Weird Fishes

January 20, 2009
By Anthony Lio, Mount Prospect, IL

Once, I decided to delve under the water's covers, it became apparent to me that there was a world that I had shamefully put out of my mind. In my attempt to be the best, to show my peers and friends and family that I could be the best at showing them the way, I had become spoiled and comfortably numb. And after the death of my brother at the hands of my creations, I was made to flee the Earth and its ostracizing ways. Things were much better on Neptune. Humans were made to live in the water. That's what I think, anyway. At least I could spend the rest of my life in the cool, solitary oceans of the turquoise planet. I would be the Leviathan of these deeps. I dropped past the noticeable five hundred foot mark where the water turns suddenly opaque and navy. No one had charted these waters or had even attempted to; no one even knew how deep they were. I steadily dropped farther and farther and farther and farther until I realized that I had been sinking for three hours. My glass goggles -- a foolish choice, I realized at this is instant -- shattered and I reeled my head back in surprise. The shards started their heavy floating ascent -- like raindrops in reversed gravity -- up to the surface that I could no longer see. Actually, I could no longer see anything around me. It was too murky here. I fell asleep.

I woke up…still falling. After flailing around for minutes, I realized where I was and what I was doing here and I stopped. I looked down and saw the ground loom before me and recognized that the water had gotten clear enough to see in again. I looked to my left and, with a start, to the right. The walls confirmed the fleeting fear I'd harbored since I was a child. I had dropped into an enormous hole in the ocean. Looking up I could see that, once again, the light above me was fleeting -- a hole that couldn't have been bigger than a quarter if I circled my finger around it. With a tone that could only be described as defeatedly sarcastic, my mind named it "The Hole." And then, a sensation I had scarcely felt since this lonely, horrific descent had begun. Pressure. My feet had pressed into the soft but solid sand. I attempted to supply my own pressure back -- to stand -- and was met with a wave of fatigue. I fought the urge, but the back of my eyelids soon mirrored the profoundly dark waters around me and I slipped into unconsciousness again.

When my eyes opened next, I could see a trail marked into the sand where my body had drifted -- violently, by the looks of sharp the turns of the trail were. My body was sore but I was able to focus enough willpower into my legs to cease their wobbling and buckling and I stood. Feeling the most proud I had since when I had discovered the invention, a half smile flickered across the line that had been my mouth. I say had been because down here, I'd have no use for it anymore. Besides eating, I guess…I was terribly hungry, anyway -- my useless sac of a stomach was growling, gnawing its needy walls against one another, searching for some sort of solid substance to mash into molecules. I couldn't find anything, except for scattered plants swaying on the ground. I'd never seen anything like them…their roots snaked up toward the Hole's entrance and their leaves linked together with plants around them. The stems were a weird purple color and were as hard as metal -- a lesson I learned when I tried to take a bite out of it.

Another reversed gravity scene -- this time blood from my mouth. They say that in zero gravity, all liquid -- and even things like fire -- will naturally align themselves into perfect spheres; it's like Nature's go-to shape. My blood dripped off my lips and revolved several times before becoming a sphere and continuing the ascent. Something clicked in my brain. The glass from my goggles floated upwards because I was falling at a faster rate than my natural sinking speed…but blood is more dense than water AND me…why was it floating upwards? A nameless fear grew in my head: SOMETHING that was more massive than a planet -- MUCH more massive -- was in orbit or simply existing near to Neptune. But I wasn't floating upwards…what the hell was going on here?

My thoughts were vividly and violently interrupted -- my head literally jerked backwards as a small, glowing, orange oval streaked past my face. I tried to follow it as fast as I could, which is VERY slow, and was greeted by a massive cave opening within The Hole. I took one step in and came face to face with the orange streak -- a fish. A fish with five eyes, and weird grooves connecting them in a star; with four fins -- one for each side of the fish; and two mouths, HUGE in relative comparison with the fish’s body. It gaped at me a few moments and turned tail and swam. I imperatively pressed on to catch it.

To be continued…

The author's comments:
This is a fictional response to the song "Weird Fishes" by Radiohead.

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