Photo credit: Henri Bergius
The Fentori ship waits in the bay for days. I marvel that they got this far south, wonder how many refugees flood the ports in-between.
Our council won’t let them dock, won’t let them leave, won’t let anyone row out to them. But these are my waters. Nobody keeps me aground.
Praying, I slip under the surface, quiet as a fish. Closer, I peek at my supposed enemies. Grandmothers holding babies. Men holding wives. An emaciated child leaning over the edge to vomit.
No time to wait. I slide onto the deck like a wave. They recoil from this strange-looking woman. I make gestures of peace, bow, hope.
Eventually they let me touch the sick child. He shivers as I cast the healing and tension ripples through the crowd. Then he smiles, color returning to his cheeks.
I heal others, injured and infected and sick, until my power is spent. An old woman kisses my fingers, will not release me. I signal for going and coming back.
My acolytes return with me, swimming silently, pulling oiled bags filled with food and blankets.
Tomorrow I confront the council. This must end.
For these are our waters. And our way is kindness.
Word count: 200. Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. Thanks as always to our stalwart host Alistair Forbes, for his continual inspiration, and to C.E. Ayr for providing the original prompt photo, below. Click here to read the other stories written about this photo.
And please, be kind out there.
To clarify: the narrator is a human, albeit a different race and culture than the refugees (which is why she looks strange to them). She is a “true cleric” of a water deity – which religion, I haven’t decided — and that’s where she gets her powers to swim like a fish and to heal. Here are two other stories of water clerics from other cultures, if you’re interested: Sea Eye and Demanding Dive
Photo ©: C. E. Ayr