Fenella jumped slightly at Oliver’s touch and felt her face grow warm. He’s holding my hand! Why? The selkie was too embarrassed to ask, so she closed her fingers around his, soaking in the last moments with her human friend.
Finally he stepped in front of her and took both of her hands. “Fen, will I see you again?” She could feel his heart rate growing faster. He was worried, as was she.
“I, um…” She found herself lost for words as she looked into his eyes; they were sad and looked glossy under his untamed bangs. After a deep breath, she replied, “I will find a way back, Oliver. Whatever obstacles I must overcome, I’m sure there is a way.” Her smile encouraged one onto Oliver’s face as well.
“Do you promise?” he asked.
“Of course.” Fenella let go of his hands and slipped off her canvas shoes Bridget had so-carefully sewn together that morning. Stepping into the water, Fenella felt a cold rush of energy sweep through her body, and she felt as though she could truly breathe again. “Oh this feeling–it’s wonderful!” Oliver lifted the seal cloak from his shoulder and placed it around Fenella’s. He kissed her hand and bowed, letting his feet sink into the sand beneath the waves. As soon as she donned the cloak, the water around her began to sparkle like starlight, in hues of blue and green. Oliver’s face lit up, and he watched, unblinking, as Fenella was completely enveloped by her own selkie magic. He could see her spinning and sinking into the water until finally the lights huffed out–leaving residual sparkles to float above the water like fireflies.
No, they were fireflies! Oliver gaped at the sight of her magic taking form. Suddenly there was a splashing, and a beast slid its way onto an outcropping of rock next to the shore.
It was a seal; its coat shimmered silver in the moonlight, and he could even see its speckles. Oliver looked about skeptically, seeing if Fenella had been playing a parlor trick on him. With the strange girl no where in sight, he decided to approach the seal slowly. It seemed to watch him, as if it were waiting for him. When he finally got close enough, it barked loudly. He jumped and stepped backward. Gathering his courage, the boy stepped ever closer, reaching his hand out. The seal bowed to him, letting him touch its head.
“Fen…?” he whispered. His eyes felt hot. “Is that you?” The seal lifted its head and blinked to him. He gasped. She nodded toward herself, beckoning him closer. When he knelt beside her, she touched his ear with her wet muzzle, making him laugh and pull away. But the fireflies–they’d returned!
“Oliver,” he heard a voice say in his head. He looked into the seal’s eyes. “Now we can speak, even if I can’t be with you on human legs.” Oliver wrapped his arms around her neck.
“Thank you, Fenella. For giving me the courage to fight for those I love, even when I endanger myself. And for your friendship. I do hope to see you again.”
“Farewell, Oliver. I’ll always remember how you saved my life.” The selkie reached up and stuck her salty muzzle right on his nose!
“Fen!” he laughed, drying his face with his tunic. “See you soon.”
He watched as she slid back into the silvery ocean waves, bobbing up and down toward the horizon. Just before he turned away, he saw at least two others fall in beside her.