Libertine loves to get wet. Total immersion in water is the closest correlation she has found in this bodily form, to that of a nebulous being navigating the density of the vast interstellar sea. During long stretches of embodiment, she insists upon regular trips to the sea. Most all sirens and selkies know her by name and the jellies gather to watch her peculiar underwater dance.
It was an undercover, land-locked selkie named Saffron who first recognized Libertine’s need for a deep dive.
She could instinctively spot a gorgeous being trapped inside an ill-fitting garment. Libertine had been wandering about looking for a bite when her attention was snagged by a salty aroma in the air. Her keen nose focused her wandering eyes on a voluptuous beauty before her. She was long and plump, especially in the middle. The swoops in her tight curly doo were schmoopsie, and her smile held a mix of mischief and desire.
This dish could be my afternoon snacky wack and a tall drink, Libertine thought.
She promptly complemented the round-bottomed beauty on her delightfully draped curves and close cut coiffure. Saffron might have been taken aback by such a forward gesture, had it not been for Libertine’s deeply genuine tone. This creature seemed altogether different, she let herself think for a moment. But of course, she knew better; no one was different.
Libertine introduced herself by name and honorary title, then offered to share a nearby park bench. Saffron had heard tales of this fantastical land dweller who led captive hearts on freedom frolic through the forest, or maybe that was just the story that Libertine was telling her now.
Enrapt in the faerie’s fables, she found herself a little off kilter, both befuddled and yet suddenly super clear. Either way, in what felt like just a few moments from their meeting, Saffron curiously found herself offering Libertine a soft corner of shoulder to gnaw upon.
If any being could help win back her freedom, surely it would be this one called ‘The Freedom Faerie’.
As Libertine chewed, Saffron spilled out all she could safely share about her captive life and her disgusting land-pig of a husband. If only he wasn’t so vicious. If only she could gather what she needed to leave. If only she had some help. Saffron continued with her list of if-onlys and Libertine listened for key points as her blue lips lunched.
"If only I could sell something of value like art or something… mmmmm mmmaybe that strange leathery art piece that hangs at my subhuman wretch of a wedded creature’s place of business? That might be worth something, if only we could steal it. I mean, it totally belongs to me anyway. It’s really not even stealing. If I only had someone like you to help me."
Sure, mumbled the bawdy, full mouthed faerie. After this little snack, let’s go get your pretty thing.
Saffron was a bit shocked that she’d pulled it off with such ease. Really, I can get my pe..um, art back? You mean it? She jumped to her loathsome feet, tumbling the flummoxed faerie to the floor.
Libertine looked up at the suddenly sparkly, animated creature before her, fluffed her tufts, and brazenly announced, Alright then you salty, selkie you. Let’s go fetch your skins from your fecked up pig of a pelt-pilfering-street-pirate so you can go on back to floppin your fins at sea. Libertine finished by crassly slapping her two hands together gleefully like a seal in a schoolyard game of charades.
Saffron was shocked, duly offended, and suddenly hyper aware of their surroundings. She reeled around making sure no one had heard. It looked safe, but Libertine’s voice carries so there was no way to be sure.
Saffron harshly hushed the boisterous beast. Shhhhhh, What are you trying to do? Anyone can hear you. Feck! How did you know I was… what I was?
Libertine’s own correction came gruffly from the back of her throat with a snort, You’re no “was”, darling. You are very much right ravishingly now. Libertine inhaled deeply from both nostrils. I can’t be fooled by the lack of flippers, floppsie. As a matter of fact, I find a fish out of water has an even more pungent aroma.
Saffron reeled. Seriously? Did you just call me a fish? Did you actually call me a stinky fish?
I think more perfectly pungent, and ooooh, yeah, I love …
But Saffron cut Libertine off to a silent snarl. She was appalled at the epithet and oh my gods... the smelly thing. Then again, this was no more appalling than what had come out of Libertine’s mouth at any other given moment since they’d met, and regardless of the obnoxious, she needed that hide. Nevermind, she said curtly, we’ll go back to this later.
Somehow Libertine managed to completely miss that in a matter of sentences, she had just outed a magical creature, called her out of her genus, and said that she stunk.
