The Mind Siren
“The Mind Siren” was my entry to the Black Library’s 40K Deathwatch submissions call.
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The xenos thing that floated before him resembled a mermaid of ancient lore. From the waist up, it was almost human: naked blue-green flesh, a beautiful, feminine face, adorned with locks of yellow-green hair, two arms, and a trunk, surmounted with full, jutting breasts. Beneath, it was a long, winding central tail awash in a shifting sea of tendrils ending in crescent hook-shaped appendages.
The siren hovered by the power of its will alone, silent, reaching out to Marcus with her mind.
Strange vistas, images of creatures and places Marcus had not and could not know, flowed unbidden through his mind, one with sensations and cravings he could not describe, only long for.
The mind-siren opened her mouth to reveal a triad of writhing, sucker-covered tongues reaching out to Marcus like psychic antennae, weaving such a tapestry of bewilderment and alien lust about Marcus’ will that he did the unthinkable, he defied his duty.
Marcus opened the seals on his armour, and reaching out to her, pressed his skin to hers and likewise to those parts of her covered by fins and by scales. He made strange and illicit congress with her, knowing her flesh and allowing his flesh to be known in turn to reach bizarre pinnacles of ecstasy no man was ever meant to know.
Afterwards, lying in her coils sated, looking up at the naked stars, Marcus felt no shame for the deaths of his squadmates only peace and fulfilment. Above, sparks of crimson and orange fell from the sky like dandelion seeds of flame.
“So beautiful…” Marcus said. “What is it?”
“The remains of your strike cruiser, my love,” the creature said. “Be not troubled, such things are not a part of your world any longer. Forget them.”
With the warm embrace of her tail wound around his legs and his face pressed against her breasts, Marcus was tempted to forget his duty forever. But he found he could not.
Glimpses of a life dim yet unforgotten flashed through his mind, images of courage and of comradeship, of standing shoulder to shoulder with his brother marines against the xenos foe. He remembered grinding his chainsword through foul Ork flesh and the feel of Eldar vertebrae snapped in his gauntlets. Scenes of bloodshed and carnage on a hundred worlds played out in his fevered mind; his heart swelled with the righteous fury of expunging alien filth and preserving the purity of Man.
A part of him loved the xeno mind creature for the bliss it had brought him, but, for loving it, the greater part of him began to hate himself all the more. In the end, Marcus knew what he had to do.
Reaching up to caress the mind-siren’s face one last time, he spoke a single word. “Invictus.”
The melta bomb satchel charge on the back of his armour exploded, filling the rocky plateau with searing light.
In death, Marcus had fulfilled his duty and reclaimed his honour.
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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Thursday at 6 pm CST on FOX Sports 1280 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.
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Text copyright 2014 Brandon Black