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Author: Alice Heggie

Return to the Sea

The sound of waves fills the silence of the night to make the isolated stretch of coast seem full and warm; but it is ice cold. Looking out to sea, you cannot tell where the water stops and the sky begins, for everything is black and there are stars in the waves. Bending down I slip off my shoes and remove my socks. The stones feel sharp and hard against the soles of my feet and I feel the pain but it does not bother me. As I walk to the waters’ edge, waves sucking away and rolling forward gently and predictably, the crunch of the beach seems deafeningly loud.

And I walk in.

First up to my thighs, and I pause as the cold grips my lungs with its icy tentacles. I take a big breath of salty air, steady myself and plough forward, parting the waves like a ship. But this ship is not destined for exotic shores. This ship is destined for the bottom of the ocean.

The sea is quite changed at night. During the day it is full of legs, thrashing and dancing. The waters song is masked by noise, of screams of children who wave buckets and nets to catch unsuspecting small sea creatures in and show their parents. The screams of parents whose children have presented them with a jellyfish.

During the night there is only black.

Once I thought I could have that life. That life of legs and buckets and sunshine. But I was young, and full of romance.

I pop my head up above the water and look back to shore, my eyes now black, my skin now grey. My mind turns over the memory and I long to feel the sun dry my skin. But I am the selkie. I belong to the sea.

Flash Fiction by Alice Heggie
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