Deep Currents

We saw the woman’s view in Hard to Port, and her father’s view in Unstoppable Waves.  Now we finally see the view of the man pulling them apart—the captain of the mysterious Ossarač vessel.

Colors of Blue.Edward Musiak.Flickr.6245528107_b40788aba8_o

Photo credit: Edward Musiak



Ekadwikasenala inhaled the salty air, watching the land recede.  They had a long journey ahead.

He leapt to the foremast to oversee his crew.  Lithe men and women flowed across the decks and ropes, the dance of his people, in practiced synchrony.

Even if Jallen weren’t the only person standing still in a river of bodies, her pale skin would set her apart.  A lone beach pebble in a blue bowl of onyx stones.  To him, a pearl.

Eka counted, again, all the customs this violated.  He prayed to Xinxoni for forgiveness.  Surely Xinxoni had given him this heart, these eyes, this mind.

He prayed also that his parents would see Jallen’s worthiness.  She was wise and calm and brave—no weak lander, to flail and wail when the waves hit.  She would share the risks.  She would take the vow.

Being wedded by her priest would mean little to the Ossarač.  Eka touched the blank black space on his forearm, imagining the bond mark there.  White.  It would barely show on her.

Eka knew the storms ahead.  His people were no more accepting of foreigners than hers.  Less so, in some ways.  And their children, would they be water-blessed?  Would they ever bear the blue and green sea-marks?

Eka insisted Jallen understood how the winds blew before she came.  The more he warned, the firmer her stance, crouching down against his rolling words.  He grinned, remembering.  She would try to change an ocean current if it crossed her, that woman.

And what if his mother did not allow it?  She may not.  For all she loved him, she may not.  He could find a rogue waves-eye to bond them, but they would be banished, both from his islands and from the trade routes to her homeland.  Or he could return here, to leave Jallen at her father’s door, and his heart as well.

He could not ask her to abandon her people forever.  It would be up to her.

Eka pondered how Jallen would choose.  He watched her at the rail, staring at the port village fading into the distance.  She kept her eyes locked on the building on shore, as though memorizing it for the last time.

He thought he knew.



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8 thoughts on “Deep Currents

    • Yes, I gave up trying to keep it to 175 words this time. There’s a lot of complexity here that just popped out at me when I was writing. The funny thing was that I initially intended this people to be on the sidelines for a while — mentioned only briefly and very mysteriously, nobody knows where they go or what they’re really like, etc. But it seems I went ahead and dove into some of those mysteries pretty early on. Couldn’t help it, it’s a really interesting culture!

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      • It definitely is an interesting culture, and your stories are developing really well. If you’re like me, you’ll love developing your characters. And as for word count, as I’ve said before, sometimes they can be so restrictive. I could have done with a lot more words to make a really good story this week. But, that’s flash fiction for you.

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      • Thank you so much! I keep being tempted to go back and develop some of the supposedly one-off characters that pop up in these flash fiction pieces, but then I have so many other ideas for stories too, it’s hard to slow them down! And yes, the flash fiction word limits can be an excellent exercise in keeping to the kernel of truth, but also terribly frustrating sometimes. I think that exercise is definitely helping me with my longer short stories, though, so I’m not complaining!

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    • Thank you – I’m glad you liked it! I didn’t initially plan to give all three perspectives, or to use the last line as the first in the next story (or wrapped back around to the first story, for the last one). If I had, I might have thought it through a little more carefully! 😉

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  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading this trio of stories, Joy. 🙂 You’ve created some great characters and fascinating cultures that I’d love to read more about. I hope they manage to make their relationship work.

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    • Aha, then my not-so-secret strategy of getting you hooked has worked, because I plan to keep luring you (and everyone else) in with more stories about these same cultures. I’m really glad you’re enjoying them, thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      And I haven’t decided exactly what happens to Jallen and Eka. Possibly something legendary. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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