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The Seal Wife’s Revenge

by Elsa M 6 months ago in fiction
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The Selkie story your mother never told you

Content Warning: Domestic Violence, Physical Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Miscarriage, Mentions of Rape and Abuse, Gore, and Murder. With this in mind, proceed with caution.

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Caoimhe sat on the rocks overlooking the ocean like she did every day. Her dark, sad eyes stared mournfully out at the grey, churning waves and the rain darkened sky as the wind blew through her black curls. She had time before he came home, she thought to herself. But on a stormy day like today, who knew if the fishermen would stay out until sunset.

Caoimhe nervously fiddled with the gold ring on her left finger, praying to the old gods that maybe tonight he wouldn’t come back. But fortune never held her favor as long as she was on the land, and soon she saw the telltale red hull of her husband’s boat. Fear filled her and she hurried into the house to the kitchen. She fumbled with the matches, still unsure of how to use them without burning her fingers, and threw it into the oven among the newspapers and firewood. She hurried to fill a pot with some vegetables and a little water and put it on the stove before heavy footsteps came to the door.

It was about half an hour later when the telltale heavy steps of a fisherman’s boots came to the door and Caoimhe’s heartbeat quickened as she chopped parsley for the stew. The door to the little house swung open, slamming into the wall and Caoimhe flinched, gripping the knife. She heard footsteps come up behind her as she continued chopping and a wet net bag was dropped onto the table next to the parsley she was cutting, a few small cod spilling out of it.

“What’s o’ the stove?” The man’s gruff voice asked of the young woman.

“Potatoes, carrots… water trees.” Caoimhe struggled for the English word. The man slammed his fist on the table and her breath quickened.

“No such ‘ing as water trees, girl.” He placed a hand on her shoulder, gripping it tightly. “Now I’ll ask again. What’s o’ the stove?”

“…Celery.” She managed to squeak out, praying mentally that she’d gotten the word right. It appeared she had as the man let go of her shoulder and shuffled to a seat at the dinner table to sit down.

“Better ta put yer old ways out yer mind.” He said, striking a match to light his pipe. “You’re my wife now, a maid no longer.”

“Yes, Angus.” Caoimhe replied, resuming cutting the parsley. There was a cold moment of silence between the couple before Angus spoke again.

“Gut ’n fry some cod to go with that stew, woman.” He said before standing up from the table and going outside to smoke his pipe. Caoimhe was still for a moment before sighing and continuing her work.

A plate was thrown against the wall, shattering with with a crash as Caoimhe gripped her seat.

“How can ya mess up a simple cod, woman?! Ya left the bones in, daft wench! Yer supposed to take ’t out with the innards!” Angus screamed. Caoimhe squeezed her eyes shut but felt her face be forcefully grabbed by Angus’s strong hands.

“Look a’ me when I talk to you, wife!” He shouted. Caoimhe cautiously opened her dark eyes, tears threatening to spill from them. Angus threw her out of her chair and onto the floor where she landed in the broken plate, porcelain shards embedding themselves in her hands.

“Now clean ’t up. And bring me some bread ta finish my stew with.” He commanded. Caoimhe stood up and made her way to the broom with bloody hands. She took the broom and made her way to the mess, sweeping it up despite the stabbing pain in her hands, albeit slowly. As she swept, Angus stood up quickly and spat.

“I’ll be ta the pub. They can give me things ye fail ta provide.” He grabbed his coat and stormed out the door, slamming it shut behind him and leaving Caoimhe alone.

Angus still hadn’t come home when midnight struck, and Caoimhe supposed that meant he wouldn’t be home until the next evening. Til then, she had the small house to herself. So she began her usual search, rooting through cabinets and under loose floorboards for any sign of a sealskin coat.

Caoimhe been scouring for her stolen treasure ever since Angus had brought her home two years ago. She had been basking on the shore of a small island long abandoned to mankind, the warmth of the sun tingling her bare flesh as she laid there with her sealskin beside her. Oh, how the women in her life had warned her never to bathe in the sun without her pelt. But the day was fine and fair and the water was colder than usual. The momentary pleasure wasn’t worth all the pain it had cost her, especially when she had opened her eyes to find Angus standing over her with her pelt in his hand. Caoimhe had fought tooth and nail for her pelt back but it was all in vain against this tall, broad chested seaman who was older and stronger than she ever could ever hope to be in her human form. In the end, her hands were tied with sailing ropes and she was wrapped in a blanket as he took her in his boat back to the mainland where the two were married the next day.

