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Heart in the Sea (Part 4)
“Jay!” I cried out. The Selkie girl looked at me. She smiled. She must have recognized me, for she cried out, “Sapphire! They got you too?” I nodded sadly. She smiled sympathetically. I ran up and hugged her. I know, I don’t really know her that well, but she was going to spend her life with the same torture as me. As my life went on, we became great friends, even though I had no children. Every afternoon I would go to her house and we would have a hot, sour tasting drink they called tea. We would also play board games. It felt weird with everything being so dry, but I got used to it. A few years later, I acted like I had always lived here and would never want to leave. But my heart was in the sea. I always had this deep melancholy feeling deep inside. I wanted to see Papa, Diamond, Ruby, Pearl, and Star. My heart was aching. I didn’t belong on land. I was what they called a seal. I shouldn’t have to be forced to walk on land and I shouldn’t have had my skin taken away from me. It was ruining my life. So I was walking on the beach one day and I felt something lurch inside of me. I had heard nothing about what this was anywhere, so I instantly thought I had gotten some kind of Selkie sickness only land Selkies could get. I ran all the way to Jay’s house. She explain that I was pregnant, which means that in nine months or less, I will have a child. I was terrified and nervous. The idea bothered me. It would be most likely half human, half Selkie. Something scary, like half a seal and half a human that would be mocked its entire life. Horrible. I started to weep. Jay took care of me for the next few days. I didn’t tell my husband that I was pregnant, but I went to Jay’s house everyday and that must have told him something. I was resting at her house one day when he burst through the door. He must have figured we were going to destroy everything and find our skins. Humans are the violent ones. I had to tell him, even though I wanted to keep it a secret. About 7 months later we found out: It’s a baby girl! She had eyes that were very light blue and shone like a polished gem. I knew that she must have been hope given to me. I named her Opal, so if I was ever to get back to my sisters, she could also be part of the Gems of the Sea. I could throw my old past behind and have a new baby sister. I remembered that it wasn’t just first names anymore. In the sea, nobody had your name exactly. But up here you needed three names to tell people by, though the second one wasn’t used much. Because I knew she was hope, I named her middle name Hope. And then I took my husband’s last name.
Opal Hope Neaco was I nice name. At least the last name wasn’t something horrible like Bog. That’s what Jay’s last name was now. Jay Bog sounded terrible. It sounded like she owned the bog. But why would a Selkie want to own a naturally polluted water place? Neaco sounded cute almost and I realized that if you mixed some of the letters around, it became the word Ocean. So Opal went to school like all the other kids. But I asked Mrs. Bog to not give her homework. Every afternoon we went to the beach and I taught her about the ocean. I never told her I was a Selkie. One day my husband came up to me and told me that Opal Hope Neaco was actually a Selkie, a true Selkie, and he had hidden her skin. No wonder she appreciated my ocean stories so much.
So I was swimming in the ocean one day, waiting for Opal to come home from school when a hand came out, grabbed me and pulled me underwater. I appeared underwater with three girls. I reconized the older two, but the younger one looked strange to me. The oldest one looked about 22 with light purple eyes and straight brown hair. The second oldest looked about 18 and was albino with black wavy hair. Then the youngest took me a few moments to realize. It was a girl with curly red hair and pink eyes. She had skin not as tan as mine but not as pale as the albino. She looked about 11 years old. I recognized her then. It was my sisters. I was home.
It took a few minuets to realize who these people were in the first place. Diamond and Ruby and Pearl had all passed their tests ages ago. They all looked the same from when I had left except Pearl had grown a little. It must have been 14 years. I would have cried out of happiness, but something stopped me. They all looked concerned. I looked at my self and realized how horrible I looked and how gorgeous they were. All of the sudden I felt scared. I was underwater. How was I breathing? I looked around me and saw a big air bubble that also surrounded my sisters. I looked up at my sisters again. Before Diamond could say anything, Pearl broke into sobs.
“How could you!” she wailed. “How could you leave your own sisters for a moron and a kidnapped Selkie?”
I realized she must have thought I went there on my own. I explained the story to a very upset looking Pearl. She must have realized I was telling the truth, but when I started talking about Opal Hope Neaco, she tensed. I told her my plan for when I came back. Opal would be my sister, not my daughter. I would leave the horrible past behind and go to the future. Rudy looked at me.
“When your daughter gets out of school, bring her to the ocean. We will escape together and that non-finned one can’t do anything about it.”
As I left, I realized that Diamond hadn’t said a single word. When Opal got out of school, I explained that we were going to visit her aunts, but to get there we would need a boat and the boat had just left. She thought it was true and let me carry her through the ocean. I saw my husband on the beach. He was watching me, as if he knew what I was about to do. I put my hand over Opal’s mouth and dove under. I searched for my sisters, but I soon realized I was drowning Opal. I swam back up to the surface as she spit out salt water.
“Where you’re going there will be a lot more salt water,” I muttered. I swam out to see when suddenly I felt an invisible wall across the ocean. I couldn’t cross it. I swam down to see what the matter was and found a leaf that said in Selkish: Nobody can cross here without there skin. Too bad for me. I swam back towards shore. When my husband later asked what I was doing out there, I told him that I was teaching my daughter about the ocean. I don’t think he was convinced, but I kept quiet. I began franticly searching for my daughter’s and my skin. We went to the beach one day. I talked to my sisters again and showed them my daughter.
“She’s cute for a non-finned one,” Diamond stated.
“She is a finned-one. She is a Selkie. Mr. Neaco just stole her skin,” I responded. It seemed weird to call my husband Mr. Neaco, but I didn’t like to call him my husband in front of my sisters.
“If her eyes were a little darker, they would be yours.” Ruby gasped. I had noticed that.
“She has the straightest black hair I have ever seen!” marveled Pearl. And she did. It was not wavy but totally straight. She must have gotten that from her dad.
“Didn’t you say non-finned ones have three names?” Ruby questioned.
‘Yes,” I replied, “Her name is Opal Hope Neaco.” They all thought her middle name was perfect.
That night I snuck around the house after Opal and Mr. Neaco had gone to sleep. I looked in the attic. I found it there in a trunk, but I had found the key in Mr. Neaco’s room a little while earlier. There were two. I looked down at my tan skin, and then at Opal’s. It was almost the same color as me, just a little bit lighter. I locked the trunk, put the key back and hid the skins. Then I drifted off into another dreamless sleep.