Sky Swimmer

Taunoa in French Polynesia

Photo credit: Raitini Rey via Google Maps

As a child, Eza hadn’t realized she lived on an island. Or rather, she pictured all places like this, surrounded by ocean. That you could always walk the shore long enough to return to your beginning.

But now she’d been to the big land. You could walk for days, weeks, and never find the opposite shore. If there was one. Her powers had felt so dim, so useless.

How could Eza protect her people from those who lived such dry lives? People who’d fight not only on the water but here, in the mountains?

They say you can teach a bird to swim easier than teach a fish to fly. She was a fish by birth, by culture, and by training. She begged the ocean to accept this new training, to share her with the sky.

Eza spread her arms, casting the wind beneath them, praying herself buoyant.

She soared.

Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw. Big thanks to Josh and Karen for hosting this great writing challenge. This week, Pegman takes us to Taunoa in French Polynesia. Such gorgeous ocean views and landscapes I found there! Click on the link to see what images others found, and the stories they inspired. And as always, feel free to jump in and write your own!

This is my first flash fiction piece in many weeks, and it’s great to be back. I’m still recovering from emergency eye surgery over four weeks ago. I’m doing much better, but my eye is already aching from writing and reading as much as this has taken, so it might be a while before I can read everyone else’s stories and comment on them. For anyone interested in the gory details, see my post: Me Versus Eye Surgery.


30 thoughts on “Sky Swimmer

  1. It is fascinating how much the environment we grew up in affects our original conceptions of what the world is like. I read books about cities, but lived in a small town, and always wondered why they were so different.

    So, islands vs. continents. Never really asked an islander how it affected their lives. My mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the great comment, Brian – I’m glad you liked it. To be honest, I never asked an islander either (although now I want to). That’s what writers constantly do, right? Try to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and imagine, with empathy, what that might be like. But then, my drive to do that is probably why I’m a sociologist and psychologist, with a side interest in anthropology. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Which is no doubt why you find Crispina congenial, given her interests.

        I’m having a fascinating time with a lengthy book on the famous Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie, which advances the theory that Gowdie was a story-telling visionary, or, to use a controversial term, a shaman. Giving me yet another perspective on the fantasy I read, and that I write.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That does sound interesting! Fortunately (or unfortunately?) there’s an endless list of wonderful resource books for anyone interested in such topics. And finite time to read them, alas…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Josh, glad you enjoyed it! And yes, that’s one thing I love about writing fantasy: when I’m not loving what’s happening in the real world, I can always build something entirely different and wonderful in Eneana.


  2. I love that you’ve seen the mainland from an islander’s perspective – you’re right, for those who’ve never known anything else, the mainland must seem like a strange, alien world to negotiate. And I love that ending – she willed herself to take flight and she did. Perfect.
    Just caught up with your eye surgery post. I missed it when it went out as we were working through British mothers’ day here, just before we went into lock down. Wow, Joy. You’ve been through so much! You’re so tough, so resilient to come out of this still positive, still thankful. I’m so glad this latest surgery seems to be working for you and may you make the best recovery. So good to see you back online and to read your writing. Take care

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s great to hear from you, Lynn! Glad you survived the Mother’s Day rush — perhaps a long period of isolation is just the thing after that, no? Glad to hear you liked the story. Indeed, shifting perspectives is always interesting to me. In this case it’s pumped up a notch: imagine seeing the mainland, with all that endless *land*, when your magic comes from worshiping the sea, and your primary power is to turn into a fish!

      Thank you for your kind words about my eye surgery drama. It’s been quite the ordeal. Unfortunately, it continues to be so because of this blasted oil bubble in my eye, which blurs my vision off and on and off and on. I am trying to get back into the swing of things, and catch up on emails and (ugh) work. But if I push things too hard, by about 6 pm my eye is killing me and all I can see is a big smear — like having greasy glasses, but no amount of blinking or eye drops helps. Thank goodness for audiobooks! So I suppose this is also a good time for me to be isolated at home, with no disappointment that I’m missing out on lovely social events or fun outings, since everyone else is also hunkered down.


      • I hope your eye is improving further, though you’ll be glad to see the back of that oily bubble, I bet. Hope your not missing out on any events, any conferences etc over the next few weeks. I wonder if there are any virtual fantasy book events being planned? Never listened to audio books, though the market for them has grown hugely over the last few years. What are you listening to at the moment?

        Liked by 1 person

      • One of the oddly lucky things about the timing of my recovery is how well it coincides with the COVID-19 stay-home orders. So at least I’m not feeling sad about missing out on wonderful social events, because ALL of them are canceled, indefinitely. That’s a good idea, virtual events. Maybe once my oil bubble is out, if we are still all in quarantine. For now I have to ration out my computer/online/seeing time, given that I need so much of it to catch up on my actual job-work, on which I am sorely behind.

        The audiobooks have been wonderful. Some better than others, of course. I just finished Marcus Sedgwick’s MIDWINTERBLOOD and absolutely loved it. I just wish the library had a better selection, particularly since I’m going through one book every 2-3 days. I searched their database for most of the fiction books in my TBR shelves and only found *one* of the ~75 or so that I checked (they had many in ebook but not audiobook). Sigh. But that’s fine, I will just broaden my search!


      • Have you tried Audible? Not sure how much it is to join but I’m pretty sure their selection is extensive. Online events will definitely be a thing if lock down lasts. I know several people who are using zoom to continue their group activities from salsa drumming to spinning groups (spinning as in Rumpelstiltskin, prick your finger and sleep for a hundred years!) A great way to keep a little community going

        Liked by 1 person

      • If my oil bubble period lasts longer than expected, I may turn to Audible, or turn to other free sources. For now, I’m feeling a bit saturated on audiobooks. I got into the habit of listening constantly during my long recovery. Now that I’m doing somewhat better, it’s strangely hard to get out of that rut and resume more normal activities, like doing projects around the house, going for walks, getting out my guitar, etc. I have to keep reminding myself that I have a long to-do list (of things I *want* to do) and yet I just keep listening to more audiobooks. So the limited selection is probably a good thing!

        I’ve been using Zoom a lot for work meetings, and it’s nice to chat with my coworkers after we’re done talking work-stuff. I’m not especially drawn to it for virtual events, although I am very much enjoying this old-fashioned “call your friend on the phone” activity!


      • The last couple days I’ve been “accomplishing” that by getting hooked on watching a particular TV I’ve meant to catch up on for years. I’m not much of a TV watcher (and couldn’t watch for the first 6 weeks of my eye surgery recovery) so that’s a fun treat, but it feels a bit “out of the frying pan and into the fire”!


      • Yes, once I “finish watching all of television” I should have time free. LOL! Well, maybe if I keep to this one show, but even with that it would take me months. It’s “Enterprise”, one of the more recent Star Trek series. I figure I can’t maintain my status as serious Star Trek geek if I haven’t at least watched the first few seasons. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not that bad either, and seems to be getting better (to be fair, all of them took a while to find their stride).


    • Well they should, “Mr. Thayer”! Thanks for stopping by and reading, it’s great to hear from you. Message me–it would be fun to catch up. Except that I’m about to go in for eye surgery tomorrow and will be offline for about 2-3 weeks, so if you email and I don’t respond, that’s why. Cheers!


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