Hello my lovelies, since I wrote about the importance of fairy tales earlier this week, I figured I’d post what I have so far of a Selkie fairy tale that I’m writing. It’s rough and no where near completion, but I love the images in it anyway. I hope you like it!
Salt was everywhere; it swirled up from the deep, grey water beneath the boat and clung heavy to the mist that swayed to the hypnotic rhythm of the choppy sea. Coarse and pungent, it ate away at the aging metal that barely kept the craft afloat and roughened the skin and the hearts of the men who busied themselves around the deck. Abril Ansley had never seen so much salt and endless grey in her entire life. The ocean that stretched between the Orkney Islands and the long-awaited Ireland was a vast canvas of swirling grey and white, matching her melancholy perfectly. She sat quiet and ignored on the back deck of the small fishing vessel whose captain had reluctantly allowed her to travel with them, provided she stay out of the crew’s way and not cause any trouble amongst the men. Little to fear there.
The men aboard the Fey Daughter were good natured enough, friendly even after seeing that she would cause no trouble, but Abril was not in the mood to be surrounded by a group of gossipy, superstitious old men. She kept to herself, preferring to sit alone in her little spot, staring at the horizon and occasionally drifting a hand in the frozen water. The crew thought her odd, touched by the faeries, or so she had overheard once or twice, but she never corrected them. It hurt too much to think of explaining the truth; besides, they would laugh at her if they thought she was moping after some boy back in Orkney. He was just a boy, she reminded herself, a boy who lied. The truth, however sugar-coated, was still a bitter draft to swallow.
Icy wind whipped long strands of salt-encrusted hair into Abril’s damp face, smudging the tears she didn’t know had fallen down her stinging cheeks. Wiping a pale hand over her dark eyes, she cleared her throat and sat up straighter; there was no use looking back, not when Ireland loomed so close in her future. Beautiful, sacred Ireland, the home of her mother’s people; she was coming home to a place she had only ever dreamt of.
“Beggin’ your pardon Miss Abril, but we’ll be putting into port today; sometime round five I’d say, yeh might want to be gettin’ your things together.”
“Thank you Captain.”
Abril smiled up at the weather-beaten face of a rather handsome, albeit graying, man in his late forties. Gruff and tired, Captain Liam O’Conner loomed over her, tall, dark and solid; a man forged from the rigors of living a life on the sea. He had little time to waste worrying over a small thing of a lass, but something in her weary frame touched his heart. Perhaps it was her eyes, so open and brave, with the smoke of pain shifting beneath the surface. Someone had used her ill, he’d bet his cap on it but he would never ask; she didn’t seem like the talkative type and he wasn’t one to pry into business not his own.
He stood silent for a moment, expecting her to up and go below to pack what little she had brought but when she didn’t he sighed and bent down to cup her tender face with one large callused hand. “Buck-up chick, there’s no better place for healin’ that the soil of Erin, she’ll put yeh back to rights before yeh know it.”
Abril smiled wide and beautiful, easing into the mask of happiness that comforted those who were unnerved by her somber reserve. “I’m sure it will, thank you. I’ll go and pack now if you please.”
Liam stepped back to let the girl pass, not fooled by her beguiling smile for a moment but content to let her alone, “There’s a lass. Another two hours and we’ll be home.”
“Is your stuff ready for port? We’ll be docking within the next twenty minutes or so, depending on the tide.”
Abril nodded, shivering despite the added warmth of the extra sweater she’d thrown on before leaving her cabin for the last time. “Packed and ready.”
They stood in silence for a minute or two, each breathing in the tangy ocean air before Abril continued, “I think a week at sea is exactly what I needed. I wanted to thank you again Captain…for taking me along. I appreciate it more than you know…”
Liam shuffled, uncomfortable with the polite thanks, “Aye, that’s enough of that talk lass. For all that you’re a quiet thing, you’ve been good company for a group of salty old men. We’ll not be forgettin’ yeh. Now if this damnable fog would just life you’d be able to see the shore, but as that’s unlikely now I’d advise yeh goin’ and sitting in your spot and keepin’ a close eye on the water. The seals should be about here somewhere.”
A real smile lighted across Abril face like the sun glimmering upon the morning water, “Seals? Really?!”
“Aye, seals are protected in Ireland, sacred some calls ‘em but the little lechers are always tearing up my nets! But they’re always here and about this time of the year so you’re sure to see one sooner or later. Steady there Ronald! What are you two doing…?”
With the Captain’s attention occupied elsewhere Abril drifted down to the lower deck and peered over the edge of the boat expectantly. The water was close enough that she could easily dunk her arm under the surface up to her elbow, but there was no sign of any of the Captain’s seals. She sighed; I wish I could see one, just one. An idea suddenly gripped her as her mother’s favorite phrase echoed in the recesses of her mind: `you cannot receive without first giving’! Abril ripped the thin silver chain that lay warm around her neck and held it up to inspect. The single pink pearl that Jack had given her months before dangled precariously in the middle of the silver ropes. What could it hurt to try, she was Irish after all, maybe they would hear her? Spirits of the water please, I wish to see a seal. Take this gift as my payment to you, pressing the pearl to her lips one last time Abril flung the necklace as far away from the boat as she could manage. A small splashy plop was her only satisfaction, it landed somewhere out in the swirling mist; the bitter part of her mind wanted to watch it sink down into the inky blackness.
With a renewed fervor, Abril leaned again over the ledge; the wet wood bit into her soft hands, leaving behind tiny flecks of green wood buried into her palms. Minutes passed but still there was nothing but the continuous rippling of waves lapping against the hull; “Damn it.” Defeated, Abril plunked her head down on the warped wood and wrapped her arms out in front of her with her fingers splaying atop the water. Planting her legs firmly on the deck she moved to lie on her stomach across the ledge.