From the author: A little experimental micro/flash piece that focused mostly on mood and texture and ended up being a hard sell for most places. Luckily it found a home at Bending Genres. I hope you enjoy!
I set a pot of mac and cheese on the hotplate to simmer before grabbing my line and hook. It’s that time of year again and you never reject a source of free food. I push down to the basement, over to the back corner near the water heater, and probe around. I need to find it. My fingers fall through to the wet cold and I pull myself up and drop the hook and line. I sing the song and it bounces off the walls, the drip of must and age keeping time. A snag in the line. I tug, pulling up a fat eyeless fish, quivering pale in a shift of freckly wrinkled skin.
I push up out of bed gasping at a knock on the door. I rub the grit of sleep away and walk to the front, naked and shivering. The door opens and gloaming pushes deep into my eyes. A box of groceries sits on the stoop, a balloon tied to it and bobbing in the still air. It says thank you for being great. I close the door.
I wake up and slide from under the covers. Rain has begun and the drops piercing through fall onto my pillow. Rivers run before my steps. I set a pot full of wheat and acorns from the woods onto the hotplate. They pop and burst, whining in the heat. Water falls from the ceiling into the pan and sizzles, burning a red stain.
I grab my hook and line, along with a spoon and go down to the deep basement. In the middle of the room my heel falls into the hole. I kneel down and dig with the spoon, widening the orifice. I sing the song till the room groans and I drop the line. The rivers fall down the steps and the line tugs. I pull the fat sightless beast up. It gasps, tells me to please, please stop. I pull it out and it wails. I wail with it.
Morning comes with a weak glow, rain falling all around me. I push out of bed and water flows above my ankles. A knock at the door and I open. Fish push through and down the stairs to the basement. I set a pot on the hotplate. Water drips and hisses, crayfish fall from the ceiling and cry out as they hit the searing metal. The water is up to my knees. Fish nibble at my toes and crayfish slice into my steps.
I follow the flow down to the basement, dive into the water. The school pulls me down with it. I crack my head into the water heater as it floats, tethered to the wall by an aging pipe. The deep gong of the impact roars through, deep and down to the endless place where bottom should be. I’m pulled down further, the darkness closing to pitch. The cold pulls me in, wrapping arms around me and tugging down, down.
Morning comes with the drip of water on my pillow.
This story originally appeared in Bending Genres.