Instead, she was hyper focused on the fact that Saffron had been trying to manipulate her into helping. Thing is flipperless, my feelins is kinda hurt now. I thought that scrummie chew was for me, but you were just trying to bamboozle back your boodle. You didn’t have to give chew… you coulda just said, Hey, Libertine, you look divine today. Love your lips. would you like to help me liberate my mythical waterproof bone jacket from this jack ass over here? I woulda done it. But you jumbled up all your syllables just to trick me. Enough then with all the trixies, more with the truthsies. Alright then?
Saffron felt bad for a moment. It had never occurred to her to be honest about her mythic nature and just ask Libertine to help her find herself free again. She really did appreciate the flagrance and fabulousness of this decadent demigod, and that was indeed a scrummie chew.
I’m sorry Libertine. I should have known you would get it. I just didn’t know if I could trust… and then she remembered the fish and flippers thing.
You know what, blue lips, whatever.
Can we just go get my hide?
Yeah! Alright then, let’s get on with the pelt snatching plan hatching! Libertine gave a strident battlecry and accompanying thunderous handclap that drew a passerby’s attention.
Shhhhhh! Saffron chided, as she waved the speed walkers on their way. Oh my gods, ok… Ok let’s... Go then. The selkie was flustered, frightened, and still a little bit offended, but for the first time in a long while she felt hope.
Once Libertine got the “Go”, she threw up her arms previctoriously and cried,
She started to pace dervishly. Her fingers flung diagrams from her imagination into the air and she figured out all the measurements on her toes. Using every inch of floor and sky space, she wildly planned out the current caper. Libertine loved capers almost as much as she loved diagrams. (Her favorite cephalopod chef suggested cooking with capers to increase her daily exposure. So far the briney mouth bursts had offered little adventure, but quite a lot of flavor.)
After some time pondering of the plot and the unsung amazingness of capers, Libertine was ready to share the intricate details of her fool privie plan. Saffron couldn’t wait another minute.
Alright then, are you ready, darling? This is perfy! Firstly, Firstly, I disguise my natural effervescence by donning the dull cloak of normalcy.
Cloak of normalcy?
Saffron hung her head, already having serious concerns with this plan.
Yeah, cloak of normalcy! Something understated in a midnight velvet. No wait, mmmmmm, maybe a capelet, with a Singing Silkworm lining woven in yellow and green, the color of budding springtime. Perfy! Under this understated ruse, I can just waltz, or bachata into the repugnant pigman’s proprietary establishment and promptly snatch back your backside, and you know, your front hide. It’s super simple.
Simple? Simple how? Sling on a sassy caplet, walk in and take it?
Saffron tried to protest. If it were that easy, she would have done it years ago. It wasn’t just a matter of wresting her treasure from her flaccid fop of a captor; Libertine would have to get past the other keepers of her skin. This gnarled crew of motley mayhem had a reputation of being vicious and malicious and violent beyond measure. They thought nothing of skinning a cat, a seal, or a sausage; in fact they made a sport of skinning things on general principle. It’s said this particular pelt that Saffron called home was considered a prized piece by the depraved derelicts.
Saffron had plenty to say, but Libertine hadn’t heard a thing. Yeah, right. Listen, don’t fret. I told you, I got drawings. I’ll go all silent like, in the dark of night. They won’t even notice. I’ll be so quiet. Shhhhh.
And with this Libertine put her fingers on Saffron’s lips before she could say anything else to muddle Libertine’s detailed plan with, you know, details.
Saffron, the recently outed, foot bound selkie, actually loved the idea of keeping things quiet. She really is a very private seal in sea life. This will be alright, she told herself. Faeries are notorious for hiding in plain sight. Everything is perfect. Just like Libertine said.
What she didn’t realize is that Libertine mostly glows at night and gets even brighter when she is excited. She almost always has the pulse of some intergalactic beat emanating from or around her person in some way, shape, or form. Even without the lights and music, Libertine isn’t exactly known for her stealth, prudence, or restraint.
