Rolling his shoulders, Ailean inhaled deeply. The air felt different, heavier and yet lighter. Pollution didn’t burn nearly as bad but he also couldn’t smell as much. Considering that humans were born with dulled senses, he couldn’t very well ask if his were as weak as theirs. It just wasn’t done, at least, not if he wanted to blend in.
Looking down at himself, he realized that his absolute lack of clothing wasn’t going to help in the blending in process. His planning brought him to the surface in the middle of the night so he wasn’t too worried about surprising anyone. But there was still his nakedness to fix.
Bending down, he picked up his sealskin and wrapped it around his waist. He had until midnight the next day to return to the sea, he couldn’t very well leave his skin lying around. Someone who didn’t know its significance could happen upon it and steal it or destroy it and he’d either be bound to that human or die. Even worse, somebody who did know the significance could find it.
A seal lord bound to land was a miserable lord indeed.
Once it was secure, he started up the beach. The sand seemed to go on for much further in his seal form but he was happy to find that it only took a few moments at a slow jog to reach the house closest to the shoreline. There were so many humans out during the day that he wasn’t sure who the inhabitants actually were but he was hoping for someone with a kind heart, if not a woman altogether.
His first step onto the wood was a brand new experience that he had to pause and focus on the new texture. Nothing under the waves felt as such and this was as foreign to him as his people were to this land. Most of his family would wait until they were back in home waters before shedding their skins for a night upon land for the first time but he was too impatient. This was the closest beach and he was of age now, Ailean didn’t see any reason to wait longer.
Done feeling the wood with his feet and finger tips, he continued up to the door and stared at it oddly. He didn’t know much about the world but observation and the few things that the older selkies had told him was that humans did not appreciate their privacy invaded without permission first. Homes were definitely a private thing and he had no wish to anger the first humans he was to come in contact with.
Still, what was he supposed to do? He was sure the wooden contraption in front of him was the entrance. There was a metal handle that reminded him of the metal versions on the ships that laid on the sea floor. Opening it would breach that privacy that he was told the humans preferred but standing out here wasn’t going to get him anywhere.
Crossing his arms, he stared hard at the thing in an attempt to will an answer to appear. At least five minutes passed before the answer came to him and he rapped his knuckles against the thing. A noise should summon the occupants.
The sound of vicious barking made him jump and step back with a short hiss. “Dogs,” he grumbled, trying to regain some semblance of composure before the human reached the door. Dogs and seals were not the best of friends and he had a couple scars from when dogs had bitten him as a young pup.
“Down Pepper, down!” Though muffled, Ailean could make out the sound of a female voice on the other side and his lips pulled into a lazy smile. There was a possibility that he wouldn’t have to go very far to find the fruits that he had come to try.
The door opened and his brow arched as he watched the tiny woman attempt to hold back the large creature. It took all of his self-control to not slap the dog away from him but since the creature, Pepper, was not making any threatening moves he decided it was better to play nice.
“I’m sorry, she’s nosy. Pepper, leave him alone,” the woman smiled apologetically up at him while tugging the dog away and back into the house. Ailean’s pride swelled as her eyes moved downwards and lingered on his exposed chest. There was interest there if he wasn’t mistaken. “May I help you?”
“It’s possible,” He murmured, trying to be as ‘normal’ as he could to her. There was the little problem of thinking of a good story that she’d believe on the fly but he had to try at least. “My friends left me and I’m lost.”
“These friends left you like this,” Her hand waved to his entire body but her eyes seemed to linger in most places besides his face. Not that he minded at all since he was taking the time to study her as well. Human females were fabled to be a fun pastime for the times ashore. With all the talk from the older Selkies in the group, he wanted a taste of his own.
“They are very fond of jests and thought it would be amusing to leave me in an unknown land with no clothing,” her eyes sparked with sympathetic understanding and Ailean mentally patted himself on the back. She believed the lie and even better, she was ushering him in.
From what he could tell from the room he was told to sit in, she lived alone with her pet. The dog, though still not his favorite creature, did not seem threatened or likely to bite. If anything, she was curious and, dare he say, excited to have him in the house. The dog’s sense of smell must have died for it to not realize what he was and not have attempted to chase him off.
“My name is Emily by the way. I’m sorry that your friends are such assholes.” He brought his attention away from the dog and the various items around the room back to the woman who was setting down a pile of things next to him on the couch. She settled on the other end of the couch and looked at him expectantly. “Your accent…Ireland?”
“You’re close, I was born on the shores of Scotland,” She didn’t have to know just how literal his words were but they seemed to interest her regardless. Making a show of looking at what she brought, he tried to work through her words. From the way she spoke, she called his friends a rude name in their culture. “I’m thankful for your kindness in light of their rudeness. They will not be back until tomorrow evening and I don’t know my way around.”
“Wow, they didn’t even leave you any money for food?”
“Nothing,” He answered, putting on his best woeful look. While his kind was already irresistible to humans, being cordial could only help with the way she seemed to be holding back. It was difficult to do when his mind was readily supplying images of what the rest of the night could be like. “I would like to repay you though.”
“You don’t have to,” her voice broke part way through her sentence as her gaze met his heated one. Oh, this was going to be so much fun.
Still working on it v.v
Next Creature: Merrow