SILKIE

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Submitted Date 07/08/2020
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Chat. 1

Her name was Kenna Gale. She was born in the cold and darkness of the North Atlantic. A creature of the Northern Oceans Kenna had swam to warmer waters, across the Atlantic to strange lands, but Kenna was always drawn back to the cold, dark, waters where she was born.

Kenna had sisters, others like her who were born in the ocean. There were no men like her. There were males, who lived on the land, or in the sea, but they were not like her. They could not live both in the sea and walk on two legs on the land. Neither had two forms like Kenna and her sister were able to be.

Kenna appeared as a seal, but was able to take the human form and walk on the land. Although Kenna didn't like to stray far from the sea. She would often walk naked along the beach. Kenna often did not need clothing, unless she intended to blend with human society. Kenna kept clothing in a cedar lined trunk in a cave in a hidden cove.

Kenna had been strolling down the beach when she discovered the child. She sat on the rocky beach, crying, her head in her arms. The sobbing girl touched Kenna's heart. She ran back to where she had hidden her skin, which allowed her to take the form of a seal.

Kenna slipped on the skin and swam into the sea. The child was still there, her sobbing had subsided. Kenna pulled herself onto the rocks, in her seal form Kenna barked loudly. The child lifted her head. She looked over at Kenna who began to play, her antics amusing the child. The child laughed, wiping away her tears. Kenna watched the child stand and wave to Kenna, Kenna lifted a flipper and waved back, which seemed to amuse the child. The child seemed to have forgotten her sorrow.

Kenna watched the child walk away from the beach. Kenna was curious as to who the child had been, what had caused the child so much grief. Human lives were filled with sorrow, tragedy, Kenna had been human once, before she was reborn in the ocean. In the dark, cold, mysterious ocean.

Chpt. 2

Kenna swam through the ocean, down the coast, to her sister's lonely hut located not far from a lighthouse on a lonely desolate coast.

Coral Read lived in her hut on the coast, her beauty wasn't wasted on the younger lighthouse keepers who were assigned to the desolate island. Where there were no inhabitants except for a lovely young recluse who was not adverse to the attention of a young man or two.

Coral only appeared young. She was dark, almost ebony, and was born far South of this land. Despite all of this, she was a sister to Kenna. As were all of their kind to each other.

It was a simple hut that Coral lived in. With little luxuries. Built of stone, mortar, with tiny windows with wooden shutters. A stone hearth held a fire. A pot hung from the fireplace with a mutton stew. A smaller pot with tea began to whistle on the hearth. There was a narrow cot to one side of the hearth, a table in the center of the hut and two stools. The walls were lined with sheepskins.

"What brings you to my little island, Kenna?" Coral used a rag to pick up the teapot off the fire.

"Can't I visit my favorite sister?" Kenna watched Coral pour the tea into a ceramic pot that would filter most of the leaves of the tea.

"I would imagine that my very practical, predictable sister would have a reason to come visit me." Coral smiled at Kenna. "This is good tea, my man from the lighthouse brings it to me. He says I make it too strong though."

"You should filter the hot water through the leaves instead of boiling the leaves in the pot." Kenna took the lid off the honey pot. Took the battered teaspoon off the table and dipped it in adding a generous amount to the tea. "Do you get the honey from the man too?"

"Of course. As for the tea, I like it strong." Coral had poured herself tea and was sitting across the table from Kenna.

Kenna sipped her tea. Coral's accented english, her voice, spoke of exotic out of the way places. Coral had

been born in the Atlantic, like Kenna had been, but her part of the ocean had been warm, beautiful, and wonderful.

"It was cold. I remember the cold the most. Being dragged into the dark water. Thinking I was going to die." Kenna said.

In the warmth of the hut, drinking hot tea, it seemed more like a remembered dream. Only it wasn't. It had been very real. Kenna had been reborn in dark, cold water of the Pacific.

"Being reborn is difficult." Coral looked at Kenna with her wide, dark eyes.

"Is there any other way?" Kenna knew that Coral was possibly the wisest of her sisters.

Coral shook her head. "It is the curse, if we are to be reborn, we must be drowned first. That is why some of our sisters pick strangers, some woman walking down the beach. Taken at random, a child, woman, whoever happens to be near enough to the water."

"Why does it have to be this way?" Kenna didn't understand why she had to drown to be reborn.

"I don't know. Without the death, the soul cannot be released to enter into the womb to be reborn." Coral had daughters, like herself, they had to die to be reborn. Coral had drowned them. "If we do not the child will be born as a seal, and we must nurse the calf in that form. Until it matures and leaves to go to the sea."

"I guess I will never have a daughter. I can't imagine killing a random person just to have a daughter." Kenna said.

"We all say that, at some time. Never again. Only time will tell." Coral felt that the rebirth was better than to live life as a mortal on the land. "We can build a life on land, but we are always drawn to the sea. We cannot stray far from the ocean without being compelled to return one day. It is our life. Our curse. In many ways our blessing. We do not age, we are beautiful, and we are free. Most mortal women on land are not. They are the property of men on the land controlled by men."

Chat. 3

"Are we actually dead? Some form of ghost or phantom, born from a drowned soul." Kenna had little memory of her life before her death.

"We are reborn. Each of us was born of one of our kind. Entering the womb after we die. We are raised by our new Mother. Some of us have no memories at all, some only have memories of our death." Coral had all of her memories of her past. Including her death. "Others can't forget those memories. We are forced to abandon our old lives, friends, family. Our home is lost. We have to build a new home, a new life, with our sisters of the sea."

"Is that why you came so far North?" Kenna always wondered why Coral would leave the tropical lands of the South.

"You know that, although we are born, we grow quickly. In a year we are as old as when we died." Coral reminded Kenna. It was true, Kenna had been fully grown one year after she had died. "I came back to the shoreline where I had been taken by my Mother and drowned. I put away my skin and walked on the land. I came to my village. My Father and Mother, my Brothers joyfully welcomed me, because they had thought I had been taken by slavers."

Coral remembered it. Some of their sisters returned to where they had lived on land after they had been reborned. It was not forbidden, only it didn't take long before a sister would return to the sea.

"I stayed there, until I realized that my Mother, Father, Brothers all were aging while I did not." Coral remembered the villagers talking when they thought Coral couldn't hear them. "Villagers called me a witch, spirit, ghost. They thought I might be evil. I left before they decided I was an evil spirit and killed me."

Kenna knew that immortal did not mean invulnerable. Kenna's body could be broken, burned, hung, and she could die of starvation or thirst. She just couldn't be drowned. But, she could be stabbed, clubbed, or shot.

"I would see my family from the sea. They slowly grew old, died, and so did the villagers." Coral had lived with her Brother's grandchildren for a while. "So, I returned, but I was a stranger. I could not reveal who I was, and of course, I had to leave again before villagers noticed that I did not grow old."

"I never remembered where I came from." Kenna said. "I imagine it must have been very hard for you to watch your family and friends grow old and die."

"That is why I left the Southern Atlantic and settled here." Coral realized that her village on the African coast was no longer her home. So, she simply swam away. To this land that was so foriegn that little reminded her of her home. Still, she could not forget. The memories of her home in Africa haunted her from time to time.

"What brought this on anyway?" Coral asked.

