|Songs of Power:
Songs of Change
by Paul Carmichael
©1999 Paul Carmichael -- all rights reserved
The sea holds a mysterious lure for many. It is the source of life and death. It holds a multitude of unanswered questions. Care to join us as we begin to answer a few?
The wave crashed against the rocks spattering water on the boy's bare legs. He watched the water foam in a pool beside the rock, then flow back into the surf. A moment later a second wave crashed harder on the rocks. The boy looked up at the darkening sky then back into the water now a dark green under the foam. For the hundredth time he wished he could throw himself into the tide and let the ocean take his body away.
Further down the beach a group of kids played volleyball; boys against the girls. On his perch overlooking the sea, Mark could barely hear the shouts from the game for the noise of the waves. He hugged his knees tighter, and shifted positions as a pebble bit into his backside through his trunks. In spite of the approaching storm, it didn't look as if the game would break up.
Something moved. Mark shaded his eyes as he peered across the water. The surface of the Atlantic was choppy with the winds, but he swore he saw something else in the waves. A log, he decided, and looked away or a fish. He could always swim out to investigate and hope the undertow would grab him.
What was the use? Suicide wasn't the answer and he knew it.
"Hey, Mark, coming in?"
Glancing around, Mark waved to his sister. He scrambled down from the boulder, took one last look at the game and sighed. "Odd man out again."
"Don't worry it. You'll be eighteen soon enough and you can start making your own decisions. Come on, little brother, I need help picking out a pattern."
"Did Mom buy that fabric I picked out for you?"
"Today, and just in time. If there's enough left over do you want a top or something?"
"Thanks, Nancy, thanks a lot, but there's nothing there," he said looking down at his all too flat chest.
"Guess what? Steve Logan is going to be at the mall, in person, next week and Mom got us tickets."
Mark closed his eyes. "Steve Logan? You're kidding. You didn't tell Mom did you?"
"What? That you've got a bigger crush on him than I do? She knows, Mark, she really does. You could talk to her you know."
"It's not her I'm worried about," Mark said as they reached the porch of the summer cottage. "Does Dad know about the tickets?"
"I guess. Dad's dad, and you will have to face him sooner or later, too. Coming?"
"Yeah, I'm going to my room for a minute, but I'll be right there."
Inside, the cottage bay windows, and french doors added light and space to the sunken living room and kitchen. Seashells and driftwood dominated the décor as the furniture appeared to be beachcomber's specials.
Mark avoided his father's glance as he ran into his room and closed the door. Stripping out of his trunks and sandals, Mark stood in front of the full length mirror. Half of him wanted to punch the glass out with a satisfying crash. The rest of him wanted to cry. No matter what he did, long hair, short hair, scruffy clothes or naked, the person in the mirror looked gorgeous. He wore his dark auburn hair long, well over his shoulders now, but trimmed enough to frame his slender oval face. Large, green eyes looked out over a small, upturned nose.
He could have been a model -- Miss Teen America -- with that face, and yet he missed it by a fifty-fifty chance. At seventeen he was showing no signs of puberty; he checked daily for any signs of a beard or hair anywhere on his body. Maybe, he thought, if his chest, legs and face did get all hairy it would be easier to live with himself as a boy, but even his skin was the envy of every girl in his class.
"I'm getting dressed, Mom," he called out but too late to stop his mother from walking in.
"You're father went down to the store, and Nancy needs you to help her with her project. I know, if I had your face and build I'd want to admire it, too, but we don't have much time."
"Mom," he started.
"You don't have to say anything," she said and walked up to give her son a long hug. "Nancy and I are behind you all the way, Marci, and I know how hard this is for you."
Mark blushed at the use of his sister's pet name for him. "I'll get dressed," he said closing off the conversation.
The storm broke later that night. Rain washed over the cottage in sheets as Mark dreamed of swimming forever in the green wilderness under the sea. The next morning, he raced outside, early before anyone else was up. He ran along the beach letting the waves wash against his feet as he searched for shells washed up in the storm.
Mark collected quite a few but almost dropped the lot when he spotted the girl, young lady rather, sitting on his favorite boulder. She didn't look that much older than he was, but something in her eyes, almost as green as his own, made him hesitate.
"Hello," she called out to him.
"Hi," he said with a shrug. "Shells."
