The Woman by the Rock Pools- Short Story

March 05, 2014

The Woman by the Rock Pools

          Every night he would see her. Crimson wavy hair that resembled silk ribbons, cascaded down to her waist and her peachy skin appeared as soft as a chick's feather. He did not know why she was there, nor did he ever approach her. He just watched as she sat on the rock pools by the tides. In all his years, he had never seen such beauty. He had never married or found love with any woman he had seen. But now, something was different, this rock pool woman had become everything to him. He didn't even know her name but seeing her by the tide each night was his favourite part of the day.
             He was a fairly well off gentleman, who lived on the Scottish coast in a picturesque house made out of white stone that in the sunlight, beamed so brightly it could be spotted from the nearby islands. Chosen, for the fact he loved the sea and to fish with his fellow men. He was one of the finest fishermen the village had ever seen. He regularly brought fish he had caught on a market day to sell to the villagers. He was well known in his village and loved for his elevating mood and spirit. Everyone who met him was overwhelmed by his jolly soul and ability to babble away for hours in a conversation on just about anything. Most nights he would go to the village hall to take part in community gatherings. Taking part in these activities kept him occupied as he lived alone. Recently however he hadn't been turning up quite as frequently. Not since he'd seen her. For some unknown reason when he saw her, he was mesmerised and couldn't take his eyes off of her.
         It was a blustery Tuesday night when he next saw her- sitting once again by the tide. Her hair was blowing uncontrollably in the breeze, but she did not seem to care. She must have been freezing, for he was wearing three layers of warm clothing and she was completely naked.
 "What was she doing?" He wondered. He decided tonight would be the night he would speak to her. Enough was enough, he had to meet her. He scrambled steadily over the sharp rocks that lead down from the hill onto the beach. He paused for a moment, catching his breath and preparing himself.
"E-e-excuse me m'am. You-You must be freezing down here," he stuttered. He slowly took his red coat off from around his shoulders and put it in his arms. The lady slowly looked around, her red hair straggling across her face. She lifted one hand to gently tuck it behind her ear, although it almost straight away blew back down.
"Hello there." She spoke in a tone so soft, for a moment he questioned if she were an angel. Her blue eyes were the colour of the ocean in front of her. She smiled-her lips as red as the most beautiful rose bud.  " I am rather chilly, I suppose." She nodded in the direction of his coat. He hesitated and then realised what she meant and he walked closer and handed it to her. She looked confused as to how to put it on.
"Oh it goes like this. First arm.." He said as he helped her into his warm jacket. She shut her eyes unhurriedly and then soon opened them again. " What's your name m'am? If that's not too rude a question to ask".
" Of course it isn't" She giggled with a luminous charm. " Chrisselle".
"Hello, Chrisselle, I'm Adrian. It's awfully horrible weather, would you like to come in for some tea?" He plucked up the courage to say, but then stared at the ground, afraid he'd asked too much.
" What's tea?!" Chrisselle looked puzzled.  Adrian did a sideward smile, unsure if she genuinely did not know. He held out both his hands ,which were about twice the size of Chrisselle's delicate ones, and helped her up. She tightly gripped at the coat he had lent her to keep the chill away. They both climbed over the jagged  rocks and up the sand banks until they reached his white dwelling.
      Two hours went by and the pair had told many stories to each other, talking almost as if they had known each other all their life. Adrian had found out some old clothes, a green cardigan and some old cream coloured trousers, that had once belonged to his deceased mother and allowed Chrisselle to wear them. The clock was ticking, it was getting rather late. Did she not have anywhere to be? Nevertheless it didn't matter. Adrian loved the beauty's company. However at the stroke of midnight, Adrian had walked back into the living room with two more cups of tea, to find her gone.
     In the short space of two weeks, the pair had spent every daylight hour together and shortly became engaged. Every night she would disappear without a word. But Adrian did not care. He loved Chrisselle to much to ask, and the thought of asking only made him fear losing her. On the evening before  their wedding the men from the village thought it would be a brilliant idea to go hunting, as a celebration of his betrothal. In the village it was popular to hunt seals. Seals were big around these areas and had good skins and fur to make coats and boots out of. Although a horrific idea, Adrian went along with it. He'd never really been much of a hunter  but picked it up very easily. The men sat on their wooden boats, fishing and hunting for four hours. They laughed, drank and sang merry folk songs until their throats were sore. They had reminisced about their own weddings and Adrian had admitted his undying love for Chrisselle and how he had never been truly happy until he'd met her.
        At the end of the night the men reeled their nets in and brought them to the shore. They were horrified at what they found next. Amongst the few seals and fish they had managed to catch, lay something they couldn't believe. They undid the net and looked in horror at the dead, bloody thing lying before them. It had one mangled seal tail with velvety wet fur. But the further up the body it got the less fur and the more peachy skin there was. Its face and head, once beautiful, was now a red dripping mess, with ripped crimson hair separated in wet strands. They all stood in silence. Adrian returned from tying the boats up, merrily he waddled up to his friends, at first smiling until seeing their faces. He looked down at the ground. It was her. His beauty. His wife to be- Chrisselle. She was half seal and half woman and she was dead. Adrian fell to knees, cutting them badly on the sharp pebbles as he went. He lay his soaking wet face across her bloody body, as his tears absorbed into her skin.

        As the years went past people of the village barely saw Adrian again. Tales and rumours were told of the old man who lived in the white stone house overlooking the shore. And how he fell in love with a Selkie, a woman that can shed her seal skin and become a human and for the rest of his days he mourned her death.  He never met anyone else and never got married. He lived the rest of his days by himself. He could never forgive himself for killing the one person he had ever loved. The only thing that had given him a reason to be happy.

Written by Laura Sexton

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