Whitefish River the call of the running tide
Read Only  May 27, 2017, 02:09 AM
Coelacanth
Undersea

Backdated to the evening of May 25, 2017.

        Months from now, when Coelacanth looked back upon this dark and desolate time, she would remember this lovely, ordinary night with particular significance. Here, the night sky was clear and cloudless, and the sprawling canopy of celestial bodies bathed the world in a soft larkspur haze. Moonbows chased one another across the surface of a wide river pool fed by a winding staircase of gently cascading snowmelt.

        It was a breathtaking sight, but the dirty, bedraggled stray paid little notice. She was a stain upon the crepuscular tableau, her dainty paws moving in graceless scrabbles to carry her in frenetic fits and starts to her chosen destination. Flinching at every sound, her emaciated frame wracked by a spasmodic trembling, she reached the water’s edge at long last and drank — not deeply, but in nervous little laps and hard, gulping swallows, her lips quivering and twitching as they wavered between a nervous grimace and a defensive snarl. Her hackles were raised, but it was hard to discern this, given her feathery pelage’s state of chaotic disarray. She was a foul oil spill upon the mirrorlike surface — a muddy puddle upon the pale-pebbled bank.

        The red-rimmed state of her Neptune eyes had ceased, evidencing that the chamomile face baths had helped rid them of infection, but she waded deeper anyway. She bent her head, using her paw to sluice away the lingering feeling of ocular discomfort in a feline manner that belied her taxonomic family —

        — and became suddenly, vividly aware of a feeling she couldn’t place.

        Pleasure was so far beyond what the tiny Groenendael was capable now of experiencing. In order to survive, she’d had to shut down the part of her brain that made her Coelacanth — the loving, feeling, thinking part of her that reveled in speech, touch, and beauty. That missed her twin. That wondered what she’d done to send her mistress and master and their angry descendants so far away. That loved Komodo. That obsessed over Marbas’ disappearance. In many ways, that was for the best — but it left her now with a feeling of emptiness and vague obligation. Something inside her was begging to be acknowledged. Something about this place — or somewhere similar. Her paws shifted uneasily, and the muted click of river rock silk-sliding against river rock tried to fish up a memory from somewhere far undersea, but all she felt was stuck.

        The feeling wouldn’t let her leave.

        The system shutdown wouldn’t let her come back.