I’ve been super busy behind the scenes here, working on a few novellas I hope to publish later this year.
The first will be a slightly adapted version of my novella ‘What the Tide Brings’, which was printed by The People’s Library for their project in 2018.
Part of what I have been doing is writing a prequel to ‘What the Tide Brings’, called ‘Maggie and the Selkie’, which is now available for free when you sign up to my newsletter.
And here’s a sneak peak:
Maggie and the Selkie
That morning the bodies were counted. Twelve in all, and one still missing.
When the families took the bodies home to prepare them for burial, Maggie sneaked down to the beach to walk the shoreline. Five miles north, and five miles south. Through her tears, every piece of driftwood and kelp was a human figure; an arm reaching for help, a crumpled body found too late. Maggie’s hope disappeared with the sun and a low, slow groaning emerged from her throat as she sank to the sand. The pain in her heart was so strong she didn’t notice the water rising around her, the cold seeping into her skin.
She thought of her dream of the previous night, of thrashing seas and the stabbing hollow in her chest.
‘I saw what was to come. I should’ve made him stay!’ She squeezed her eyes shut, tears slipping over her cheeks to add to the salty water about her knees.
‘And how would you have made a fisherman stay when there was food to be caught for his village?’
Maggie started, tripping backwards in her haste to get up and landing awkwardly on a wrist as the waves splashed around her.
The man before her stood knee deep in water, his bare legs protruding from a strange coat that hung around his shoulders.
‘Perhaps I can help you?’ He held out a hand, and Maggie took it, the warmth of his grip waking her up to the fact that her body was numb.
He pulled her towards him and carried her the few steps out of the water to above the high-tide mark. He sat her down at a pile of sticks, and she was aware of him doing something before her. When a flash sparked a fire, and she realised what he’d been up to.
‘We need to get you out of these wet clothes.’
Maggie should have felt embarrassed at a strange man undressing her, but there was nothing as he peeled off her dress and undergarments, wrapping her in his cloak before spreading her clothes out across sticks wedged in the sand.
He disappeared for a time. Maggie must have dozed, for when she woke the fire was loaded up with logs, crackling and popping from the heat. She sat up, and held her hands out to the warmth.
‘You feel better?’ His voice was deep, and when Maggie looked up she realised he wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing. Her cheeks burned as she averted her eyes.
‘You need your coat.’ She went to remove it from her shoulders, but he held out a hand and stopped her.
‘Not as much as you do.’
‘Aren’t you cold?’ she asked, staring into the flames to avoid looking at him.
‘How did you find me? Where did you come from?’
‘You called me,’ he said.
‘I called you?’ Maggie frowned. ‘How?’
‘You cried seven tears into the sea.’
Vague memories surfaced of tales her grandmother had shared with her as a child. She met his gaze. ‘You’re a selkie?’
He nodded. ‘I am.’
‘You live under the waves, out there.’ She gestured to the sea.
Hope quickened her pulse. ‘Can you bring someone back?’
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