Thanks for all the comments yesterday on U is for [the] Ursula Genome. Your kind words of encouragement mean a lot to me.
Today, I'd like to introduce you to the final member of Betty's coven, Violet.
When Tasha finished her story Betty's gaze fell to the only member of the coven who she hadn't asked what their ability was.
The girl's name was Violet. She had long dark hair that fell in ringlets down her back, and large brown doe like eyes.
"What can you do?" Betty asked.
"I can sing," Violet replied shyly.
"You can't just sing," Kyle said, with a dreamy look in his eyes. "Your voice is magical."
"Show me," Betty insisted.
Violet opened her mouth in a wide "O" shape and let out a single low note. Everyone around the table became transfixed, unable to tear their eyes away from her, and forgetting completely what they had being doing just moments before. Slowly they all rose from their seats, and started to walk towards Violet. She abruptly stopped singing.
Everyone stopped dead in their tracks, and looked around at each other in confusion, before returning to their chairs. Only Kyle remained where he was, standing rooted to the spot, and staring at Violet in awe.
A few moments passed as the note resonated in the air, before fading into silence. Although everyone, apart from Kyle, has returned to their seats they were still dumbstruck.
Eventually Betty recovered and said, "You're a siren."
"Like in the Greek myths and legends?" Maggie asked with interest.
"Where do you think most stories get their inspiration? Witches, magical powers and people with abilities have been around as long as humanity itself. But it's only since the mid nineteen-fifties that the government went public with that knowledge. Before that, every era, every generation, had a different way of explaining these abilities. Now that we're in an advanced age of technology and science, we can somewhat explain the cause of magic."
"The Ursula Genome?"
"And the energy from the Astral Plane."
"Exactly. But before then, people explained odd occurrences with legends and myths. If you look back it's likely Gorgons, Hercules and Sirens were all witches."
"How cool is that, Vi? You're descended from Greek legends," Kyle said, the pride obvious in his voice.
Violet blushed and giggled. "It is pretty awesome."
"How old were you when you first started displaying your ability?"
"Fourteen. I'd always been a good singer. I could sing before I could talk. I found I could communicate through song a lot better than I could through words, and express emotions through music much more easily. Music was my favourite class at school.
"When my parents realised I had a musical talent they did everything they could to encourage me. I started taking singing lessons, and by the time I was ten I was preforming concerts. Not very big ones, usually just at my local school or church, but still, I was singing in front of a couple of hundred people.
"Everyone in town knew me. I was the girl with the amazing voice. Old women would come up to me on the street and tell me it was an honour to have me in the community. At school everyone gathered around me at play time asking me to sing. In school plays and productions, the teachers always gave me the best parts.
"The year I turned fourteen was also the Centenary celebration of our town. The mayor asked me to perform a special concert of songs a local writer had written about our community. It was my biggest audience, the town hall was packed out with five hundred people. On top of that, a TV crew were there too. I was a little bit scared by the prospect, but mostly excited that I was getting to sing in front of so many people. Mum and Dad were so proud. Their little girl, their little Violet, was bringing such respect to our little village.
"The concert went wonderfully. The songs were beautiful, I sang them perfectly, and the audience were captivated. I got all the way through the celebration without a problem, and received a standing ovation. Then the audience called for an encore. Me, the song writer and the director of the show had anticipated that happening. Craig, the guy who had written the songs, had penned a special number for the encore, to finish off the show in spectacular style.
"I went back on stage, ready to sing the final song. I was slightly nervous, because it was the most complex song I'd ever been asked to sing. Craig encouraged me, and pointed out that every time I'd done it in rehearsals, I'd nailed it. His words helped a bit, but I was still a little worried because there was an exceptionally high note in the middle.
"Just like in rehearsals everything went fine … until I reached the high note. I sang it without faltering … "
Violet pulled the sleeves of her jumper down over her hands, and tucked her knees up to her chest. She looked at the floor.
