stories

The Fish - page 4

The fish were jumping of their own accord onto the sandbar, even with nobody chasing them. Some fell on the sand and then leapt back in the water. The three shrieked with laughter. They kept laughing as they gathered up the fish. They caught the smaller ones only long enough to check their size, and then let them go. Even the one they'd caught before sixteen or seventeen centimeters long now looked small by comparison. The biggest one they'd caught so far was over twenty.
The wife screamed. A huge fish, twenty-five centimeters long, had hopped out of the water onto the sand by her feet. The husband let out a yell and went over to her. He threw away the fish he was holding, then crouched down and grabbed onto this other one, pinning it to the ground. Then another fish, the same size as the one he was clutching, fell onto the sand right in front of him. Or rather than falling, it was more like the fish had charged through the water and dashed up the slope onto the sands. It made the husband think of a fish warrior come to rescue its fellow. The fish opened its red mouth, which was studded with minute white teeth. The husband felt it glaring at him and he recoiled, sitting heavily down on the sandbar.
I tell you! If looks could kill.
They caught both of the giant fish. The boy carried one.
Let's go back now, the wife said nervously.
The sound of rushing water grew louder. The current was picking up speed. The sandbar had shrunk to about the area of a single bed.
Hey, the eyes on this fish? They're human, the boy said, peering at the fish from straight on.
Yeah, let's go back, the husband said. Everybody got their fish? Okay, so hold on now. Don't let them go.
Easier said than done.
The husband, leading the way, took just a few steps through the water and stumbled. Wow! Watch out! The current's pretty bad.
All three were clutching fish in both hands, which made it hard to keep their balance. They all kept lurching this way and that.
We better speed up. The boy held the fish over his head like an offering, kicking steadily through the water. He zipped past his parents and stood for a minute in the middle of the river, his shorts completely drenched. Hey! I'm getting totally wet!