Yesterday I took part in a challenge called “Finish That Thought”, where we were given the opening line “His son watched as he was snatched away” and had to take it from there. I didn’t win, but I had enormous fun….


His son watched as he was snatched away, dragged to the very upper limit of the water, then out into space. The son sighed sadly.

It was happening more and more often. The Hook would splash down into the water, its vicious talons covered by something garish and feathery. It was a trick, they all knew it was a trick, but fish found themselves drawn to it like a moth to the hottest flame, or like an Eve to an apple.

Sometimes the Hook didn’t even seem to be trying, it would appear carrying nothing but a worm. There should have been no way that this would work, if fish liked worms then they would have found a way to slide across lawns on early sunny mornings, using the dew to breathe, and slapping away birds with flapping tail-fins in order to drag them from the earth. Worms tasted like, well, worms, yet fish after fish would eagerly rush forward, take a bite, and be instantly whisked away.

They were being abducted by aliens. Many didn’t believe that, the Government denied it, the School of Fish taught that they were vanishing through spontaneous combustion (underwater), but when neighbour after neighbour disappears the evidence eventually becomes hard to ignore. The son supposed that even now his Dad was being examined, or dissected, or even probed. He hoped that wasn’t as bad as it sounded.

Perhaps he was being eaten.

Some fought the Hook, wriggling frantically, and very occasionally one would escape, unharmed except for very severe mouth ulcers. Such heroes would sit in the local bar at night bragging about their bravery and strength, the size of The One They Had Got Away From getting bigger with each telling.

After a couple of days, when their celebrity had waned, they would go and try again. They rarely came back a second time.

The son started for home, a small cave far beneath the curtain of water that fell into their stream. Just as he was breaking the news to Mum there was a huge splash above, like a thunderclap. He swam out of the cave and watched as something hurtled down through the water. As it grew nearer he could tell it was fish-shaped. As it grew nearer still he could tell it was Dad-shaped.

“Dad!” he exclaimed.

“Hehho hon,” said his Dad through a mouth that looked as if he had come second in a face-punching contest. Mum blessed herself in relief (not an easy thing to do when you have fins) and applied a poultice to Dad’s mouth. After a couple of hours he could speak properly.

“How did you escape, Dad?”

“The alien threw me back.” said Dad.

“But why, Dad?”

“Well, son, you know how salmon and trout all look down on us?”

“Yes, Dad,” said the son. “They say we’re not as good as they are.”

“Well, it turns out that’s a good thing,” said Dad. “The alien said carp tastes like crap.”


4 thoughts on “Taken

  1. Pingback: The Second Joy of Spam. | Within The Sphere

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