• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 06

Damsels or Sirens?

Tazmin grabbed her colour pencils and got to work before the dream dissipated, or worse: spilled back into the vast, unexplored sea of her mind. Were there clues in these images that could help her decide which project to accept? Steampunk, or an over-the-top drama supposedly set in the nineteenth century? A mere costume designer wasn’t invited to give her opinion on the script, she thought, as she sketched out gowns before they melted. She couldn’t concentrate on just one gown, or the rest would sink back in the slippery bed of grass-like reefs.

Luckily, a clear patch had yawned in her mind, and had survived the opening of her eyelids long enough to be caught on the waxwings of her imagination. As most of the dresses turned into dandelion flowers, blowing away in the heat of the morning sun, she ran after them, but ended up clutching at petals which rearranged themselves into skeletons of daisies, asters, or starfish.

Keeping half an eye on dresses hovering on the edge of her imagination, regretfully she watched some blow away. Looking at her fingers drawing it, she wondered why a giant jelly fish sans filaments had shown up in her dream. Unless the Grey Witch Siren, their Clan Leader in the steampunk tale actually wore a translucent gown, since she stayed in her coral palace, and didn’t have to contend with unruly waves. Tazmin wished she could sweep away all clouds enveloping her rêve. It was a lot easier to come up with new ideas via dreams than to discard dozens of sketches any given day, while trying to come up with original patterns.

As she tried to stitch disparate parchments of her dream together, their seams kept yawning apart. Feeling hemmed in by her agent’s insistence on her accepting the period drama, and her own preference for fantastical sirens, her lids closed as a deep sigh bubbled out from her pale lips.


Damsels or Sirens?

Thrashing up from the depths, she stumbled out of her chair, gasping for breath, clutching at her stolid table for sanity. Relieved to see the mundane velvety wallpaper of her greenly tinted living room, she scrabbled to get all her crayons (to complement her unsharpened colour pencils). Grabbing the biggest sheet of paper around, she began pinning down those translucent shimmering gowns espied at the sirens’ ball.

So what if Tamzin’s agent dropped her now? She simply had to take the steampunk project. Should the young siren princess wear a cream-coloured gown to her debut ball? Would it be made of a translucent, pliable shell with a nacreous sheen? If so, would the Queen’s gown have to be the most iridescent to stand out from the rest?

Should she be spending so much time on a project before signing the contract, her growling stomach asked a few hours later. She wasn’t wasting time, Tazmin assured herself, just making mock-ups. Or practicing at the very least, as she hesitated between using peach or powdery lavender for the translucent skirts.