Point of view – short story

There we were, starving, but happy to be together. The sun shone brightly against the water and the sound of old diesel and new outboard engines could be heard roaring through the ocean. We hadn’t eaten all day, apart from some minor green stuff. We’d been roaming around for a while and I knew she was hungry too. As we approached the end of the reef, two little young shiny-blue squid shone through the depths, floating side by side, and there it was: the solution to all of our momentaneous life urges. We looked each other in the eye and swam towards them, a quick race towards lunch with a siesta to follow in mind. We pushed and reeled towards the kill, both our tiny sets of teeth setting around the little baby squidlets, when bam! — a piercing pain through my inner lip propelled us towards the surface, away from home. I remember looking her in the eye, trying to understand what was happening, as the panic in our gall bladders surfacing too quick sent alarm bells ringing through our tiny brains. Tales of fellow greats being pulled from great depths were considered to be local folklore; but some never do make it back, and I was starting to grasp why.

As we fought against the almighty squid traps, the sun shone brighter and brighter against our eyes the more we rose through the depths of the now-not-so-endless blue. The shock of being above water, combined with the cheers of the mighty giants who pulled the lines of their intricate traps increased my struggle to breathe. They slapped us against the bottom of their floating concoction and we there we were, struggling together against the hot-ironed hell full of empty red-and-white cans they had dragged us into.

You went first. I looked you in the eye one last time as the man pulled the faux lunch from your mouth and placed you atop an ocean-blue esky. I flapped and fought but knew myself to be powerless. I will always remember your calm and collectedness against that blue coffin: you gazing towards the great-blue-up as the old man brought his prized filleting knife out with an unsatiable smile on his lips. He slashed your neck and blood gushed from the inside of your lungs, staining the white-washed fibreglass surface. I could see life gradually leaving your eye as your body spasmed and convulsed in itself, I don’t know if either from pain or mere nerve reaction. Before I could figure it out, he picked you up from the inside of your perforated throat, opened the blue esky and threw you into its icy void.

I lost my ability to move altogether; I wish I could have closed my eyes., but I could not stop watching in horror as the killer cleaned your blood off his knife on the back of his pants and had a sip of his beer as if nothing had happened. He proceeded to high-five his fellow human and then set his sights on me. The pain of the piercing hook he removed from my lip was nothing compared to the urge to kill I felt inside of me. He then placed me on the top of your impermanent casket and took his eyes off me to reach for his can once more. He finished it and gathered his balance against the big swell we had that day. In hindsight I should have questioned the presence of squid that time of year, but you know how fuzzy your head gets with an empty stomach… When he turned around and picked up his knife, I understood why she had remained unfazed on her side as he neighed in on the kill ritual. There we were, out of breath, up against giants who dictated all the rules. These thoughts were running through my limited brain at a million miles; but somehow, I gathered all my last strength and flapped as hard I could, surprising the rotating giant whose freshly sharpened knife was to end my days on water. I flew upwards and sideways in the air, flying like a gurnard towards freedom. I hit my head on the edge of the boat as I did, and this was the fascinating moment that I saw the man lose his shifty balance, slipping on your blood, half attempting to grab me by my slippery scales, half grasping for anything to hold on to. The knife went out flying out of his hand into the ocean, and he too hit his head on the boat’s edge.

What became of him is hard to tell, but the famous knife plummeted into this reef where I come to pay my respects everyday is here to prove the veracity of my story.

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