Gossamer Wings and Bathing Selkies – Flash Fiction

It’s gossamer wings he sketches with a bright, brand new No. 2 pencil. Airy, delicate things attached to her frame. As she stands poised over the water, in a modest bathing suit, cherry red, and a red bathing cap, she’s from another age as she prepares herself for the cold punch into the mountain lake. For now, she’s warm on the granite rock, but the lake is fed by snow melt.

But as he sketches her, she’s a fairy, unreal and a pixie. She’s not just ready to leap into the water, but standing on a lavender bloom poised to take flight. His fingers smudge the oily pastels into the paper, spreading the fantasy as reality, with a whoop suddenly dives into the clear water.

He pauses for a moment, his fingers hovering over the paper as she surfaces, laughing and gasping. He’s tempted to grab another blank page and sketch in a selkie as she glides seal-like through the water. If only his muse would hold still, he might be able to capture the magic in her.

I pulled the prompts Gossamer, lavender, No. 2 Pencil, and yellow this last weekend at the writing group. Mel said this was a pretty good use of the prompts.  I think I’m inspired by Celtic stories still, hence the selkie. For those curious, the film Ondine with Colin Farrel is marvelous for the selkie tale.  And when I was picturing the fairy wings, I was thinking of Cicely Mary Barker‘s fairies. I’ve always loved them.  And old fashioned bathing suits from the 20s.  I had this vintage poster image in my head, but I’m not even sure it’s real. It’s funny how you can imagine something you think you’ve seen, but you’re not sure it’s real or made up.

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