"I saw a little girl on the beach today." Kenna said. "I didn't drown her, but it made me think. That it might be nice to have a little girl to raise, like a normal Mother."

"That is why some of us drown a child. Unlike drowning an adult, a child will only grow to the age they died during the first year." Coral had only accepted adults. "From that point they age like a normal child, until they reach adulthood. Then they become immortal."

Chat. 4

"Is it true that if someone simply drowns, their spirit could enter us and be reborn." Kenna didn't wish a child to drown, but if one died by accident that would be different.

Coral smiled. "Some of us have a spirit enter into us, without drowning that person, but we don't know why this happens. Perhaps if the person who drowns is strong willed enough they enter into one of us who are near when they drown. But, it is very rare."

There was a sadness to Coral's smile. That haunted look that Kenna saw in her eyes on occasion. "Did that happen to you?"

"I had a daughter, whose arrival was a mystery to me." Coral's smile went away. "I gave birth to her. There was something wrong with her. She had nightmares about drowning. An actual fear of the water. She swam to the English colonies across the sea, staying in a house near the sea."

"I would visit her on occasion. She married. But couldn't have children, not in the natural way." Coral remembered how it had distressed her daughter. "I told her that the only way she could have children was to drown a child. Soon after she threw herself off a cliff. As I said, there was something not quite right about her."

"Are they all that way?" Kenna asked.

"I don't know for certain, but I don't think so." Coral felt that there was simply strange about that daughter she had. "I've never heard of it from our sisters."

"Perhaps they just don't mention it. It might be too personal for them." Kenna suggested. "What happen to your daughter's skin, after her death. Like the rest of us she must have had one."

"I don't know. I never knew where she hid it." Coral had never returned to the home in the Americas after her daughter had died. "I imagine that the skin either disappeared or lost it's magic. I've never heard of anyone ever using another sister's skin, even after their death."

Kenna slept in Coral's hut, on a bed of sheep skins on the floor, near the warmth of the hearth. She dreamed of being on the rocks near the beach of the island. Sunning herself in her seal form. Kenna said goodbye to Coral early that morning, found her skin, then returned to the sea.

Chat. 5

Kenna swam to her usual beach. Amused herself swimming off shore. There she saw the same child as before, strolling along the beach picking up shells.

The child was wearing dishevelled clothes, she was crying, there was a bruise on her face. Kenna swam closer. The child walked along the shore. On occasion she bent down, picked up a shell and looked at it. She tossed the shell aside and went on down the beach.

Kenna swam to her cove, went into her cave. From the old cedar trunk Kenna took out clothing she used on land. By the time Kenna returned to the beach the child was gone.

Disappointed Kenna walked along the beach. She wondered who the little girl was. Why she was crying. Was it because someone had hit her? Her clothes were in sorry shape, was that part of why she was crying? Abuse, neglect, possibly lonely. Perhaps next time Kenna could meet the girl before she left the beach.

Kenna saw a young man pulling a dinghy up onto the beach. Some fisherman, she thought, at first. Only there were no nets. No poles. Nothing to indicate he had been out fishing.

The young man sees Kenna and smiles. "I've not seen you in the village."

"I don't live in the village." Kenna smiled back.

"That explains it, then." Said the man. "My name is Thomas Caroll. May I ask your name?"

"Kenna Gale. I'm simply visiting here." Kenna didn't mention that she actually lived in a cave near the beach.

"Oh, why would such a pretty girl visit such a lonely village by the sea?" Thomas finished pulling the dinghy up onto the beach. He turned it over as they talked.

"I'm visiting my Sister, who tends a flock of sheep on an island near here." Kenna had visited her Sister, that much was true.

"Really? We have a Darkie who tends sheep on the island I'm at. I serve at the lighthouse there with two other men. She lives in an old hut. Pretty thing for a Darkie."

Kenna didn't like the term the man used to describe her sister. It sounded demeaning.

"That is my Sister." Kenna said to the man as he finished with the dinghy.

The man laughed. "Well, if true, you look nothing alike."

Kenna understood what the man meant. Kenna was tall, with red hair, her skin tanned by the sun, but nowhere as dark as Coral's. Her red hair was long and straight. A gleaming bronze stream down her back. Kenna's green eyes were beautiful, but had none of the dark mystery of her exotic Sister's.

"Not all women are sisters in blood alone. Some are sisters of circumstance. Sisters of the heart." Kenna placed her hand to her heart, as if to emphasize what she said. "A man wouldn't understand."

"Oh, I might. My comrades in the lighthouse service, they are like brothers to me. People who are similar to me, not of my blood. A connection of the soul you might say." Thomas said. "I hope you didn't mind my calling her a darkie. I meant nothing by it. I suppose I should have said a person of color."

Kenna felt that the young man was being honest. Some people used terms like darkie without thinking that such words hurt other people. They weren't cruel, just ignorant of others feelings.

"I'm not offended." Kenna said. Kenna wondered if the young man lay with Coral. She wouldn't be offended, that was Coral's nature, and the nature of men. "I like you."

"There is a dance at the church in the village tonight. I'd be honored to escort you." Thomas had come into town on his day off to buy supplies.

He had meant to have a few drinks in the pub and possibly toss some darts with the locals. But, the chance to dance with a pretty girl was even better.

"I guess I'll need shoes." Kenna thought out loud.

Thomas looked down and saw the girl was barefoot. He laughed. "I guess so."

"I'll meet you at the church tonight." Kenna ran back down the beach. Excited. She hadn't been to a dance before, not one she remembered.

Thomas walked on to the village, he would order supplies from the store, pick them up in the morning. He would spend the night in the village, hopefully not alone.

Chpt. 6

Kenna bathed in a freshwater pool within her cave. Washing the smell of the sea from her. She washed her hair. An admirer had given Kenna a set with a hand mirror, brush, and comb. Brushing out her hair, Kenna went back

to her cedar chest and chose her best dress. At the bottom of the chest she found a pair of shoes.

From a crack in the cave wall, Kenna took out her jewelry box. Something she hadn't used in years. Choosing a gold necklace, a coral and shell bracelet, and a pair of clip on crystal earrings Kenna hoped it would be appropriate. Kenna hadn't been to a social event for decades. She had lost interest in human society soon after she had been reborned.

As Kenna walked through the village, she noticed how much it had changed. Houses were much the same, but there were newer buildings. Built of brick instead of stone. Smoke from the chimneys were blacker than Kenna remembered. Behind the old stone church that looked to be in disrepair was a large brick church with a town hall attached to it.

Kenna stood admiring the new building. It's red brick front was impressive. It had a bell tower that seemed to reach to the sky. It was the second highest building in the town. The highest building was the clock tower that was in the town square. It was part of the government hall.

Closer to the natural harbour that the town was built over were warehouses, also made of brick as well. On the other side of the warehouses were new factories with tall chimneys that admitted more black smoke.

Someone was standing beside Kenna. She looked over to see Thomas Caroll dressed in a brown suit. He had borrowed the suit from the tavern owner. Kenna smiled at Thomas.

Chpt. 7

Thomas noticed that Kenna looked pretty, but the clothes were quite possibly a century out of date. No doubt passed down to Kenna from her Mother who had the dress passed down to her by her Mother. It was odd though, that a poor girl from the out of the way town would have such nice clothes passed down to her.

