The Breathing Lessons

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The Breathing Lessons is a story written by shukyou and illustrated by Tamago. It originally ran in Issue 55 at, and is mirrored at


A young athlete has to learn to grow up with his late father's legacy, his remaining family, dreams of stardom, and the mysterious man who may be able to teach him how to breathe underwater.

He showed up three months after the memorials had ended, which was three months of accepting fate after a little over a year of hope. But hope had been stupid from the beginning, because ships that got lost in the night didn't have happy endings.

Author's Notes[edit]


I'm cribbing pretty hard from fanon here, but if you think you recognize the source, you probably do.

I also apologize for the general ridiculous philosophical wanderings, but in my defense, at the same time I was writing this, I was also preparing introductory lectures (among other things) on Buddhism and Daoism. The stuff about breathing is true, though. Well, the general mechanics of it, anyway. Then again, I've never tried breathing breathable liquid, so it could be!

Now: I am generally a person who thinks that it's kind of jerkish when an auth or comes in to close the canon outside of the story. So basically, whatever you think was happening with Taran, whatever conclusion that you come to based on the information presented, that counts as correct. However, if you want to know what I was thinking when I wrote it, read on:

The Galena crashes because it runs into a cloud of sentient electricity beings, trapping one with as it goes down. Unable to figure out how to communicate, the electricity alien picked one of the dead bodies and zapped its way inside, not realizing that once it did, it wouldn't be able to get back out. Therefore, the alien has to figure out how to be human, and in doing so, it steps into the life of the person whose body it took.

This is part of why Taran's scars take so long to fade; they are technically postmortem injuries.

I sort of wish I could have submitted this story for this issue and August's space-and-aliens issue and October's creepy horror issue. I didn't mean to hit a weird trifecta, but it happened.

External Reviews[edit]

  • "The story is about Kai, who has a tragic event in his past that affects just about everything in his life. We meet Kai when he is a boy and follow him into adulthood as he learns to be a professional athlete. And did I mention that this all takes place on a planet in deep space? And that there are aliens playing the sport with him? And that this is so far in the future that the sport Kai plays is played in a gravity-manipulated sphere made of water? Forgive the pun, but Shukyou throws you head first into the deep end of this world. Ba da bing! But, in all seriousness, there is some great world-building done well here. The whole arc of Kai's life and learning all the mysteries around him are the real meat of the story. It's a really engaging read; thought-provoking and a little sad."