Caoimhe tore through the shelves, searching desperately for her skin. She’d be damned if she had to spend one more minute in this horrible place. As she continued searching through the night, she didn’t hear the front door open or the shuffling of Angus’s boots across the floorboards before dawn broke.

As Caoimhe furiously tore through some drawers, she felt a yanking at her scalp as Angus lifted her up by her hair to her feet.

“I thought we agreed, Caoimhe. Put. Yer. Selkie. Days. Out. O’. Yer. Mind.” He growled dangerously. Caoimhe could only whimper and struggle helplessly against her husband’s grip.

“P-Please Angus.” She sobbed quietly. Before she could comprehend what was happening, Angus slammed her into the wall. She felt pain explode in her face and blood started to trickle from her nose. Caoimhe tried to fight to get away from him but after two years of being out of her sealskin and deprived of her diet in the sea, she was powerless. Humans could never be as strong as seals.

Angus wrung his wife’s neck, strangling her into submissiveness. He would never go so far as to kill her, for he wasn’t that kind, just far enough to make her wish she was dead. Caoimhe clawed at Angus’s arms as she gasped for air, black spots dancing in her vision. As she tried to escape Angus kneed her in the stomach, and Caoimhe felt a sickening release of pressure that she didn’t know had even been there. Almost immediately blood from between her legs began to stain her woolen skirt. Angus dropped her to the floor and backed away from her.

“Ye stupid bitch! Why didn’t ye tell me ye were in te family way?!” He screamed in disgust. Caoimhe hadn’t even known herself, but couldn’t speak as she gasped for air and sobbed.

“Look at ye! Ye miserable failure! Ye cannae even carry my children! Ye cannae give me sons?! What more are ye good for?!” Angus shouted. There was a moment of silence aside from Angus’s heavy breathing and Caoimhe’s sobs. Then, Angus lifted Caoimhe off the flood by her arm and lead her forcefully out of the house to the fish shed in the back yard, where he threw her to the floor of the small shed and locked the door behind her.

Caoimhe spent hours in the shed, clawing at the door with bloody fingers trying to get free, and crying as she passed her first child. She couldn’t have been more than ten weeks gone, she thought as she mournfully buried the small thing in the dirt and wept an ancient prayer for the dead. Eventually, the selkie cried herself to sleep on the dirty, blood-stained ground.

When Caoimhe awoke, the door to the shed was open, as Angus had finally grown tired of this little game and decided to grant her her freedom. Well, freedom to come back into the house and cook his supper. Caoimhe sat on the ground for a few moments, before deciding she needed to make her escape. But this time, she wouldn’t be reckless enough to look for her skin. She slowly pulled herself off the ground and went back into the house.

That night, while Angus slept off the whiskey, Caoimhe crept out to the yard and found the wooden ladder propped against the shed. She carefully took it, carrying it over to the house where she leaned it up against the side of the house. The wind blew through her thick hair as she climbed the ladder up to the roof.

Caoimhe reached the top and stood upright. As the wind howled and the sea roared, she knew she had chosen the right night to die. She walked steadily along the beam supporting the thatched roof towards the edge nearest to the cliff with tears blurring her vision. A gust of wind blew past her and her foot slipped, causing her to tumble off the beam and slip through a hole in the thatched roof with a yelp. Caoimhe rubbed her tailbone as her eyes adjusted to the darkness inside the cavity of the roof of her husband’s home. She hadn’t known this was there, but thinking back on it it only made sense. However her mind had been occupied on survival the past two years, not inspecting architecture.

Caoimhe went to pull herself to her feet, but instead of touching wood and straw, her fingers touched something soft and furry as a tingle rushed through them. Her breath hitched and her heartbeat quickened as she closed her fingers around the fur and lifted it up to inspect it in the low light. As she ran her fingers across it she knew at once; she had found her long lost sealskin. She held it close to her chest as she cried and breathed in the musky smell that she had nearly forgotten. It would be a little loose on her now, as she had lost much weight in her time as a wife, but she could go home. Her prayers had been answered.

