The Great Selkie
1512 words long
We Don't Need Another Sequel
No one needs this. I mean, really. No one actually needs me starting on the sequel to The Drowning Boy at this point. But that's what my brain was doing last night as I tried to get me to sleep. And since the coach car of an Amtrak train isn't nearly as easy to get to sleep in at night after two cups of coffee and one of tea as it is in the late morning after being up since six, my brain had a lot of time to write Chapter One.
Well, and of course it's to do with Brian Windlow's children. Why else would there be a sequel?
But... and this is the part where I beat myself about the head and shoulders with a broomstick... but my brain also decided last night that Brian isn't dead.
The hell? I said. After the penultimate chapter in Drowning Boy, you tell me he's not dead? What is this, a bad gothic romance?
Well, says my brain, it's not like we saw the body. And yes, if you want to know, this is a gothic romance. After a fashion, anyway. Whether it's bad remains to be seen.
But... but... not dead? Sharks, man! There were all sharks in the water!
It's hard to imagine a brain smiling smugly and quietly to itself while twiddling its thumbs, but at this point, mine managed it.
So I woke up this morning and I wrote the first 1500 or so words, which begin this way:
Three weeks into the swim season, my son came home with news that just about stopped my heart.I do know that, before very long, Amy's surprisingly amphibious son will get to meet his mermaid half-sister. That's been in my head since the point at which I realized that if Amy and Brian didn't get to "do it," not even once, then it wouldn't be fair to anyone. But I don't know much of anything else that's going to happen. I don't even know why I've given it the title I have, other than it being a likely folk tale to draw from. I don't think I want to follow it to the letter, though. That would be too sad. I don't want any proud young gunners shooting this kid.
When I could breathe again, I said, "They don't like it, huh?" and congratulated myself on keeping my cool.
"And it's not like I do it that much," he said, nodding. He was eight years old and already a super-serious kid. "The chlorine hurts my nose. But it makes them so mad when I do it. They say I'm cheating."
"Well, you are, honey." Was I calm? I was calm like a Valium bouquet. I was calm like a three-toed sloth. "I mean, when they say 'underwater contest,' they're competing to see who can hold their breath the longest. If you're not holding your breath, that's cheating, right?" See how calm I was.
So this'll go on the shelf until I figure that out. Meanwhile, I've got a couple of novels to revise. I mean, it's not like I don't have enough to do here. Look, two more hours on Drowning Boy still hasn't got me to the end of Chapter Two, and revising that phone call with Mrs. Windlow is going to be unmitigated hell. So what do I need with starting brand new novels at this time, huh? I ask you.