art by Melissa Mead
When the Selkie Comes
by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
***Editor's Note: Cursing (& A disturbing tale for adults)***
My name is not Elisabeth. My eyes are not full of tears. My life has not just changed forever. My best friend is not dead.
Mum screeches my full name like a fishwife, carrying over the howling winds of the bay, and the magic is broken. Every evening I sit looking over the sharp rocks and grey water of Limeslade Bay, hoping I might see Sophie. Hoping that somehow saying the words could undo everything that happened. The sky turns a deep slate blue as night falls and I can hear Mum getting frantic. I don't want her coming out to the cliff to find me. I'll try again tomorrow. I have to keep trying.
It was Sophie who taught me about magic. We were walking along the coastal path when she pointed. "Do you see her?"
I glanced up the path. "Who?"
"Oh, Beth." Sophie sighed as she put her hands on my cheeks and turned my face until I was looking out to sea. A dark round head bobbed in the grey water, huge brown eyes watching us.
We spoke in the same moment. "Seal," I said and "Selkie," said Sophie and her warm breath touched my face.