I flip my slippery speckled tail in strong motions, propelling me in circles around the sea net. A barnacle covered fishing boat floats above, where land walkers pull the entwined rope.
“Harder!” says one, in a demanding voice, pulling more himself. The rest of the men pull up strongly with their white arms, attempting to bring in my feed.
“I’m trying!” the smallest one says, who appears to be the offspring of the leader. I want to call out at them, let them know they’re stealing my fish, but I respond with no sound. I yanked on the rope trapping my meal, but the men pulled harder than my gnashing jaw, still in an attempt to free my food. I soon give up, for I am about to crash up through the surface, revealing my deep brown eyes, identifying me as no other than a Selkie.
Selkies aren’t born, they are the result of a spell. Long ago, a sea king ruled over with kindness. He had several children with his wife, the Queen, Athdara of Atlanta. They lived together for several years, giving birth to twelve blessed children. Athdara passed away, and another queen was chosen. Ursilla, a beautiful sea maiden which was soon to be Identified as a wretched Sea Witch. She was overcome by envious feelings for the children, she wanted it to be as if Queen Athdara, the Sea King’s past wife, never existed.
An enchantment was cast among the several mer-folk children, and as a result, they became Selkies. Obvious contrast between the mer-people and Selkies. Mer-people have their scaly fish tails, deep greens and sometimes combinations, like perhaps scales like a rainbow trout. Selkies, well, half land walker and half seal, although a slightly bigger seal. Often grey and leathery, with the fore and the hind flippers, along with the tail. Long whiskers, a flat nose, and a cheer-filled bark of song produced from their vocal chords. Nechtan, the sea king, was my father. And since that terrible time, several different things have happened to my brothers and sisters.
My sister was found on the coast of Scotland, near where we live. She had gotten out to rub her sore legs, but was found by a man. The land walkers say that if you are lucky enough to find a Selkie, you’ll fall in love right away. That is what happened to my sister Oana. Her seal skin was taken by the cruel landform, and she was held captive, for her seal skin was hidden in a chest. Millions of high tides later, her eldest son, at the age of “5 years” found the skin, and his mother, longing for her life below the surface, left her land family. Oana has told me that her land children have grown years and years, and she visits them when she happens to notice them on the shore.
A brother of mine, the second eldest, Kin, was seen by a long haired land walker and he was shown several things above the surface, “villages and towns,” he tells me. “And bridges.” She begged him to stay, but he left anyway, even though she wanted to court him. He left with a glint in his soft brown eyes, and dove into the water never to be seen again by the woman.
And here I am, one of few of my siblings who has never transfigured into a human since my transformation from a maid of the sea to a Selkie. My father told me several things about the surface, it still makes me wonder what it would be like to walk, with feet. Or wear those odd leather foot covers.
Although It’s been several nights since Nechtan passed away.
The sky lightens its color and the yellow egg yolk rises in the sky. I continue my trek to Orkney after a breakfast of flounder. At a long part of an island called Westray, near a tall lighthouse, where I meet my Brother Kenneth.
Kenneth’s eyes are the same as all of ours, my siblings. His dark hair is cut nicely, and his smile is recognizable even through the salt-water waves of the shore. It is severely difficult to converse with land walkers in seal form. I bark, and he gives me that smile. I can see his wife and children behind him at the lighthouse. She says something to him about not coming back and he swears from the bottom of his heart that he won’t leave them. A curly red haired woman holds a small baby, and beside her is a young lass, and on the other side, another lad. Their dad leaves after giving open arms and “hugging” them, and they begin to wander.
The girl, by the name of Silke, picks up a small rock. She throws it to the boy, and they throw it back. After beginning to throw uncontrollably, the rock dents their wee fish boat.
“I’m telling mom!” the boy calls at Silke
“Don’t be a wee Siorc!” Alastair whines. My gaze is soon drawn to my brother, who has changed into seal form. He is the expected grey-skinned of all Selkies. He dives into the water, and we swim about for a while. I bark at him when he is tempted to mess around with a fishing boat.
“Alpina, have you happened to have spotted Badden in the sea?” he utters, in fluent Selkie-Speech.
“No,” I chitter, recalling that he’s been missing for several moons.
A while passes and he brings something else up. “Have you become human yet?”
“Landwalkers. ‘Human’ is the word for landwalkers.” I nod, attempting to remember the term he uses often.
“Not that either.” We waited a while, just swimming around his home island. Hunger eats at my stomach, and we soon stop to hunt flounder. The delicious flounder would power my trek home.
“Mar sin leat!” he calls from the shore, after dressing behind a large rock partially submerged under water. I bark at him, jumping up from the water and waving a flipper as I swim away from his home on an Island of Orkney. I wonder what it would be like, if my father was still alive, and my siblings hadn’t all dispersed their ways, if the sea witch hadn’t cursed our family.
If I were to shed my sealskin and become a Landwalker, I’d expect myself to look similar to my sister Isla, pale freckled skin and dark brown hair the exact color of the rocks on the beaches surrounding Orkney. And so far, all of the siblings of mine to have walked the surface have kept their dark brown eyes.
I talked with Pamela last full moon, and she says that the surface is beautiful and filled with wonderful people, but you need to keep walls up to ensure that you can return to the ocean safely. She says if I were to remove my sealskin before the next moon in which I’d talk with her, I would need to make sure that my sealskin was expertly hidden. Pamela also told me to adorn washed up beach cloth if there is not an extra pair of Landwalker clothes hidden under the rocks by one of my siblings. But, of all things, she warned me to not be seen without cloth over my torso area, and to always have identifying background material planned if a Landwalker was to ask.
I continue to shimmy my tail, launching myself forward. I want to make it at least halfway to my abode by sunset.