"Aren't my clothes appropriate?" Kenna asked.

"They are fine." Thomas assured her. Antique clothing it might be, but the clothes were in fine shape. "You will be the prettiest, best dressed girl at the dance."

Kenna breathed a sigh of relief. She had seen women in cloth and wool dresses in dark colors. Wearing boots and bonnets that seemed to be in style. The bosom of Kenna's dress seemed too low, showing too much of her ample breasts.

"There are a few changes we might make." Thomas suggested. "A shawl and a bonnet."

Kenna's dress was pure silk. Although Thomas didn't know it. It's bright green color brought out the color of Kenna's eyes. Kenna selected a bright green shawl that nearly matched her dress. It was made of knitted wool. Her bonnet was black with a green ribbon and bright colored silk flowers that decorated the hat.

Kenna's expensive antique dress, her expensive necklace and shoes seemed to clash with her shell bracelet, cheap shawl and hat. People stared, but it was more because of Kenna's beauty then the clashing jewelry and clothes. Of course, Kenna's red hair, tanned skin, and bright green eyes differed from the blond haired, blue eyed natives of the village.

The village of Aila in the Scottish lowlands near the border of England wasn't such a small village anymore, it was a fair sized town, with its factories attracting new people all of the time. Rumor had it that soon the old harbor would be enlarged and modernized as well.

Despite the new people coming into the town, it's growing population due to the new factories, a person like Kenna would stand out among the locals. She looked and talked much more like a highlander, than a lowlander. Yet, there was something noble about her. More than her dress, her bearing seemed to give her the air of the upper class.

Chpt. 8

"You don't seem to know modern dances." Thomas noticed that certain local folk dances Kenna excelled at, even a waltz, but modern dances seemed to confuse Kenna. "You seem to like ragtime though."

The band was local, playing a combination of old folk tunes and ragtime. With an occasional slow dance between them, so the dancers could be more intimate. That was when they waltzed. Something Thomas had learned from an elderly Aunt.

"I like the quick beat, it's swift and strong, like the sea." Kenna said of ragtime.

"So do I. You are a strange girl. Haven't you been to a modern town before." Thomas thought that perhaps the highlander had not. Living in some mansion in an isolated village where she had not heard ragtime or seen modern society before.

"Bonjour Thomas." Said Isabelle. She was the French wife of the Mayor. "Who is your beautiful companion?"

"This is Kenna Gale." Thomas introduced Kenna. "Kenna, this is Mademoiselle Isabelle Most. She's the Mayor's wife."

"Bonjour Mademoiselle." Kenna gave Isabelle a curtzy. "Comment allez-vous?"

"Je vous bein, merci." Isabelle answered. "Tu parle tres bein le Francais."

"Merci." Kenna replied.

"Thank you, it has been some time since I could speak French with another." Isabelle said. "I hope I will see you again."

Isabelle walked off. Leaving the couple to continue their dancing. Kenna had spoken French to Isabelle before she had even thought about it. Isabelle seemed curious, but too polite to ask Kenna about how she had learned French. Kenna was glad she didn't have to make something up, because Kenna didn't know where she had learned fluent French.

"Are you a noble woman." Thomas asked. "One of those nobles who fell on hard times?"

"I may have been." Kenna had learned not to lie, but to answer questions cryptically. Letting people think that she liked to be mysterious. In truth, Kenna didn't remember. "Perhaps I ran away, afraid of being forced to marry someone I don't love."

"Oh, is that it, then." Thomas didn't think that was the case, Kenna didn't seem like the type to run away, or to be forced to do something she didn't want to.

"Perhaps." Kenna smiled at Thomas.

Chpt. 9

Kenna felt the need to go back to her cave, hear the sea. She wasn't so far away from the sea, but all of the people at the dance, the exercise, Kenna was tired and felt sick from the smokey air of the town.

"Must you go so soon?" Thomas was disappointed that he couldn't convince Kenna to come back to his room above the tavern in town.

"I'm not used to the town air, it is so different from what I'm used to." Kenna preferred the sea air to the polluted air of the town. "Last time I was here, there wasn't so much smoke. I don't know how anyone can breath it in for very long."

"When will I see you again?" Thomas didn't want to lose contact with Kenna. She was a curiosity and much smarter than some of the town girls he had met.

"Possibly the next time you come for supplies." Kenna said.

"Let me walk you back to your home." Thomas didn't want Kenna walking the streets at night. "As the town grows it is less safe at night."

"No. I will be fine." Kenna said. Thomas insisted.

Before they were ready to leave, Thomas began talking to some men in the hall. They began to drink brandy and to smoke cigars as they talked. Kenna pretended she was going to mingle with the women. Instead, Kenna slipped out the door.

Thomas searched the hall for Kenna. Until he figured out that Kenna had left on her own. Thomas hoped he would see the mysterious woman again.

"Who was she?" Isabelle asked Thomas.

"All I know is her name. She says she is here visiting her sister." Thomas said. "I think she lives somewhere on the beach. She said she knows Coral Read. But she can't be the sister Kenna is visiting."

"Ah, Coral is too dark to be Kenna's sister. I agree, but she has a noble manner." Isabelle said. "She knows French. So, maybe she is a English noble."

"Scottish is more likely, she still has a highland accent." Thomas said. "I think she comes from a noble Scottish house. Kenna's accent is light, but you can hear it. So, she may be from a poor noble house."

"Her clothes were expensive, but very outdated, her jewelry was old, and the shell bracelet homemade. The earrings were ancient and made of crystal and gold. But, her shawl and hat are new." Isabelle had been bored in this town, Kenna was the most exciting person she had met since she arrived in the dirty little Scottish lowland town. "I hope I see her again, I have so many questions about her past, her heritage, and where she was born."

Thomas hoped so too. Not just because he had questions about who Kenna was, he also had a strong desire for her. More so then he had for other women he had known.

Chpt. 10

If all of the treasure that had been lost at sea from shipwrecks were piled on land, it would make the tallest mountain in the world. Gold ore, silver ore, even copper and brass. Refined metals. Jewels of great price. Even pearls that come from the sea. There was a great deal of treasure in the Atlantic Ocean.

It helped that Kenna could dive deeper than any normal seal or person could. Unlike a seal, Kenna could spend an indefinite amount of time underwater. It was part of the magic that made Kenna what she was.

Selkie, silkie, sylkie, seal maiden, seal folk, seal fairy, were the many titles given to people like Kenna. None of the new science that was sweeping the world could explain a creature like Kenna. Only magic. Creatures like Kenna came from the ancient world where magic was as common as science was now.

Using that magic, it was easy for Kenna and her sisters to find treasure from the bottom of the ocean. Kenna knew of a recent wreck beneath the waves near the Scottish Coast. She dived to the wreck and obtained some coins that were no more than fifty years old.

Kenna dressed in a simple dress, shoes, her new hat and shawl. Kenna bought new dresses, more hats, boots, and a few other items. Kenna rented a wagon, team, and driver. Kenna had them transported to a small abandoned one room house not far from her cave.

"Here? Miss." Said the driver.

"Yes, I'm used to living simply." Kenna said as she unloaded the packages of clothes and other items she bought. "Thank you driver."

