“She was a selkie! The woman – she was a selkie!”
“What?” Brand’s voice sounded muffled and confused on the other end of the phone.
“I’m sorry I woke you up – I promise I’m not crazy – but I had to tell you right now. The woman – the woman from my dreams – she didn’t kill herself. She was a selkie! She jumped off the cliff and transformed at the last minute. She was a selkie – a real selkie!”
“You saw this in another dream?”
“Did she have the same skin you have?”
“I didn’t see,” Aveny raced. “Maybe. She probably had it hidden under her dress.”
“But I thought her family was really upset,” Brand said. “Did they not know? Did they think she killed herself?”
Aveny considered this. “Her husband did know. I saw that too. She told him what she was, but he didn’t like it. He called her an abomination.”
“Ouch,” Brand muttered.
“Right? But I don’t know if he thought she killed herself or if he knew she transformed. I don’t think her daughter knew though. She was so little.”
Brand made a thoughtful noise. “Maybe it really was like the old stories and he had her skin hidden somewhere so she couldn’t leave. Maybe she finally got it and escaped.”
“Maybe,” Aveny mused. “She did agree to do whatever he wanted. Maybe that was part of it.” She let out an exhilarated sigh. “I can’t believe it – this is so cool!”
“Yeah, aside from her abandoning her family,” Brand muttered. Aveny sensed the gruff vulnerability in his voice.
“You know that’s not what I meant,” she said. “I’m just excited to finally have a clue about the skin and where it came from. And we both know I’m not going anywhere. Maybe she didn’t either. She could have come back later that day for all we know.”
“It doesn’t sound like he expected that,” Brand parried.
Aveny paused, “No, I don’t think he did … and maybe she didn’t but …”
“I know,” Brand cut in. “I’m just really tired. We just got back from a call and I haven’t gotten much sleep. You should try to get some sleep too. Ask your ancestors to give you a night off.”
Aveny laughed, but she still detected a hint of sorrow in his voice.