A Fishy Feeling
You ponder what to do for a minute, since there are plenty of options to make use of – testing to see if you can swim at superhuman speed, experimenting with your newfound hydrokinetic abilities, returning to dry land, swimming around, asking more selkie questions, and so on. They’re all solid options in your opinion, yet at the same time, nothing really stands out as being more important or interesting than anything else, but eventually, you settle on going back to a previous activity you were doing.
‘Do you mind if we swim around and I ask you some questions about selkies?’ you ask.
Moirine grins. ‘Not at all, pup. I’m happy to answer what you have on your mind.’
She starts to swim downward and you follow, both of you moving at a casual pace. You don’t know what direction Moirine will lead you, but, you’re totally fine with letting her take the lead – you mostly like the idea of seeing more of the ocean’s beauty while you learn more about selkies, since you feel it’s important you, as a new selkie, do so.
‘What comes to mind first, pup, if anything stands out?’ Moirine asks.
You have a few things you were wondering that you’d just placed on the backburner, since at the time when you were asking questions, there were more pressing ones.
‘Do selkies need to eat and drink?’ you ask.
‘Ah… now here’s one you’d be surprised isn’t asked very often,’ Moirine says.
The two of you drift down until you reach the ocean’s floor in the area you’re currently lingering in – Moirine begins to swim forward, in a different direction from where you went previously. You follow her, hugging near the sandy bottom the way she does.
‘We don’t NEED the same sustenance you humans do, at least not to that degree,’ Moirine responds after a quiet beat. ‘Meaning, we do indeed require to sustain ourselves, but, it’s less of a vital necessity. We can eat whatever foods you do, drink whatever liquids you do, it’s simply that we can go long stretches without either.’
‘You don’t get hungry or thirsty?’ you ask, gawking. That’s a new one to think about.
Moirine hums to herself. ‘Yes and no.’
You frown. ‘…wait, how is it yes AND no?’
She snickers. ‘Well, pup, I said we can go long stretches without them, not that we can go forever without them. We will eventually need some form of sustenance, and often, food and beverage will suffice. That said, we are creatures born from the ocean depths, so of those two, drinking is the one we need the least of. It’s partly because we are absorbing water through our pores – and through our very essence – from the instant our bodies connect with any body of water. Have you noticed how you aren’t thirsty?’
You blink several times in surprise at hearing this, and you take a few inner breaths to mull Moirine’s words over. She’s not wrong. You haven’t felt any sort of thirst since you were turned into a selkie, although you don’t feel as though you’ve been…
‘We drink through our… pores?’ you ask, a little perplexed by this.
‘Not literally, silly,’ Moirine says with a chuckle. ‘It’s more a case that we absorb the water into ourselves when we’re touching it. It’s been that way since we came into being, I’d imagine, because think about it… don’t sea creatures drink water while submerged to further their survival? Of course they do. They evolved in order to do this, and we selkie are no different, save for the fact we don’t NEED to go through the motions of gulping down the water we’re in. Our bodies do this naturally, for ease.’
‘Oh…’ You blink, and after giving it some thought, you nod along. ‘Okay, I guess that does make sense. Is the reason you don’t have to open your mouths to chug water down because you rely a lot on using your minds to do stuff? Or am I wrong entirely?’
She glances at you mid-motion, grinning. ‘You’re actually correct, pup. We selkie are not like normal mammals, like seals or humans or whales; remember that we are born and possess something you would liken to magic, so, if you wish, you can consider these things as magic in reasoning. Ah, but, to go back to the subject on food…’
She pauses and you both near a drop in the sandy floor you’ve been swimming over, where it dips further down into what you can only describe as a sea forest. You stop and gawk at the sight; there are tendrils of seaweed all over the place, yet more than that, there are dozens of masses of colorful coral spread about, and plenty of fish, too.
Moirine hovers near the fringe where it delves down. ‘Eating is something we natural selkie do need, yes, as we do grow hungry. Food offers energy, and, if I’m being totally honest, it also offers a lot of pleasure. Many selkie that assume human forms love to eat for the act of eating itself, including me. Many of your human foods are delicious. They smell good, they taste good, and the sensation of eating until I’m full is… it’s wonderful.’
You shift between eyeing the underwater forest that seems to loom for quite some time below where the two of you are and Moirine, before you focus on Moirine.
‘What do selkie normally eat if they stay underwater, though?’ you ask.
‘Sea life, of course,’ Moirine replies with a shrug. ‘Much like the normal seals and their various species, we tend to eat fish, since they’re in abundance down here, and let’s face it, when you have the boons a selkie possesses, fish are not at all difficult to catch. Shrimp, krill, crustaceans, eels, squid, octopi… we eat those, too, I should add. We can even eat the smaller species of sharks, and some will eat jellyfish and their kin.’
‘I… wait, hold on.’ You stare at her. ‘You eat jellyfish? But… don’t they…?’
She flashes a bright smile. ‘Their poison and barbs don’t affect us, my friend. We are resistant to any toxins produced by every sea creature down here, no matter their size or their strength. Spikes, jolts, sharpened fangs, ink, and so on; what the sea life may use to defend themselves against one another has no effect on us, fortunately.’
‘Damn,’ you say. You shake your head. ‘Now I’m just imagining you swimming up and chomping into a jellyfish like it’s made out of, I dunno, noodles or something soft.’
‘Jellyfish aren’t really to MY personal tastes,’ Moirine says. ‘They’re a bit too… mm, I would say the word spicy is the best I can use when defining how it feels. Too much of a bite, if you will, and the same goes for the man-o-war and all those spineless breeds; I rather prefer the taste of fish, or crustaceans, since I am fond of the crunchiness.’
You blink, once, twice, then a third time. ‘That’s not a sentence you hear every day.’
Moirine merely smiles in response. ‘Shall we continue to swim about while you throw another question or ten my way, pup? You can see the rather lovely forest below, and it’s both large in size and in beauty, with plenty of fish to snack on if you feel hungry…’
You glance back down into the admittedly gorgeous ocean forest filled with dozens of fish, and dozens upon dozens more of colorful corals, and you can just tell there’s a lot to see down there, even more than what you can spot from your vantage point.
Yet before you can think about it for too long (and ask Moirine more on what she feels), you notice that Moirine’s attention has drifted from you all of a sudden – she appears to be looking past you with a noticeably odd expression on her face. You blink once, frown, then turn your head to look behind that way, and you see what she’s seeing: there’s another selkie, it appears, in the distance and they are coming right at you.
‘Is that someone you know?’ you ask Moirine.
‘I believe so, yes,’ Moirine replies. ‘Perhaps we ought to wait to see…’
You nod, and, you turn so you’re facing the incoming selkie – you wonder if there’s something wrong, or, if there’s another reason for them to be coming at you so quickly; yet you also know it won’t take long to find out the answer to those questions.
Written by Hollowpage on 08 May 2021