"So I noticed," she said with a slight smile. "I'm Sandra," she said slowly as if selecting the name. "Do you live around here?"
"Only renting for the summer. I'm Mark."
Sandra opened her mouth and began to sing. Although the tune made shivers run up and down his spine, Mark found the music irritating. He nodded to the girl and started to walk on.
"You didn't like my music?" she asked, with astonishment all over her face.
"It was okay," Mark answered then shrugged his shoulders. "Not into music that much."
"You don't have a single male bone in your body."
"You've got that straight," Mark said with a laugh before he realized what he was admitting.
Again, Sandra opened her mouth and sang. The song caressed and gently teased the tension from Mark's limbs. He listened, nodding his head with the rhythm. For the first time in his life, Mark felt himself getting hot, almost aroused as if Steve Logan's arms were doing the hugging. All he could think of was looking into Steve's eyes and melting.
"You poor thing," Sandra said, gently breaking the spell. Mark's face flushed.
"Would you tell me about it?"
Whether it was the way she asked, or just something in her voice, Mark broke down. "I wasn't supposed to be a boy. I was supposed to be born a girl but something got mixed up. I've always known I was a girl, and it wasn't my fault I got the wrong body."
Sandra jumped down from the boulder and placed a hand on Mark's shoulder. "No, of course not. I wondered about that. I've seen you sitting there, day after day, wishing the boys would look at you instead of the girls." Mark nodded again and wiped his cheeks. "And you are beautiful. What a shame to waste your looks on a boy's body."
"I know. Even if I start taking hormones next year it's not going to mean anything. I'll always be a boy wanting to be a girl."
"There is another way, a better way."
For a minute, Mark's heart pounded in his chest. "A better way?" he asked trying not to let his hopes get dashed.
"Suppose I tell you that you could have any of those boys that refuse to look at you. In fact, after one week you could be a girl, a real girl without pills or surgery. Think of meeting your heartthrob Steve as Marci, instead of Mark."
"It can't be done," he said quietly.
"Oh it can be done all right. There is a price, of course, but it can be done."
"I don't care what it costs, Sandra. How could this be real?"
"Song." She placed both hands on Mark's neck and pressed in. Something tingled through his flesh until he felt his throat burn. "Now, open your mouth and sing."
"But," Mark said and stopped at the sound of his own voice. He tried again. Music poured from his mouth in a firm, soprano voice. He let the song flow with his feelings of frustration and confusion. He stopped, confused. "That was me? I've never heard such beautiful music anywhere and I made it? What did you do to me?"
"Consider it a gift. With song you can make your dreams come true. You can sing to anyone or everyone and they will be compelled to listen. You could have any boy you wanted, right now if you like, but remember, you will be singing yourself female. The more you sing, the quicker the change will take place. You have a great power now, Marci, so go crazy with it, girl."
"But you said there was a price?"
"There is always a price, but it is nothing you can't handle. Meet me here tomorrow, and let me know how it goes."
"Deal," Mark said and kissed the girl on her cheek.
Mark sang to himself all the way back to the cottage with his collection, all the way through breakfast, and more as he traded his sweat pants for shorts and a polo shirt. Fire, he thought as his nipples burned with sudden pain. He pulled the shirt off to stare into the mirror. They did look red -- very red.
Sandra said he would sing himself female. Deliberately, Mark sang again but this time about his wish to be a girl. He gritted his teeth as the twin flames on his chest burned hotter for a while before cooling off.
It worked. Tenderly he brushed his fingers across his chest to confirm that his nipples had grown, doubled in size rather, because of his song. In spite of the pain, he pulled the shirt back on before leaving his room. If his mother and sister noticed the new bumps on his chest they didn't say. Mark took off for the beach to wait for his so called friends.
Growing up, Mark always had his summer and winter friends. As little kids it didn't seem to matter that no matter how much he wanted it and how much he tried he couldn't be a girl. He still treasured a memory of his best friend, Charlie, at all of eight giving him a kiss on the lips.
"You're my girlfriend," Charlie said with some sense of ownership.
"Yes, I am," Mark answered solemnly.
But that was then. Charlie was still the cutest boy on the beach. These days he looked puny compared to some of the jocks, but still with his golden hair and blue eyes. It just had to work.
