You blink slowly into wakefulness, the sound of gulls shrieking a rancour echoing inside your skull. Groaning, you roll over onto your back, arms flopping limply, as little use as a dead fish, glassy-eyed out of water. Your mind flounders, splashing like a fawn caught up in the bounds of a river it does not understand, black eyes shining with terror as it is swept away, far away from its mother. There is no rescue coming for you, little human. You are my toy now and my toy is exactly what you shall remain.
Oh, how I shall enjoy you.
How did you get here? The words swim around your head as the waves lap the rocky shore, a soothing melody serving as an inappropriate backdrop to your conclusion. Swinging your head cumbersomely from left to right, it feels too heavy upon your neck and your chin dips down to your chest, eyelids heavy. So tired, so very tired. Would it be so bad to lie down again, if only for a little while? The call of the sea is reassuring, a whisper in your ears, and you find yourself slipping back to the stones, fingers splayed.
When you try to speak, your lips move only a little, glued together as if they have become nothing but rubber, useless for speech – much less for anything else. You raise your hands to your hair and your fingers tremble as they run through the damp, brown strands, sodden with what has to be seawater. The sensation is familiar and terrifyingly foreign at the same time. Why does it feel different? There’s nothing wrong, there can’t be anything wrong. You can move, can’t you?
What has happened? You cannot know, you do not know. Trying to scramble to your feet, your shoes slip on the stones, scuffed, red trainers that you should have replaced long ago scraping over rough rocks. Your fall scores a black scratch down the side of your right shoe and you curse mentally, eyes watering as you clasp your knee to your chest and rock back and forth, shaking your head all the while.
It seems silly to be so affected by such a small thing as damaging an already ruined pair of trainers, but the instance grips your heart and refuses to let go. Why are you so worried about a pair of shoes? What is the problem? You shake your head, trying to pull some sense back into yourself, gulping for breath like a drowned man. There is something more to the scene than a wrecked shoe, however.
The wind drops.
Something is happening. Something has changed. Your eyes widen and you press your hand over your pocket, feeling the bulge there that is certainly not your wallet. You lost that the night before – you understand this without knowing how you know, only that it is true. Digging into your jean pocket, you carefully withdraw a small clay pot with a lamp engraved on the side. It should be an innocuous object, perfectly harmless, yet the sight of it strikes inexplicable, crawling fear into your heart.
And then everything changes.
With a strangled shriek, you drop the pot and push yourself away, scooting backwards over rock and scraggly heather with your eyes so wide that they may pop right out of your skull. The pot jumps with a life of its own, releasing a stream of black smoke that cannot be natural – nothing that looks like that can be natural! But it’s too quick for you as you strive to get to your feet, to flee, and curls through the air as quick as a striking snake, lancing into your chest. You brace yourself for pain and feel...nothing.
There is no pain, no sensation of the smoke even touching you. Swallowing, you look from left to right as if expecting something to leap out at you, yet find naught out of the ordinary within your sight. Thinking yourself safe – perhaps it was a hallucination? A hallucination cannot hurt you, right? – you laugh shakily and roll your head back on your shoulders, stretching out the kinks from your neck.
Only that your head does not roll like that anymore. Blinking, you raise your hand to your neck, or at least try to, for your very skin seems to be thickening. Without understanding what is truly happening, you stare down at your forearm, which should be bare but for your skin and that fine coating of dark hair that ladies once said they liked. But that is gone now – long, long gone.
Instead, the fat beneath your skin thickens, bulging out obscenely as if you have suddenly gained a year of excess weight in a matter of seconds. Your skin ripples, shifting without your consent, as it darkens, slipping from your pale flesh to a dreary grey. As you watch, reeling from your own body, dark spots appear, streaking down your arm to your fingertips as those become swiftly more difficult to spread apart, seeming to fuse together even under your horrified eyes.
Can you make it stop if you don’t look away? A strange groan comes from somewhere and, after a moment, you realise that it’s from your lips. That’s not a human noise. You shiver, trembling as your trousers strain and start to tear along the seams, something not right with your legs either. But you’ve been too focused on what you can easily see – your arms – to pay attention to the rest of your body. This is only to your detriment, as everything continues without your consent or say-so. Everything is beyond your control now.
