The table went silent as Caspien finished his nightmarish story. The rest of the men cleared out leaving Scotty, Venus, Samuel, and Pierson listening intently. They didn't talk for a while, mostly because most of them had already heard parts of the story. Venus, on the other hand, tried to keep the screams out of her head as she ached for a clear mind. She stood up abruptly making everyone around her jump to their feet.
Caspien grabbed her to help her from stumbling but she shoved him away and toppled out onto the deck. The chilly night air pierced her human skin as she dried out with every step. Fire flew across her vision as she rubbed the burning locked memories from her eyes and looked up to see the same sky as Caspien described. A flash of lightning struck the back of her mind as she swung open the door to the lower deck.
Covering her ears, she tried to block out the echoing screams and pleads of help from a child, "get out of my head!" Blades of sweat swiped down her forehead and onto the floor as she ran into her room only to slam the door shut behind her.
Running up to the mirror hanging on the wall, she saw herself dripping with blood and soot. She reached her hand up to the ceiling then pulled her fist down fast, letting the frozen water melt instantly and drench her from head to toe. The blood she thought she saw once before blurred with her vision as she blinked it out to see clearly. After vigorously rubbing her eyes, she opened them again to see Vulcan standing behind her in human form. Before she could turn to him, he covered her eyes and whispered incoherent words into her ear like a fly buzzing around her lobe. She swats away at the vision only to collapse on the floor panting.
'Why can't I remember any of this? It's like someone's tried their best to block my memories from leaking out…' She thought to herself as she trembled on the wood flooring. 'There's not many who can block my memories, mostly because I'm of royal descent. You'd have to be a royal or have the same power as one of us…' Her head throbbed as she remembered seeing Vulcan before he covered her eyes and laughed pitifully. 'Of course, you'd have something to do with it,' she scoffed at the realization.
She searched far and wide through her mind as she remembered Caspien's voice as he told his story. It was as if a gaping hole resided in her memories of those moments with him because she didn't even remember the fire, only the decades-long war between the humans and sirens.
Then, as if she'd miraculously remembered just a slice of what she'd lost, something clicked in her mind. The story Caspien told her and the story that the other sailors believed could both be muddled together. 'If the Captain has been trying to get close to me this whole time, he could just be telling a false story so that I trust him. For all I know, the whole crew could be in it to kill me! He started the war after thinking I'd burned down the ship then tried to trick me into thinking that I was actually there…' She slammed a fist against her wall and huffed in despair, 'Captain Caspien is taking me for a fool,' her thoughts ran wild at her own silent words. 'But that still doesn't explain why I can't remember the burning boat. I'm sure it would've attracted other sirens as well. It's like it was wiped for a reason, Vulcan never did anything needlessly unless,' she froze.
"Unless we were being reckless. Oh my…" She trailed off.
It's not that she knew the answer but the poisoned thought was on the tip of her tongue ready to roll off and taint any sentence that followed. 'If I were to throw myself to them to stop the impending war, would he?' Her mind went blank as the possibilities of what happened flooded her mind. Did she start the war? No, no...But she definitely believed it. 'It would explain why my father never wanted me to join the war and wanted me to protect the people within the kingdom. Why Vulcan stayed by my side through everything, even until the end. Why, even though I was still out there, sailors stopped searching for me...Because, because!' She took a deep breath trying to remember something, anything! But only tears came instead of what she hoped for. "I truly hope it's not true," she stifled her cries.
"What do you hope isn't true?" At the sound of his voice, Venus jumped out of her scales making some of them, quite literally, jump out of her human skin. He knelt down beside her to wipe her tears and asked if she was alright.
"Captain…" She gawked for a moment before pushing him away and scrambling to her feet, "I-I'm fine!"
He squinted his eyes, "did I jog your memory with anything just now?"
Though he showed his hopeful side to her, she cut in her own small lie, "no. I'm sure you have me confused with someone else, Captain." She stared out the small porthole of a window she had and quickly tacked on, "I think I was just worn out from etiquette training today. It's strange how much sleep a human needs to survive, you practically lose half of your life thanks to it," she scoffed.
Caspien shifted about the room trying to catch her attention but she didn't turn in fear of being caught in her little white lies. He stepped closer and confessed between trembling emotions, "I waited so many years for you to return to the surface but was disappointed every day. Year after year another person I loved died in the war whether it be from sirens or Murilian naval attacks. But I kept hoping you'd come back to me someday." He took another step closer while she just stared at the shaking waves.
"And now that you're here, you don't even remember me or won't admit to it!" He slammed a fist into the wall making her jump. "You were the one thing that kept me hanging onto growing up to be able to sail the seas to find you again! I didn't want you to always have to come to me, I wanted to be able to go to you first but you…!" He left his sentence hanging in the air as if he'd just pulled his hook out of the water with the bait stolen right out from under him.
There was a deep silence between them as the ocean roared with every shaky breath she drew in and out, "I don't remember you, I'm sorry Captain." With those words, she collected herself enough to turn around and see his face ablaze yet his eyes drooped down as if he was defeated.
He chuckled before heading to the door. With one last look, he dug through his pocket for something and said, "if you ever need to talk," he placed a moldy pearl necklace on the tiny table next to her door then left.
She stared at the trinket trying to hold in her painstakingly horrid headaches and flashes of an old storm. Striding across the room she snatched the abominable jewelry from the table and smashed it to pieces on the floor. At the sound of the pearls smashing the ground, lightning flashed beside her ears making her crumble to the ground. The grinding of her teeth was no match for the memories leaking out of her sealed vault making her wish she'd never saved Caspien in the first place.
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