Of Fish This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   He plunged himself, or rather he was plunged, into the maelstrom. He had taken a deep breath immediately before submersion, and now he could feel it in his lungs, filling his body. He swam through the flock of people crowding the hallways. Some were bright and colorful, while others looked dangerous, even poisonous. Most he ignored, concentrating on preserving his own safety. Then he emerged, and stood, gasping for air. But as soon as he had taken a quick breath, he was pulled under again.

It happened like this all day. A breath here, a breath there, but most of the time - no breathing! If was impossible to breathe in the swift-moving rapids. It he attempted it, the rough water would churn through his body, annihilating his lungs. It wasn't a good idea.

Of course, at first he had tried to breathe. Like an infant, he had choked, coughing, his body rejecting the oxygen-depleted material. He had learned soon enough. Everyone did.

It was interesting, though, once he got the hang of breathing only once in a while. Swimming with the hundreds of others could be fascinating and fun -- moving in tumultuous patterns of rhythm and light and motion - bumping, flapping, and propelling together.

Most of it was irrelevant, of course. But not all.

Once in a while, he would see another who seemed to want to breathe just as desperately as he; whose lungs were crying out as if to die in the meantime. He swam over to her. They swam side by side, watching the ranks fly through the water in a cascade of scales, skin, gills, lungs. It seemed comical; how could it not be? But at the same time, it was suffocating. Swimming with the others was unsatisfying, but so much easier! You could almost breathe in contentment. But that was the price of freedom. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 8 at 10:57 am
i love this !
Winters_Willow said...
Mar. 6, 2012 at 3:42 am
I don't exactly get it, but it's really interesting. A pretty good piece ;)
Site Feedback