Jennifer Wilber is an author and freelance writer from Ohio. She holds a B.A. in creative writing and English.
The Selkie Wife - Chapter 7
That night, Conall was awoken by the sound of the shanty's wooden door closing. He turned to Moira, but there was only an empty space in the bed where Moira should have been asleep. Conall looked around the room. The children were still asleep in their beds, but Moira was nowhere to be seen. Conall slammed the door open and ran out into the night.
Conall could see the silhouette of a woman some ways ahead of him running toward the sea. She was illuminated in the light of the full moon and Conall could see the glimmer of her red hair. Conall noticed the seal pelt wrapped around her shoulders. What could Moira be doing? Conall thought to himself. This wasn't like her at all. What could she possibly be doing out here in the darkness by herself?
Conall continued to follow Moira to the sea's edge. He watched in disbelief as she walked into the water. Conall screamed at her to stop whatever it was that she was doing. Moira looked back at him, her eyes a mixture of regret and determination, but she continued to walk further out into the sea. The moonlight shone down on the water where Moira disappeared under a wave just as Conall reached the shore. Without thinking, Conall jumped in after her, but was soon over taken by a wave.
Just as Conall became submerged, he felt something pulling at his arm. Though it was dark, he could see through the water that a seal was tugging at his sleeve. Without giving his actions a second thought, he put his arms around the seal's neck and it pulled him to the shore.
Conall looked into the seal's green eyes before it disappeared back into the water. They seemed to convey a sense of regret and guilt. Conall understood that he had to let the seal go, though he didn't understand why. In that same instant, he realized that Moira was gone, and he had to accept that. Moira wasn't his Mairenn, and she belonged to the sea from whence she came. Conall did not know what this meant, but he knew it was the truth. He got himself up from out of the sand and began to walk home. He had to return before the children awoke and wondered where he and their mother had gone.
Over the next months and years, the children developed a fascination with the sea. Conall was hesitant to let them anywhere near the water, but he knew that he had to let them go and trust that nothing would happen to them. Somewhere out there, Conall had a vague sense that their mother would still look out for them. Conall often caught the children playing in the water with the seals. His first instinct was to demand that they return to shore, least he lose them to the sea as well. Though they were all he had in the world now, he had to trust them to take care of themselves.
Conall remembered the day that Moira had disappeared. The seal had rescued him when he jumped into the water. Conall's worry was eased in knowing that the seal would protect the children the same way that it had protected him if they should ever find themselves in trouble. Though the sea had brought him tremendous pain over the years, he had to trust that it had a reason for everything.
If You Missed the Beginning
- 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