Monday, May 4, 2015

Must Write Monday: A Song From the Sea

Today I wish to share with you some of a short story I'm writing for a competition. I don't know what competition, but I'm sure it'll fit in somewhere! Probably. It's a story that takes place in 1880's Ireland. I hope you enjoy it. Writing it has been fun for me, a nice break from aliens to write about the mysteries of Ireland and how life and magic there always seem to find each other. Enjoy!


Everyone knew Einin was different. After all, the ocean gave her to us. She was wrapped in seaweed, and she didn't cry. I know because I was the one who found her. I wasn't more than a wee lad m'self, three years old and only a bit past me da's knee. Truthfully, I don't know how it was I spotted her. I think t'was the Good Folk that guided me. Our family has always had that sort of luck. She wasn't crying when I held her in my arms, her big dark eyes staring up as if she'd been waiting this whole long while for me. Da had taken her from my arms then, looking fair wild with his red cheeks and big vein thumping on his forehead.

“Aengus, what've you gone and done lad?”

“The ocean gave her to me, Da.”

I still remember him looking as if the hounds of hell were upon him, breathing fast and staring at the babe wide eyed. Sure, if I'd known picking the wee thing up was wrong, I'd have repented a million times over.

“We'll just see what your mother has to say about this. Get you to your sister, and mind you don't tell anyone about this. T'will be our secret for now.”

I remember running as fast as my sturdy legs could carry me over the rocky ground, shouting for my elder sister, Mary. She'd been looking for muscles on the beach, and hadn't been minding me as she should. A good thing too. She wouldn't listen to a word I said, she never did. She only smacked my head and said not to go wandering off or it was sure and certain a selkie would whisk me away, and then what would mother say?

“She'd cry enough to drown us out of our home. D'you want that for us?”

“No. But Mary--”

“Don't talk back to me Aengus MacNamara, or sure I'll go and tell mother t'was you who drank the fresh cream last Sunday! Be a good lad and carry this basket.”

Mary never noticed father holding the babe in his arms, but then, it was hard for her to see past her own nose most days. If it t'wasn't about her friend Maureen, or Ryan down the road, she'd 'ruther not pay attention a'tall. I carried that heavy basket of muscles all the way up the beach and over a slope to our home, with Mary all the while looking for Maureen or Ryan. My eldest sister, Kathleen, was sitting by the door, knitting. She had golden hair and eyes so blue they'd brought boys from two towns away to our home. But she never paid them mind. 

Da had reached home before us, and I could hear him and mother speaking in the sort of tones they used when one of us was in trouble. I sat by Kathleen, leaving the muscles next to the door. She paused the clicking of her needles and looked down at me.

“I heard Da say you found a babe in the ocean, Aengus.”

“I did.”
“Must be a lost selkie. I hope they throw it back.”

“Why?” I didn't much care for the idea of throwing back something I'd just gone and found.

“I don't think they eat our sort of food. And then what will happen to the poor thing? Besides, it might bring bad luck.

Sure, I hadn't thought of that. Mother came out then, her face sweaty from tending the fire and her cheeks as red as Da's. She was holding the babe in her arms, and it was staring back at me with it's strange dark eyes.

“Aengus, tell me how you came by this girl.”

I explained as best I could that I found her among the seaweed and bracken by rocks, that she didn't seem to mind the cold waters that rushed over her. Mother nodded her head once then disappeared back into our dark home. I liked that about my mother. She always believed us and trusted we told the truth. And whose to say but we didn't?

The babe stayed with us for three days, and both Kathleen and I were to put to the task of minding after her. Sure, t'was easy! She watched everything and never cried, not even when I dropped her by accident. Neighbors came to see her—they'd heard from Mary that a babe had been found in the ocean. T'was what my father was fearing. But the neighbors were kind about it all, and on the fourth day the Shea family took her into their home. They'd only two children, both boys, and the mother was after a little girl, no matter where it came from.

I was sad to see her go, she sort of grew on you, and watching her meant I didn't have as many chores to do. The Shea's were more than happy to let me visit her whenever I'd a wish to, so it was sure I went nearly every day, as they were only a short walk away. They called her Einin, 'little bird'. I thought it suited her. 

So what do you guys think? I'd love to hear your opinions! 

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