Saffron wasn’t the only one here with partial information. What Libertine didn’t realize was that the aforementioned pigman’s place was actually a 28 hour pubbery (basically time was bent and extended just so that patrons could get in a few extra hours of inebriation.) This was one of those never closed, never quiet kind of places. As they got closer to the pubbery, Libertine became more excitable, her filament, tune, and stride picked up in pace and frequency.
In as low key an entrance as Libertine was willing to make, the brilliantly coiffed, fish netted faerie like being burst through the door, bellowing Flog this freedom slogging blazing piece of hog woggle!
Saffron gestured toward the curious looking art piece hanging behind the bar. Libertine blazed past the pigman at the till, stunned still for a moment by the fury of light and sound in motion. The gross embarrassment to pig like men everywhere blurted out some bumble not worth transcription and before he could do any more, Libertine took a bound to the top of the bar.
Garnering all the seedy snits’ attention with one dazzling sweep of her hand, she leads the ghastly crowd in a song they do not know, yet manage to perform in sweet drunken unison. (If there is one thing inebriates of any realm love more than drunken violence, it’s sloppy semi-unison singing.)
With the sloshed songbirds properly swept up in a challenging choral arrangement, Libertine yanked the gorgeous, curiously soft, leathery pelt from the wall behind the bar, and oooh…
Oh my… wait right one minute, ooooh yeah. Distracted by the rose petal like softness between her fingertips, Libertine lost herself in her own thoughts.
Oh my everlovin senses, I didn’t realize selkie was so soft… oooooh
Libertine didn’t realize she had stopped singing as she began to rub the pelt all over her face. Mmmmmmm, selkie pelt. She caught glance of Saffron, the two legged selkie standing impatiently by the door. Libertine imagined wrapping her up in this sinewy skin like a sexy burrito and then rubbing her face all over her…
Libertine! Saffron’s irritated voice leapt Libertine back to mission.
Right! Libertine tore her face from the fantastic folds of the ever so pluscious pelt. The smell sitting in her nose made her dizzy. Delicious, dizzying selkie pelt...
Right! Almost thwarted by the unexpected succelence of Saffron’s shed skin, Libertine leapt seamlessly back in to end the second verse with a wallop and a bizarre strip tease that ended with the flagrant toss of a tutu pulled from... somewhere. The discarded garment delicately landed on the hooks that once hung the prized pelt, conveniently disguising its absence.
After one final glorious chord change, Libertine looped the crowd into a never ending bridge of drunken gibberish and deftly slipped out behind Saffron on her hopefully temporary legs.
Only two eyes at the pubbery saw the whole scene for the ruse that it was; and he was incensed. The pugnacious pigman plowed through the party and into the street to chase down his plunder.
You belong to me, he spat in both word and bile. Along with this depraved lie the man threw another barb, a massive shark hook, directly toward the selkie.
Now up to this point, Libertine felt she had done a smashing job with the day. She’d managed a delicious snack. There had been diagrams, a caper, and a chord change.
She’d wrested her face from the clutches of an intoxicating selkie pelt to focus on the freedom at hand. They’d won. Caper done. Pigman and posse bested… but this beast’s twisted words pushed too far. Libertine felt a fiery rage light inside her heart.
Nobody. Owns. Anybody.
These were the last words heard by that particular pitiful insult to pigs and men. With a thousand rapid flicks of a razored tongue, like Kali had been her beloved school mistress, Libertine viciously Sass Slashed the wretch’s ass right there in the middle of the street. He was rather unapologetically eviscerated in an otherworldly attack of sound and fury. The deadly hook flying through the air was stopped still by the sound of Libertine’s serrated shrieks, and dropped to the ground.
It was quite a scene. Even the rarely tongue tied Libertine was slightly taken aback and failed to offer an explanation for what had just happened. The authorities officially explained the incident as officially unexplainable; possibly an act of nature, maybe aliens. (This was of course all true.) Magpies were seen at the scene, plucking eyeballs and liberating ill gotten shineys.
Even though she was grateful to finally be free, after witnessing this grotesque display of dismemberment, Saffron needed some serious space. She had her hide and it was time to go home! She led Libertine to the same place the revolting robber had first caught sight of her, all skinless and unaware.