Mark waited until he saw Charlie with a group of the other boys walking passed the beach toward the boardwalk. He followed, at a discrete distance, until the kids settled in at the picnic table in front of the hot dog stand. The smell of burnt grease and onions filled the air. The boys sprawled on the ancient wooden planks ignoring the splinters and the trash as they shot the breeze.
Singing a song just for Charlie, Mark approached the table. He knew most of the boys, of course, from previous summers, and most of the group ignored him or gave him pointedly hostile glances. But, for the first time in years, Charlie looked up, flashed a crooked grin at Mark, and moved aside on the bench to make room. Mark sat down singing reassurance to the others, and the general tension eased.
`"What's up?" Charlie asked. "Where have you been?"
"You know Dad," Mark answered.
Charlie nodded. Mark felt the electricity sparkle as Charlie reached for his hand and locked fingers. In fact, he could smell Charlie's arousal, and it was all Mark could do to keep from screaming in delight.
"Well, aren't you going to introduce me?" The boy's glance was pointed and measuring. Mark smiled and looked down.
"Don't get ideas, Frank," Charlie said. "She's spoken for. Marci, this is Francisco Torres."
"Are you two going to the dance next weekend?"
"I haven't asked yet." Charlie admitted.
Mark cut in, "If you're asking I'm going." He tried not to notice how large the bumps on his chest had grown in the last hour.
"Then save a dance for me," Frank added.
"You want to get something to eat?" Charlie asked.
"Yes, but not here."
"Catch you dudes later," Charlie said helping Mark up.
Power wasn't the word for this, Mark thought as they walked down the boardwalk. He had simply opened his mouth and changed reality for everyone. He was now Marci as far as the gang was concerned, and he and Charlie were a couple again. This was incredible.
"Uh oh," Charlie said quietly. "I'll handle this."
The instant Mark spotted the trouble his stomach clenched and he began to sing. Wayne Todd and Jerry Elliot had always been the biggest, and loudest jerks on the beach.
"What do we have here?" Jerry said with his chest and arm muscles rippling as he spoke.
"Didn't you two read the signs?" Wayne demanded. "No faggots on the boardwalk."
Mark sang louder while Charlie clenched his fists. "And just who are you calling a faggot?"
There! Mark spotted the glaze in Jerry's eyes and then in Wayne's. The song had them.
"Now Wayne," Mark said quietly. "There's no need for this. We're all friends here, and we know, deep down you've always had a soft, feminine side. In fact, you've always been a little jealous of me, haven't you?"
Wayne visibly deflated. "Yeah, you're right."
"Jerry, Wayne really needs a lot of comforting now," Mark said quickly. "Why don't you two go someplace quiet, where you can be alone and talk things over. Talk, mind you. I know you can hardly keep your hands off him."
Jerry answered with a grin. "Okay, Marci. Come on, Wayne. She's right." Marci was pleasantly surprised to find that her magic had only uncovered what had always been there. It had let Todd and Jerry understand themselves and the needs that they'd been struggling so hard to hide for so long.
"That was close," Charlie commented as he watched the new couple walk away. "They were such assholes before they came out of the closet."
"They still are," Mark said. "You know, we could forget about getting something to eat." He ran a finger down Charlie's chest. "I know a few quiet places we could go."
Charlie bent over a little and kissed Mark's lips, then his cheeks and neck. "I like the way you think."
Mark floated home to change clothes. Nancy sat on the front porch trying to sketch the beach. She looked up and whistled as her eyes bugged out. "I made that top for you anyway, little brother and it looks like it was none too soon. What happened to you?"
"I have a date with Charlie tonight."
"A date? With Charlie Gordon? I don't believe this. You, inside. Now!" Nancy marched Mark to his room, and pulled off his shirt. She whistled again at the sight of his small but rather prominent breasts. "Looks like you are finally starting to grow up -- little sister. Mom? Mom, would you come here please?" she shouted out.
"What's the matter?" The answer came from the kitchen.
"Mom, just come here, please. Marci needs a bra."
"Do you have to shout that for the world to hear?" Mark said quickly.
"What are you yelling about?" Mrs. O'Brien said from the doorway. "You haven't been... Oh my..." She walked into the room shaking her head as she studied the sudden changes in her son. "This is impossible, but -- but what did you do?"
"Nothing, Mom, it just happened." Mark sang a quiet tune. Mrs. O'Brien stopped shaking her head as her breathing slowed down.
