Siren Song

Drawing red treble clef and musical notes.  Caption reads: " 'Singing is my heritage,' Selina said."

Siren Song

Short story by Iris Carden

“Selina, welcome to the Morning Show,” the interviewer said, in her overly bright and bubbly manner. Selina had already forgotten her name.

“It’s great to be here,” Selina answered.

“You’re in town for the big concert tonight, and I understand tickets for the arena have already sold out.”

“Well, my fans here in Brisbane have always been so very loyal, and I love them all.”

“Now, I understand your mother was also a professional singer. She sang in a nightclub in Fortitude Valley, didn’t she?”

“Yes, and she’s still singing. She was my first voice coach. I grew up listening to her practice and perform. Her and my grandmother both.”

“Your grandmother as well?”

“And great grandmother. As far back as anyone can remember, the women in my family have earned their way by singing. Singing is my heritage.” Of course if you went far enough back, they were sitting on a small rocky island near Greece, singing to attract sailors to shipwreck themselves on the rocks.

“Now there was something of a tragedy last time you performed in Brisbane.”

“Sadly, yes. One of my fans attending the concert disappeared. I’ve offered a reward to anyone who can help the police locate him.” There was nothing left to locate, of course. He had been a horrible spotty teenager, stringy and tasteless. She wouldn’t have chosen him, but he wandered backstage. He’d been a snack of convenience. That was a close call, no-one else who went missing had been tied back to being last seen at one of her concerts.

“The reason I raise it, is that I’ve just heard news from Melbourne of another missing person. A man who had been at your most recent concert there.”

“A lot of people go to my concerts. Surely he went somewhere else afterwards. The boy who disappeared from the Brisbane concert had parents drop him off and come to pick him up. That’s why they know whatever happened to him happened there or he was abducted from there. Perhaps this other person went somewhere after the performance. There couldn’t be another person just vanish from one of my concerts. That’s too much of a coincidence.” He’d been a big meaty man. Too much hair, it got caught in her throat, and tasted a bit of something unpleasant. He’d probably been taking drugs.

“The press release the Victorian police issued this morning said the last place Arnold Barnes had been seen was at your concert. He went with friends, and disappeared.”

“That’s very concerning. If that’s the case, I’m sure I will want to contact the police involved and see if there is any way I can help them. Could you perhaps get me a copy of that press release when we’re off air?” This was getting too close to home. The coincidence was straining credulity. She would have to be more careful in future.

“Do you think someone working with you, one of your band members or road crew or someone could be, I don’t know, a serial killer?”

“That’s a big jump. My concerts are crowded. Thousands of people are in the audience. A number of them are drinking, or may even bring in illegal drugs. It’s not as if we search audience members. I think it’s far more likely that someone has wandered off and had some kind of accident, than that any of the people I work with has caused them any harm. Why would you even suggest that?” Her crew included a number of “people” who weren’t quite people. Some of them had to avoid the full moon, and some had to avoid daylight. Concerts had to be scheduled carefully. None of them wanted anyone looking too closely. She was the only one foolish enough to eat where she worked. Everyone else would tee up a meeting later with their potential meal. It always amazed her how many people would happily go to meet someone they’d never met, just because they were in the band, or even with the band. Selina would have to learn from them.

“I guess I make that jump because I just heard on my earpiece that police are waiting in the green room to interview you as soon as we go to the break.”

Selina usually only ate men. She was willing to make an exception for this interviewer. “Of course I am happy to help them in any way I can.

“And now it’s time to go to a break. Good luck for the concert tonight, if it goes ahead.”

“Thank you.” The concert would go ahead. Even if she needed to sing the police officers into confusion, to have them clear her and her team. She would be far more careful in future.

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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