Flash Fiction – Mazu

Aussie Speculative Fiction run a flash fiction photo prompt each week and my short piece “Mazu” has been featured. Visit their website here.

Scroll past the lovely accompanying image to read my story.

An oxidised shipwreck in calm waters.
“…the monument of her first battle with the sea…”


The girl once called Mo squeezes the cherry-red sea glass within her palm, testing its edges. Perfectly smooth. She stows her prize in a pouch with the others. Collecting sea glass calms her from her momentous calling. Knowing the sea has rolled the glass for decades or longer soothes her.

Once-Mo approaches the oxidised hulk of a shipwreck. There stands the monument of her first battle with the sea, a testament not to victory, but to the price even the victor must pay. She crouches and plunges her fingers into the sand along the water’s edge searching for more of the red glass. Red is a rarity, a colour precious in her world of blue and green.

The sea wells and froths around her wrists and ankles. The titanic hulk groans as it has not since its death throes on the sandbar a century ago. Droplets of water begin to rise from the sea, swirling into cyclonic pillars that curl around the monstrosity that rears from the depths in a thunderous deluge of water. An old one: a colossal serpent intent on laying claim to dry land and ushering in a new order to life itself.

Once-Mo, now Mazu, Empress of Heaven, defender of the earth from the jealousy of the sea, smiles. She brandishes her staff, pieces of sea glass glinting along its haft in the sunlight shining at her back. Her seaweed-streaked hair whips around her face as she rushes the serpent with a war cry like the distant echo of thunder, at once tremendous and unsettling, promising more to come.

More always do come, but Mazu, Empress of Heaven, will be there to return peace to the seas. Always.

S.M. Isaac