"Mark, you stay right there." A minute later she returned with a tape measure.
"Okay, you're a 34A. Nancy, you could help out here."
"Yes, but I never dreamed I'd have to share my bras with my brother." Nancy gave Mark a wide smile and a quick thumbs up. She left to retrieve the clothing.
Mrs. O'Brien ignored Nancy's comment. "I don't have any money for a new wardrobe right now, but Mark -- Marci, this is just incredible. I know what you looked like yesterday. Okay, drop them."
"Mom," Mark protested. "Nancy will be right back." He sighed at the expression on his mother's face and dropped his shorts.
"Oh my God!" Mrs. O'Brien screamed. "You're a girl, well, almost a girl. I mean you could pass in the girl's shower."
"It's a miracle!" Nancy screamed almost as loud as her mother had. "Oh, Marci, dreams really do come true. Congratulations, sis!"
"May I get dressed now?" Mark said almost snatching the underclothes his sister carried. "I've always been a girl, you both know that. It's about time I looked like one."
"But it's impossible. I'm making an appointment for you, right now. You will have to see a doctor about this. We will need a letter changing your gender at the very least, but something is wrong here."
"What's going on here?" Hugh O'Brien asked from Mark's doorway. "Jesus, Mary and Joseph what have you done to the boy now?"
Mrs. O'Brien shook her head. "He came home like this. I'm making an appointment for him -- her as soon as I can, but it looks like she isn't our son after all."
"Not when she has a date with Charlie Gordon tonight," Nancy added.
"My son isn't going on a date with a guy, and my son isn't about to start wearing that stuff," Mr. O'Brien said pointing at the bra and panty set dangling from Mark's hand.
"Dad," Mark said. "I'm changing into a girl, and it's too late to stop it."
"There is surgery that can remove those boobs of yours and testosterone will get you back on track."
"No, there isn't," Mark said quietly. "Can't you see I'm a girl? I've always been a girl, Dad and it's about time I started to look and dress like one."
"We've talked about this before, Mark."
"When?" he demanded interrupting his father's comment. "When have we ever talked about anything since I was twelve? The only thing you've ever said on the subject was, and I quote, 'Those god damn Homo's are taking over the world. So, how am I supposed to talk to you after that?"
"Well, they are and you aren't."
"No, I'm not gay. I'm a transsexual. There is a difference. I've known since I was four. I tried to hide it but Nancy's known all along, and Mom found out. But all I've ever had from you, Daddy, is 'My son isn't going to do this, or my son isn't going to do that.' Well, maybe it's time you met me. Me. Dad, I'm Marci or Marcia Anne, and I'm your daughter."
"No!" Mr. O'Brien roared out. "Joan, you had better make that appointment now because I'm going to break every bone in his body! You're a boy, Mark, a boy, and nothing can change that, either."
Without hesitation, Mark opened his mouth and sang, just for his father. His mother kept talking not hearing the song. "That will be enough of that, Hugh. You're scaring her."
"Someone should. He isn't going to be a girl while I'm alive."
Mark sang harder and placed more emotion into the song. He tried to sing about everything he was feeling, but nothing seemed to work. His father was a bear of a man, tall, well built and an ex-football player at that. Mark changed his song again to sing more about his feelings about his father. Finally, Mr. O'Brien seemed to listen.
"We may not have a choice in this. She is changing and faster than I would have believed possible," Mrs. O'Brien added.
Mr. O'Brien stared at Mark for a moment, then sighed as he visibly calmed down. "Get him something to wear -- something pretty. If he's going to be my daughter he will do it in style. But I'm going with you to the doctor's and we will let the doctor make the final decision."
"Yes," Mark said softly.
"But I thought we were so tight on money this trip."
Mr. O'Brien nodded. "We are, but we aren't broke and -- Marci needs it. Take the card but don't kill it this time."
"We'll just hurt it a little," Nancy said. "Come on, Sis. We've got a lot of catching up to do."
Several hours later, carting bags and boxes through the mall, Mark felt completely at ease wearing a short skirt and halter top. His mother had chosen everything in earth tones, black and gold to suit Mark's coloring until he had the opportunity to learn feminine style. He had the appearance and even the gait down; so much so that the only notice he received was from a couple of boys that whistled.
