After a moment longer of pondering over the options you’ve been presented, you decide on which you’d rather learn about to start with - time feels like it’s on your side, regardless of the decision you make, and you see no reason to worry about it otherwise.
‘I think I’d like to learn about what I can do underwater first,’ you reply.
The selkie eyes you with a knowing expression, as if she knew you were going to choose that as your answer. She nods once, then turns away from you and trots toward the ocean, pausing only once to glance at you again and incline her head toward the deep azure.
‘Follow me, pup,’ she replies.
She dives in, and disappears beneath the waves.
You follow after her and do the same, and you quickly feel yourself submerged under the depths again - she’s not far from you. In fact, she’s floating about barely a foot away from the point you dived from, so you swim over to join her.
‘The first thing you need understand about our abilities,’ the selkie says, ‘is that we are gifted in controlling the waters in ways the average creature cannot.’
You’re fairly certain you’d have a furrowed brow if you could. Her statement puzzles you. ‘What do you mean?’
She chuckles internally. ‘What I mean, pup, is that you can actually will the water to some degree. As you are not a natural-born selkie like myself, you can’t grasp this power to the same level I or other pure selkie can. But, you have the potential. Think of the waves of blue around us as an extension of your own physical form. Envision it as your flesh and blood and bone.’
You pause, and consider these words. It’s different from what you expected from when you first heard her ask you about all this - and, in truth, the concept of being able to ‘control’ the water sounds… well, it sounds surreal and fantastical. You do consider the fact you’re currently a selkie, however, so…
‘Having fun contemplating my words?’ the selkie asks. She sounds thoroughly amused.
‘I mean…’ You pause again, and try to think it over. ‘When you say that I have the power to control the water, what exactly does that entail? I don’t expect that I can create a tidal wave out of thin air, right?’
She chuckles internally once more. ‘No, pup. Nothing that intense, I’m afraid.’
She swims over to you, circling around you for a brief moment.
‘Think of it more along the lines of using water as an aid to your every move,’ the selkie replies. ‘You can use the waves to propel yourself forward, or, slow down something that might be dangerous and swimming toward you. It’s how I was able to keep ahead of you so easily when I led you away from the shipwreck.’
Your eyes go wide. ‘You were doing that on purpose!’
‘Of course,’ she replies, smiling at you. ‘I knew what you were the instant I spotted you, and I felt if I could get you away from the ship, that perhaps you’d be intrigued enough to chase after me.’
You don’t know how to respond to that. But, you let it go for now - no reason to keep on it since it’s a little too late - and instead, you try to think of her words, and of ‘controlling’ the water, as she’s put it. It sounds foreign to you, yet you are more than willing to give it a shot (not like you have anything else you can do with your time right now, after all, and you did sort of choose to do this).
And so it is that you, in the body of a selkie, try to envision the water you’ve submerged yourself into as an extension of your body.
Initially, you can’t grasp the idea - it’s hard to picture or force yourself to feel like the water is a part of your own body, because your human mind doesn’t enjoy the notion of such a thing. It takes a good, long few minutes for you to concentrate on not reacting to such thoughts, but, even then, you can’t just magically start bending the water around you.
‘Concentrate on steadying everything within,’ the selkie says. ‘Steady your racing thoughts. Feel the water itself, not as some external element, but as if it were attached to you. Imagine that you are molding the waters with your mind, and use this to move your body. Up, down, left, right, forward, backward. Do this and only this, nothing more.’
Her words echo inside your skull, and you keep your concentration as best as you can. You close your eyes and very, very gradually work on doing what she’s told you to do.
It takes you time, but after what could have been an eternity, you can feel your mind quieting - the racing thoughts and impulses are quelling themselves down, and instead, you can actually feel the water around you easier. And as you focus on that, on the feeling of the waves, you envision not the water and you as separate things, but instead, as two parts of the same whole.
The water is part of you. You are a part of it. You are one in the same.
You envision this, and think this, and you become able to FEEL it to be so.
Then, when these sensations are the strongest they can be, you do as she’s told you - you envision the water moving your body for you, rather than trying to move it on your own. It takes a moment - a long, silent moment, at that - yet you suddenly feel your body going to the side, because you are WILLING it to.
You don’t move a muscle, not a flipper, not an inch on your own.
Your eyes open, and you can see yourself being moved by invisible strings that feel as though they’re dangling from your mind. You tilt your body to the left, tugging yourself with the waves. You are no longer submerged underwater; you truly believe, from sensation and sight, that you are guiding your motion with the water as your fingers.
You pull yourself up with the water, using one ‘hand’ to tug up, and the other ‘hand’ to push you at the same time. It works. You float up, then go down, all without having to actively exert any sort of force from your own body.
‘Whoa…’ you think.
The selkie has been watching you the entire time. She nods her head with approval, a glimmer in her eyes.
‘Nicely done, pup, nicely done,’ she says. ‘Not perfect, but, there is no such thing as true perfection.’
She swims around you again, only this time, her motions speed up - she suddenly swirls around your body, then darts down to the seafloor, then shoots back up again like a rocket. All of this in the matter of seconds, her body moving so fast, she briefly looks like a living blur.
It makes your head spin to witness in person, and you take a pause to blink away the surprise.
‘Now then,’ she says when she stops, and floats back to being in front of you. She’s grinning again, a hint of cheekiness in her eyes. ‘What you have done will require practice for you to gain a deeper appreciation of. And, it is merely one of the abilities we selkie are blessed with.’
‘What else can we do?’ you ask. You’re a little excited and honestly perplexed to find out.
‘In time, pup, in time,’ the selkie replies, and she chuckles again - she has an expression of understanding the entire time. ‘There is not a mass of skills, by any means. Don’t overexcite yourself with hopes. First, perhaps you should practice more of what you’ve just learned, hmm? But then, the choice IS yours on what you’d prefer to do.’
You suck in a quiet, internal breath, and nod along to her words.
You can continue to practice this new ability, as she’s said. Or, you can ask for something else, or decide to go back topside. What would you like to choose?
Written by Hollowpages on 02 November 2020