- Vol. 09
- Chapter 11
A FIN-TASTIC TAIL
Have you ever felt so fed up with everything and everyone that you want to disappear into a parallel universe?
I think I’ve discovered such a thing, but I’m not sure.
It all began when a curtain of air unrolled, and a fish flopped out of nowhere. 'Quick,' it gasped. 'Water.'
I hesitated. Aren’t fish wet and slippery? Finally, I scooped it into my slipper and tossed it in the kitchen sink turning on the tap.
‘Took you long enough,’ Fish snapped.
I shrugged and played along. It was only a dream.
‘You are next in line,’ Fish said.
‘The King has died.'
‘Yes, we've got to go immediately.'
‘The way I came here. Pick me up and move.'
I felt compelled to obey, so I scooped him and water into a saucepan and returned to the shimmering veil of air.
‘Look lively. They’re waiting.’ Seeing no reaction, Fish continued, ‘Step through, twit.’
He was overstepping the mark, but I tentatively poked my toe through the curtain, and it disappeared. I jumped back as something slithered around it.
‘Take no notice. That’s Finny. She thinks she’s funny.’ He expected me to laugh. I didn’t. He slapped the water in the pan with his tail. ’Move.’
Dreams can't hurt you, I thought, so I stepped forward.
I was submerged in water but didn’t appear to be drowning. I looked up and saw the surface rippling and twinkling. It was a lovely day up there. Ducks' bottoms scooted across my new ceiling. I hadn’t realised how unattractive they were from this angle.
A FIN-TASTIC TAIL
There was a flurry of activity. Suddenly, fish surrounded me. ‘You could have hooked a pretty one,’ a voice gargled
‘And slimmer,’ another bubbled. ‘And younger.’
‘Stop carping,’ Fish retorted.
‘I’m going back,’ I snapped. As I turned, I lost my balance and, lowering my legs to the ground, discovered I didn't have legs. Instead, I had a whopping great tail.
I floundered and heard gurgles of laughter. ‘You’ll be swimming along nicely before long.’
‘Follow me,’ Fish ordered.
Large tench grabbed my arms in their mouths and dragged me to an underwater cavern, the walls encrusted with crystal and large boulders casting a phosphorescent glow. Terrapins scowled at me, and a water rat dived down and, with a laugh, swam away, returning with others who found the sight of me comical.
Fish unceremoniously wrapped weed around my head. ‘I pronounce you, Queen.’
‘What am I supposed to do?’
‘Not much. You’re merely a figurehead. You’ll return every full moon to preside over the council meetings.’ Fish signalled the tench, who dragged me back to the exit.
‘I’ll come and get you,’ Fish burbled as I was flipped through the curtain.
I was damp, but it was a hot day.
A puddle on the carpet I immediately blamed on the dog.
I’m checking when the next full moon will be.
Only out of interest, you understand.