The Fish Out of the Water

by Danika Ashton
(Calpine, CA, USA)

“What’s that?” Tommy asked, jabbing his little pointer finger at something silver on the shore.

“That, little Tommy, is a fish out of the water.” I told him.

“Why isn’t he moving around? Don’t fish normally flip and flop with no water?”

I nodded and took his hand, leading him away from the foul fish corpse. “Yes, fish die with no water. From the looks of that one, he’s been dead for a few days now.”

“How did he get up here?” Tommy asked, blue eyes shining up at me.

“I don’t know.”

I saw the look on his face that he clearly tried to hide.

“Hey,” I assured. “Don’t worry about it. Nature will just work itself out. It always does. In the end, everyone dies. But you shouldn’t ever be afraid of it, okay? You are a good soul, Tommy. You’ll go to a good place when your time comes. I know you’ll live a long life.”

He gave a half smile and skipped along the lake shore.

There are many things I absolutely can’t stand in the world, and one of them is lying to Tommy. I know he only has months to live, and when he goes…I won’t know what to do with myself. I won't know what to live for.

You don’t need Tommy…

What was that?

You don’t need him, he is worthless. He’s only a little boy…worthless…

No…No…not this voice again!

Get him.



Get the hell out of my head!

Now, now, Clarice, let’s be rational about this. If you don’t do what I tell you, I will. You know what I can do, so I’ll save you the burden of having killed an innocent soul. If you like, that is…

Why are you doing this to me?? GET OUT!

I screamed mentally, not wanting to scare Tommy. With his heart condition, one little fright like this could kill him on the dot.

Oh, Clarice, you’ve been a naughty girl, the voice snarled. You never told me young Thomas had a heart condition. This should make things easier.


Kill him or I will!

Who the hell are you, dammit!

That’s it Clarice, the voice said, calmly now. You have left me with no choice.

I couldn’t take it any longer. I let out the most bloodcurdling scream I’d ever done. “NOOOO!!”

I felt myself fading away… until…I don’t want…no…

Oh, Clarice…such troubled girl, isn’t she? Now, let’s make things more interesting.

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