This is a short story I wrote a few months back. I hope whoever reads this enjoys it! :)
Some humans think they understand our world, that they know the ins and outs of this strange land. But how little they truly know. They are blissfully ignorant of the eldritch horrors that reside within the deeps, the magnificent creatures that dwell within the core of the earth, or the spirits that are within us all. They outnumber us, and only allow humanity’s continued existence out of a mere whim. This story is not about them.
We open with a goldfish, a lonely goldfish. A lonely TALKING goldfish. Why is he lonely you ask? He is a saltwater goldfish, living in the pacific ocean away from all other goldfish. (Goldfish are typically freshwater citizens, you see) And worse, none of those other fish can talk. They cannot understand him nor can he understand them. This goldfish was blessed with a terrible curse, the curse to understand the many tongues of man.
Our sad fish friend has often contemplated why every other fish in the ocean is a mindless beast, but to no avail. The only creatures he has ever heard talk were humans, but where would he find any humans way out in the ocean? Today seemed to be his lucky day, as he saw a mid sized boat anchored in the distance! Perhaps he could open a dialogue, and end his continual and soul crushing solitude?
“Hello there!” Cried our friend the goldfish.
Their reactions were less than optimal.
Various obscenities, and lots of gibberish-y sounds of disbelief were heard from on deck, and then the boat motor started up and they boated off into the distance, leaving the poor fish alone. Again.
The fish was alone for several days after that, and questioned why he even was here.
The fish was losing hope, all of his attempts to talk to humans have ended in failure so far. Why do they hate him so much? He would ask, finding no reason other than maybe some unknown flaw within himself. He was too enveloped in his self pity to notice the large fishing boat approaching.
He was swept up in a net, seemingly aimed right at him, and pulled aboard. Why would they go for a single fish? He was not valuable as far as he knew, small goldfish were no delicacy in any part of the world. Terrified, he realised this must be the end of his meager existence, and regretted never learning who, or what he truly was. He braced himself for death. “Hello Mr.Fish! I hear you can talk?”
The fish blinked, or tried to anyways (fish don’t have eyelids) and stared in disbelief that someone sought him out. HIM. The reporter’s smile faded, thinking he may have been fooled.
“It can’t talk, well that’s just-”
“Wait!” The goldfish pleaded “Don’t leave me, I’m so lonely.”
A devilish grin slowly crept over the reporters face .
The world was going wild over the news, most in disbelief but many a open minded scientists came to talk with the strange goldfish. ‘How can he talk?’ so many chimed, ‘Where is he from?’ was another common question. But so little he could answer, it seemed they knew more about him than he did himself. He didn’t know his name, if he had one, where he was from, or how on earth he could talk and live in the ocean. He just knew he lived a couple miles into the pacific off the coast of some English speaking place, and that he could talk. Other than that? Nada.
After the first few weeks of questions, they began to die down. He was treated as more of a local curiosity than an object of intense research, and many were convinced his entire existence was just an elaborate ruse. Eventually, the only person he had left to talk to was the original reporter who found him, and even he didn’t talk to the fish much anymore.
Better than nothing! He thought, as when he was in the ocean he didn’t have ANYONE to talk to. Now he was just bored, but boredom was bearable. He was a patient goldfish. The reporter too, talked to him less and less, until the periods were less than once a week, and often only in passing. The goldfish’s loneliness was beginning to return, and a horrible emptiness was coming about him. Though nothing prepared him for what happened next.
One night, when he was trying to sleep, (Difficult for him, because he has no eyelids) a man in a mask approached his tank carrying a plastic baggie and a net, and kidnapped our aquatic pal! He climbed into a car, and drove for quite a long time. So long in fact, that the fish began getting woozy, there was only so much oxygen in this water; the fish hoped he would arrive soon.
The fish came to after being placed into a larger container of new water, and was surrounded by shady looking men. They all looked foreign, and spoke in heavy accents. Maybe middle eastern? He wasn’t sure, he was a goldfish, not a linguist.
“You have the money?” The man who took him quickly uttered.
“Of course I do, now give me the fish” Replied a man with a rough, angry voice.
The container he was in was hastily and jerkily passed from the first man to the second, but at that moment the fish spoke up. “Hey guys, don’t I get a say in all this?”
“My god!” shouted the rough voiced man, and dropped the plastic pitcher the fish was in, spilling much of the water everywhere.
“So it really is true... Let us be gone!” And the group of scary foreign men marched out, despite the protests of their captive.
“Talk!” Screamed the masked man, demanding information from the goldfish. Information which he did not have.” You WILL help us engineer the plague, whether it is as a cohort or a test subject is your decision!” The man stomped out, finishing his latest interrogation session. Apparently this group of ne'er do wells were really a group of extremist terrorists, planning to destroy some country which they disagree with. What they wanted a goldfish’s help with was beyond him, but he sure as heck would have no part in it. They could torture him, beat him, and threaten him, but he knew one thing: They HAD to be stopped. I’ve never accomplished anything! Thought the fish Maybe today is the day in which I make my life mean something, and make a difference in the world!. He decided then, to stop these terrorists!
Too bad he was just a powerless little goldfish.
Several Months Later
“I agree to make your plague for you”
The reactions of the terrorists were a mixture of suspicion and glee. Why would he agree to help now, after all this time? The torture wasn’t very effective, and water boarding had failed entirely. Was it some sort of trick? No, how could it be? He can’t run away, he’s a fish! And if he betrays them? They kill him. Simple as that. And true to his word he began working.
Something deep within the goldfish awakened, and he lost himself in his work. He was creating a brilliant and infectious retrovirus, that would fundamentally alter the genes of any infected. Little did the terrorists know that he was creating it for goldfish.
The virus was commutable via air, water, and touch. It was highly infectious, and unknown to the terrorist, entirely benign to humans (Human and goldfish genes tend to be a bit different) The virus was to be released into the water supply, and infect everyone compatible who interacted with it. Soon, despite lacking arms or any formal knowledge of genetics, his work was complete.
The virus was released into the water supply.
“Why isn’t anyone dead yet!!?” The leader of the bunch bellowed. The virus had been released weeks ago, and nobody had yet perished from it. Our hero was uncertain as to how he would escape, but he knew that even if he died his life would now not have been a waste. The possibility that they kill him was becoming more and more likely as the days grew on, but he was not afraid.
The leader came over to the fish tank (They had gotten a proper tank in the intervening months, they couldn’t properly interrogate or torture him in a pitcher) and began tipping it to let water out, allowing it to pour onto the floor. He was intending on killing the fish!
Mid evil chuckle however, a earth shattering KABOOM was heard outside the building, followed by a mad scramble for cover by the terrorists along with terrified screaming for help.
“We have the building surrounded! Come out with your hands up!” A voice said over a megaphone, the terrorists responded with gunfire. That didn’t go over well for the terrorists.
The fish could not see much of the action from his perspective, but it sounded like a war zone and the building began to shake. Soon the fighting stopped, and all the terrorists were dead or apprehended. (Mostly dead) The fish was saved!
After strenuous and thorough questioning from the police department, they found him innocent of any charges.
Not that they could charge him with anything, for he was a fish.
Our fish friend was released to the ocean, in the law enforcements opinion he had been too much trouble. He was glad to be home, but sad to be entirely alone once again.
“Hey you! What’s your name?” Said another goldfish.