Fancy reading a little extract about a shapeshifter?
As a treat, here is an extract from Wave Singers to whet your appetite for a year of magic and mystery!
‘Naida pushed aside some huge, deep green leaves and popped out of the relative darkness of the tree cover into the bright sunshine of the beach. It was a little cove, where an almost full circle of sand welcomed a tiny stream of brilliant blue water from the ocean beyond, creating a lagoon of turquoise.
Naida bustled down the sand to the shoreline, pulling Merry along behind her by the hand. She plopped down into the sand, smoothing her sarong around her legs and smiling broadly at Merry, who returned her grin.
‘See?’ beamed Naida, ‘Perfect place to practice singshifting, don’t you think?’ pleased with herself, Naida scooped her long, milk chocolate coloured hair up behind her head and started plaiting the lengths together. As she plaited, she began to talk.
‘Right, Merry.’ She fixed the younger girl with her eyes. ‘This is exciting and I cannot wait to show you how it all works and what you are capable of – but I don’t want you to be disappointed. We’ve all been learning this stuff since we were tiny, we’ve had years of trial and error.’ She winked, ‘remind me to tell you sometime about when Dylan got his fins back-to-front! Hilarious, I laughed for days, I am telling you!’
Merry smothered a grin at the thought, a thousand questions burning on the tip of her tongue.
‘Okay, so first I figured I should give you a more well-rounded view of what you are.’ Said Naida, ‘As no-one seems to have tried to introduce you to anymore of our history or culture other than we eat a lot of fish and the regent is possibly out to get you.’
Merry smiled. She loved Naida’s lighthearted way of mentioning things. She was going to be a good teacher, Merry could feel it.
‘You know we change, adapt to the water.’ Stated Naida.
‘You had tails.’ Said Merry, pointedly.
‘Yes, yes, okay, we had tails.’ Smirked Naida. ‘I’m trying to do this professionally you know, do my teachers proud and all that?’
Merry gestured for her to continue.
‘Thank you.’ Said Naida primly. ‘As I was saying, we adapt to the water. Our people have a special affinity for the water, an affinity strengthened by song. That’s why we are called Wave Singers, but our true name for ourselves is different. We are Mer.’ Naida said this last bit seriously.
‘Being an Mer means we have certain, gifts, I suppose you could call them. They are inbuilt into us as a species, we just always could and always will be able to manipulate our bodies through song. Our philosophers and theoreticians have speculated that our ability with water is due to the innate nature of water itself – always changing, never the same.’
Merry nodded along, eyes wide at the thought of there being philosophers debating these issues in the cities right now.
Naida had finished her plait and bound the ends with a strip of flexible seaweed from the water lapping against the shore. She picked out another piece of seaweed and gestured to Merry to take down her hair from her usual bun.
‘The principle to remember is this – we are all made of water.’ Naida stated, calmly plaiting Merry’s hair now. ‘We all are capable of change. The skill we’re going to attempt today, is to singshift. Now, that means to tap into an emotion, to harmonise it and to use it to make a tangible –‘ she paused ‘- alteration, in your physical being.’ Naida pulled a face. ‘I never was one for sitting still and absorbing the teachings.’ She said. ‘That’s pretty much how they go though.’
‘So we just sing a song and change forms?’ questioned Merry. ‘How does that work? I sing all the time at home, why haven’t I suddenly turned into a fish on stage?’
‘You don’t just sing a tune and grow a tail!’ she laughed. ‘You have to focus, to feel the tail and to use the emotion that goes along with it to force a change. You can’t do it unconsciously.’
‘Oh.’ Said Merry. ‘I didn’t hear you all singing though, when I saw you down at the beach the other night.’
‘Did we have tails at that point?’ said Naida, archly. ‘I rather thought we didn’t change until we were out at sea, specifically so you and your friend wouldn’t hear us.’
‘I guess.’ Said Merry, blushing.
‘Anyway, your predilection for spying on us at the beach notwithstanding…’
‘I was not spying!’ cried Merry, ‘I was curious as to where everyone had disappeared to!’
‘I know, I know, I’m joking!’ laughed Naida. ‘Honestly, your face. Let’s get back to business, shall we?’ she stifled more laughter and started to talk more seriously again.
‘Okay, so you know that we change, we’re all made of water, water changes when it vibrates a certain way due to music we sing.’
‘Is that how it works?’ interrupted Merry. ‘You didn’t say that before.’
Naida sighed. ‘I told you, I’m not a teacher for a reason, but I’m trying here, okay?’
‘Okay, you’re doing good, you know.’ Said Merry.
‘Well, we’ll see what you can turn into before we decide that, shall we?’ said Naida.
Merry felt a rush of excitement at the thought of turning into a mermaid before the day was out. Naida must have seen it on her face, because she said; ‘Remember, don’t get too excited – it takes focus and patience and practice.’’
Keep reading Wave Singers, currently down in price to £1.19 / 99c for January 2015!