- Vol. 03
- Chapter 02
Image by Philipp Keller/Stelzer Group/EMBL
Evolving‘Come on, Son,’ Dad said, ‘We have to get moving otherwise they’ll find us.’
‘But, Dad, my fin is aching,’ Son said.
Dad had started to swim away but came back now, the concern evident on his face.
‘I know you’re tired, but if we don’t get moving, then we’ll be found.’
‘Dad, can’t we just hide?’ Son let himself sink for a few moments, floating serenely.
But Dad was growing impatient, he refused to be angry with Son though, he was only young, young enough not to understand the perils of the deep ocean.
‘Son, you have to come with me, plea-’
Dad paused, his gills rhythmically bursting out and sucking back in, eyes almost vacant as they stared ahead, mouth open as though ready to swallow a krill.
‘They’re coming,’ was all he said.
He could feel them in the water, sending waves towards Dad. Every flick of their tail would send silent sound waves to Dad whose acute sense of understanding discrepancies in the motion of the sea told him they were gaining ground.
There was no way they going to be able to outrun them, they were huge beasts, able to cover tremendous lengths of the ocean with just one flick of that dangerous tail.
Dad nudged Son with his head, not caring if he were being forceful, not caring if Son wanted to rest. He knew what the consequences were for staying still.
‘But, Dad, can’t we just hide,’ Son said again.
EvolvingThis time Dad was hardly able to stifle his anger. ‘Son, where on this ocean floor can we hide? There’s no rocks, no kelp to hide amongst, there’s nothing, which is why we have to get moving.’
Son didn’t respond, but then he didn’t need to. He sunk further down and, though it wasn’t instantly, it seemed to happen in a blink of the eye. As Son sunk the colour of his skin began to change to that of his surroundings until all that was left were his eyes, little blobs of black amongst the dark blue.
‘Ho-how did you do that, Son?’
‘I don’t know. Can’t you do it?’
That wave of sound again. It couldn’t be far away. But what was this? No, it couldn’t be, they never hunted in packs. There was at least two of them.
‘I cannot do that, Son.’
‘Sure you can, just believe and it will happen.’
Dad didn’t know what Son had done, but whatever it was, it was an impossibility for him. Suddenly all around went dark, a shadow engulfed him. With trepidation his eyes shifted up. And there they were, like ominous moving moons, their underbellies the only greeting he knew of before one of them swooped down and swallowed him whole.
Some time later a young fish appeared out of nowhere, swum this way and that, looking, searching, but not finding. ‘Dad? Dad, where are you?’ Son said weakly, ‘I’m scared.’
The water around him seemed to grow much colder.