Twenty-one-year-old Briony is stagnating, living at home with her parents and younger brother. That is, until a mysterious, beautiful visitor from the sea brings her new hope of happiness.
But Freyja’s not meant to be on the Isle of Wight, and she’s about to leave for home shores. Can Briony find a way to keep her selkie lover by her side?
“How long are you going to be here?” I asked, as I handed her a mug of coffee made with all hot milk to keep out the chill.
She smiled crookedly. “I can’t stay. I need to get back to Hvammstangi -- I really shouldn’t be here at all. I don’t know what drew me down here.” As she spoke, she laid her hand, warm from the mug and from the heart of her, on my arm. I placed my own hand over it and twined my fingers into hers, my stomach feeling like it was full of little fishes darting joyfully in all directions. “But I’m glad I came,” she whispered.
“Me, too,” I said, and I leaned over the table and dared to kiss her. She tasted of salt and fresh air and freedom, and I pulled her to me, not wanting to let her go.
Her breasts were warm and soft against mine, her skin like velvet. She clambered onto my lap, still half in her wetsuit like a butterfly coming out of its chrysalis, and we clung together, wordless, until she rested her forehead on mine. “I have to go. I’m sorry, Briony.”
I tried to stop her. “No, you can’t go.” I pulled at her wetsuit, but she looked so sad I dropped my hand. “I wish you’d stay,” I whispered, defeated.
“Remember me,” she said softly. “Remember me, and perhaps we’ll meet again.”
“Nine days’ time, if you still remember me. Nine days’ time. I can stay that long.”
“Then why not stay with me?” I begged.
“I can’t,” she said. “But I can come to you once more.”
I walked her back to the seafront. The wind was quieter now, and the sea was soft and welcoming. Freyja put her hand to the zip of her wetsuit. “Don’t watch me go,” she said, so I turned and walked away, but the splash I listened for never came. For a moment I thought she’d changed her mind, but then I heard her voice on the wind, as if a gull had carried it to me.
“Nine days,” she called. “Remember that, Briony. Nine days, and seven tears.”