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The King This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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The burning sun floats high in the sky. The surface of the lake shimmers as the wind weaves through the trees lining the water's edge. As the boat rocks, I cast my line and lure like I have a thousand times. I've been out here all day, taking orders from my father, fishing where he wants.
Fish after fish surface from my dad's line, and I handle the net. Each catch I merely admire. I cannot call one my own.
This is the first time I have lurked among these waters. I cast out my line with Ol' Reliable on the end. I sit back and reel slowly, cautiously. I feel movement through a jerk of my pole. Surprised but calm, I wait. The line tightens with a mammoth pull from the other end. My pole jolts toward the water's surface, and the line flies off my reel, yards at a time.
I fight back. Reeling hard, pulling the line tight. Ripples pulsate. “Get the net!” I holler. Ripples grow into waves as the source rises to the surface of the vital boundary. Splash as the net dives into the water and up comes the prize.
Staring me in the face is my first northern pike, a king of the depths. As I gaze into the king's eyes, I see innocence and life. I retrieve Ol' Reliable, then hold the fish as its heart still beats. I place it in the water, and let it breathe. I loosen my grip. And with one final gaze, a king returns to its kingdom.

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




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