H., the famous fishing magnate, who supplied fish to the gourmet chefs in town, and made the palates of pescatarians pulse with delight, walked towards the old suspension bridge. It spanned the broad river whose waters had made him rich and celebrated throughout the country. His legendary ability to introduce all kinds of exotic and mysterious fish to the dinner table had made H. the pride and joy of his town.
The hour was close to midnight when H. neared the bridge. The full moon gleamed in a sable sky studded with countless stars. He was alone and carried with him a piece of paper with a curious message on it that read ‘Midnight, on the bridge. Come alone.’ As he walked across the towers, the night seemed so serene and pleasant that H. felt no trepidation for following the cryptic letter.
Presently he came and stood at the centre of the deck and gazed at the massive river spread vast and wide before him. Soon he was lost in contemplation, thinking of all his journeys down the river and the multitude of fabulous fish he had found in its depths.
High above the expanse of the ever-flowing waters, a meteor rushed by and flashes of light lit up the night sky in supernatural splendour. Without warning, an enormous blanket of fog rolled in across the river and flooded the towers and suspension cables, and engulfed H.
Struck by this sudden transformation, H. was jolted out of his reverie. When the cold spray of drifting mist touched his skin, he shuddered and felt uncomfortable for the first time. A shiver of misgiving ran down his spine, and his heart raced with foreboding of something dreadful about to happen.
The fog thickened further. H. struggled and panicked to regain his bearings on the bridge. He peered into the fog and saw floating around him immeasurable numbers of fish, of all kinds and colours, in all shapes and sizes.
When they passed close by him, H. was seized by terror. He trembled, watching their large limpid eyes fixed on him, their mouths yawning open and gasping for air as their bodies convulsed in the agony of death. Young and old, big and small, all choking and gulping, begging for one breath of air, as rapid and abrupt unforeseen death caught them in its grip.
As H. fled from this otherworldly and arcane horror, the last thing he remembered was the gasping, the swallowing motions of the millions of mouths, the eyes that had quit blinking, and the air around him abruptly giving way to water…
Next morning, H., the famous fishing magnate was found suspended on the bridge above the river in mid-air, by a giant tackle. The hook pierced through the roof of his mouth into his brain and spiked through his skull. His eyes were vacant and wide open, his lips cyanotic and fully parted in struggle from their tormenting hunger for air…
About the Author:
As an occasional writer but a regular thinker, Beryl sometimes fiddles in speculative fiction. He sees both humour and tragedy in everyday events and is extremely concerned with the fate of other creatures trapped in the monstrous march of 21st-century human civilization.