I knew it was only safe to moonbathe. But it was so warm and sunny and I just wanted to feel free. Oh Libertine, no creature can wear full seal full time. The selkie needed to share this story of her capture; with her friend, with the sea, with herself. As she spoke, she massaged salt water into her shriveled skins, slowly stretching her flippers back into form. I should have just grabbed my hide and gotten away as soon as he appeared, but it was sunny, and he seemed so lovely at first. He said he knew about selkies and acted like we were special. His words were nice and I really just wanted to stay in the sun be seen. I think I told myself to trust him. He asked if he could touch my pelt… Every tale the sea birds tell knows better, and now so did Saffron. She took a deep breath and delicately laid her skin out before her.
I thought I would never get me back.
Saffron took her time, slipping into herself, a version stiff but familiar. It was softer and more delicate than she remembered. Maybe the fawning faerie was to thank for that, maybe time and distance. She felt awkward and clumsy. It’ll get better, she internally pep talked. I’ll grow back into this. She slid silently into the water and disappeared for a long time into the darkness. Libertine was afraid she was gone until Saffron breached the surface and splashed down in giggling glee. Oh yes, this selkie felt wonderful in her skin!
The new caper-forged friends sat together long into the night, Libertine on shore, and Saffron, the selkie joyously dipping and flipping in the water. They said their goodbyes a thousand times, but just couldn’t find it in themselves to part.
The moon was wide and bright affording the day to travel far into night. When the thought finally occurred to her the selkie burst out loud, interrupting Libertine mid pontificance.
Wait... Libertine, can you swim?
Swim, can you swim? Float, blow bubbles, use your arms and feet like flippers? I mean, I could never tolerate it, to swim like a person. I tried in the beginning, to see if I could grow my flippers back if I stayed in the water but I couldn’t float and it was so so cold. It had never been cold before… I couldn’t do it. It broke my heart. I thought I was gone forever. But look! Look what you did… Gah! Flippers! You beautiful beast, Look! Saffron showed off her beautiful seal body, plump and warm, buoyant and ever so free. She swam up to the rock where Libertine was perched with a wave of infectious excitement. Anyways, it’ll be different for you. I know you’ll love it. Come on. Come in. Get wet with me.
Libertine had no desire to decline any of this particular selkie’s invitations, especially not one so dandily randily phrased.
She plunged herself head first into the water as she had seen the selkie do. She was surprised by the immediate overflow of senses as the water enveloped every spec of her skin sac. You see, air doesn’t really feel like much. Bodies really only ever feel anything when you get the tingles, or have an orgasm, or eat a brownie, or something. And here every single living cell Libertine wore was feeling something, all at the same time. She could even feel the air inside her lungs and see it in bubbles as she spoke. It was almost like feeling the oneness of cells in the nebula, but there was more pressure, and somehow more lightness, and what’s this flipping glorious slip and glide… it’s wet!
Oh shimmy wiggle darling, it’s wet.
Um, it’s water.
Yeah, I realize that but I didn’t know what water felt like from the inside. I’m swirling myself inside wet. Ooooh I love it here. Ohhhhh - She swooshed and swayed and waved herself back and forth feeling the movement of whirling water around her body for the first time.
(Sidenote: It actually wasn’t her first time. Before her nebulous expansion, Libertine’s teen person body had been a stellar swimmer. Though she remembers virtually nothing from her short stint in earthly personhood, they say she effortlessly breastrokes through space, leaving quite a wake. That’s a tale for another space in time.)
Libertine knew just what to do. She was surely part fish, or siren, or humpback or something. For the first time in this skin sac, she felt like she could fly.
The friends freedom-froliced in the cove; Libertine learning new breath, float, and flip techniques, and Saffron relearning herself through memory and practice. After some time, the selkie swam the nebulous faerie to her old favorite mooning perch where they climbed out for a snack and a rest.
Saffron leaned in and sweetly kissed the glowing blue lipped faerie.
She asked for a smooth musical accompaniment and then with deep purposeful intention, the selkie slipped out from her newly returned hide. Her inner skin felt just as luscious as the one recently liberated from the wall. Moreso even. Libertine got lost at sea for the first time and the selkie never felt safer.