Fish in the Moonlight
Margot Comstock

Tonight I almost died, and, having escaped, the little ones with me, Iím more in love with life than ever before.

Spring is a terrible season for us. We are just fresh from mating and the strenuous journey north when the fishing begins. Weíre taught to be on guard, wary all the time.

Tonight I was following the school of little ones, loving how they frisked about, how they shone and glistened in the moonlit water. I didnít see the fishing boat, running with motor off, until it was nearly upon us. Even then, it was the terrifying whoosh of the huge net plunging through the water all around me that got my attention.

My instinct was to turn and dive and swim away from the deadly mesh, but the school was directly in the netís path. There was only one possible escape. I raced to the small fry and indicated the terrible danger. The leader was a brilliant youngster and understood immediately. Despite his terror, he swam at top speed around the perimeter of the school and swerved a different way; sparkling still, they all followed.

By a sudden change in direction and acceleration, the school swam free. I dove for floor of the sea and was able to watch, from a nook between rocks, as the horrid net passed by empty.

Later I will catch up to the school and my mates and we will celebrate one more victory over the night fishers.

First published: August, 2004
comments to the writer: Knob'