Hallucinating? You wish you were. The reality is far, far worse.
You roll, a strangled gasp twisting from your throat in a bark that startles even you in your state of unrest, gaping and pawing at the ground. But there is little hand left to scrape over the ground as it pulls up against your side, chest and stomach rounding out so that any definition you may have had there is smoothed out perfectly beneath a slick, grey coat. Your shirt gives up with a hearty rip and you mourn its passing briefly, for it seems an easier choice to focus on rather than what is happening to your body. For my creation is beautiful indeed.
You don’t know how to move your new body yet – your transformation incomplete – but still you try to lift your fused together legs, groaning as skin and fat blurs together, muscle shifting beneath what you can see. Although it is not painful, you wince as bone grinds and cracks into a new position, running down the centre of what can only now be called your tail, as you no longer have any legs to speak of. Shuddering, you flinch from the crunch of bone, muscle pulsing and bulging through your skin as your genitals, which you have hardly thought about to this point, are sucked up into your body as simply as if they never truly existed.
But there is no time to panic as your eyes bulge, face stretching out and rounding into a face much unlike your own. Your eyes push out and out, finding their true place further back on your head, allowing you a greater range of vision, even though, as a hunter, you should always be looking forward for prey. Your nostrils tug up, slipping into another shape as easily as you have taken on this skin, your chin resting on the stones. You can’t touch your muzzle – your arms are no longer, with only two flippers pressed to your sides now.
There is no trace of maleness in your features as you pant, pink tongue lolling out, and you lift a flipper in vicious wonder, mind reeling. It is not a flipper that belongs to a male at all anymore, though you cannot say exactly how you know. You simply do.
Despite your horror, there is wonder in your gaze – as well there should be. You are beautiful. I made it so. You flip onto your back, experimenting with what you’ve been given, raising your tail and marvelling inwardly at just how far these new muscles of yours can flex it. Simply waving the tail-flippers back and forth through the air gives you a little show of just how much power the muscle contains and you can only imagine it powering you through the water with jaw-dropping ease.
For you are not a human any longer, nor will you ever be again.
You turn your muzzle up to the sky, yawning as the gulls wheel.
A grey seal. You are a seal. But not a seal.
You roll onto your side, flippers waving gently in the air as you try to look down the length of your body, studying yourself the best you can from such a position. Your belly is lighter, better to camouflage yourself from fish below when streaking through the ocean, while your back is a smooth, even grey, splashed through the darker spots that break up your outline. Wouldn’t want to be caught when chasing down those fish now, would you? Life is a matter of hunting and feeding and gnawing bellies for your kind?
But what are you? Who are you? You flop back onto your stomach, head dipping to the stones as you blink, slow and stupid as you settle into your new body.
What did the legends call it? The cogs turn in your head, clear still to an outside, if initiated, observer. Not a seal, but a...
The thought comes to you in a flash of understanding and you let out a happy bark that surprises even you, tail slapping the rock pool to send up a splash of salt spray.
A selkie. You are a selkie. A creature of myth, brought to reality by a hand that should not have existed. You try to frown, but your lips no longer form the motion as you blink a pair of dark, soulful eyes to the rolling, heaving arms of the sea. The seagulls wheel and caw, grey shapes high above that cause you little reason for concern, beyond your reckoning now. The fish are yours, not theirs, and you are the hunter, not the hunted. They shall be no more than an infrequent pest to you now, a scavenger. The crash of the sea upon the rocks catches your ears and you turn your short muzzle into the breeze, salt dancing on your tongue. The sea... Your eyes gleam. Oh, how beautiful she is.
She calls to you, her voice a whisper on the breeze. Your whiskers twitch as you slide over the stones, chest hitting the water and keeping on, tail catching you to power more swiftly through the shallows than you could ever have ran on land.
Your life as a selkie has is now begun.
Written by Amethyst_Mare on 14 January 2017
Into the Ocean