Kenna paid the driver, who promptly returned to town. Kenna looked around the centuries old house. Made of stone like many of the older buildings in town, the house had been abandoned for one of the newer brick homes in the city. It's tiled roof was even a recent addition, but no matter what improvements had been made to it, the old home was a simple, single room with a hearth. It couldn't compare to the modern homes being built in town.

Cleaning away the cobwebs, sweeping the wooden floor, Kenna started a fire in the hearth and lay blankets on the floor she had bought from the store along with her clothes, some dry goods, and some pots and pans.

From the cave, Kenna dragged up the old cedar chest. She had to empty the clothes and bring them up first, before she could manage to move the heavy chest. Her jewelry box came next, then the few skins she used for a bed, and coverings when she slept in the cave.

Chpt. 11

After putting the house in order Kenna walked down to the beach. Kenna hoped to spot the child she had seen twice before. What she found was a few mutilated crabs. Alive, but their claws, legs, one with it's eyestalks torn off. Kenna gathered them up, mercifully killing them, to make a soup out of them later.

Mutilating the crabs had been a cruel and senseless act. It bothered Kenna that someone had done this. To hunt, kill an animal for food, that was one thing. To deliberately hurt an animal and leave it to suffer was different. It took a twisted mind to do such a thing.

Chpt. 12

Thomas Caroll shovelled coal into the boiler, feeding the generator the fuel it needed to keep the electrical light in the top of the lighthouse. It was part of his duties at the lighthouse. He shared his duties with the Lighthouse Master, Oliver or Ollie Sherman, a crusty old soul with a dry sense of humor. A younger man, from the town on shore, David Tam, was Thomas' other fellow worker. A stout man from one of the larger cities, Donnie Bonyar, was the fourth man who worked at the tower.

Most of their time was spent shovelling coal, monitoring the light, making sure it was rotating properly, bright enough, and in general working order. They also took measurements and kept an eye on weather conditions. Communicating with ships at sea when they needed to.

Chpt. 13

When David or Donnie had some time off they often visited Coral, who tended goats and sheep on the island. For a pittance she sold mutton, milk, wool, and skins to the lighthouse and the townsfolk. Thomas had never visited Coral before, he didn't find colored people attractive.

It surprised Coral to see Thomas coming across the open field filled with sheep and goats, the only green spot in the rocky, desolate isle. David and Donnie had told her about him. That he didn't like 'darkies'.

"Hello. If you are looking for meat, milk, wool, or skins I usually sell it to the lighthouse or in town." Coral said. She had heard he wasn't interested in her. "Unless you want something else."

"Tell me about Kenna Gale." Thomas sat on one of the many rock outcroppings in the field.

"She is as close as a Sister to me." Coral stood with a small terrier beside her. A staff in her hand. She leaned on the staff and peered down at Thomas. "What do you want with her?"

"I like her. I'd just like to know more about her, she thinks of you as a Sister as well. So, I thought you could tell me about her." Thomas explained.

"If you want to know about Kenna Gale, you ask her." Coral said firmly. "I don't gossip about my Sister."

Thomas nodded, he understood what Coral was saying. "I plan to, but I thought you could tell me what she likes, I'd like to get her a gift. Perhaps you could tell me why she left the highlands, where she obviously was a woman of social standing."

"She likes green and blue." Coral smiled, if the man had a romantic interest, she hoped Kenna shared it. "She could most likely use some modern clothes and maybe some shoes."

Thomas laughed. Clothes and shoes for a woman was not something he knew about. That Kenna liked

green and blue did help. He thought about buying Kenna some bauble or two.

"What about her past, is there something she is afraid of, has she fled some husband or a family that may be looking for her." Thomas had wondered if Kenna had run away from her obligations to her family or husband and that was why she was hiding in a small town.

"I can tell you that she has no husband and no family other than myself, and other women we call Sisters." Coral realized that she shouldn't have mentioned that Coral and Kenna had other sisters. "Suffrage sisters, who work together for our own independence and survival in this world."

"Ahh, so she is one of those, but you don't seem to hate men." In fact, Thomas had heard that Coral enjoyed men a great deal.

"Only for purely physical reasons, not out of love or a need for marriage." Coral said frankly. "You can call me what you will, but I am free and I survive. Nor do I charge anything for the pleasure of men. Although I often receive and accept gifts from my admirers."

Coral was right, most people had a name for women like her. Nor was it very flattering. Thomas had thought of Coral that way when he first heard of her. After talking with her, he hadn't changed his opinion of her much, but he respected her honesty about it.

Chpt. 14

Someone had been hurting animals in the town lately. Isabelle heard about it from her husband. The local constables had been alerted of it by citizens who had complained that their pets and animals had been beaten or poked by sticks.

"Some spoiled little boy is doing it." Isabelle had told her husband.

Mayor Lloyd Marcus Most was newly elected, he felt handling the problem would help to solidify the next election. The animal abuse disturbed people.

"A boy might throw a rock at a dog or cat, but this person has seriously hurt some of these animals." Lloyd said to Isabelle. "I think this will be more serious then some spoiled brat."

"Oh, you make it sound like 'Bloody Jack' has arrived in Aila." Isabelle still had trouble pronouncing the Scottish name.

"I'm not saying he is a Bloody Jack just yet, but he could grow up to be one." Lloyd said. "If we can catch this boy we may learn why someone like Jack killed people in the first place."

Isabelle laughed. "What could you learn. What a child does has nothing to do with what an adult will be."

"I think that Bloody Jack was a bad seed, the reason for that might be made clear if we catch a child who is a bad seed as well. Bad as a child means bad as an adult." Lloyd was sure he was right. Find a child who was a bad seed would develop into a bad man. "Maybe if we find the bad seed in the child we can teach the child to become a good man."

Isabelle shook her head. "A bad seed is a bad seed. Once a man walks the evil path, he continues to do so."

"Well then, let's call the child misguided." Lloyd said. "We simply need to redirect that child to a new path."

"Well, no doubt you will find the spoiled child, and after a firm paddling, he will decide a new path is preferable to the punishment." Isabelle was sure that it would be a spoiled child and a spanking would certainly settle the matter.

Chpt. 15

In the cave Kenna had left a note to her Sisters in case one of them came looking for her. Coral found the note on a rock that Kenna had used as a table. It was written on the new paper using an old fashioned ink and quill that were used a century ago.

Coral followed the path that led from the cave to the cliff, followed the trail that eventually led to the stone home. Certainly more comfortable than a damp cave.

Coral knocked on the cottage door. "Ah, you found my note, how wonderful." Kenna hugged her friend.

Every Selkie or Silkie was Kenna's sister, but Coral was her dearest friend as well. Kenna's Mother had given birth to Kenna, then left her after a year, never to return. It wasn't uncommon, but Kenna felt lost. Coral had found Kenna and helped Kenna adjust to the life she had been reborn into.

"Well, this is much better than my old hut." Coral noticed that the house didn't have much furniture.

There was the old cedar chest, a bed on the floor made of blankets. In one corner was a wardrobe with the few articles of clothing that Kenna owned. Kenna's jewelry box sat on the mantle of the fireplace.

At the old hearth were some new pots and pans, hanging on nails on either side of the hearth. Coral had started out this way, just a few things. It was amazing how things could add up over the years.

