stalactites and stalagmites are proof that the cave was once above water.

The site is a popular destination for divers with the means to arrange for an excursion to this remote location, although only experienced divers are permitted to explore the underwater grottos that distinguish this prehistoric site.

* * *

Two years before the events recorded in this story, a group of residents from southeast Texas had signed on for a safari dive to the Hole, including: dive master and instructor, Ken Malloy, dive instructor and photographer, Scott Carrington, Scott’s live-in girlfriend and business partner, Angie Holland, twelve-year-old James Harmon and his father Al Harmon, twenty-two-year-old deckhand, D J, and Gordon Hughes, the captain and owner of the Siren Song, a luxurious 80-foot yacht outfitted with all the finest SCUBA equipment and gear.

All of them had heard fantastic yarns passed down from old seamen about mermaids and sirens who live undersea, the latter depicted in Greek mythology as beautiful half bird-half women who lured sailors with their enchanted singing. Three of the group had been haunted by such images, while the others were receptive to the possibility of their existence.

Scott had a recurring nightmare of encountering a female beast in the Hole. On this dive, he planned to determine if she was real or imaginary; and to destroy her if she materialized.

Angie was just as anxious for him to solve the mystery so they could both have a peaceful sleep.

James Harmon had become obsessed with his family’s legendary tale that his great-great-grandfather had been seduced and murdered by a siren after he ran his ship aground on an atoll during a storm. James believed the crash site was near Lighthouse Reef, the narrow barrier that encircled the Great Blue Hole, and that it was his destiny to seek revenge by finding and killing the siren. James’s father, Al Harmon, a wealthy owner of a tanker company, had doubts about the veracity of the story, and hoped that James’s dive in the Hole would be uneventful to free his son’s mind to concentrate on his studies again.

Captain Gordon Hughes named his boat Siren Song after his father’s two boats named Siren and Siren II. Gordon recalled when he was a boy he saw a live mermaid, or mer-human he thought was calling to him.

Head dive master and instructor, Ken Malloy, did not opine on whether he believed they would encounter a siren on this trip; he was more concerned with keeping everyone safe from the natural hazards in the Hole and the inherent risks of deep dives.

The last member of the party was twenty-two-year-old deckhand, D J, who seemed oblivious to tales of mermaids and sirens.

* * *

On a day in June, the passengers and crew of the Siren Song set sail for their destination in the Caribbean from the harbor at San Leon, Texas, on Dickinson Bay, where the yacht was berthed.

The night before, they had gathered at a bon voyage party that celebrated James receiving his Junior-Diver Certification from his instructors, Scott and Ken. The party had been shocked when a beautiful, exotic young woman suddenly appeared at their table, introducing herself as Maris, and informing Captain Hughes that she would join them on the Siren Song the following morning.

Her abrupt departure left the group reeling with questions and apprehensions. Who is she? Where did she come from? Was she able to pay her way? A cloud of confusion then descended over them, rendering them unable to agree on her hair color, her age, or what she was wearing.

* * *

Suspicions and doubts about Maris continue as the Siren Song is underway since her certification card and passport are seen to be seriously out of date and lacking a photo.

An unfriendly Maris keeps to herself, keeping her distance from the rest of the party, apparently unwilling for them to know anything about her. The first night at sea she is able to keep her true nature a secret when she is unobserved repeatedly filling a glass with seawater and gulping it down to lubricate her inner gills.

After four days at sea, they reach the port city of Placencia, Belize, where the group stays for two days at Robert’s Grove, an attractive seaside resort. At lunch the first day, an old man named Jenkins shouts a warning to the group from his wheelchair about a “blood-sucking, evil siren” who he says inhabits the Great Blue Hole. He explains that she had attacked him there and would have killed him if not for his daughter diving down to grab him. He hadn’t enough air left by that time to avoid the bends that had left him crippled. When his daughter was later killed by a shark, his mind became unbalanced.

The first afternoon in Placencia, D J stays behind to watch the Siren Song while the group is taken by bus for dinner at an inland ranch owned by the resort. Once there, Maris discovers that her seawater had spilled out of her container and insists on being brought back to the boat for “medicine” she had left behind.

