03 Mar What happens to you in the sirens’ domain?
What happens to you in the sirens’ domain?
You are scuba diving around a brilliantly coloured coral reef, looming far above some mysterious rock formations that look as old as time. You’ve heard rumours that divers who dared to go near those rocks have found caves and fissures leading to even greater depths – and in those dark waters, it is said that you can catch glimpses of architectural ruins, perhaps from an ancient civilisation…
You spot a beautiful translucent jellyfish and turn to watch it dance past. You can see other jellyfish now, down beneath you towards the rocks. You are transfixed by their elegant movements – until you see something very strange indeed that catches your attention. A woman’s face, peering out from a small crevasse in the rocks – with no breathing apparatus in sight. You are sure that you see her smile before she suddenly disappears.
You’ve never dived as deeply as the rocks before, but you can’t help yourself. After checking that you still have plenty of air in your tank, you propel yourself downwards. It gets dark so quickly, it’s as though you’ve left daytime for night…
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You reach the spot where you thought the crevasse was, only to find what looks like smooth, unbroken rock. You look closer – and see a faint curved line, almost like the arch of a closed door. At regular intervals around the line are what seem to be carved images on square blocks – one resembles a squid, one an angelfish, one a shark, and one a whale. Even though it seems silly, you get the sense that these are buttons of some sort. But which one should you press?
Right before your eyes, the rock seems to crack and split along the arched line. Now there is a large opening! Beyond it, you can see strange lights and more rock formations – only some of these formations resemble buildings. Cautiously, you swim forward – and suddenly find yourself face to face with the woman who you saw peering out from the rocks. She has long, flowing hair, and sharp, claw-like fingernails. “Welcome to the home of the sirens,” she says, with a slightly creepy smile. How do you respond?
After she reassures you that you can, indeed, both speak and hear speech while you are in the sirens’ domain, she also tells you to feel free to remove your scuba equipment. It seems that you can also breathe underwater here. Well, that’s a relief! The siren indicates that you should follow her, and you do. She takes you through a crumbling stone doorway and into a room where a dining table has been laid with plates and goblets. You have no idea how they aren’t floating around everywhere. “Please, have something to eat while you wait to meet our queen,” the siren says silkily. “We have many delicacies you can choose from.” Which food do you choose to try?
It isn’t long before a tall, luminous woman floats into the room, carrying a shining gold sceptre and wearing a magnificently jewelled crown on top of her hair. She is clearly the queen of the sirens. “Hello, human,” she says. “It is time for us to sing to you. What is your favourite kind of music?”
The sirens begin to sing. You have never heard anything quite like it – it is, quite simply, the most wonderful sound that has ever filled your ears. You go into a kind of trance. When the song ends, you suddenly realise you are surrounded by more sirens – dozens more, in fact. Their faces are solemn, and some point tridents towards you. Others swim slowly around you, perhaps menacingly. The queen floats above you. “Surely you must realise, human,” she says softly. “That we cannot allow you to return to the surface.” What do you say?