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The Selkie Wife: A Short Story Inspired by Celtic Folklore - Chapter 3

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

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The Selkie Wife - Chapter 3

It had been a year since Mairenn had disappeared. One cold evening, Conall stumbled to the sea's edge with a bottle in his hand. He had never been much of a drinker before Mairenn had been taken from him, but it was all he had to cope. He hadn't been out on his boat since that terrible day, instead opting to spend his days in a drunken haze at the local tavern, but he did visit the sea's edge almost every night before returning to his lonely shanty.

Conall turned toward the sea and stared as the water line receded. Unlike the tide, his pain did not ebb. Though it had been a year already, even the whiskey could not dull his pain. As his eyes looked out past the sea, his sadness turned to anger and Conall threw the bottle at the water in a fit of rage. "How could you do this to me?" Conall yelled at the sea.

He continued to stagger down the shoreline until he came upon that boulder that he had visited for the first time a year ago. He came here often to sit alone with his grief. A seal was resting next to the boulder, as though it had been waiting for him. Over the past year, the seals by the shore had been Conall’s only companion, aside from the regulars at the tavern. He never got too close to the people he met at the tavern, preferring instead to keep to himself while he drowned his sorrows in a bottle of whiskey each afternoon and night. It was all he could do to sooth the pain of his grief.

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Conall sat down on the boulder near the seal and stared out over the sea. Soon after Conall arrived, the seal scurried off into the sea. Conall watched the spot where the seal disappeared into the water, then turned his attention toward the horizon, looking at nothing in particular. By now, Conall had completely given up on his hope that Mairenn was still alive and would one day return to him. No one could survive the sea this long.

The whiskey was beginning to take its full effect and Conall began to feel disoriented and drowsy. He fell into the sand and began to lose consciousness as the waves gently caressed his now weakened body. Just as he was drifting out of consciousness completely, Conall felt himself being pulled out to sea by the soothing waves, but he didn't care. There was nothing left for him on land anyway. His last moments would be spent in the sea, and he would soon be reunited with Mairenn.

Conall was vaguely aware of a seal swimming toward him as he was being swept out to sea in the current. Perhaps it was a spirit of the sea come to take him to where he belonged and deliver him to his long-lost love. A wave bore down on him as he lost his last remaining hold on consciousness.

Find Out What Happens Next in Chapter 4

  • The Selkie Wife: Chapter 4
    After losing consciousness, Conall awakens back in his own home. He isn't alone, however. It appears he was rescued from drowning by a mysterious stranger who reminds him of his wife who was lost at sea a year ago.

If you missed the first two chapters

  • The Selkie Wife: Chapter 1
    Tragedy strikes when an Irish fisherman and his wife run into a bit of bad weather on the sea in the first chapter of this short story based on Celtic folklore.

© 2018 Jennifer Wilber

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