Short Stories

Shift You Not

Broken Seal

Shift You Not: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy Anthology (Shifters Unleashed)
Naughty Nights Press LLC 01/05/2023

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No really…. We Shift You Not.


Shay remembered being in her seal form and that flash of pain again. Then all was dark. She had been cold and struggling in a net. She was wet and then she was…human. Then she wasn’t and was back in the ocean again, this time sinking, and heading for the bottom. Then, blackness.


They were standing in the middle of the town main street with the dozen or so shops that catered to tourists around them. The ocean was a short distance away, but she couldn’t make it out it from here. In a way she was grateful for that.

“I keep flashing on the same thing, but can’t get any further. Marcus, why doesn’t my brain go there? I don’t understand.”

He moved to her and she wondered if he was going to put his arm around her. But he didn’t.

“It’s clear something bad happened to you on that night that you aren’t ready to deal with. That’s all I can figure—it’s the one thing that makes sense. How’s your head? The bruises are healing, but what about that lump? Any headaches?”

She shook her head. “No. It’s frustrating, Marcus. So annoying.”

He butted her shoulder with his. “When you are stronger it will come back. The brain is a wonderful thing.”

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t the dynamic duo.”

Shay recognized that voice. They had gone to school with a handful of wise guys and this was one of them. She met Marcus’ gaze before pasting on a polite smile to face the man.

“Hi, Richard. Long time.”

He grinned like she’d just made the greatest joke. “What brings you here right when the place opens? Aren’t you working?”

Shay’s jaw clenched. Granted it wasn’t a big town but also not so small that he should have had intimate information about her patterns. “I’m between jobs.”

Richard shifted his attention to Marcus. “Hey, loser, didn’t know you were back.”

Marcus’ face darkened and his lips twisted. His fists balled at his side. She couldn’t say she blamed him. The man had always been a pain and time had not improved him.

“I’m back for now. What are you doing with yourself these days, Richard?”

He indicated the boats a short distance away. “Tourist boat. I take the tourists around and show them the sights. They love the rocky coves and sometimes we get whales. Not the right time of year for a migration, though. That’s when the big bucks come in.”

“Yeah?” Marcus peered at the man. “What kind?”

It couldn’t be that easy, could it? Their perpetrator wouldn’t just pop up with a ‘hi how are ya’ just after they found out there might be a bandit lurking around. This time was simple coincidence, that was all.

“My dad’s deck boat. You remember, don’tcha, Marky? We tossed you off it once when we were having a party in high school. That sure was funny watching you thrash around when you were first learning. Thought you might drown there, pal. Not like you, Shay. You always swam like a seal.”

Time froze as she stared at Richard. She wondered if the entire town knew their secret or if she was just being paranoid.

“I learned young,” she managed. “That cove helped. We had fun as kids. My brothers taught me. We couldn’t afford not to learn how to swim. We spend too much time in the water.” She clamped her mouth shut before saying anymore, but Richard just nodded.

“Yep, like most families round here. The ocean is in our souls. Well, I’ve got a new bunch turning up for their sightseeing expedition so I’m off. Don’t be strangers, okay?”

He trotted off, leaving them alone. The town that she’d grown up in was wrong somehow, like all members had an agenda and were out to get her. She put out a hand and Marcus gripped it.


She stared after Richard, watching him vanish. She turned back to where Ernest was fishing off the pier. She faced Johnny’s restaurant and watched the diners. The area was buzzing with activity, locals and tourists alike shopping at the stores. Everything was so normal yet something panicky beat inside her. She’d been here thousands of times. She’d been to the shops and stopped at the market that sold gas. She was part of this town. Right now, things were unclear, and frightening. Marcus’ hand slid into hers. She needed to say something, but had no words to express the whirlwind in her mind. She experienced again that fluttering panic, the sense that she was injured and out of air and sinking. She struggled to identify the swirling emotions blurring her vision. Marcus called her name but his voice came from far away. Light drew in through a distant pinpoint, darkness blooming around her.

Then Shay fainted.