Sea Eye

Photo © Nonnaci

The guard shoved another woman into the  dusty cell.  Akkaia had never seen her like: black as a cat, covered with oddly bright tattoos.  Her back was red with welts, her lips cracked and bleeding.

Akkaia had been saving her last spell, but the stranger needed it more.  “Are you thirsty?”

Her voice was thickly accented, hoarse.  “Always.”

Akkaia cast, water filling her cupped hands.  The woman drank heartily.

“My gratitude.”  She sat straighter, eyes clearer.  “You are far from home.”

Akkaia described her coastal village, the water’s color, the surf’s taste.

“You must go.”

Akkaia shrugged.  “These desert people are monsters.”

“They will not be for long.”

“Not monsters?”

“Not people.”  She produced a green gem from nowhere.  “Gaze inside.  If you see your home, dive.”

The gem grew, filling Akkaia’s vision.  An eye gazed back, of a giant fish. It became a tunnel, and at its end, the sea.   It called to her.  She dove.  Stretching, pulling, then pop, splashing down.

Finally, free.

Returning, the guard found only a puddle.  Then, the screams.


Word count: 175.  This was inspired by this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers photo challenge.  Thanks as always to Priceless Joy for hosting!   Click here to see the other stories.

We haven’t heard much about this stranger’s people yet, and I want to keep some of the mystery going.  But we have met one other Ossarač before — the ship captain who married Narl’s daughter Jallen in the three flash stories: Hard To Port, Unstoppable Waves, and Deep Currents. Check them out if you get the chance.


27 thoughts on “Sea Eye

    • Thanks Graham! Yes, the story definitely begged me for more words. In the original version, I had already gotten up to 145 words before the stranger had finished drinking. Had to stop and start over from scratch. There’s a whole lot more going on here, but this is what I could do in 175 words. Glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you think it stands on its own, thanks! To be clear, there wasn’t already a longer story that this is a part of. I think I just thought about this idea for too long and came up with an awful lot of backstory and description for it. I certainly *could* write a longer version of it, but you already know the most important parts, so it might feel a bit anticlimactic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oo, I think I like your interpretation better! But that wasn’t what I was thinking. When she says they won’t be “people” for long, she means they won’t be *alive* for long. So the hint to the larger story surrounding this is: now that this powerful water priestess has drunk the divine water Akkaia gave her, she is rejuvenated and can fight back against her captors. And those desert people who treated her so badly had better watch out! Uh-oh, too late for them — cue the screaming!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, how I love this idea! Diving into a jewel to a sea washed land. Clever, deliciously clever, Joy. Love the feel, the atmosphere of the world. Great stuff. Will have to check out Joy’s prompt sometime 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lynn, so glad you enjoyed it! Some of the weirder photos actually work better for me, because they seem to inspire new magical ideas. I’m actually not sure how this particular form of magical transport fits in with the existing rules of my world. A divine artifact of the water deity that allows worshipers to return to their home sea? Okay, I can squeeze that in somehow. 🙂

      And these FFfAW prompts are great, I would definitely suggest checking out Priceless Joy’s page!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a lovely idea and I hope you can incorporate it into your world. I know what you mean about weirder photos being inspiring – sometimes something too literal feels a bit constricting. I will look at Joy’s page, though not sure when I’d fit in doing the prompt – there are a lot of them out there and they’re so much fun 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re already doing so many flash fiction challenges, Lynn, I can see it would be hard to fit in another one! I am semi-involved in several weekly prompts. But the photos are often so literal and so modern that I just can’t see how to fit them into Eneana at all, so I end up prioritizing which to do that week based on which photos/concepts work best for my stories. It’s inexact, to say the least, and I still can’t get to all the ones I’d like to do!


  2. your story described the photo so accurately i fell in together with Akkaia! i understand the feeling of returning home and the scream at the end i think the puddle was more than what meets the eye. awesome tale of fantasy and hope!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I felt especially inspired by the photo this time. The scream at the end was intended to hint at what is happening to these “desert people”, now that the other woman has sent Akkaia home and is wreaking her vengeance on her captors.

      Liked by 1 person

      • i like these type of stories…where the female characters have such power and hmmm vengeance seems its a word i have used recently too and am feeling the force behind your words. love the abrupt ending with a bang!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lucky for Akkaia , one good turn deserved another. She was kind to use her last spell to let the stranger drink. I liked how you used the picture, as a gem like the seas Akkaia is from and through the darker lady’s magic, Akkaia was able to go home, be free. Doesn’t sound as if the stranger was so kind to the guards and others, with the screams in the end. Fascinating story. I enjoyed it very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mandi! In the original version, the Ossarac woman helped Akkaia spontaneously, but I thought it made more sense of Akkaia made the first gesture. And yes you’re right, she was definitely not so nice to the guards — but then, they were not so nice to her first.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another wonderful story, Joy. 🙂 I love the descriptions of the gem and Akkaia’s journey through it to freedom. Hopefully the other prisoner will also manage to make it to safety after she’s slaughtered all the monstrous guards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lou, glad you enjoyed it! I was really inspired by the photo for the visuals of the magic gem. And yes, I’m pretty sure the Ossarac captain/water priestess can handle herself. They messed with the wrong captain!


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