The sistrini (/sɪsˈtrini/) is a delicate stranger with white skin and thin blue stripes that spiral around its body from its nose to the tip of its tail. The exact shade of the sistrini's blue stripes varies regionally, with cyan, navy, blue-grey, and aquamarine being the most common shades.
The sistrini is an aquatic stranger, and thus lacks legs, instead, possessing only blue-colored tendrils, which it keeps close to its side as it swims forward. It is capable of growing and receding these appendages from its body as needed, with older individuals possessing more tendrils. The sistrini's flesh is light-colored, and much softer than human flesh, offering little resistance to being cut or torn. Its jaws contain row after row of jagged, uneven teeth, although the sistrini rarely opens its mouth wide enough to show them. Its mouth does not connect to its internal body cavity, which is filled with a bright blue liquid composed of hydrogen cyanide (80%), chlorine (15%), and sulfur mustard (5%). Most wounds tend to prove fatal to the sistrini, with the flesh softening and growing ragged around the point of injury, caustic liquid seeping out into the water around it.
The sistrini appears in secluded underwater locations. It is mostly found in enclosed pockets of water deep underground, but also appears in man-made structures such as large pipes, reservoirs, and underwater cooling tanks. It appears to slightly prefer mid-sized, spheroid chambers over thin pipes and cavernous, irregular spaces, and never appears in any space occupied by fish, plants, or other life forms.
When it first appears, the sistrini is small, lacks markings, and swims in weak loops. During this stage, its body cavity is filled with a clear, lymph-like fluid, and its eye markings are pale and closed. As it grows larger, its teeth grow in, first as small translucent nubs, then into yellow, opaque fangs. Its inner walls begin to exude the sistrini's characteristic poison, filling its body cavity, and the sistrini's markings fade in during this time, as well. Exact duration of development varies regionally; it can take anywhere from six days to several decades for the sistrini to reach maturity. The sistrini's tendrils are the last feature to form, and its eye markings open shortly afterward. Only 64% of sistrini develop fully, however, and undeveloped sistrini simply dissolve away into chalky water once their development stops.
The sistrini's demeanor is graceful and mesmeric, and it spends its life swimming in circles with twining, hypnotic motions. Although its weak body makes it vulnerable to snags or tears, it always swims in such a way so as to avoid contact with any solid surface. Groups of sistrini swim in loops around one another with coordinated, ribboning motions. The sistrini generally stays within one specific chamber within its environment, but has been known to travel throughout its territory in consistent paths when no single large chamber exists.
As the sistrini swims, it sings haunting, wordless songs, which echo upwards from its underwater lair. The sistrini is exclusively female-voiced, and although its pitch varies between individuals, all sistrini possess a voice that rivals even the most trained of opera singers. Its melodies, when slow, are never sluggish, and when fast, are never frantic, but instead, remain perpetually ever-changing, with no discordance or disruption. Groups of sistrini harmonize in more complex arrangements, enamoring all those who hear their songs.
The sistrini's melodies carry across such boundless expanses so as to be audible to sensitives above, with water acting as a carrier. Many sensitives become enraptured by these melodies, only to grow maddened at the impossibility they face in amplifying or clarifying the sistrini's distant but omnipresent voice. Those who attempt to follow the source of these songs face equal disappointment, as the sistrini's secluded, underwater home makes it all but impossible to reach.
"When you stand in your bathroom, you hear a sound that emanates from the pipes, and it's hard to hear, and tinny, too, like some old opera broadcast from a radio that no one's played for years. And yes you love it but it's so, so quiet.
You kneel on the floor. Press your ear against the metal. The pipe's hot, and you know you should care, but, the song is louder now, so you don't. It's a singer you don't recognize. A tune you haven't heard, but, enchanted, there you kneel as long as it takes. You forget about the bath and only remember when you hear the micro-waterfall overflowing from the tub and feel it hot and soaked into the bathmat. Well. You stand up. You do your best to mop it up. And you're back to normal, for a spell.
You leave without time to enjoy that bath after all. You ride the bus to work. You shamble through the day, and find any idle moment you can snatch just to lean back and hold your finger against your tragus, so that you can seal out all the sounds around you and think about those tunes that still swim inside your head. But now, it seems all mis-remembered, and when you play those memories, they're warbling and discordant, and you know your own thoughts will never do the sweet sounds justice.
You try to hum the tune to a friend, perhaps she'll recognize it, but she doesn't, and you realize that it wasn't coming out right, anyway, and you're so ashamed to even think that your own throat could match that angel's hymn.
When you're home again, you flick the bathroom lights on. You swear there's a thin burst of cyan just around the edges of your vision and as you kneel again, your eardrums seem to tremble inside your skull like frightened mice. You close your eyes. It's there again. That melody washes over you, envelopes you like warm amniotic fluid. And oh, and oh, you love it so, you never want to leave again. And so you return the next morning, and the next, and the next morning after that, and the wettest thing is your eyes when you notice the pipes make no longer a sound." Scotchi, R. Untitled IX, 155
All sensitives develop a natural resistance to the sistrini's melodies, which grow weaker to them each day, leaving them only with flat and silent memories.
A victimized sistrini screams with pained abandon, and its desperate struggles echo through the pipes above. Those sensitives who hear these cries for help can do little but clutch their heads as these screeching tones fill their ears, more deafening than an air horn. It is only when the sistrini far below falls silent that they can find relief.
As the sistrini ages, its body grows weaker, its songs grow quieter, and its tendrils no longer curl and twine around it, but instead hang limply by its side. In this way, it dies a slow, prolonged death over hundreds of years, and when it does finally pass on, it does so with a placid carol, one final swan song heard to all sensitives above. Upon its death, the caustic chemicals in its body grow instantly inert, as its flesh breaks apart, first to white, silky sheets, and then, into milky fluid that dissolves into the water all around it.
"Have men reached their lairs? Have they donned scuba tanks and wetsuits, squeezed their way through pipes and tanks, to see with their own eyes these wet-world opera-singers? Yes – and do the Real Visages of these singers match the beauties all these dreamers see in-mind? Perhaps no fang-mouthed beast competes with mermaids or fair maidens, but to say that all these deep-divers come en-mired in all aching disappointment – well that's no truth at all.They stay and swim and watch and listen, and when their oxygen runs low, and when they think of turning back, they look once more; those spiral-eyes swirl, and tendrils undulate around them just like seaweeds, so they stay, they stay, they drown, and stay forever." source unknown