"It's okay, you can do this," Kyle encouraged, as he took Violet's hand and gave it a squeeze.
"As the note came out of my mouth something happened to the audience. They went into a trance, and then – like just happened when I sang a few minutes ago – everyone rose from their seats and started walking towards me. Even Craig and those backstage came to me. Soon everyone was gathered around me, enthralled. I didn't know what to do, I panicked. Feeling overwhelmed, I pushed through the crowd of people and ran from the town hall. I locked myself in the house, hoping no one would find me.
"It wasn't until the next morning that anyone did. At some point I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke, my mum, dad and a strange man were waiting in my room for me.
"Mum told me that everyone had remained in the town hall, rooted to the spot, until sometime in the middle of the night, probably when I'd fallen asleep. Finding themselves all gathered on stage, and me missing, the people in town worried something had happened, that there had been some sort of terrorist attack. My mum said she and Dad were frantic with worry for me. The mayor called the police, and they started investigating what had happened when my parents went home. Mum and Dad told the police they'd found me and that I was asleep in bed. It was then that the police suggested what had happened in the town hall was supernatural, and that the PID should be called. That's who the man waiting in my room with my parents was, an agent.
"The agent took me to one of their Arcs, and it was confirmed I had physiological abilities. I was assigned to a coven, told to report to my agent once a month and sent back to my old life. Only everything had changed. Mum and Dad could hardly look me in the eyes, and everyone in town kept their distance from me. I saw the frightened look out of the corner of people's eyes as they passed me on the streets. Old women, who had once rushed to tell me what a miracle I was, now crossed the street to avoid me. School was terrible. The teachers only spoke to me when they really had to, and hardly offered me any help with my work. But it was the other kids who were the worst. It started off with just the tough kids, then calling me a freak at break time. Soon it got out of hand. Everyone would avoid me, and leave me alone on the playground. People who had once been my best friends ignored me. I was a complete outcast. But it didn't stop there. Not content with simply avoiding me, the name calling began. I couldn't go anywhere without someone yelling out that I was abnormal. I tried to speak to my teachers about it, but they said I was unsettling the other students, and perhaps it was best if I did my classes from home. I ran home in tears, hoping Mum and Dad would make it all better. They were my parents, they'd tell the teachers and other kids they couldn't treat me like that. Only they didn't …"
Violet let out a shuddering sob, and Kyle wrapped his arms around her.
"It's okay," he said, gently stroking her hair.
Violet gently traced Kyle's cheek with her fingertip. "Thank you," she mouthed.
Then she sat upright in her seat, a look of determination on her face.
"When Mum and Dad rejected me I decided I wasn't going to take it anymore. I hadn't asked for these strange powers, and I certainly wasn't a freak. I was going to prove to all the people in my town I was better than them. I gathered what things I had, and headed for the city. I was determined to make something of my life, and if I had to use my amazing voice to get what I wanted, even better.
"As I got a plan together, I lived on the street with group of runaway teens. There was a boy in the gang with a guitar, Jake his name was. Together we decided to use out talents to make money. We busked on street corners, sang under the underpass. Where ever we found some unoccupied space, we performed. I don't know if it was good luck, or my magical voice, but we made a fair amount of money. Enough to feed our group of seven, and even buy some blankets.
"One day Kyle stumbled across our little group, and he started bringing us food too. He would stop by about once a week, listen to me sing and then hand out a load of packed lunches. It wasn't much, usually peanut butter sandwiches, an apple, and a bag of crisps, but it made all the difference for the younger kids. He told me about the other girl her visited, and how he'd found a warehouse we might be able to stop in. Me, Kyle and Jessie went to check it out, and that's when we met Georgina and Jai. They were already living in the warehouse and invited us to stay. Even though I was happy with Jake's gang, something about the warehouse drew me to it. It felt like home. So, knowing Jake would be okay looking after everyone else, I accepted their offer and I've been here ever since."