Little Did I Mean | The Fear


In a time before the Unseen Man rallied to rouse against those of  Machine Minds and Machine Hearts there was the Siren in her Skeleton Place. Now I ask you to consider before reading, what revolution doesn’t start with the need for peace? The need for freedom. But what does freedom mean?
A murmur of the big brass band whispered, singing quiet little dreams as a woman in red said to the Siren, “I wish that I could wave a magic wand to show you what the difference would be. Presto!”
And waiting at an abandoned café, left to rot and become a skeleton of what it used to be, sat the Siren. For years and years, she had waited, wandering and wondering when the time would come. She’d flicker in and out as guitars, and then another band from a phantom jukebox tuned in. Memories of waves crashed in her ears as she took in the forest around her.
             A child not yet born or known to the Siren talked of summer and what it meant to her. “My favorite moment of summer is swimming in my pool.”
Sadly, there were no pools here, only roses and far-off oceans. All memories from a time the Siren could recall when there was dancing and big brass bands invaded her mind. Not like when she had first arrived at this Skeleton Place. Not when she heard voices beside trees. When she first arrived, the Sea Lion Woman spoke, from high above her, “Everybody is half dead.”
             If that hadn’t made the Siren shirk back to her delightful recollections of times gone by nothing would. In big cities all over the world, man’s machines were taking over. The Siren hadn’t been stuck fading and failing to come home. There was still love from N for T and from T for N, whoever they had been. Someone long ago had scratched out N. Where did they go? The Siren pondered. 
            Years from now they’d find the tapes of the Siren wandering in her foresty imprisonment… Coming across things she ott not to come across. Birds had been chirping for her, but were they truly birds? Was anything real here?
            I was real when the Man and I danced. That was real. For she knew that was true. All the Siren had left in this forestry hell was the good times she had trapped in her head. When there was children’s laughter and friends and love!
            Far across from her in the distance was a home? No, a shed! Not my shed. Mine was green. Yet, she could not help herself but stare out in the distance, longing for… Well for anything at this point.
            And anything was what the Siren got when the Sea Lion Woman’s voice spoke,
           “Everybody avoids everybody…”
            In her black heels, the Siren stepped out down the hill towards the shed. That’s where she must be.
            “…All over the place in most situations, most all the time.” The Sea Lion continued yet there was something behind her voice. Another voice, male, distorted and lowered as if he were speaking from the sea. This Merman’s voice was not meant for the casual listener. But the Siren was not a casual listener, she was the only listener, and looked down from her green stand, through shades, still lost in her wandering and wondering as the big band played.
           The Siren was taken to bigger cities this time, the ones she had traveled through with the Man. In which he had bought her the Book, the one she held so sacredly to her now that she was alone. In it there was the Key, not that the Siren was privy to that knowledge, not yet, not in this time. Only soon when the Merman’s voice roared from his shimmery cave, did both the Siren and Housewife hear for but a moment.
           The Sea Lion Woman cut him off, “I know because I’m one of those everybody’s and to me it is terrible.”
           Perhaps he’s in the river. A questionable thought eclipsed the Siren’s mind as she waited at the Skeleton café. In a flash, she was taken back to her dancing days once more. How she had loved them! Loved the music! Loved the Man! Loved life! The Siren stared at the river rocks as the water rippled past, yearning for home.
           “HERE WE GO!” A singer shouted from the jukebox.
           Again and again, the Siren searched everywhere for the Sea Lion Woman, the Merman voice, anybody! Cities and flowers flew through her mind. All the things she'd seen in all the places she’d been. Why would they put me here? Of all places!
          The Sea Lion in the midst of the Siren’s memories, however. “And so all I’m trying to do all the time is to just open people up so they can feel themselves and they can be open to somebody else.”
           The Siren, in a daze, searched and searched for the voice all around her, hopping in and out of old bars. Watching flowers and wondering when her days would come back. When her man would come. When her life would be restored.
            Birds whistled as the VHS whirred in a dark office many years from the Skeleton place, long after the Machine Minds and Machine Hearts burnt downtown to the ground, long after all of it, they sat watching the Siren discover a piece of her undoing. “That is all. That’s it.” As they looked at each other questioning the female voice they heard across the tape, a haunting male voice overcame the woman for a split second.
           The Siren’s black shoes stood stoically as any good pair of heels could do after being tossed to the side. “I’ve always thought I was shaking people up,” the Sea Lion Woman explained, to whom, the Siren did not know but she ran to the shed. They have to be there. They have to be somewhere! “But now I want to go at it more and I wanna go at it more deliberately and I want to go at it coldly.”
           Memories of her youth chased after the Siren. Hot spring days when they piled into small black cars to go to the only schoolhouse in a fifty-mile radius. All the kids, from everywhere, no matter what, came to that schoolhouse. She learned to laugh there. More importantly, she learned to first live. Where are you now? The Siren wanted to cry out but knew no one was listening.
           “I- I want to shake people up so bad.” The Sea Lion Woman’s voice grew with more passion to whomever she was telling her tale to.
          “HIT IT!” The jukebox singer called out. A memory of her little sister’s first dance hit the Siren so hard and fast she felt as if she'd flown through time. To a time with the strange boy and his strange music. How I’d give anything for them now.
         “That when they leave I just want them to be to pieces.” The Sea Lion Woman snapped the Siren back out of her trance.
           However once again the Siren and the Housewife both heard her. They heard something. Both searching for their sheds and not knowing the reason. Not knowing where they were or why. Only the Housewife could hear the Siren but not the other way around. A strange occurrence but after all, this is the Skeleton Place. 
