Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

WAG and #FridayFlash 40: Fish Out of Water

Originally posted for WAG, I'm sharing for FridayFlash too mostly becaue it was one of those ones that left me shaking my head wondering "where did that come from?" and thankful I don't have a shrink to analyze it *g*

For those who are interested in such things, the challenge was: Sometimes it’s easy to tell when someone is out of their element. It can be their clothing, their manner, what they’re carrying with them… so many things give them away. This week, observe (or create) someone who is out of place and describe what tells you they’re a fish out of water. Your target can be a tourist, someone who is in an unfamiliar place/situation, someone at a new workplace, or any of a million times in our lives we can end up somewhere we’ve never been before.

Let me know what you think!

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A Fish Out of Water

“Like a fish out of water,” the woman said as she walked by. As if she couldn’t hear. As if it wouldn’t hurt.

She knew she was different, of course, but would it really be so hard for them to accept her? She expected it from her peers. Children are cruel, and teenagers evil her mother had told her, but when it came from the adults it made the situation seem particularly hopeless. Even if she did outgrow it, there would never be acceptance.

“Don’t go near the river.” It was the only truly unbreakable law. But how was she to know that? They’d only just moved in. Oh sure, she’d been told, but how serious a rule was it? I mean compared to don’t take drugs and stay away from strangers, going to see the river hardly seemed tragic.

And it probably wouldn’t’ve been if it hadn’t been for the other kids. Teenagers now, but mere children at the time. Picking on the new kid and flirting with danger all at once. What could be better? When they pushed her in, nothing was hurt but her pride. She could swim – and it was only a few inches deep anyways. She’d only swallowed a mouthful.

She’d been pleased by the horror on the adults’ faces; thinking for sure her tormentors would be punished. Until she realized the horror was directed at her.
She went home wet and alone. Her parents dried her off and assured her it’d get better. They might’ve even thought they were telling the truth.

That night she awoke choking. Her lungs screamed as she gasped desperately for air. She faded gratefully into unconsciousness as her father desperately applied the little CPR he could recall from a long ago first aid class and her mother ran for any assistance she could find.

They would tell her later what had happened. They would tell her about their elderly landlady insisting they fill a bath tub and put her in it. About how they were so scared of losing her, they tried it. They would tell her how terrified they were by her first transformation and how the wise woman warned them to be there at daybreak to get her out of the water.

They had to tell her because she couldn’t remember. And then she remembered all too well, as every night and every morning was met with terrifying suffocation and her days and nights were spent in fear.

It lasted until the gills broke through behind her ears. Once that happened she could manage the transformation far more smoothly. With that ability she began to venture out on her own; swimming and exploring the aqua world that was rapidly becoming home. Before long, she was spending her human days longing for her aquatic nights in the river where she was, if not entirely accepted, at least not shunned; she could move about the various social classes being claimed by none but accepted by all. Such was the way of the sea. By day, however, she was treated as though she were less – rather than more – than human. To them, she would forever be nothing more than a slightly unusual fish out of water.

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6 comments:

WONDERFUL, literal, funny, scarey. Uber-nice job with the concept.

 

I love this! A great take on the topic. A bit creepy and funny too.

 

Cool take on the theme! You definitely had me reeled in (ouch!) from the start!

 

I liked your description of her being picked on and her emotional response.

Well done

 

Yup, I found the flash kinda creepy as well. And it totally worked.

 

I agree - well done - yes creepy and funny :)

 

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