But as the homesickness of the sea left her body, something new was left in its place; Anger, hatred, and bloodlust. Caoimhe sat and stared up at the sky, the wheels turning in her head.

Angus awoke from his slumber to the door slamming. He grumbled and cursed as he drunkenly got to his feet.

“Woman!” He shouted. “Where d’ye think Yer goin?!” Angus stumbled down the stairs, annoyance bubbling in his mind. He went to the kitchen where a single gas lamp was lit and his wife sat at the kitchen table, wrapped in a fur cloak and tapping her fingers on the wood.

“Well Angus, I think we had a good game going for a while there.” Said Caoimhe, a dark gleam in her black eyes Angus had never seen on her before. “But I think it’s time we put this behind us… Or at least time that I put it behind myself.”

“Stop yer tonguin’, woman.” Angus growled. “And give o’er the coat. Calm-like, now.” Caoimhe let out a laugh.

“Calm-like? Were you ‘calm-like’ when you stole me from my home? When you beat me bloody black and blue. When you took my maidenhood by force? When you killed my child?” Caoimhe stood up and slowly walked towards him.

“Tell me Angus, when in our marriage were you ever ‘calm-like’?” Angus growled and balled his fists, taking a swing at Caoimhe who caught his fist with her hand.

“So predictable. As always.” She said coldly, her hand gripping his fist with a cold, crushing grip. Angus’s finger bones began to freak and snap under Caoimhe’s grip, some of them tearing through skin and muscle to protrude through his hands as he screamed in pain. After a few moments of this, she let go, sending him reeling backwards still crying out at the mangled state of his hand.

“I now know why you human men always take away the skin of your Selkie wives.” Caoimhe said coldly. “It’s not because we can return to the sea with it, oh no. It’s because you know on some level that seals are strong, wild creatures. You know that your wife in her skin could overpower you whenever she wants.” Angus crumpled to the floor in pain and Caoimhe walked to him, bending down to his level on the floor.

“Because you know that seals are stronger than humans. And nearly just as dangerous.” Caoimhe slipped the head of the sealskin over her own, as her body began to morph and change into a form she hadn’t donned in two years. Angus could only look on in terror and scream as the powerful she-seal flopped towards him at top speed and pinned him to the floor with all her weight.

Caoimhe’s weight crushed Angus’s ribs, straining them nearly to the point of breaking, and he could feel her hot breath on his face, her dark eyes gleaming with murderous intent. The tables had turned, and the predator was now the prey.

“Caoimhe P-Please-“ He choked out, the same way she had done countless times before. But he had never shown her mercy, and now she was showing him the same courtesy.

Caoimhe dug her sharp teeth into Angus’s throat and shook her head back and forth, just as she’d seen the Selkie Men do countless times during the lover’s season. Blood spurted out of Angus’s neck as she shook and mangled her former husband without him even being able to scream. She kept shaking, eyes full of delight at the crimson shower and her mouth watering at the metallic taste of blood staining her teeth and tounge. Her coat was stained, as was the gold ring on her paw that had long since been a symbol of her captivity. Angus struggled and clawed at the seal, trying to get away. But it was no use, and soon he went limp in her jaws, the stream of blood slowing to a trickle and his skin turning cold. Only then did Caoimhe let go of his throat and back away from her former captor. Now, she was truly free.

It wasn’t until ten days later when the constable was sent by the harbormaster to check on Angus, for it was scarce that he missed a day of work let alone ten. The scene the constable found was horrific indeed. Angus’a corpse decayed on the ground, chewed on by mice and bugs who made it a feast. Blood stained the ground and there was a trail of bloody seal tracks leading towards the front door. But most haunting of all, was the writing on the wall in dried blood.

“Let this be a warning to all those who take a Selkie bride.” Read the haunting letters.

In the harbor, a large She-seal with a golden ring on a string around her neck watched from her home in the deep. And if you were there, you could have sworn you saw her smile before diving back beneath the waves, never to be seen by mankind again.

fiction

About the author

Elsa M

18 Years Old

She/Her/They/Them

Marine Bio Student

Class of 2025

I tell my story because when I am forgotten, I am truly gone. The longer my stories grace people’s tongues, the longer I live.

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