"For the first time in seventeen years I actually feel normal and not in drag," Mark commented as he loaded his new wardrobe into the car.
The next step was the doctor who took tubes of blood and did a head to toe check up. He scraped a bit from Mark's cheek and went off to study it.
Mr. O'Brien paced the exam room taking tissues from an open box and tossing them into the trash a second later. "I don't like this at all. I don't want to lose my son, but you look so good as a girl. It's incredible what's happening to you, Marci."
"I know, Dad," Mark said watching the door. It didn't matter what the doctor said, Mark thought, but why did he feel as if his life depended on it?
"Although the blood work isn't back yet, the scrape makes it official," Dr. Gutierrez said on his return. "Marci does have the XX chromosome pattern."
"And that means?" Mr. O'Brien asked.
"It means that a mistake was made when Marci was born. She is and always has been female. The obstetrician who delivered her misdiagnosed her sex."
Mark sat back with a long sigh of relief. "I knew it. I've always known it."
"But this isn't possible," Mr. O'Brien insisted. "He was born a boy."
"No, she wasn't. Cases like this have happened before, sir. I know it will be difficult to accept this as well since everyone's perceptions of Mark have always been male.
"This transition will be hard on everyone but you are doing the right thing. Have her keep wearing gender appropriate clothes of course, and I will initiate the paperwork that will change her school records from male to female. In fact, you may want to consider transferring her to a new school. She is small for her age, and this is typical in cases like this, but you could consider enrolling her in a younger grade. Now, there isn't anything we have to do immediately medically. We will need to schedule surgery soon to split her scrotal sac. She is just starting to go into puberty late but again typical of these cases. She will start her period soon enough and she needs to be ready."
"But can't you make him a boy again?"
"Dad," Mark said. "Don't be gross."
Dr. Gutierrez shook his head. "Not for her sake. We try to make sure that in these cases the body matches the child's gender. In this case, there isn't any question that it does. If, however she had been brought up as a boy and wanted to stay a boy then we would have to talk about major surgery."
"What sort of surgery?" Mom asked.
"A hysterectomy for starters, and then mastectomies. Think of it this way. On the inside Marci is as female as you are, Mrs. O'Brien. All of her reproductive organs are there and intact. Due to the problem she had in the womb her labia fused into a false and empty scrotal sac. I'm really surprised that this hasn't been noticed before."
"Then she could get pregnant?" Mom asked.
"Of course, and you will need to make sure that she knows her options for birth control before she does. I'm sure neither you or Marci considered that option before."
"No, and it's not going to happen to my son. If you can make him a boy again we need to do that now no matter what."
"No way," Mark said. "Daddy, the last seventeen years have been a nightmare for me because you and everyone else wanted me to act and look like a boy when I knew I wasn't. You did promise that whatever the doctor said goes, didn't you?" He began to sing a quiet tune just for his father.
"Yes, I did, but I'm not going to loose my son to gain a daughter this way."
"I'm sorry, Mr. O'Brien but the choice isn't yours. It's Marci's. She is the one whose life we are discussing and she will have to live with this choice after you are gone."
Mr. O'Brien blinked a few times, then shook his head. "Maybe you are right, but -- you and I," he said pointing at Mark, "are going to have a long talk when we get home."
"Love to, Dad, but I've got a date with Charlie tonight, and thanks to Mom and your credit card for the first time in my life I have something to wear." Marci sung all the way home from the doctor's and by the time they were home, there was no need for conversation. Her father accepted her for what she was and was happy for her.
Waves crashed against the rocks splattering water in a fine mist through the air. In spite of the drenching she received, Marci sat on top of her rock staring out to sea. Scattered thunderclouds darkened the sky but she only smiled. A life time ago she had wanted to throw herself off the rocks and let the sea carry her away. Now she had everything she always wanted. What was that? Something splashed in the water. Marci covered her eyes to get a better look.
"Hey, girl friend."
"Sandra?" Marci looked down at the older girl. She scrambled down off the rock and hugged Sandra tight. "Thanks for everything."
"Well, look at you. This must be a record. It usually takes a week or two to change all the way but here you are. Did you have a good time last night?'
"I'll say. Charlie was great, but he didn't want to go all the way yet," Marci admitted. "I still don't understand why me. You gave me a lot of power with those songs, Sandra."
