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This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

I am a fisher, just like everyone else born into my family. We fish all day and weave the nets all night, never stopping to take a rest. That is how it is in our small little village. We do all the work, fishing and cleaning, while the nobles of the north eat the fish, and create more mess. I live with my two brothers and my parents, all of them also fish. We rarely speak to each other, and when we do, it is to tell the other about a big catch, or the old housewife’s rhyme they always told us. It goes like this: The day you get three blue catfish, is the day your luck goes up. 

It’s not much of a rhyme, but more of a promise to us. A promise that if you catch the impossible -three blue catfish- is the day I become something better, and maybe things will be better for my family and I. That is the reason I fish, and don’t go rouge on my family. That is the reason why I am now sitting in my rickety old boat, expertly untangling my net from an old boot I found in the water. The other villagers always told me that I was a maiden from sea, found floating in the waters when I was a child, because I was so in tune and fluid when it came to fishing. I have always felt this pull to the waters, but not for that reason. Fish, fish, find those blue catfish. It whispers. I listen, almost always on the waters, or at least on the old dock, staring out onto the horizon, trying to find where the sky meets the water. I hear a fast pummel of small footsteps on the dock.

“Mizu! Mizu! Hayai got himself stuck in his net again! I know your the only one to help, so I came to find you!” I sigh. I twist around, knowing it was Sumu, a little girl that I decided to take under my wing when I found her wandering around at night near the edges of our village. I get up, and get out of the boat and onto the dock, making sure not to disturb the balance on my boat. Sumu scampers away, leading me to Hayai. When we get there, I groan at the mess he made while trying to untangle himself. Hayai is one of my older brothers, and he also fishes, but he hates it. He would rather go off into the world, never to be seen again by the nobles, or this village. Since he’s stuck here, he makes it as hard as possible for the rest of my family. As I walk closer, Hayai looks up at me. 

“Finally! What took you so long?! You little b-” I cover his mouth, knowing what he was going to say, since he says it every time he gets stuck, which is at least once a week. “Sumu! Go and get my mother! She knows what to do with Hayai!” She nods, and hurries away, presumingly to our little hut near a small stream that runs at the edge of the village. I groan, and get to work untangling Hayai from the net, all while he spews colorful language at me. Halfway through the process, he said something very colorful to me. I stop, getting up and putting a hand on my hip.

“I would think you would be grateful. I guess not.” I turn around, and start walking away. “Wait! Don’t leave me.” He scowls. I smile, and walk back. Just after I finished untying Hayai, my mother walks over, with a pair of shears in one hand, and a fishing rod in the other. She scowls at my brother, and then leads him away. I sigh, and sit down. The hardest part about living in this village is that you have to always have a mask of no emotion around others. If you do, they can find a way to exploit it, and get something from it. I learned that the hard way. 

I run around with my fishing rod dragging behind me, while my mother runs after me, trying to catch up to grab the rod from me. I giggle, and take a sharp turn behind one of the huts. I slam into a broad-chested man, who picks me up and chuckles- and not in a good way-. I giggle, and try to wiggle out of his grip. He snarls, and mutters ‘I’ll get a good price out of her.’ I somehow understood him, and start crying. My mother finally finds me, snatching me out of the man’s hands. I never trusted strangers again.

I sit up, looking around. I must have fallen asleep. I sigh, and look around. Sure enough, the sky was getting darker, and the crickets where out. I smile, excited to finally be alone. I breath in the fresh air. I lay back down, staring at the bright and full moon. I trace the other stars with my finger as I slowly drift back to sleep. 

“Mizu! Mizu!” I open my eyes groggily. “Huh?” I croak, and rub my eyes. It was Sumu. “Somebody is hanging themselves!” I bolt up. “What?!” She points to the dock, where a distant crowd was gathering. I start to run over, with poor Sumu stumbling behind me. As I reach the dock, I gape in horror. 

“Hayai!” I scream my lungs raw. I stumble through the crowd, locating my parents and my other brother, Sami. They had tears running down their faces, and Sami had lost the laughter in his eyes. “Is Hayai really dead?” I choak out the last part, as if it was venom. They nod, heartbroken. I sit down, and bury my head into my arms. I start sobbing, letting out all my frustration of this cruel world, and all the unfair things. My parents slowly drag me back to the hut, and get me into bed. I finally stop crying, and go to sleep. 

1 Month later…

After a long day of fishing, I go to the same little stream that I untangled Hayai. It has become my favorite spot to rest. 

“Hayai, if your there, can you show me?” I ask for the umpteenth time. After nothing happens, I drift off to sleep.

As I wake, I smell fish. I sit up, and see three blue Catfish lying next to my rod. I smile. Hayai, thank you. 

     The End

December 07, 2021 21:13

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1 comment

Tulip Flower
21:43 Dec 07, 2021

Do I need to edit anything? I would love some feedback!


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