Ok People – Here is the entry for round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. My genre was Fantasy (Why I keep getting it is beyond me – so not my comfort zone).. the location had to be a Fish Farm, and the object I had to write in was a beach ball. I did my best 🙂
No Good Deed…
Sometimes helping is not always appreciated.
Being alone on the sea at night was something he loved, especially on a night like tonight when the moon was absent and the water was still and black. Growing up in Newfoundland there was no way you could get away from it; seawater ran in your veins. The creak of the oars and splash of the water against his dory were familiar sounds throughout his life and tonight served as a reminder of his purpose.
He rowed up to the first cage, marked with a beach ball of all things – the red and blue colours weren’t as noticeable without moonlight but the white glowed like a beacon. He locked his oars and moved forward in the boat, leaning over to grab the floaters that marked the top of the enclosure. The government put this fish farm right on a scallop bed and despite the local fishermen explaining that the scallop bed was a sensitive area and that the fish farm needed to be moved, the government wasn’t listening. Well, he was going get rid of this thing himself, one cage at a time and one night at a time if that’s what it took.
He flipped open the hatch and reached in, hauling on the chain that kept the cage tethered to the bottom. It came up a bit then stopped. ‘Come on!’ he grumbled; the chain should have quite a bit of slack – he’d had no problem the last two nights he’d done this. He leaned over the boat a bit more, steadying himself by stuffing his foot under the bench seat, and plunging his arms further into the cold salt water. Now his cuffs were soaking and his hands were becoming numb from the cold. He closed his eyes, feeling down the chain and wondering what on earth he would do if he couldn’t get the chain to play out.
So fixed on his task was he, that it took a moment for the change in the water to register, but when it did his eyes popped open and he gaped. He wrenched his foot out from under the seat and scrambled back to the oars. A cold sweat broke out on his back, what the hell was going on? The surface of the water was churning and foaming around the boat. Before he could grab the oars and retreat, his boat started to rise, rocking violently from side to side, buoyed up by a column of green water beneath him. Terrified, he grabbed the sides of his small craft.
The water abruptly fell away and the boat plummeted to the surface. A great whirlpool appeared below and the boat plunged into the water, caught in the swirling vortex. Hanging on for dear life, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he was pulled under. It was no use, he was wrenched from his boat and sent tumbling through the current. He held his breath until he felt his lungs would burst, flailing against the water with his arms and legs. Finally he succumbed, inhaling reflexively. Water swirled into his mouth and down into his lungs and he wondered briefly how long death would take. It took him a second to realize that he was no longer out of air. Exhaling, he could feel the water flowing out of his mouth. Cautiously he inhaled and felt the water flow back into his lungs. Somehow he was breathing the water. Amazed, he opened his eyes. Observing him from all around was every kind of fish he could think of and many he had never before seen: turbot, grouper, salmon, tiny fish with brilliant neon colours, large fish with metallic hues, red fish with bright yellow bellies, iridescent green fish with dark spots and luminous fins. He had never seen such a riot of colours and sizes. They floated, not moving. He looked down and saw lanky arms of seaweed reaching up to him from the bottom, and above him the surface was like looking into a huge mirror, reflecting all the colourful fish around him. But… he could not see himself at all. A thrill of panic ran down his spine and he looked at his hands and saw – nothing. He tried to hold his foot up, stretch his leg in front of him, but it was impossible. He turned his head to the left and could see a long pink flank that ended in a big fan tail gleaming and twinkling in the glowing water. He turned his head to the right and there was the identical side of that flank. ‘What have you done?’ He screamed at the assembled fish, but only a bubble shot from his mouth.
A large silver salmon sidled up to him, he could feel the flank of the fish sliding against his own. Suddenly his tail was caught in a strong grip and he was being pulled backwards through the water. He tried to struggle but wasn’t used to this new body and could not control his movements well enough for it to be of any use.
He felt himself being towed inexorably towards the surface, all the fish that had surrounded him following behind. They were approaching something, but before he could digest this info the salmon gave a mighty leap and they broke the surface. Suddenly the salmon released its grip, and he was tumbling through the suffocating air. Crashing into something solid, he began wriggling madly, trying to get back into the water. Success! He slid back into the waves once again. He tried to swim further underneath, wiggling his tail and gaining some momentum. Abruptly he bashed his face against some mesh. He turned his head and used his tail to move in a different direction. Seconds later he bashed his face against some mesh again. He stopped, horror blooming as the meaning of this trickled into his brain. His eyes locked on the bottom of the beach ball floating above his head.