Back on the boat, she goes out to the dive board to fill her glass several times with sea water she drinks, but this time she is observed by D J who is standing on the pier. To keep her identity secret, Maris attempts to seduce him by stripping, and then singing to make him follow her, naked, into the water. Her kiss turns deadly as she sucks the air out of him. Morphing into the true self as a sea monster, she devours his face and head with her sharp fangs.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, James shares a book he’s found with Angie, titled Folklore of the Caribbean. It tells of a Greek siren who mates with a sea monster and gives birth to a daughter they “name for the sea” and send off to the Caribbean to live in an undersea palatial “chamber.” James believes the daughter is Maris, as the name means “of the sea,” in Latin, and that her lair is the Great Blue Hole. He further reasons that she wants to kill the whole party to keep future divers away from her home, but that he and Angie are safe as she is a woman and he is sexually immature.

When the party returns to the yacht, D J’s absence is assumed to be due to his irresponsibility, so he is replaced with Chester, a Robert’s Grove employee. The Siren Song heads out to view the Great Blue Hole via the Lighthouse Reef, to stay overnight at Halfmoon Caye.

The next day, prior to entering the Hole, James removes air from Maris’s tank to prove that she breathes water; but it is his father, Al, who becomes distressed after injuring his shoulder and needs to be helped to the surface. Unseen, Maris calls a school of hammerhead sharks on the other side of the Hole. Seeing the fish, Angie, who’s outfitted with an underwater firearm called a bang stick, manages to shoot and kill one of the huge sharks the others start to feed on.

After the divers get Al back on board and make him comfortable, Captain Hughes decides it’s time to end the trip and head back to Belize City in the morning.

Their plans are dashed the next day when the boat’s power lines are found to be shorted out and the radio inoperable. Going for help, Captain Hughes takes off in an inflated Zodiac, headed to nearby Halfmoon Caye, to call the Belize Coast Guard.

As he is underway, he hears a woman singing. Recognizing it as being the voice he had heard from the mer-human years earlier, he fights against the magnetism of the song that is sapping his will. Confirming his fears, Maris suddenly appears in the bow of the Zodiac boat, taunting him. In response, he condemns her for her murderous ways, accusing her of killing D J. Maris admits to it, but excuses all her killings as being necessary to save her own life.

Stating the inevitable, Maris suggests Gordon make love to her in the water to experience a last moment of pleasure before she takes his life. He pretends to be resigned to her plan but picks up an oyster knife before he drops over the side of the boat to meet her in the water. During her smothering kiss, he returns her embrace to bring the knife around to plunge into her shoulder. As he gets back in the Zodiac, he curses at the wounded creature and escapes.

Bleeding and in pain, Maris is still alive, due to her will to survive and her resolve to kill everyone else on the Siren Song. Summoning all of her strength, she awaits her next victim.

She doesn’t have long to wait as Ken enters the water to look for her since she hasn’t returned from her swim. Feeling a tap on his shoulder, he turns to catch a glimpse of Maris as she wraps her tentacles around him, severing his head.

Up on the boat, James and Angie find a picture of Maris’s image as a monster in Scott’s camera, just as they hear him jump overboard. Looking down, they see Maris pulling Scott into the Great Blue Hole. James jumps overboard after them, armed with the bang stick. Crashing into Scott and Maris, he jars the instructor loose and confronts Maris. Feeling the presence of his great-great-grandfather, James discharges his weapon into the monster’s chest. As Maris morphs between monster and woman, James fires again, striking her center mass. Maris finally succumbs to his attack and sinks into the abyss.

The next day, the boat’s batteries have recharged enough to power the radio system. Gordon has returned to the yacht and calls the Belize Coast Guard. As they arrive to offer assistance, an unseen crown of feathers rises from the Great Blue Hole to stare at the Siren Song that floats above…

* * *

In SIREN SONG and SIREN SONG II, George Dismukes has done a masterful job of bringing mythological persons from the misty past into the present and allowing them to interact very naturally with his characters in both stories. He makes their presence in the ‘here and now’ seem, somehow, quite ‘needed’!

You can see this fantastic tale brought to life on the big screen when the movie is released to theatres nationwide next summer. It will star veteran actor Barry Corbin as Captain Gordon Hughes. A new rising star, Jenni Bahena Meador, will star as the siren. Her photo can be seen on the cover of the book, Siren Song.

See you at the movies!

"Siren Song II" by George Dismukes


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