Endangered Species by Bernard Heise

Looking around for sharks, he takes a final breath, bends at the waste, and glides down. When his fins enter the water, he kicks.  Just enough to maintain momentum without accelerating the heart.  A few more kicks and he’s thirty feet deep, settling lightly on the coral where he can see them at the drop off – parrot fish, trigger fish, a few groupers.  And two beautiful Napoleon wrasses.  He wants one, but they must come to him.  So he waits, counting slowly – 1… 2… 3…. The wrasses hover and drift – 39… 40… 41….  One finally faces him and moves a little closer, with an open mouth and dull eyes.  He senses a tightening urgency in his chest, and so pushes off from the coral and swims towards the fish, taking aim along the shaft of the spear.  When the wrasse turns, he pulls the trigger, and the spear surges forward with a metallic click and runs through the shoulder of the fish.  The stricken wrasse plunges towards a crevasse in the coral while he pulls sharply on the line.  But his heart pounds, his lungs burns, and he knows he must abandon his pretty prey.  He drops the gun and kicks, looking up towards the dappled light.   Fingers fumble at the weight belt, which releases and drops.  Thighs pump, arms reach skyward, yet with the surface still seconds away he realizes that he just can’t wait — his mouth is open and gasping as his vision darkens around the edges.

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Filed under Bernard Heise

4 responses to “Endangered Species by Bernard Heise

  1. Beautifully written, but this one makes me sad – both for the fish and the hunter.

    Nicely done.

  2. Michelle Ong

    Very powerful. Well done!

  3. Al McDermid

    Wow. So well-written and so vivid I felt my chest tighten. Bravo.

  4. Pingback: Week #14 – I can’t wait « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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