I want to leave so bad, but I can’t, there's no way that I will get chosen. I have been in the same old tank looking at the same old faces for what has seemed to be years upon years. If any of you are wondering, it’s really boring doing the same thing every single day. Some fish who were said to be in the tank even longer than me, just didn't wake up one day. After a few days if they still were not awake they were taken away by the humans. Some say that they died of boredom, but those are just the legends and fairytales that the minnows tell and everyone knows how they exarate everything. 

Every so often, a human that none of us have seen before, comes and takes one or two of us away. They always point at the tank and then the big net comes to scoop the chosen ones away. No one knows where they go and no one knows if it’s good or bad. Usually the smaller and more energetic fish or turtles get taken, but I have been here forever and I am guessing I will be here until I ‘die of boredom’ like the legends say. 

Legends, fairy tales, that's all that keeps us sane. Most of the fish want to be chosen and I think that it wouldn't be a bad idea because anything could be better than this old smelly tank that is only cleaned every other week. With almost a hundred fish in this small place, it’s hard to keep clean and the humans are not much help. 

Anyway, I am in charge of the whole tank because I am the oldest and wisest of them all. After all I am a turtle and are turtles not known to be wise? I earned my place in society after many different ‘rescues’ if you want to call them that. Sometimes a little fish will get stuck under a rock or a small human will reach their hand into our tank. It’s my duty to fix and solve those problems. I usually will bite the small human hand or lift up the rock with my strong neck. 

Some fish call me a hero even though I beg them not to, but by now I am used to being called Aspen the Hero. You would think that a hero would be a chosen one so that they could get out of the tank and go wherever the humans take them, but no. Not yet at least. One day I will be chosen I hope… one day. 

The days go on and soon they are turned into weeks. Life in the tank carries on as normal. Aspen the Hero has not been chosen but he keeps order in the tank like he always does. He saves three goldfish from being stuck under a rock and he bites two small humans' hands that try to pick up some minnows. Everyone is unhappy but all the creatures in the tank feel safe as long as they know that Aspen the Hero would be there to save them. 

One particularly bright morning, I woke up early because I had a weird dream. I dreamt that I found a new, clean tank with just me in it and that there were lots of little humans around me and the emotion that I felt was joy. Except along with the joyful feeling there was sorrow because I could not help the other creatures in the tank. I dreamt that they were getting poked at by little children and all of the minnows were stuck under rocks. It was like all of my other dreams about finding a new tank but this one had sorrow and pain in it. I decided to forget the dream and make today especially a good day because something like my dream could really happen any second and if I was going to leave this place, I wanted to leave it happy. 

As Aspen started to swim around all of the creatures in the tank started to wake up. Like always everyone was sad and did not wake up with a smile on their face but Aspen wanted to change that. As he swam through their little underwater city, he had a bright and contagious smile on his face which already started brightening everyones day. 

The tank was cleaned last night so everyone had a pretty clear view of the pet shop that they were in. Although Aspen hated his tank and all of the mess, he loved the view when the tank was clean. From up on the shelf in the store where they all swam they could see all of the hamsters and bunnies, the reptiles, and other tanks with underwater creatures. One of Aspen's favorite people to watch was the crab. Although Aspen didn't know his name or had never even talked to him in his life, one of his favorite activities was to watch the way Mr. Crab moved. Crawling side to side so quickly was amazing but the times that Aspen tried it, he always ended up on his back. 

As the morning flew by, I noticed that the shop was pretty busy and this got the whole tank excited because today someone could get chosen to leave. Even if whatever the world had for them out there was horrible, nothing could be worse than the tank. Many people came up to the tank and took a few fish or so. Then a big man in fancy clothes came up to us. As he talked to the human that usually fed us, a huge lid was put over the top of the whole tank! Many fish came up to me asking what we should do. I was the hero so I had to make this right, but the thing was, I didn't know how to. 

More and more fish came up to me but I ignored them and kept on watching so that I could try to figure out what was going to happen. After a while the humans finished talking and the man in fancy clothes came and started carrying the whole tank! He carried it out to a car and put us in it beside him. None of the fish had been in a car so I had to tell them what it was like so they didn't get sick from being so scared. Once they were calm we were almost to our destination.

We arrived at a big house and were brought inside. We were carried to a room painted pink with drawings of fairies and unicorns hung everywhere. Before any of us had time to brace ourselves we were dumped into a different tank. This tank was so much bigger and everyone was very excited. There were little humans around us smiling and putting food in our new tank. I could tell that this change was for the better and that all of my tank mates and I would be safe here. If something bad did happen, I could still protect them, this was perfect. 

July 03, 2020 20:38

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Ella Kinnett
14:47 Jul 12, 2020

Thank you! I'll totally check yours out!


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Batool Hussain
11:19 Jul 12, 2020

What a unique take on the prompt. Bravo! I would be really happy if you could check out my new story and give your views on it:)


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