The Pet Shop – Serket

“Sirens are not born young one, they are created.”

Sasha had been after the voice each night as it took her closer to the temple. Even now at nine months she had to obey it. Swollen and wabbling in the island heat, the moonlight hid her figure and the waves washed her footsteps from the sand. The island didn’t need any one to know she’d been there.

The majestic temple beckoned her inside, flames shooting from the votive on either side of the door. She’d gotten shipwrecked here more than five months ago and had taken pleasure in making this oasis her home. She had nothing left for her back in New York.

Cramming into miniature condos, commuting like a sardine. Her whole life had been one mundane task after another. Always looking for that something more people were always referring to. All of that ceased when she’d met Rodney. He was charming, an investor on Wall Street he had enough funds to keep her comfortable. The romance was quick and impulsive and four years later she woke up one morning pregnant and nervous.

They’d never discussed the prospect of children. Neither had any and Sasha was sure Rodney had no interest in being a father. Jet – setting across the world seemed more his speed and she was willing to take that ride. To her surprise he’d convinced her to keep it. Promised that she and the newborn would be royalty. She’d relied on his words to steady her nerves and looked to his promise as motivation to prepare for motherhood.

She couldn’t have known as she grew in size the weight of Rodney’s deception. She’d been planning to surprise him at his office. She’d usually call and alert his assistant but was shopping in the area and wandered into the lobby one day. The expression on Morgan, the assistant’s, face was a mixture of terror and intrigue.

“Ms… Ms….. Ms. Stephens, how nice to see you was Mr. Graves expecting you?” she sputtered.

The all glass room that was his office, showed clearly that he was not. A tall leggy brown skin woman stood up with some minor help from Rodney. Hugged Carl, Rodney’s boss in a familiar embrace before being escorted from the office by Rodney himself. Before she even had time to process what had occurred she speed walked herself in their direction leaving Morgan slack – jawed in awe.

As she moved closer she could hear the giggling. It sends shards of anxiety to her heart each step she took. Bridging the gap between them she finally was close enough to approach.

“Rodney!”she churped.

He and his guest stopped walking and he swirled around to face her eyes darting from the woman he had at his side and the one standing within arms reach. He’d been wearing the button up she’d bought him at Saks, a money green which brought out the red in his skin tone.

The woman Sasha noted, was generically beautiful, bright brown eyes. Perfectly coiffed hair, even several months pregnant she had that motherly glow everyone talked about. Sasha felt inferior by comparison. She hadn’t been handling pregnancy well, always sick, her hair was in a messy knotted bun thrown a top her head. She was wearing no make up and even comfy sweatpants betrayed her good looks. She felt on the defensive but was unsure why.

The encounter was awkward at best. Rodney did his best to hide the obvious truth but of course it had caught up with him. He’d been married for 15 years and the woman clutching his arm for support in the wake of his affair was indeed his pregnant wife. The “Miracle Baby” she’d been carrying was a product of prayer and In Vitro, the couple were told many years ago they’d never conceive.

Sasha saw first hand that Rodney was capable of impregnating a woman, what she hadn’t seen was his ability to actually love one. She was crushed, the revelation of his affair hadn’t phased his wife one bit. In fact her aggression was turned toward Sasha. Rodney allowed the woman to verbally brutalize his mistress before leading her away flustered to have a seat in the car.

Sasha stood there, alone, ears stinging from the down dressing she’d received. It was a far cry from how she’d planned the afternoon going. She didn’t wait for Rodney to return, expecting it’d be to embarrass her further she made her escape through the nearest exit.

For weeks she muddled through edging closer to her due date. Single motherhood had never been a plan she laid out for herself. She regretted that now. She’d work at that firm for six years, made a name for herself there, her name carried weight. She’d requested some time off to prepare for her new baby. They happily obliged.

Sasha decided to take a trip to clear her head, she’d been unable to fly for her Eat.Pray.Love journey so instead booked a cruise to Bermuda. Gaia called out to women in need. The island sought the heart-broken, their hearts sang a song and the island echoed it through the waves. The longing felt by ship’s captains were echoes of hundreds of sirens from the island.

Sasha had awoken from her sleep the night the ship sank. Something called to her from across the waves. Whatever  pulled her from the ship that night, protected her and her unborn baby. As each survivor emerged from the waves, the island claimed them as their own. She hadn’t noticed the crates then.

Settling into the island was the easy part, she had nothing tethering her to the real world and had been welcomed on the island with open arms. At the time, Queen Hilaya reigned and took her under her wing. When Sasha arrived the island had been in stasis. The Sirens frozen in sleep. No one had set foot on the island in years. Sasha and her Order had been the first, Hilaya readied her for childbirth, Sasha helped her to bring the island back to life. The sirens had always been known for leading men to their deaths, but Hilaya had other plans for her victims. Sasha would capitalize on that.

It felt like a lifetime ago, inside the temple, quiet and vacant. She was expecting more miraculous wonders but found herself in an empty room in the center of the room was a sarcophagus. The darkness she found inside changed things on the island forever.

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