"Chairs, or stools, or something to set on." Coral suggested as the two women ate crab chowder sitting on the floor. "You might think about a table and regular bed as well."

"I'll have to buy it and haul it out here, if I decide it's necessary." Kenna was reluctant to clutter her home with unnecessary things.

"If you want guests, I suggest it. Especially if you plan to have male guests. Men like beds for their activities." Coral didn't think that was necessarily true, but Coral found such activities more comfortable on a bed. "It is also nice to sit at a table like a civilized person when one has guests."

"I am thinking of a garden, some goats, and sheep." Kenna confided with Coral. "But, I think I may have to either buy or pay rent on this cottage eventually."

"Why? It was abandoned. Wasn't it?" Coral had never paid anything for the hut she lived in. Nor the small field where her sheep and goats grazed. She had simply moved in, as Kenna did with this cottage.

"Things have changed in the world. You can't migrate or live where you wish, or because no one else wants the land any longer." Kenna had been wandering about the town, eavesdropping on conversations. "This land may be owned by someone, as a result I may need to buy it from that person to keep this place as my permanent home."

"You know that isn't possible, not near a village like this. Or is it a town, I don't keep track of such things." Coral admitted. "In either case, you will eventually be discovered. If you are discovered, you know what that means."

Every seal maiden knew what discovery meant. Persecution. Hate. Fear. Although that tended to change about a century ago, discovery often resulted in the same three things. Persecution. Hate. Fear. Normally followed by accusations of witchcraft and death.

Attempts had been made to drown seal maidens until their nature was revealed. More often than not, the seal maiden was thrown bond into a lake, where they freed themselves and swam away. Naturally then fled the community, never to return.

Then hanging became popular. That was something that would kill a seal maiden. Silkies like Kenna and Coral began to withdraw from civilization. Especially during the inquisition and the burning of witches.

Only recently had silkies begun to to attempt to live among the mortals again, but they still had to be careful, because they were immortal.

Chpt. 16

Coral got away with her living in the isolated hut on a desolate isle, but then they lighthouse was built a century ago. Coral continued to live there because the lightkeepers rotated often.

Coral isolated herself from the village, and was fairly self supportive. She often claimed that she was the third generation of her family to live on the island as independent women. This tended to settle questions about her age. Coral claimed to be the granddaughter of the woman who originally settled on the island. No one questioned her.

"One good thing about this location is that I can eventually move back to the cave if I need to. The cave's back exit is well hidden, and few people know of it's existence from the beach." The cave Kenna spoke of was camouflage by nature, a crack in the cliff, that one didn't really see until they were on top of it. "So, it won't be discovered any time soon. I like to wander, so like you I might leave the town for a while, and return to it years later. Claiming to be my own daughter."

Coral had done that. Left her island hut for years, in the care of another sister, to return and claim to be her own daughter come to claim her inheritance. It usually worked. The newer Coastal Lighthouse Service made this more difficult. They wanted to buy Coral's land on the isle. She feared if she tried to leave her hut again for years on end, she would lose it.

"I think you are right. Go into town tomorrow. Find out who owns the land, and use what treasure you find in the ocean to buy the land." Coral knew that treasure was fairly plentiful in the ocean.

"I have some jewels, I'll try to trade them for the land." Kenna said. These were part of jewelry, although Kenna had her share of that, but loose gemstones, that had made good currency over the years. "I also have some Spanish doubloons that I found off the Southern American Coast. I imagine enough time has passed that the English will not suspect I am some Spanish spy."

"Two hundred year old Spanish doubloons might raise questions, but gold is gold, my dear Sister." Coral was sure that Kenna wouldn't be considered a Spanish spy. "Although I'd offer the gemstones first."

Chpt. 17

"Miss, do you know what these are?" The land speculator looked at the glittering gems in front of him.

"Emeralds, sapphires, rubies, opals, and pearls." Kenna shrugged her shoulders, as if what she presented were mere baubles. "I am hoping to use them as currency, since I don't have the paper currency that seems so popular."

"I'm no gem merchant, Miss, but the goldsmith here might buy them from you. He makes jewelry and other things." The speculator told Kenna.

"It's worth more money than I got." Admitted the goldsmith. Kenna had visited him after the speculator had told her to visit the goldsmith.

The goldsmith bought some of Kenna's gemstones for a few hundred pounds he had to borrow from the bank. He would pay the bank back with interest, though. Kenna accepted a bargain price for those gems she did sell, and the goldsmith assured her they could do business again, later. The gems were worth the loan from the bank, as far as the goldsmith was concerned.

Kenna returned to the land speculator and bought the cottage and surrounding land. She took some of the paper currency she had left and bought a table, chairs, rolltop desk, stationary, and a large bed.

She paid the same man she had paid before to haul the furniture to her cottage. Kenna paid the man in paper currency. Adding a few extra pounds as the man unloaded the furniture with the help of his assistant. The two men arranged the furniture in the cottage for Kenna.

The man who owned the wagon was middle-aged and married. If he looked at Kenna, it was because Kenna was beautiful, but not out of lust. The young man who helped him eyed Kenna boldly. So much so that the older man berated the younger as the wagon drove away afterward.

Chpt. 18

Thomas had counted the days until he could find an excuse to come back into town. Rowing the dinghy onto shore. As if she anticipated Thomas' arrival, Kenna sat on a rock, dressed in a modern Victorian dress. Still barefoot, Kenna smiled at Thomas from her perch on the rock.

"How did you know I was coming?" Thomas smiled back as he pulled the boat ashore.

"The sea speaks to me." Kenna said cryptically. It did speak to her. Kenna was born in the ocean, it seemed to talk to her in an instinctual way. "I know the weather, migration of fish, and when a certain lighthouse keeper comes to town."

"I have to order some supplies, after that I'm free to do what I want." Thomas said.

Kenna had left her boots at the top of the cliff path that led down to the beach. Thomas admired Kenna's lower calves as she put on the boots. Kenna didn't seem to have any modesty about showing her calves and ankles. Kenna didn't appear to even care that Thomas saw them.

"I have a cottage now, I bought it a few days ago." Kenna told Thomas as they walked down the path to the town. "It's away from the town, I don't like the coal smoke from the factories."

"Have you decided to stay here?" Thomas asked.

"For a little while." Kenna smiled at Thomas. "Would you like some tea?"

Thomas ordered the supplies the lighthouse needed. After leaving the drygoods store, Kenna led Thomas to her cottage outside of the town.

Thomas sat at the table. Kenna had an open closet and Thomas could see the new dresses mixed with a few older ones. Her shoes, ankle length boots, and full length boots were set neatly in the bottom of her closet.

"You read and write?" Thomas noticed the rolltop desk. He could see the pile of paper and the ink well.

"Of course." Kenna had prepared the fire, she was heating water in a kettle on a hook over the open flame of the fire. "Do you know that they have a substitute for a quill called a fountain pen?"

"Quill? You were still using a quill?" Thomas felt he shouldn't be shocked. Kenna seemed to have several old fashion habits, but to not know what a fountain pen was seemed strange.

"I haven't been to a modern town in a while, I thought this place was still the little village that used to be here years ago." Kenna took the old clay mugs that she used in the cave when one of her Sisters came to visit. Kenna picked up a couple of tea infusers from the store when she bought her pots and pans. "I like these, they don't use as many leaves and make tea easier."

