Dolphin Replay

Unusually, no prompt from Chuck Wendig this week, so I’m using one from March, which was when I first thought of getting involved; use 5 words from alist he gave, not just the words but the sense/concepts of them. It’s a little shorter than usual (650 words).

My words: ethereal – dolphin – replay – undertaker – storm

“Don’t go too high,” my mother taught me.

It was always up there.  Efflorescence.  Bubbling and lightness near the surface.  Light and airy – it was a different medium from here in the equable depths.  We had to go up, though. We had to breathe.

Most of the time we’d pod along just below the surface, clicking about fish scents and land scents, and noises good and bad. Stokka, my mother, helped me learn about dark sounds and spike sounds.  We had to avoid those. They warned of storms on the surface, and even ab0ve that.  A leaping dolphin might attract a spike and be fatally injured. Might.  The undertaker told of one he’d known who’d gone beyond that way, but only the one.  So many other ways to join with the almighty pod. But what a way to go!

I replayed the one storm I’d chased.  I’d been young, just venturing away from the pod.  The dark sounds had called me.  Klikka, my friend, and I had leapt off through ever steeper waves, diving and laughing with the joy of freedom and power.  The surface was no barrier no us, so churned up was the water. If I knew what it meant I’d describe it as ethereal – foaming and swirly and airy and light, but insistent and tumbling and crashing and dark at the same time.  We chased the spike sounds until we saw one hit the top of a wave just ahead of us.  A huge shock pulsed through the water.  Our skin shimmered and shivered with the agony of a thousand stingers.  Ten reefs of anemones or a hundred bays of jellyfish couldn’t be that bad.  We turned tail and fled, wondering what might happen if that expanding net of shock enclosed us. It wasn’t safe, that we knew.

Another replay:  Klikka and I were playing a game where we’d try to out-jump the other. Sometimes I felt I could fly, especially if I timed it right coming through a big breaker.  On the shelf near to land, the power of shallowing water made the waves so tall it was like diving to the depths, but in open air.

“Don’t go too high,” Stokka’s voice echoed in my mind.  Once you got to that shallow, warm water you could lie on the sand, rolling with the ebb and flow.  You had to mind the floating things with the land animals on them, though.  Someone once threw nasty hooks at us; maybe he was hoping to scrab a fish, thinking we were tuna or something like that.  Other times they just pointed their funny flippers with frayed edges, or raised them to their eyes holding little boxes.  We rarely had any trouble from that type, except when they found metal things they could ride around in very fast.  We stayed clear of those.  I have no idea how they made those things or why they worked.  They were noisy and gave us headaches so we usually left.  We rarely saw these funny animals in a storm.  On the occasions they were out at sea in one they were usually in trouble.  I heard tell of dolphins gathering to rescue these ones, sailors they were called, but I never joined a pod to do that.

I replayed my encounter with the metal thing.  I surfaced to breathe just as it swept through the same space. It flew into the air, the animal flying high in the air above it.  “Don’t go too high,” I thought to it as the metal thing attacked me from the rear, carving me up with its wicked fins.

“Have you decided?” the undertaker asked.

“Yes”, I said, and he sent me through the portal to my next incarnation, as a storm chaser, at one with the ether.

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3 thoughts on “Dolphin Replay

  1. As the spouse of a meteorologist, I love this! We don’t storm chase, but know plenty who do, and I totally get the thrill! (Right up until, as we found, you discover it’s ten p.m., the storms have dissipated, and you haven’t had dinner–and you’re somewhere in the Great Plains two hours or more from the nearest decent meal).

    • I used to wake up if a storm was in the area – usually an hour or so before you could hear it. Ours are tamer affairs than yours though 🙂

  2. Pingback: National Flash-Fiction Day | Jemima Pett

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