This is How You Make Selkie Skins

by Priya Sridhar

  1. Screen social media posts for potential customers. Selkies often post ads online, seeking someone to replace the skin their no-good husbands stole, or worse, burned. Other times, college fraternities steal them from stone beaches as part of their initiation. If you have photo evidence, report these men to their admissions department. Selkies are a protected species.
  1. Set your prices upfront, and ask for a deposit. You can do charity if you like—and I will not judge you if you do—but never accept a life debt from a selkie. It won’t pay the rent, and they can twist the deal so that it’s your great-granddaughter that ends up receiving the favor. In the time of global climate change, cash is more useful.
  1. Never ask a selkie to prove her identity. There are human women who want to know what it’s like to dive into the Atlantic, but one must not presume. Many boys and men also have dust-covered skins hidden under their mattresses, taking them for a dive. Obviously, warn other coat makers about habitual liars if the liars don’t pay.
  1. Don’t let anyone guilt you into making a selkie skin for them. Guilt means imperfect skins, and being invited on hunts. Make them out of compassion, or even pity.
  1. Never repair a torn or burned selkie coat. That requires an expert, and no one is an expert. Not even you.
  1. Use a simple cloak pattern; kids’ Halloween books have examples. Don’t waste your money by buying a pattern. You already have more important expenses.
  1. Go with straight stitches for the seam, and zigzags for the collar. If you have to make allowances for disabilities, then plan the seams ahead of time.
  1. Ask for measurements. The tail size is especially important.
  1. If using a sewing machine, set it to high tension, tiny stitches, and “heavy upholstery” mode. Your sewing machine will hate you for months. Sew on the reverse side. If the stitches show, the seal will not be very happy. You may lose a hand, and they won’t drive you to the ER.
  1. Material may vary. Sealskin is not readily available; faux leather will do, provided you treat it for water. If a selkie offers to provide the material, make sure it’s not her damaged coat.
  1. Test how the coat fits on her. A drowning selkie is a bad omen.
  1.  Never accept an invitation from a selkie for a swim. They dive deep, and into the coldest waters. When they hunt, they are fast and graceful, cornering their prey.
  1. Never dance with a selkie, even if you are friends. See above.
  1. Not all selkies are hunters. Even so, the ocean will finish the job. So don’t. Just don’t.
  1. When going to meet a selkie in person, wear a wetsuit under your clothes. Hypothermia isn’t a joke.
  1. If a selkie curses you for assuming they will hunt the coat maker, show them your left arm. The one missing a hand. Then ask them how their coat fits.

© Copyright Priya Sridhar


A 2016 MBA graduate and published author, Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years, and counting. Capstone published the Powered series, and Alban Lake published her works Carousel and Neo-Mecha Mayhem. Priya lives in Miami, Florida with her family.


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