Cape of Disappointment

Deadmans cove

Photo © Derek Markiewicz via Google Maps

The fog blankets me, downy droplets against my damp cheeks. Its sharp mineral chill tastes like home.  But you are the sun’s flower, face ever turning toward that heat.

I remember laying on the dirt floor of our unfinished home, holding work-sweaty hands, shaping clouds into animals. Just two everyday men sharing our everyday life. I confessed my dark secret, my spells for flame and warmth. You accepted me. Such magic is not forbidden in your land.

Yet you never revealed your truth to me. All those long swims. I was worried, jealous.  So I spied, watching as you swam out to sea and… disappeared. Every time, you returned rejuvenated, buoyant. I opened my ears, my heart, pre-accepting. Please, trust me.

Instead, you left.

I wrap myself in this gray mantle, and remember, and wish. Whenever I see a black fin breach the surface, I will wave.

Just in case.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw prompt.  Big thanks as always to Karen and John for hosting this wonderful challenge!  This week takes us to Cape Disappointment in Washington state (hence the play on words in my title). The photo I used is from Deadman’s Cove. Click the link to read the other stories inspired by this gorgeous and moody location, and to write your own!

In the last story (see: Sea Swayer, or start the story series at the beginning: Hard to Port), we got a glimpse of what happens when an Ossaraq tries to bring a “lander” spouse back to his island home. This week we see the reverse: an Ossaraq who came to live on the mainland for love. Either way, it’s heartbreaking, for in the end, he couldn’t stay.


19 thoughts on “Cape of Disappointment

    • Thanks Crispina! In longer stories, I can get across more of the details so the reader can see all the differences from the selkies myths, but if those myths help readers relate to the hints about the Ossaraq in the really short stories, that works too! And it fits with the idea that in Eneana, most outsiders have no idea what the Ossaraq really are, and there are lots of wildly untrue rumors.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A very touching story, Joy. The deserted partner doesn’t show anger, just resignation and a wistful hope for togetherness in the future. I particularly like that it’s a partnership between two men; were you influenced by Pride month?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Penny, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I was imagining the narrator not as angry but as sad and confused and still hoping. I had not thought of Pride Month when writing it, but you’re right, the timing is good! I try to be inclusive in my stories as much as I can — Eneana has a wide variety of people, and they should all be reflected! And for anyone following these stories ridiculously closely, this is a racially diverse story as well, since the Ossaraq are called “as black as cats” and if the narrator’s magic is forbidden, he’s probably Layoran, which would make him “as pale as a peasant” (as the derogatory Pyanni saying goes). But obviously there’s only so much world building I can squeeze into each 150-word story!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Karen, it felt pretty heartbreaking to me, too. I used my standard criterion, revising it until it made me cry. 🙂 See my comment above, to Penny, about them being two men. The part I liked best was that he liked thinking of them as being “everyday” men (the original version read “normal”) not because they’re gay or because they’re in a biracial relationship, but because of the secret and forbidden magic they each have.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a lovely, tragic story. ‘A bird and a fish may fall in love but where will they build their nest?’ Always that tension when lovers come from such different backgrounds. You painted the picture beautiful, filled it with longing and sadness. Beautiful writing Joy

    Liked by 2 people

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