"Don't I know it. Girl, you are the one to use that power, too. And you haven't really let go with it either. I'm expecting big things from you, Marci."
Sandra pointed out across the water. "This is a time of change, and all of us with the power must be ready to accept and help that change happen. You were chosen with about a dozen other girls around the world to join the Sisterhood."
Marci frowned. "The what? Is this some sort of cult?"
"Of course not," Sandra said with a long, liquid laugh. "The Sisterhood has existed since the dawn of time and believe me you will not be sorry for being a member. I can't tell you much now, but meet me here -- in two days time -- and I can show you the rest. While you wait use your power, girl. Use it for yourself, your family or anyone you think could use a change. Think big." With that, the girl left.
"How big?" Marci asked but too late. She looked up at the thunderclouds and started to sing. Nothing happened. With a shrug she walked back toward the cottage.
For the next two days Marci sang until the entire town had changed along with her lifestyle. She met Sandra by the rocks early the third morning. Sandra gave the girl a quick peck on the cheek, then stepped back. "I know I said to think big but you're driving a Porsche?"
"After we moved into the mansion it only seemed right. I even gave my dad a Mercedes. So, now what?"
Sandra sang until both girls were dressed in swim suits. "The meeting is that way," she said and pointed out over the water.
"No problem," Marci said with a shrug. "I'll call up the boat if you don't want to."
"No boats this time," Sandra said. She took Marci's hand and led the girl into the waves. "How far do we have to swim?" Marci asked looking out over the wide expanse of empty water.
"Come on and don't ask so many questions."
"But I'm not really a swimmer, girl friend. I can do a few laps around the pool but not for miles and miles." She took a deep breath and followed Sandra into deeper water.
After a couple of minutes Marci shook her head as her legs started to tingle. She rubbed her thighs to ease the tension and found her skin felt slippery. The tingling grew worse as Marci felt her legs press together and remain together as if they had been glued. Her feet twisted into an odd position and she felt her toes stretch out.
Marci twisted in the water to look at her legs -- and screamed. She screamed, loud and long at the sight of a dolphin's tail where her legs had been. She screamed again until she felt Sandra's arms around her shoulders.
"What's happening to me? I'm turning into a fish." Marci kicked her new flukes.
"Not a fish, a dolphin. Dolphins are mammals just like people."
"Whatever. Look, Sandra, I had a real problem with my gender but not my species. I don't want to be a fish. Make it stop. Please?" She wailed as she felt her dorsal fin push up from her spine. "Please make it stop."
"It's not permanent, girl. Get a grip. But it's the only way we have of getting to the meeting. Calm down. The next part is going to be rough the first time, but you will get used to it. I'll hold you while you take in a deep breath. Good, another. Now hold it longer. Your lungs are changing. Good, another. Hold it. One more. Now hold it while you change from a mouth breather to a blow hole. There. Let go and breathe."
Marci felt her head bulge out as her mouth and nose formed a dolphin's beak. Beside her, Sandra changed to dolphin in just seconds. "This is wild," Marci said in a series of squeaks and clicks.
"Now follow me." The two females swam out to sea.
The trip seemed to last for days. Marci found it easy adjusting to dolphin's shape in spite of her complaints. She loved the feeling of flying through the water and then the air as she jumped for a breath. They joined a large pod of other females heading south.
As the group converged on a small island, Marci noticed that whales of all sorts had joined the pod as well as an occasional seal. Following a stream of warmer water, the pod swan into a small lagoon then followed a well worn channel to the interior of the island. As she swam, Marci felt her pectoral fins tingle before they grew back out into arms. She jumped for a deep breath and held it as her head and upper torso returned to human as well.
"We're mermaids?" Marci asked Sandra watching as several hundred tailed girls swam into a huge natural amphitheater.
"Siren is the more accurate word," Sandra said. "There are other mermaids but only we sirens have the gift of the songs of power."
A huge girl, with an orca's tail, called for attention. "Welcome back sisters. Welcome back. Will all the first time girls please assemble over there."
At Sandra's urging, Marci joined seventeen other girls in a separate pool. Shortly, the large girl with the orca coloring swam into pool. She was huge. Marci wondered if this one really was a whale. She studied the girl and for the first time felt the girl's incredible age.
