Friday, 17 February 2012

Between Feathers and Fins by Erin Cole - February Femmes Fatales

I owe a lot to Erin Cole. Even if I were purely a reader and not a writer I would be eternally grateful for the blissfully dark prose she pours onto pages. She is a writer whose words twist and turn, lilting with sinister poetry and stealing us back and forth between the horror of the bizarre, and the terror of reality but always, always delivering her unique fiction with soul.

Believe me, you'll want more after you finish reading Between Feathers and Fins. And I can tell you where to find it. Of the Night is an amazing collection of Erin's supernatural horror that will leave you spiralling in wonder and fear. You can download the book to your Kindle from or

Back to my words of thanks. Erin has constantly encouraged, supported and promoted me on my writing journey so far and we have shared thoughts and emotions across the ocean. Erin, you are an inspiration. Thank you.

Read her words...


The ocean took him and never returned him to me, keeping him as though she hadn't enough treasures buried at the depthless bottom of her frigid heart. But I know better - I have seen them, once a time ago. Before I loved. Before any memory of him. Archaic relics inlaid with gold and precious stone, mountains of coral, shelled-lockets of pearl, legions of vessels from different spaces of time, and so many bones that she has built castles out of them. My love is among them now, his spirit still smiling, not caring that he is dead.

I search the shores, pretending I'm looking for seashells. Tiny crab bugs spring from the wet sand beneath my step. I imagine I am a giant plodding through their town, smashing their labors, creating havoc. Are they screaming and I just can't hear them? They dive at me, sharp as pointed sticks against the tender flesh of my ankle. I believe they are not fleeing in blind terror, but assailing their monster. I am not fazed by this thought. My grief vindicates the horror, for I battle my own monster, and it has calloused my heart.

The cat killed a bird this morning. She pounced into a savage dance of murder and pierced her sharp teeth into the warm pulse of life. I yelled at her and chased her off. She sulked around the trunk of a pine, lingering to finish the job. I picked up the bird. White feathers swirled in a mess. The tail tapped at my wrist. The body wriggled in my palm, and its glassy, red eyes were frozen by the probabilities of death. I am the monster now. It knows not fur from skin.

The bird stills. My hand is stained cherry. I climb over the dunes into the wild sage and bury it beneath a handful of sand. At the water's edge, the cold froth of gray-green waves distend a mirrored sky at my feet. A playful tease. She wants me back, wants us all back. I deny it no further and step into the bitter cool of her infinite deep, up to the curve of my breasts. She is quick to take me back. My skin molts into scales, my legs no more, as a fish's tail conquers the form of my feet. The current seizes me, and I swallow the icy salt into my lungs as they too transform back into gills. The song of the sea comes to me again, a lulling, violin melody. But I am listening for him, beneath the boom of tide and gurgle of bubbles in her throat. I am keen to the harmonics of his voice.

I roll in the waves, my fin scraping rock and sand. The gravity of her breath pulls me back from the shore, but another force is greater, and I am unable to find the deep. My body is lifted, as if thrust ashore by a rock giant's hand. Resting on the sand, I shed her waters like tears, his tears. Legs have found my body again. The crab bugs continue their assault, and I surrender to their calloused hearts. In the dunes of wild sage, I see my love. He is no longer smiling - he has battled his own monster.

White feathers somersault and swirl across my panoramic view of the beach. I stretch my fingers up and catch one. My legs are no more. I know not feathers from fins.

_________ The End _________

2012 © Erin Cole

Bio: Erin Cole fears the ocean more than strangers, but writes about them both from the Pacific Northwest. She's won a couple of cool awards, while still enjoying the torture of rejected submissions.

You can learn more about her dark fiction at or


  1. Lady of the literary, damsel of the deep . . . with cascades ebbing tides, you carried me along, never fancifully thoug, for undercurrents pulled and tugged, tugged and pulled and whewwwwww, Erin, do you know how to accept the kind of magick which emanates your writes upon a reader's shore.

    My grief vindicates the horror, for I battle my own monster, and it has calloused my heart. Fins, feathers, scales and assaulting crab bugs, mermaid and mortal you swim deep, where torrents longed for are the real swirls at sea.

    This one I'll read again and again and then five times more. But you're Erin Cole - so how could it be otherwise?

    Honoured to know you, but buoyed to read you mer creature. Brava. ~ Absolutely*Kate


    LILY ~ THANK*YOU ... for the feast so far, where fine FEMME FATALES come to spread wide their splendour ... and for the lasting sensation of our Erin's clarion call this night. ~ A*K

  2. This is a gorgeous piece Erin. What a terrific voice, great sweeping pace, it really caught me up! Dazzling indeed.

  3. Magical, dark dark and magical, drawing you in just as the ocean does. So I read it and then I went and bought Of The Night. It is awaiting downloading to my kindle even as we speak.

  4. Gorgeous. That first line set the tone for the whole piece. Your prose is like poetry.

  5. It’s like you revamped a classic mythology and infused it with a modern sense of poetics. Incredibly beautiful prose, Erin.

  6. Life and death, on land and sea. This is a stirring and evocative tale, Erin.

  7. Thanks everyone!
    Antonia, your support is much appreciated. I hope you like Of the Night.
    Thank you Lily. For the FFF inclusion and your too kind introduction. Cheers-

  8. This is so beautiful, Erin, almost like poetry.

  9. Eerie, infused with deep sorrow and confusion, the transformation was beautiful and surprising.

  10. Wonderful writing, both tender and tragic.


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.