Thomas didn't mention that tea bags were becoming popular these days and the tea infusers were most likely a thing of the past. "Kenna, I know from your accent you were born in the highlands. You appear to be moderately wealthy. Were you highborn?"

Kenna flashed Thomas a smile. "Why would you think I was either a highlander or highborn."

"You speak with that highlander accent. I think it's been a while since you left your home, but that accent is still there." Thomas had noted the accent from the first, thinking it had a different sound from the lowlander Scots. "I think you were some Scottish noble's daughter because you speak French, no common born Scott would speak fluent French."

"Thomas, French is a common enough language, but yes, I was born in the highlands." Kenna saw no reason to deny she was originally a highlander. "I wasn't born in some dark, dank castle on some ocean cliff though. I'm pretty sure of that."

"I think you were born in a manor, roughly a hundred years old, and your Father was most likely third or forth generation lord of that manor." Thomas imagined some Georgian manor where women danced in a grand hall.

"You have a romantic streak that I didn't expect from a lighthouse keeper." Kenna sat across the table from Thomas. Using a small chain to remove the tea infuser.

"You are a mystery, my dear Kenna." Thomas removed his own tea infuser and placed it on the table. He sipped on the strong black tea. It a malty flavor to it.

"I'm sorry that I don't have any milk or sugar for your tea, I'm not completely settled in." Kenna had liked milk and sugar in her tea at some time. Kenna would still put goat's milk in her tea when she visited Coral. "I've gotten used to doing without I'm afraid."

"I drink my tea black." Thomas admired Kenna.

Kenna's hair still flowed down her back, straight and long. Her green eyes seemed to have a depth to them. Kenna's tanned skin from time in the sun wasn't considered attractive to some people, but Thomas thought it added to her beauty.

"Do you like me?" Kenna asked.

"Very much." Thomas admitted.

"I don't wish to appear to be too bold, but it's been a very long time since I've been with a man." Kenna had never found much time for men after her rebirth. "If you wish, you can stay with me for the night."

Thomas was shocked. Was this why Kenna was called Coral 'Sister'. Because they were both forward with men about what they wanted. Shocked or not, Thomas didn't have the willpower to resist Kenna's tempting request.

Chpt. 19

Thomas woke up in the morning to find Kenna was already awake, cooking eggs. She had boiled water for tea. Kenna had already fried some eggs and onions.

"I'm sorry that I have to leave." Thomas admitted.

"I'll still be here when you visit town again." Kenna teased as she served Thomas the potatoes, onions, and eggs on a old clay plate. Along with tea.

Kenna walked back to town with Thomas. Thomas talked about the lighthouse, the two men he worked with, and a little about the work he did. Kenna said very little. On their way to down the saw a girl throwing rocks at a Rooster from one of the nearby cottages.

"Stop that you little brat." The girl turned around. Kenna recognized her from the beach. Thomas dodged a rock she threw at him. "You little monster."

Thomas charged after the girl. She ran off down the road with Thomas in pursuit. When the girl ran down a path, Thomas regained his composure and walked back to where Kenna stood.

"I'm going to find out who that little monster is." Thomas fumed. "I hope her parents blister her bottom when I do."

Kenna doubted that her parents would blister her bottom as Thomas hoped. If they had, Kenna felt that the girl wouldn't have thrown rocks at the rooster to begin with.

"It's been such a nice walk, lets not let that 'little monster' as you call her spoil it." Kenna had enjoyed walking with Thomas, listening to him speak about his job and his companions. "Do you see Coral often?"

"Not as often as some of the others." Thomas didn't lay with the woman the way they did. "I like to feel some connection to the woman I lie with, I hope you feel that connection as well."

"I don't offer myself to just any man." Kenna knew that Coral offered herself to several men. That wasn't her business, but Kenna usually picked one man and that was the man she lay with. "I'm not the kind to marry, though, I admit that."

"I have no immediate desire to marry anyone." Thomas assured Kenna. "I think we have a good arrangement, but I'd hate to think about sharing you with another man."

"You shouldn't worry about that." Kenna said. "I prefer to deal with only one man. A man I am attracted to and I like, that is you Thomas."

Thomas picked up the supplied. Brought them down to his dinghy, with Kenna's help he turned it over and rowed the supplies to the lighthouse.

"I'll be back in a week or two." Thomas told Kenna before he left. "If I don't find you on the beach again, I'll go straight to your cottage."

They kissed goodbye. Kenna sat on a rock and watched as Thomas rowed back to the lighthouse.

Chpt. 20

Kenna saw the child walk down the path leading to the beach. Kenna turned to face her. The child must have recognized Kenna, she picked up a rock to throw at her.

"I wouldn't do that." Kenna warned her. It did no good.

Kenna stepped quickly to the side, then sprang towards the girl. Before the girl could run, Kenna caught her arm. The girl yelped.

"I'm going to take you to your parents, I hope they blister your bottom." Kenna was as outraged as Thomas had been that the girl threw a rock at her.

"No!!" It was a wail. Half plea, half hysteria.

Kenna noted the bruises, the blackened eye, it was more than a troublesome child it was obvious to Kenna she was being beaten.

"I won't tell your parents." Kenna felt that telling the girl's parents wouldn't matter. Her parents seem to beat her enough as it was.

"Why are you throwing rocks at people, animals, and hurting others?" Kenna walked the girl back to the rock she had been sitting on.

"My Da hurts me, so why not?" Said the girl.

"I would think that you would feel sorry for those animals you hurt, because you are being hurt." Kenna could feel an anger in the girl. "What is your name?"

"You just want to find out my name so you can take me to Da and he will hit me again." The girl tried to bolt away, but Kenna had a supernatural speed that the girl did not have.

Seal maidens were very fast, stronger than they looked. Some of their other senses were stronger too, like their hearing and sense of smell. Kenna help onto the girl's arm so she couldn't run away.

"My name is Kenna Gale. You threw a rock at Thomas. A friend of mine. I want to know why." Kenna said. "I don't want to hurt you, I might even help you, if you let me."

"Emma Doyle. My Da is Marcus Doyle. Ma is dead." Emma felt trapped by this woman. "You smell bad."

"That isn't a very nice thing to say." Kenna looked the child over. "If I smell, it's of the ocean. You smell because you haven't bathed in days. Are your clothes always this torn and dirty, of do you do that? Is that why you are beaten, because you tear your clothes?"

"Da don't have time to worry about clothes or me. He's got other things to take care of. He beats me because I'm there to beat, like he beat my Ma." Emma didn't know why the strange woman was asking about her. Nobody cared about Emma, Emma knew that.

"Is that why your Mother died, your Father beat her?" Kenna kept hold of Emma's arm. She watched Emma squirm. Emma wanted to run away from Kenna, but she couldn't break Kenna's grip.

"No." Emma had a defiance in her voice. "She died trying to birth my brother. Only they both died, so Da beats me for it, because it's my fault."

"How is it your fault that your Mother and Brother died?" Kenna felt that the child was exaggerating. Her Father couldn't possibly blame Emma for the death of her Mother. "Your Mother died by God's will, not through anything you did."

