Chapter 6

 “You’ve got wild eyes again,” Brand said, looking at her warily the next morning. “Like you used to … before I found out. What’s going on? Another close call? Not another Killer Whale?”

Aveny dropped her toothbrush back into the holder and scrubbed her face with her hands. A surge of guilt twisted her gut, an echo of poor decisions past, but she was too exhausted to sustain any emotion.

Aveny shook her head, no. “I’m sorry. I’m not hiding anything from you. It’s just the dream again.”

“The one with the woman watching you?”

“Yes, but she wasn’t watching me last night. She was walking away from me. And a few nights ago, she spoke.”

Aveny unraveled the new developments, feeling both desperate and stupid. It was, after all, just a dream.

“Maybe her walking away from you means it’s over,” Brand offered. “Maybe she just needed to … ‘meet’ you, and now that she has, she’s going back where she came from in peace.”

Aveny considered this. “Maybe.”

The thought of undisturbed sleep didn’t comfort her, however. There were too many unanswered questions. 

“I wish I knew who stopped me,” she muttered with a sigh. “Her voice was different. Suddenly there are multiple people in my head and not only did I not invite them, I have no clue who any of them are. Maybe I really am crazy.”

“Probably,” Brand said, leaning against the bathroom door.

Aveny shot him a depleted look.

He shrugged. “At least if you’re crazy, I’m crazy too. We’re in this delusion together.” He smiled and gave her a lopsided wink.

“You know what the weirdest part is?” she asked.


“When I’m dreaming, I … like … long for this woman. It’s like I … miss her. I miss her so much … but I don’t even know who she is. And, at the same time, I’m scared of her too.”

“That is weird.” He paused thoughtfully. “But maybe it’s not over yet. Maybe she isn’t leaving; maybe she’s getting clearer.”

The thought felt strangely comforting. “Sorry if it seemed like I was hiding something,” Aveny said. “I didn’t mean to. I just don’t know what any of it really is. Maybe it’s just a recurring dream.”

Brand laughed. “And maybe you just like to swim.”

After logging a few hours of work, a nap and a long Puget Sound swim, Aveny felt better.

That night, as she settled in with a book of selkie myths and legends, she committed to connecting with the woman – whoever she was – no matter what any disembodied voice might have to say about it. Or, she reconsidered, at least I can get in front of her this time. At least I can talk to her – even if she can’t hear me. Maybe I can see where she goes.

One way or another, Aveny was ready for whatever the night might bring.

Which, it turned out, was nothing.

The next morning, Aveny awoke, well rested and devastated. She hadn’t come. She hadn’t come at all. Maybe Brand was right. Maybe it was over. Maybe that was all there was. Perhaps she’d never find out who the raven-haired woman was, where the voice had come from, or answers to all the questions dancing around inside her mind.

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