In the Sky, An Ocean

by Amanda Saville

They said we couldn’t do it. What they were really saying is we shouldn’t do it. After all, why would merfolk want the sky when they had the whole sea to themselves? Wasn’t yearning for the land enough?

No, it wasn’t. We wanted more. We wanted to see the stars. They tsked and said it would be impossible. Carrying a capsule full of air breathers was hard enough. Did we expect to bring a piece of ocean with us into the sky? There were more sensible things to do, like farming algae and singing.

Spite, it turns out, is a powerful motivator. We ignored their protests and grew our ships, great creatures strong enough to push off the planet. We called the first one Breacher.

My mate was part of Breacher’s crew. I wanted to go with her, but it was our bond that would allow us to stay in contact with the crew. I twined my fins around hers the day she entered Breacher, not wanting to let go, knowing I had to.

I’ll never forget the sound of Breacher leaving the ocean, the terrific roaring as it pushed through the air. I couldn’t hear my mate’s thoughts over the chaos, could only watch Breacher’s bulk become nothing but a dot in the sky.

I froze. Waiting. Straining. Hoping.

Then, I heard her, and I cried her words to everyone, triumphant. “The stars! It’s an ocean of stars!”

We don’t need the land. We have the universe.

Illustration by Joyce Chng

© Copyright Amanda Saville and Joyce Chng

Amanda Saville does science by day and spins stories by night. When not exploring the worlds in her head she enjoys knitting, baking, and being fascinated by languages. She lives in North Carolina with her spouse, a small herd of houseplants, and her yarn stash.

Joyce Chng’s fiction has appeared in The Apex Book of World SF II, We See A Different Frontier, Cranky Ladies of History, Accessing The Future, The Future Fire and Anathema Magazine. Joyce also co-edited THE SEA IS OURS: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia with Jaymee Goh. Fire Heart, a YA fantasy under Scholastic Asia, will be published soon. (Pronouns: she/her, they/their)

Read the Rest of the February Issue

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