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The Selkie Wife: A Short Story Inspired by Celtic Folklore - Chapter 1

Jennifer Wilber is an author and freelance writer from Ohio. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.


The Selkie Wife - Chapter 1

The storm was getting worse. The waves crashed down against the boat more violently every second. Conall wasn't sure if he would make it back to dry land in one piece. The gentle glow of the lighthouse was barely visible in the distance.

The weather had been beautiful just hours before. The sun shone as brightly as ever and the sea was calm. It seemed like the perfect day to take his wife, Mairenn, out on the sea. He was usually hesitant to take her with him when he went out fishing. The sea can be a dangerous place and she was all he had in this world. Today, however, the weather seemed perfect. No one could have foreseen such a perilous storm forming so rapidly.

"Hold on, my love," Conall shouted to his wife over the sound of the waves tearing the boat apart. "It's just a little farther to the shore."

"I'm scared!" Mairenn cried out, holding on to Conall's arm and trying desperately not to fall out of the boat to be swept away by the currents.

"I know," replied Conall, trying to comfort his wife. "It will be alright. Just sit down before you fall overboard. I don't want to lose you." Mairenn obeyed, still holding onto her husband's arm. Conall looked down at his wife. Her long red hair was drenched and plastered against the slender frame of her body. As he looked into her green eyes, so full of fear, he knew that he had to get her to safety, somehow.

The storm only got worse. A bolt of lightning hit near the lighthouse, followed by an earsplitting roll of thunder that almost seemed to announce their impending deaths. It was as if the sea gods were telling him to give up the fight, for he would surely lose. As a boy, Conall had already lost his father to the fury of the sea, and he knew he could not give up now. He couldn't lose Mairenn too. This was one battle that he was determined to win.

An enormous wave crashed down against the boat, knocking Conall off his feet. The sound of the crashing waves was so loud that he could barely hear Mairenn's screams. Conall jumped to his feet to help Mairenn, but to his dismay, she wasn't in the boat. He looked out into the dark water that surrounded the dingy on every side, but he couldn't see through the darkness and the waves.

"Mairenn, where are you?" Conall called out over the crashing of the waves.

"Help me!" he heard his wife's voice some distance away. The sound was muffled by the waves.

"Hold on," Conall cried. "I am coming." He rowed the boat in the direction of Mairenn's voice against the force of the sea that was determined to keep him from rescuing his love. After what seemed like an eternity of fighting the waves and wind, he finally saw a glimpse of her red hair in the water. Once the boat was within an arm's length from her, Conall reached out and began to pull his wife back onto the boat. She was barely conscious.

"It will be alright now," Conall whispered to Mairenn. "Don't worry. We will be on dry land in no time."


As he pulled her into the boat, another wave crashed down, assaulting Mairenn's small, drenched body. But still, Conall did not let go. He could not afford to let go of her. She was all he had. He looked down on her face as he continued to hold her in his arms, attempting to shield her from the sea. Her eyes opened a little bit, but closed just as quickly. Her lips looked as if she was trying to tell her husband something, but she didn't have the strength to make a sound.

As if there was some force in the sea determined to take her away from him, another wave, even more forceful than the last, hit the boat. This time, Conall wasn't strong enough to fight it. Against his will, Conall let go and Mairenn was pulled further into the sea. Conall had no choice but to watch as his wife disappeared into the violent waters. He continued to watch the waters where Mairenn had disappeared. Surely this was some kind of nightmare. He stood there on the boat, unmoving, despite the wind and the waves, frozen in shock and disbelief.

Another wave hit the boat, and Conall lost consciousness.

Read Chapter 2

  • The Selkie Wife: Chapter 2
    Conall, an Irish fisherman, finds himself washed up on shore after his boat was capsized in a storm, but his wife is nowhere to be found.

© 2018 Jennifer Wilber

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