Cape of Storms and of Good Hope
The wind had been howling outside and a young lady of no more than nineteen was tossing and turning in her bed. Her brown amber hued hair clinging to her damp skin. The salty winter crisp air wafted through her slightly ajar window. It did not snow often in South Africa, but Cape Town did get snow sometimes; nothing that lasted very long though. It just so happens that snow fell that very night and it just so happens that False Bay was starting to freeze over.
The girl tossed again goosebumps running up and down her body, trying to wake her from her deep sleep.
‘You have to warn them…’ A voice echoed through her dreams to her fully alert subconscious mind.
‘They mustn’t die tonight!’ The voice became more defined and clearer; so clear it was as if the person was standing over her in reality.
Images flashed before her eyes of two girls, young ladies near her own age. Black hair and blue eyes… With tails that reminded her of the tuna her father fished as a living to support her, his only family left.
The images showed them sleeping near the eastern coast of False Bay, very close to her home in Simon’s Town… Boulder Beach was unmistakably recognizable!
‘You have to save them! Show them the way to the depths of the sea. Open the way for the Lorelei to live once again!’ The voice pleaded and more images flashed through her mind, images of a people hunted and killed for their riches, for their blood in ancient witchcraft spells for beauty and eternal youth.
‘Show the Lorelei how to trust once again…’ The voice became ghostly and started to blend with the wind.
The brown head girl shot up breathing heavenly! She could feel hate like she did not know she could ever feel for anything or one. She had felt pain that she could not place the source for it and she had felt the sting of betrayal that she had never known before!
“Pa!” The girl shouted as she sprinted out of bed and tripped over a heap of clothes that fell from the chair during the night.
“Really should start putting my clothes in the closet!” She sat up and eased the thumping pain in her arm from the fall.
“Pappa!” She called again as she grabbed a T and bermuda-flower patterned swimming shorts from the pile and got dressed.
“Corla! What’s wrong!” Her father stormed her room pallet in hand loaded and ready to shoot whatever intruder there might have been.
“Ice!” Her dad looked at her like she was crazy.
“The sea is icing over! We need to get those girls out to safety!” Her dad seemed to understand, he had seen the two girl that swam each day over the last few months in the bay; he had heard them sing and play there out in the depths at night when mornings he went out long before the sun rose to get to work on catching his quota for the day. And Corla living with him and helping him when she was slipping school she had admired them and even tried to get close to them.
“I’ll start the boat!” He lowered the pallet gun and turned to leave.
Having finished dressing, it was clear she had no qells with the cold; looking like she was going swimming in some hot dessert pools. She looked once to her bedside table, a photo of a woman that was holding a baby girl and her dad smiling from ear-to-ear, so full of pride.
“Love you Mom!” She blew a kiss towards the photo and bounded up the stairs and onto the small deck.
“Mind untying the ropes?” Her dad called to her as he started the small fishing boat’s engine. Flinging herself over the boat railing and onto the jeti, she skillfully set out to undo the ropes that secured them to the docks.
The boat already drifting out she took a short running start and jumped to the boat, grabbing the railings and with the same momentum flung her over to safety.
“That’n girl! You’ve still got your mother’s grace!” Her father complemented her.
The ice was already forming thin layers over the ocean, the waves non-existing which was strangest still, the Cape never had this quiet of a sea.
“I have a terrible feeling about this…” Her dad noted and Corla switched on the extra spot lights.
“Pappa?” Corla voice sounded small and afraid, her eyes never leaving the water that was rapidly freezing over, Cape Town never had this kind of still waters!
“I don’t want to leave…” Her father heard her say. With a calm that only he could have during troubled waters, he spun the wheel and his boat made a sharp left turn.
“Oh my little Selkie Princess! You’ll always have a home to return to here!” Her father tender voice filled her heart.
“But if I… If I turn I won’t ever be able to run through the town’s streets or have you take me to see the Maroela trees…”
“Perhaps not, but you’ll be happy still and I can still see you. I am a man of the sea after all. There is nowhere I can’t go with this boat!” He said proudly, but it was clear he was holding back.
“I won’t ever be able to visit her grave… I don’t want you to lose me too and I don’t want to lose you, Pappa!” She whipped her head aroid to see her father’s own eyes fill with tears.
“I did not lose your mother to death, I lost her when I begged her to stay. She as you are firstly creatures of the sea, I can’t let you live half a life! Go safe them I’ll meet you out at sea.” He held his daughter’s eyes firmly in his as he watched her cry. He wished to hold her tell her there was no need, but he knew doing so would just make it harder for her to embrace her true self.
“Go grab your coat.” He gave a weak smile.
With heavy feat she stepped down the stairs and headed to her room. She pulled a chest from beneath her bed and with a gentle light and a whisper the chest unlocked revealing a silvery white coat. She squeezed it tight to her as she took one final glance of her mother wrapped in her own coat holding her as a baby.
“Sorry, I couldn’t stay forever, but I have to go save them!” Corla sniffed, her tears wetting her coat.
Light like fireflies danced around her once and then up the staires as if showing her the way.
“I love you Pappa!” Corla said once and stepped onto the railing her balance was like a cat’s. She flung her coat over her shoulders and leaned backwards…
“Goodbye…” she whispered on last time as she fell into the icy waters.
The light danced around her as her feat changed and became a tail and her body warmed; protected by a white fur seal coat she was at home is the frozen water.
“Show the way.” She told the light and it floated through the water towards where the girls she was asked to save was fast asleep unaware of the tainted magic freezing over the sea.