"Welcome to all of you. Welcome to the sisterhood of the sea. I am called Cassie and I am the leader of the sisterhood. I know you are all wondering what is going on and why you are here and if we had time I would be happy to answer your questions. But there is no time. This meeting is called to issue last minute instructions to the others and to let you choose your course in the new world.
"You have been selected to join us in the greatest undertaking this world has ever seen. All of you have tried your new powers to some extent and all of you know the power you were given is real. Soon you will be asked to use that power with the rest of the sisterhood to change the world.
"You see, the vernal equinox will mark the changing of the millenium -- and not the one that the humans have been making such a fuss over. Exactly one thousand years ago the last of the old gods left this world and in a few days time we will call them back."
"Why?" someone asked.
"Because left to themselves the humans have driven the spirit of this world away. I'm sure all of you felt the pain of the sea as you swam here through the filth the humans have created and the land cries for relief as well.
"But can you imagine what would happen when lord Poseidon returns to cleans the seas with a wave of his trident?" she half shouted. "Or what will happen to the humans' precious machines when Zeus returns to Olympus with his thunderbolts? The world and everyone in it will change."
"But what do we have to do with that?" Marci asked.
"Because it will be our songs that bring the gods back. At the given time across the world the sirens will sing and return the magic to the world."
"It sounds wonderful, and the world certainly needs magic again, but what will happen to everyone?"
Cassie laughed then gave the assembly a warm smile. "This is not the end of the world, girls. Götterdemerung can wait, and if you've seen the opera you know what I mean. That was supposed to be a joke. Never mind.
"Ages ago, at the dawning of the world, the gods gave dominion of the lands to humans but dominion of the waters to the undines. We are the mer-folk and we must reclaim what is ours before the waters are completely destroyed. For eons our songs have kept much of the problem at bay but we are no longer strong enough to fight the human technology. We need the help of the old ones. We need the gods to once again take control of the world.
"The world will change, of course, but for the better. Once again magic will work. Some people will change as the world does but it's a price we have to pay."
"What's going to happen?" One of the girls asked with a tremble in her voice.
"In two days time the sirens will sing and that means all of us. Our song of power will call the old gods back from exile and the new world will begin."
"But what happens to everyone we know?" Marci asked.
"It will be up to you to protect the ones you care about and help change the rest. You have been given a great deal of power and you have been able to use it. You would not be here if you hadn't."
"And if we refuse to sing?"
"Decide that now, girls. Although your help will be greatly appreciated, it isn't necessary for our mission. The changes will happen with or without you, but if you do not help us you will simply be sent back to where ever and whatever you were before you were given the song. You will face the changes as everyone else will. But, if you do sing with us, you can use your song to make the change as easy as possible for those you love."
"And us?" Marci asked with a flip of her tail. "Do we stay as sirens?"
"Only if you wish to do so," Cassie said and glanced around the group. "That is enough for now. You will, by my power, return to where you need to be. You will be given further instructions later. Go now, and with my blessings."
Marci woke on the beach. At first she could hardly believe the meeting had been real, but she could feel her dolphin's tail waiting to be reclaimed. She would sing, and sing her best for the return of the gods, but what did she tell her family? And Charlie?
"Been swimming?" Nancy asked from behind. "Mom's been looking everywhere for you."
"You are just the person I need to see," Marci said and took her sister's hand to walk back to the cottage. "You will never believe this in a million years, but wait until you hear this."
Nancy shook her head as Marci finished the tale. "So, you are now a mermaid, and the old gods are coming back to change the world? Of course I believe you, sis. I mean, who wouldn't?"
"Watch," Marci said and sat down on the beach. She raised her legs and let them fuse into a tail for an instant. "Well?"
"Okay, I believe the mermaid part, but. My God! What are we going to do?"
"You guys will be okay, but I don't know about the rest. I've got to find Charlie and Steve Logan. He's coming and."
Nancy slapped Marci on the back. "Slow down and catch your breath. You're hyperventilating. There, that's better. Let's go find Mom and Dad. We have got to have a plan."
Check out more of Brian Brookwell's art at the Mermaid's Tail.
About the Author
Paul Carmichael is a long term sales agent, on the road more often than not, and a wannabe painist. Besides posting a couple of stories to the TSA list last year, Paul has had little time for writing and is grateful for the encouragement of his friends at TSAT for the encouragement.
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