A Christmas Siren
When the woman touched Derek’s hand, a shiver ran through him. His heart froze as though he had fallen into icy water. The bar was deserted, him drinking alone and the bartender getting ready for closing. Silence and dim light enveloped the chairs already stacked on top of the tables.
Derek swallowed as he looked at her, experiencing a hot flush at her piercing brown eyes. She leaned close to him then, her full lips just touching his skin. Another shiver ran through him, this one more pleasant than the previous.
‘I’ve got a gift for you,’ she whispered, her breath warm on his ear, then giggled and walked out. The whole thing happened in seconds, but Derek had enough time to glance at her and decide that he’d never seen a prettier woman in his entire life. The tight red dress showed her perfect figure, and he wondered how she bore the cold without a coat when he had kept his on even inside. She only wore a striped scarf and a blinking Santa hat with the dress.
Derek looked at the bartender for confirmation that this had indeed happened, but the man had his back to him, organising glasses. He asked for a double Jägermeister, left twenty euros on the bar, and stormed out.
Tiny snowflakes were falling as he searched for her, the bittersweet taste of his last drink still lingering in his mouth. All the wooden Christmas market stalls stood empty in the dead of night, the smell of mulled wine and sausage missing from the air and the joyful people gone home. There was no one around, so he looked at his watch. Christmas Eve was turning into Christmas Day, and he was searching for a phantom in the abandoned old town of Dusseldorf.
‘This is crazy,’ he mumbled to himself. He sounded drunk, but he didn’t feel it. The cold had to be keeping the alcohol’s effects at bay.
Coming to Germany in the festive season had seemed like the perfect idea; better than sitting at home in his tiny East London flat, ruminating on the past, the years wasted in prison, and the people he had hurt, including his family. This was the place of love, of starting over, where even the crimes of his earlier life couldn’t spoil the festive atmosphere. He’d hoped to meet someone similarly lonely who craved warm company, if for nothing else but a few hours of drinking wine and chatting. He hadn’t imagined the encounter this way. Where is she? he asked himself again, desperation entering his mind. How could she disappear so quickly?
He sighed and watched his breath dissolve, then heard a soft giggle from behind him. He turned like a slug, the Jäger now altering his movement, and saw the girl vanish in between two wooden stalls, her scarf falling to the snowy ground.
‘Hello?’ he called. No answer, just the penetrating silence of the streets. This is silly, he thought, and imagined people sleeping at home next to the flashing lights of their Christmas trees or parents watching their favourite Christmas film, cuddling on the sofa, eating leftover pudding in secret while the children slept in their rooms.
Derek felt pathetic standing there, drunk and chasing a ghost, so he turned and began to walk towards his Airbnb apartment.
He was fumbling with his tangled headphones cable when he heard a beautiful female voice singing ‘Silent Night’ like an angel: silky smooth and sweet like candy. Derek stopped, listened to the song for a few seconds, and searched for the source. She stood ten steps away from him under the yellow light of a rustic streetlamp, unrealistically gorgeous in the snowfall yet eerie at the same time.
The song, a river of melody flowing through the air, pulled him forward. It all seemed surreal, but he was beyond caring. The alcohol shut down his sense of danger, and only desire remained.
The woman started ‘Oh Tannenbaum’ in German, and Derek found this song even more wonderful, the words fitting her better. He’d never known a Christmas song could sound this sexual. Why not, though? After all, people celebrated love, peace, and family at Christmas. What if she was the one for him? What if fate had made two lonely souls meet so that they could create a new family, right here in the deserted Christmas market?
Derek walked up to her, and she held his hand, leading him into a dark alley behind the stalls. A picture of a naked woman flashed through his mind, thin black hair covering her body, her skin underneath tattooed by cuts as though she had been lashed with an iron whip, her abnormally long tongue licking the thick blood oozing from the wounds. She had two curvy horns protruding from her forehead and hooves instead of feet. She held rusty chains in her left hand and a thick birch lash in her right, fingering herself with it.
Derek shook his head. What the hell? He’d had too much to drink after all. He concentrated on her sweet perfume and her perfect curves, hoping his brain would obey and let him enjoy the experience. She looked back at him, smiling and licking her lips. The shivers returned with her gaze, stronger than ever, and Derek felt his dick harden.
When they reached the alley, they stood next to the concrete wall and kissed, losing themselves in the moment. It wasn’t cold anymore, but something wasn’t right. Derek’s mouth was too full, as though he had tried to put in too much rare steak which he couldn’t chew. A gag reflex overwhelmed him, and he opened his eyes.
He now knew that it wasn’t his drunkenness that had conjured the previous image, and he also knew where he had seen a similar creature before. What did the folklore call them? Their name started with a K, but he couldn’t remember the rest. What he hadn’t realised was that they were female, and that they could sing and mesmerise their victims like those other mythical creatures who trapped sailors. What were those called? Sirens?
Claws ripped his back open in the next moment and black teeth bit off his lips. He screamed as the Krampus Siren lifted him up and stuffed his bloody face into the basket on her back.