We are alone, now. It has been so long, so very long, since last a companion came to us. But we are glad for this loneliness—men have called us evil, have told falsehoods saying we delight in luring them to their death, and have called us cruel, but we never were so, at least as we understood it. We do not want to cause death, but they revile us. Who knows the mind of men? Companionship was all we desired, all we longed for! We have a song, and we must sing it, must share it! Was it so much to ask of those we wanted to sing with us that they should give up their fragile shells to add their breath to ours? I still hear them, in my memory.
It is all that we do, this singing, all we can do. Most of my sisters have lost their song, and I hear only echoes of my own whispered questions when I call to them. Perhaps they have died at last, or as good as. What, I wonder, lies in wait for immortal creatures on the other side of Thanatos's black door? Do we merely cease? Or do we like time's children come also at last to the silent shadowlands?
I think I would rather nonexistence.
In the days when my sisters and I played our joyous games, the singing was simply ecstatic—it was the overflow of all we could not contain. They jumped from their ships, these men, hearing our song. We did not know them. We knew only that as their flesh crashed against our rocks, it released its stranglehold on their breath—and then they too sang! Not like us, never like us, but the same song in a different harmony, an unthought-of counterpoint. We thought we were doing them a kindness. We sing because we must, because it is to us like the cardial blood in a mortal's veins, only more fundamental. We thought that even though they were unlike us, they were bound to the song as we were. When you see an unfamiliar animal do you question that it must fill its lungs?
Soon, they had learnt of us, and avoided us. We realized our mistake by their absence, by the shouted epithets of those who did pass us by, ears stuffed with wax. Some unwary still came, and these we took to our bosom, like the others. We still cared only for the song. Years passed. I suppose you would call them many indeed.
One by one, my sisters stopped singing, one by one they would not answer when I called. I sang. I always sang. But eventually, even those men who passed by me did not seem to hear. They sailed right past with no thought, no breath, no notice. My song was full of tears the first day that happened. Each day that passes seems quieter and quieter, and my voice seems only in my head. I am—alone. Is this, then, what I have done? Is this the instrument of divine retribution to punish me for those voices I have released? Must I be forced to know what the brothers of these men have felt?
I think I would rather silence.