"I don't know how, it just is. That's why Da beats me, because I'm alive and Ma is dead." Emma insisted.

Kenna shook her head. "Let's swim in the sea."

Chpt. 21

Kenna had begun to miss the sea. She needed to swim in the ocean again. "I can't swim." Emma told her.

"I'll teach you." Kenna stood up and let the girl go.

"Why?" Emma didn't bolt. She was curious about this strange woman who showed kindness to her.

"If you live next to the sea, you should learn how to swim." Kenna didn't mention the fact that it would clean some of the dirt off the girl.

"What are you doing?" Said the girl.

"Getting ready for a swim." Kenna replied.

"You can't swim naked." Emma looked away.

"Oh?!. Why not?" Kenna sounded amused.

Emma put her hands on her hips. "Ain't proper. That's why."

"It is not proper to do in public, but there is no one here. Seldom is. People have more important things to do in this century then spend time on a beach or swim in the ocean." Kenna took the girl's hand. "Come along now."

"Shouldn't I take off my clothes?" Emma started to pull away.

"Considering, it wouldn't hurt those clothes to have a good wash." Kenna steered the child to the ocean waves.

Kenna had considered doing the rebirth then, but the child so enjoyed herself learning to swim that Kenna decided that this happy moment wasn't the time. There were other factors to consider as well.

The girl's clothes were laid out on a rock to dry. She was wrapped up in a blanket. Kenna has seen the extent of the bruising on the girl's body. These beatings were not because she hurt animals or other people, these beatings were done out of malice.

"Your Da is angry. That is why he beats you." Kenna said as she got dressed again. "Angry that your Mother and Brother died. So angry that your Father doesn't realize what a blessing you are."

"He don't call me that. He says that I should of died, not my Brother, that I'm useless." Emma was angry at well, she was being hurt for something she had no control over. "And since Ma died, there's no chance he'll have any one to pass his legacy to. Whatever a legacy is."

"A legacy is passing on what you own, what you know to your children or others. Your Da doesn't think he can teach you his legacy or pass what he has to you, so he's angry about it." Kenna had a flash of memory of her own Father standing in a paneled study. She gave her head a quick shake to clear it. "Perhaps you can convince him that now you are the only legacy he does have, and he needs to care and nurture you to pass on that legacy."

"I don't care about his legacy. He's got nothing I want, nothing to pass on to me." Emma threw a rock at one of the sea birds.

"Emma!" Kenna saw the girl cower and regretted yelling at her. "You already have your Father's legacy. He passed his anger and his desire to hurt others to you. Before you throw another rock at an animal or a person, or break off the legs of a crab, remember that. That is the legacy your Father gave you."

Emma knew Kenna had told the truth. She simmered in her anger about it. That Kenna was right. Da had taught Emma to hurt. Gave her the anger in her soul. A hatred that manifests itself in Emma when she hurt animals or threw rocks at others. It made Emma think about it, made Emma admit to herself that when she did these things she was being like her Father.

Chpt. 22

"Yes, mum, I know Anthony Dolye beat his daughter." Considering what you told me, about her hurting animals around here, I can see why he does." Chief Constable Adair Chishom had a thick Scottish accent. "Can't tell a man how to treat his family. Maybe Andy will beat the evil out of the child eventually."

"Do you have family?" Kenna had gone to the Constables' Office after she left the beach with Emma, whom slipped away from Kenna. "Do you try to beat the evil out or your children?"

"I do, with three wee ones." Admitted the Constable. "I swat them now and again when I need to, but my children are good for the most part."

"No doubt they will be good adults as well, because you discipline them properly. I can tell you have a good spirit, Chief Constable Chishom." Kenna could tell that the portly, middle-aged man appreciated Kenna's praise. That and Kenna's good looks helped keep his attention as well. "But Emma Doyle's actions are caused by the abuse she suffers, not the other way around. Emma gets a beating by her Father, then she hurts animals. In this case, Emma's Father is beating the evil into the child."

"I can't interfere with a Father disciplining his child." Adair told Kenna. "I'd get the entire village into an uproar."

Kenna left the Constables' Station feeling she accomplished nothing. Kenna had to ask around before she found out where the Mayor lived. Kenna dressed in some of the finest of her new clothes. Then went and knocked on the Mayor's door. Asking for Isabelle by name.

Chpt. 23

"Is Ma'am expected?" Asked the man who answered the door. Some valet.

"No." Kenna said. "Madame Most and I met at a town dance. She asked me to come visit her."

"C'est toi, Mademoiselle Gale." Isabelle's voice drifted in from the other room. Isabelle stepped through an arched entrance into the foyer of the hosue. "Bonjour mon cher."

Isabelle turned to her butler. "It's alright, Henry, Kenna is a friend of mine." Isabelle switched to English when she addressed Henry.

"Please come into my parlor." Isabelle gestured to the room she came into the foyer from. Isabelle was speaking to Kenna in French. "It is so pleasing to speak to someone in my native language."

"I am glad I can oblige you." Kenna responded to French. "I came to ask a favor." Kenna went on to explain about the abused little girl.

"My husband has been looking for that particular child." Isabelle now felt a sympathy for the poor child. "My husband felt that maybe she was a bad seed, but she might be saved with proper discipline."

"Discipline is not what she need, just kindness." Kenna had seen the bruises on the little girls body. "No child should be beaten like that. It is the reason she has become so vicious herself."

"My husband will send a constable for her. Perhaps a little time in a jail cell will teach the child some restraint." Isabelle felt certain that no matter what the child was a bad seed that needed some form of correction.

Kenna started to object. "Perhaps it will, but if someone was to show her kindness. Offering to adopt her, to show her tolerance and that discipline need not be cruel or vicious, she might learn how to be kind to others."

Isabelle looked at her new friend. "And that person who wishes to adopt her would be me?"

"No, it would be me. She will not live a rich, or spoiled life, but I will show her kindness." Kenna explained.

"You are a unmarried woman, the child should be placed in a home with both a Mother and Father." Isabelle was certain that the village would object if the took the child from her Father and gave her over to an unmarried woman. "Besides we cannot take a child from her Father."

"You are going to arrest her, if you do that you are essentially taking her from her Father." Kenna didn't understand what the difference would be. "All I'm asking is that you place her with me, for her own safety."

"After a night in jail, so that she can consider her actions." Isabelle couldn't understand how Kenna could ask her to persuade her husband to take the child from her Father. "After that she will be returned to her Father and perhaps all the wiser. So, her Father won't feel it is necessary to beat her. I'm sorry Kenna, but I've only met you once before, you cannot seriously believe I could consider turning the child over to you. She should stay with her Father."

Chpt. 23

Kenna felt defeated. She walked back to her cottage. On the way Kenna heard a man screaming. That was followed by Emma's own screams. Kenna ran down a path she had seen Emma take after she threw a rock at Thomas. Coming to a rundown home.

In front of the home stood the man with her hand tangled in Emma's hair. In front of the man was an angry constable whom held a billy club in his hand.

"Sir! Unhand the poor child." Like the Chief Constable this man had a thick Scottish accent. "As I said, I am here to take the child into custody. There is no reason to manhandle the poor child this way."

Kenna watched Emma turn and viciously bite her Father's hand. It earned Emma a smack from the Father's free hand, but he let go of her hair. Emma saw Kenna running down the path and ran to her.

