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By Melanie Jackson

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His skin was nowhere to be found. It should be atop the very rock he was standing on. Quite obviously it had gone astray—but how? The tide had not yet turned its course. There had been no wind to blow it away. No one ever visited this beach at this time of year. And yet something or someone had taken his skin. For a moment, he wondered if it was the finmen he had smelled up at the furrier’s cottage. He knelt down on his hands and knees and lowered his nose to the rough stone, searching for their foul scent.

They would not know how. They were not nixies or kelpies or even of the Tylwyth Teg. They were simply the People of the Firth. And their only tie to the finmen was their dependence on the sea. Of course, the selkies’ only link to humankind was the land pilgrimage to find mates. This annual event was necessary for survival, for the People had no daughters, no women of their own now. That was the fault of the humans who, fearing to lose the daughters and sisters, hid the blessed women—the NicnanRon—or killed them outright, claiming they were vessels for demons.

Quite obviously it had gone astray—but how? The tide had not yet turned its course. There had been no wind to blow it away. No one ever visited this beach at this time of year. And yet something or someone had taken his skin. For a moment, he wondered if it was the finmen he had smelled up at the furrier’s cottage. He knelt down on his hands and knees and lowered his nose to the rough stone, searching for their foul scent. He knew it now, for it had been all about the grounds of the abandoned Crot Callow.

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