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The Selkie’s Skin

A Misplaced Object Tale

By Stephanie HoogstadPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - February 2024
39
The Selkie’s Skin
Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash

I can hear her searching for me downstairs. Utensils and jewelry clang against the floor as she tosses them out of every drawer imaginable. The drawers themselves land with a thud against the hardwood floor as she throws them out of their slots, desperate to find my hiding place. I can imagine her flinging her husband’s clothes through the air as she ravages his closet, hoping to find some secret compartment concealed within.

I sing out for her, as desperate to be reunited as she is. Can she hear me? The legends always said that we had an inseparable bond, but it had yet to be tested with us—until he tore us apart.

If only I could I actually speak, then I would scream to her that I am in the attic, snugly tucked into a chest behind her wedding dress. The chest has begun to gather dust, both inside and out, and I would do anything to see the light of day again…to feel the coolness of the ocean running over me once more…

Oh no, he has returned with the pups. Of course, he has started to yell at her for the mess.

If he would only tell her where I am, she argues, then she would not have to go to these lengths.

Why could she not just be normal?—his response.

Because she was never normal, Jamie. You knew that when you took me from her, but you did it anyway, just so that you could have her all to yourself.

Has it been worth it, Jamie?

*

There they are again, the little footsteps. The youngest pup must be coming up here to play with me again. I don’t know how long it has been since she first found me or since her mother gave up searching for me, but I have not stopped sending out my signal in the hopes that my true owner will find me.

The youngest pup has decided to use me as a cape today. This is not the way to treat a second skin. If only she would grow her own, then she would know the sanctity of one such as I. Alas, due to her father, I don’t think that she ever will. Perhaps, one day, she will look at me with the reverence that I deserve.

What are those pounding footsteps that I hear? They sound so familiar, and yet they can’t—

Yes, it is her!

She rips me from her youngest pup’s shoulders, wide-eyed and teary. She runs a hand over me, and I sing out so loudly that I glow in her presence.

Without an explanation to her pup, she clings me tightly to her breast and runs from the house. We run and run and run until we reach the nearest shoreline. She sheds the fake skin that the humans call clothes and dawns me without hesitation. Before her transformation is complete—before the distant calls of Jamie and her pups can reach us—we jump into the ocean, together once more.

FantasyMicrofiction
39

About the Creator

Stephanie Hoogstad

With a BA in English and MSc in Creative Writing, writing is my life. I have edited and ghost written for years with some published stories and poems of my own.

Learn more about me: thewritersscrapbin.com

Support my writing: Patreon

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (21)

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  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳

  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    So glad I finally got to this one! Wonderful storytelling, no notes ❤️❤️

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    No idea what a selkie is, googling...ok mythology, interesting. learned something new, thanks. Now I get the story, well done, Congrts.

  • Thavien Yliaster3 months ago

    This is a great read and I like how You added in how the skin would call her children "pups." The stories would make me sad, cause often times the women selkies often had their own marriages and children going on before their skin was captured and taken away. Yet, even though they had children with the humans it seemed that none of the selkies would ever return, which I sort of thought as selfish, as a parent is supposed to do everything for their children. If there's not enough food, the parent goes hungry for the time being. Not enough money for clothes? The parent would make sure to get donations cause nobody's wearing designer. So, in a sense the selkie stories always made me think that the selkie parent was also selfish, just like the human parent when it came to their kids. I would expect a selkie parent to go to the see and find stuff like fish, clams, squid/octopi, and seaweed (which played a pivotal role during the potato famine) to help feed their pups, especially if their pups couldn't return to the water as of yet. I've commented this before on Mike's poem about falling in love with a selkie, but I'm also reminded of a story that was read to me long ago as a child in school. A woman married a selkie man, holding his skin, but he always returned to the sea, but not with his skin. He worked on fishing vessels. One night a bad storm hits and the boat is about to sink when it's near shore. They need strong men to go help rescue the others. The woman had a baby with the selkie man, but the man is without his skin. They tell her that her son needs to go, but her son has never been swimming before in the ocean because she knows once he steps foot in the ocean his selkie skin will turn him into a seal and she's afraid that she'll never see her son again. Eventually, her son jumps into the water, and all of the men on the ship are rescued, each one is safely brought to shore, but her son is no longer seen again, and she is heart broken. I get that in troubled families there are people that have been treated poorly all the way around, so they distance themselves and never talk to their family again. I'm blessed to come from a loving family, so the idea of never returning home to visit my family ever again would hurt me cause it would break their hearts. I don't think I could ever be so cruel. I could move to different parts of the world, but never contact them again is a different ball game, especially since we all have a really good connection with one another. I do know that the stories of selkies are also a sort of symbol for arranged marriages. Due to the fact that the women still had a life before they ever met their husbands, and that they would still have a life with their husbands and after him too. I know that this story really goes the forced route, but I do wonder if she'll ever return and if the kids naturally have their own skins too being that they're natural offspring of a selkie (they might need to fatten up a little though to develop enough thickness to repel the cold). It makes me wonder if Jamie ever told the pups about them being selkies or if he scared them about ever swimming in salt water. Yeesh, let's hope that the church doesn't find out cause then those kids might be persecuted, and unjustly so. Also, glad You were able to get the title changed from kelpie to selkie. Though, in kegends though kelpies have also been able to change form into humans, especially beautiful women, to lure in others. Your story remind me of one I wrote for a challenge about lovers hiding secrets from each other a while back, well, that and a few microfictions too.

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    Nice one, Stephanie. And congrats, we’ll-deserved!

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    This is fantastic. I hope her pups find her and themselves.

  • Kendall Defoe 3 months ago

    Great Top Story...good to see them...seal the deal. ;)

  • Bekah Jimenez3 months ago

    This one is awesome!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • She is normal..., normal for a kelpie. But oh, the lengths some men will go to possess that which is not theirs to possess.

  • JBaz3 months ago

    Witty and unique. Love the word play and desperate search Congratulations

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    Love the creativity in this, so beautifully written and different 🤍

  • D.K. Shepard3 months ago

    You brought the selkie mythology to life in this! What a fantastic concept! Well done!

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    That was so clever and original. Really, really well done. Congrats on the TS.

  • Shirley Belk3 months ago

    I was very intrigued by your story!

  • Daphsam3 months ago

    Very clever interpretation of this challenge!!

  • Caroline Jane3 months ago

    What a fabulously unique take.on the challenge! So creative! Love it. ❤️

  • Oooo, this was such an unique take for the Misplaced challenge! I have a question though. Did you actually mean Selkie instead of Kelpie? Because Selkies can transform into humans by removing their skin.

  • Jūlija @beeofjuly3 months ago

    Ooh, I love this take on the kelpie tales.

  • Test3 months ago

    Outstanding!

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