Emma threw her arms around Kenna. Kenna picked Emma up in her arms. Kenna ran with Emma hugging Kenna's neck as she carried her.

There was a scuffle behind Kenna as she ran. Kenna heard the thud of the billy club as it met the charging form of the Father. Instead of running after Kenna Marcus Doyle attacked the constable. Too angry to notice that Kenna had ran off with her child.

"Where are we going?" Emma asked as she clung to Kenna as she ran.

"To the ocean." Kenna put the child down. She looked over her shoulder and saw no one was running after her. "I need you to be a good girl and stay with me. We are going to a place where you can hide. No one is going to hurt you again. You must not leave the cave I'm going to take you to, or they will take you back to your Father."

Chpt. 24

Kenna took the child to her former home in the cave. Afterwards she left Emma, giving her strict instructions to remain in the cave until Kenna came back with bedding for her. Kenna went to her cottage to find Isabelle waiting for her there.

"Emma's Father has attacked a constable. He says that a red-haired woman ran off with the child." Isabelle had been waiting for Kenna at her doorstep.

"Will you come in." Kenna said.

"The child is inside?" Isabelle let Kenna open the door. The one room cottage appeared empty.

"No." Kenna shook her head. "That poor frightened child pulled away from me after kicking me in the shin. You were right, she needs discipline. I was trying to help her when she kicked me."

"Poor frighten child indeed. She kicked you because she is a vicious creature. Like her Father. Perhaps with proper instruction she might be saved, but once a child turns bad only a strong hand can save her."

Kenna nodded. "Something drastic will need to be done with her, I'm afraid."

"You have a quiant little home, but I'm sure you could afford better." Isabelle looked around. "There are large houses in town, you could hire staff to serve your needs."

"This is sufficent for my needs." To Kenna it was a step up from the cave she had lived in. It was even a step up from Coral's little hut on the island.

"You are a strange woman, Kenna Gale. You could live quite lavishly. Instead you've chosen to live here." Isabelle replied.

"I guess I am eccentric." Kenna admitted. "I hope you find the child. She deserves a better life than to be beaten by her Father."

Isabelle left soon afterwards. Kenna grabbed some bedding and took it to the cave. Emma had done what Kenna had asked of her. Staying in the cave. Kenna waited until the exhausted child fell asleep.

Chpt. 24

Pulling back a stone, Kenna took out her seal skin. Donning it, Kenna left the sleeping child, swimming to the island where Coral lived. Kenna had told Emma she might have to go out and get them some food. She would use that as an excuse if Emma woke up and found Kenna gone. Kenna wasn't going to the island to visit Coral, but Thomas. She needed him, before she could save Emma.

When Coral arrived at the lighthouse asking for Thomas the other lighthouse keepers were surprised. It was well known that Thomas had nothing to do with what was considered the island harlot. After Coral had a private conversation with Thomas, he had left the lighthouse with the master's permission.

Meeting Kenna in the little hut where Coral had spent the past few years, Thomas was shocked to find her naked. Their second time together was passionate, more so then the first. There seemed to be a desperation in Kenna, a need that Thomas had not noticed the first time they were together in her cottage.

Then it was over. Kenna made no confessions of love, nor would she have it from Thomas. Kenna would always remember Thomas, just as he would always remember Kenna, but neither would see the other again.

Coral had gone to Kenna's cave to find Emma was still asleep. Coral slipped out of her skin. Placing it to the side. She watched the sleeping child stir now and then.

Seal maidens had certain magics that they could use. Coral used such a spell to keep Emma sleeping until Kenna could finish what she needed to do. By the time Kenna arrived Coral had allowed her spell to lapse.

Chpt. 25

"It's time." Kenna said as she scooped up the child.

"Are you certain that this is what you want?" Coral remembered one of her own daughters who turned out wrong. "This is a decision you must live with forever."

"Yes, I have to do this." Kenna replied.

"Kenna?" Emma's sleepy voice was little more than a murmur. "Are we going now?"

"Yes, we are leaving now." Kenna told Emma.

"Why are we going for a swim? I don't want to, I'm so sleepy." Emma complained. "The water is cold."

"Shh, it will only last a moment." Kenna assured her.

Chpt. 26

Isabelle heard that Emma's body was found on the beach. Thomas, one of the lighthouse keepers, had found her. The pitiful child had bruises on most of her body. How she had drowned no one knew.

Isabelle had gone to Kenna's cottage to find it was abandoned. Kenna's clothes were gone. Another woman had disappeared at the same time. Coral from the lighthouse isle who tended the sheep there had disappeared as well.

Kenna lived in the old house on the Maine coast with a woman of color. It was not what many people expected. Coral was not Kenna's servant. The widowed pregnant woman treated Coral as an equal. Coral in turn lovingly cared for Kenna through her pregnancy.

No one knew exactly when Kenna had given birth to the child Kenna named Emma. Coral had taken Kenna down to the sea. Had there been any witnesses to the birth, the superstitious Maine residents would have accused Kenna of witchcraft. For Kenna had given birth to a seal, not a child. Until Coral pulled the skin from the seal pup to reveal a beautiful child. And that was what people saw when they visited the two women at their house.

The two women had disappeared a few days after the birth when some of the local town folk mentioned how the child seemed to grow with a supernatural speed. The abandoned house gave no clue as to where they went.

Chpt. 27

Kenna Gale had arrived in the small French town of Par La Mer. It was obvious by her accent that Kenna was a foreigner. Her ten year old child was cared for by a woman called Coral. Kenna claimed to be a widower.

"It's been a year." Coral said. "She will mature as any child would, until she reaches the age of twenty or so. Then, she will be like you and me, aging no more."

"She seems well adjusted." Kenna, Coral, and Emma had spent the last year swimming in the warm water of the Florida coast.

The isolated coast of Florida had proven the perfect place for Kenna and Coral to stay while the child Kenna gave birth to grew at an accelerated rate until the appeared to be ten years old. There was no one to see them, no one to explain things to.

Coral looked over at the child, who was playing with some of the local French children. "She seems to have no memory of her past life. That would be a blessing."

"She has the nightmares." Kenna sighed. "I dream of my rebirth sometimes. The freezing water. How it flooded into my lungs, the brief pain."

"Perhaps she remembers being reborn as you do, or perhaps she remembers her vicious beatings from her Father." Coral hoped that the memories would not haunt the child.

"I think the hardest thing will be keeping Emma from revealing her secret." Kenna said. "She's at that age where she doesn't understand why she has to hide who we are, or why it is so important to keep the secret."

"That will pass when the child realizes that mortals fear anything that is different or they don't understand. As a 'foreigner' here in France, she will learn about that fear from the children's parents. Because Emma and you are different from them, they can never fully accept you. Then the time will come when you two must leave."

"Hopefully, they will not notice as Emma grows up, that I do not age. It will be at least another six years before Emma can live on her own in the sea or on land."

Kenna watched the happy little girl playing with the other girls. "At least she will grow up happy. Not a beaten, hurting child whose miserable life had no hope."

Coral nodded. Yes, Emma seemed happy. Coral hoped that Emma would continue to be happy. Because Coral wanted Kenna to be happy as well.

 

 

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