It begins as soon as I leave the sea.
The foam, grey-white bubbles and scum, clings to my legs as I stand, like an unpleasant blanket around my calves that resists the splash of the waves until I have to all but kick it off.
The sand gives way to rocks, my feet flinching over sharp shells and seaweed drapery that I might otherwise try to make into a belt or headpiece. But there’s no time for vanity.
Not tonight. Each step I take leads to another change.
First, my shape—it softens and swells over my chest and hips, shrinking between my legs and lengthening my calves as my torso shrinks enough to make my spine click. Then, my insides wrench, painfully, as I grow a uterus. My intestines throb to make room, my ovaries forming out of what was a few moments ago much lower down, and my hips and ribs reform in fire.
I clamp a hand over my mouth to muffle the cries of pain.
The last thing to change is my face, and that is so small a change I have to use my (now slightly smaller) hand to feel it. My cheekbones rise minutely, and my jaw softens, lips puffing out just a fraction. My chest-gills seal up.
I am forced to breathe through my nose and mouth.
And that's it.
In the waves, I am a boy of the sea. On the beach, I am a girl. My land-disguise, my Skin, the heritage of my Selkie people.
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