I picked up on yesterday’s story about the man trying to spearfish. I feel it got a bit better, and think the practice is starting to pay off in small ways.
The water he wades into is cold like cats nipping, first at his ankles, then at his knees and finally at his loins. He raises his spear overhead and waits, like a heron.
He strikes at a fat fish and ends up sprayed with water and holding a snapped spear. The fish turns around and smirks at him.
Under grey clouds, his son cries on the riverbank, neither consoled by his wife’s teat, nor by her affection.
Deep waters are rich waters. He retrieves another spear from the riverbank and shivers. It is his last one. The child wails so loud he will scare off the fish.
He glances at them over his shoulder, as rain pelts his head. She is beautiful, even after seven nights on the run. What was he thinking, dragging them out into the Wilder, through the Grimwood, from shadow into darkness.
It has to be the right thing.
Again he stands, and waits. The rock underfoot is slick, and he struggles to stand upright, to stay still.
Another fat fish approaches, slapping its tail left, then right, and using that momentum to glide through the water. It is harder to see as the rain sploshes into the river.
Wait, he holds his breath, a bit longer, as the fish comes closer, this is my last chance, he trembles and just as the fish looks up, now! he thrusts, hard and fast.
The sudden motion throws him off balance and his foot slips. Water reaches up and grabs his shoulders, dragging him down. He flails in slowmotion, and watches the bubbles rise as he screams into the river, then finds himself eye to bulbous fish-eye. It’s smile splits its face as it takes his measure.
Why do you seek to kill me? the fish asks him.
We are hungry.
You can take from the earth, or the air.
I’ve tried, but the bird flies high and the hare hides well.
The fish frowns. Yet this fish swims swift, it says.
He shudders, and the tears he cries become sparkling diamonds, carried downstream. He must get out, or his wife and son will perish. He can hear his wife yelling, his child wailing now, though they seem to be in another world, beyond the turbid water.