         The Siren read the Book the Man had given her, as she tried to swallow her despair. She looked up at the bar’s back wall and saw that N had made an appearance. They had struck their vengeance from having been struck out from their lover’s love and had spray painted their initial beside the lovers cracked heart in a bold green. A bold choice. But did it help them? The Siren guessed that it did not. 
        “No one can tell you though. You have to feel it.” The Sea Lion explained as the Siren opened her umbrella for the grey sky above. She hadn’t had to do that when she was in her hot summer schoolhouse. “In any situation between human beings. It’s what makes us groove.”
           The shed. The shed. The Siren reminded herself. Far too many distractions. The shed’s the truth.
            Before she could reach the shed, the Siren was bombarded by three voices. First, the distorted Merman’s mumbles, second the Unseen Man who asked the Sea Lion Woman, “Well what’s free to you?” The Siren’s ears perked up. Is he asking me? He must know what it means to me!
            The Sea Lion Woman asked, “What’s free to me?”
            “Same thing it is to you. You tell me.”
             The guitar gently plucked as the Siren looked around. They’re here. I’m not alone! I’m not alone! But where are they? Again, she was struck with memories of the Man flinging her across the dancefloor in the good old days. I want them. I want them back and I want to be back. I want to be! 
             “I wanna g-go in that din of those elegant people with their old ideas, smugness, and just drive them insane.” The Sea Lion announced as the jukebox’s saxophone sang out in agreement.
             Still, in the far-off future where the Skeleton Place did not exist and all had turned to ash, they watched the Siren now hold her undoing as birds merrily chirped and a guitar strummed. Someone was watching her, they knew this for they were the ones doing so. But how could she know?          
           The Siren was still occupied with the past and the many cities she would never see again if she didn’t find the Unseen Man or the Sea Lion Woman or even the Merman. “No, you tell me,” the Unseen Man laughed. The Siren looked above and all around her. No one. But she could hear them now both laughing! They’re here, they’re here, I know they are! She looked to the shed and knew what she must do.
            ... Or what the Siren believed she was to do, little did she know the key to freedom laid by her head at night, its words wishing to be perhaps whispered aloud and it would all be over. Not that the Siren knew this of course. Only the Unseen Man did and those of the future who watched in hindsight with perfect vision.  
           “'Cause I’ve been talking for so long-” The Unseen Man began.
           “It’s just a feeling,” the Sea Lion Woman cut him off. “It’s just a feeling.”
           Dancing across the field the Siren waited as the Housewife wandered the unfamiliar yard. Together they danced all over what they were really supposed to be doing. But how were they to know? They hadn’t a clue what freedom was.
           “It’s like- how do you tell somebody how it feels to be in love?” The Sea Lion Woman, older and wiser than both the Siren and Housewife asked the Unseen man. I knew love. The Siren remembered. “How are you going to tell anybody who has not been in love how it feels to be in love? You cannot do it to save your life!”
           Little did the Sea Lion Woman know how true her own sentiments were for the Housewife. Not so much for the Siren, who held her umbrella high and looked down as she began. It was as easy as her dancing days and as hard as her love was for the Man but nonetheless she began.
          “HERE WE GO!” The singer cried out for the last time in the Skeleton Place.
           No longer was the Siren going to wait around for the answer.
           “You can describe things but you can’t tell ‘em, but you can’t tell ‘em.” The Sea Lion told the Unseen Man. “But you know it, when it happens.”
             Abandoned shoes and words were left behind as the Siren began. In the past, she searched for the Merman’s voice around thick skeleton trees. No longer will I! The Siren declared.
            “That’s what I mean by free,” gently the Sea Lion Woman voiced her thoughts. “When I really felt free.” There were hints of long-earned wisdom yet a very present and persistent child-like wonder in her voice.  “That’s something else.” She exhaled.
            “That feeling’s something ELSE!” The Sea Lion Woman exclaimed with a laugh of years knowing exactly what freedom and love were escaped her lips. “Like all-all like-like,” the Sea Lion Woman tried to think of what she was trying to say.
It was then, in the past, when the Siren had first arrived at the Skeleton Place, that she swore she saw the Sea Lion Woman. Tall, graceful, and with many, many different faces all at once. She was the most stunning and spectacular creature she’d ever seen. And she ran for her, calling for her to save her and take the Siren away from this place. But it was only a dream.
Presently the Sea Lion went on, “I’ll tell you what freedom means to me.”
In anticipation, the jukebox threw out a lovely tune.
“No fear!”
Far in the future, they witnessed the oddest of things. In her hand, the Siren held up her demise towards their camera. How could she know? How could she…
“I mean really! No fear…” The Sea Lion said the last two words to herself as she came to an epiphany before the Unseen Man.
Resolved that this was the time, the Siren took off her black heels and came back to her makeshift home, but only to retrieve her umbrella and book. As she did the Sea Lion Woman stumbled, “d- I-if I could have that… half of my life- No fear! Lots of children have no fear. That’s the closest- that’s the only way I can describe it. That’s not all of it!” She assured the Unseen Man.
The letters R NNE were displayed for those who watched the Siren in the future. They sat with their wide eyes and open mouths. IF she knew, then how come she didn’t leave then? Why did she…
 “But it is something to really feel… Oh…” Rustling as if the Sea Lion Woman was settling back into a chair went through the microphone.
“Have- Have you ev-” The Unseen Man was for once in his life caught off guard. He had no response to this woman opening her heart to him. “I’ve noticed you-”
“Like a new way of seeing!” The Sea Lion Woman burst out in an ecstasy of revelation. “A new way of seeing… Something…”
The Siren swooped her umbrella up high over her ringlets and turned her back on the Skeleton Place. She carried on down the warn down path but not before turning back for one last look at her prison before making her way to meet her destiny at the shed.



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