As I do every night, I took just a sip of water before I talked myself in the bed. If I drink more, I wake up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom and face another tormenting insomnia afterward. I’ve learned by experience that water at night epitomizes shattered dreams and painful awakening. That night just before closing my eyes, once again I glanced at the image of myself victoriously parading my prized catch dangling from the fishing line wrapped around my wrist. Fortunately that delightful moment was captured and framed hanging on the wall above my bed for years.


     I vividly remember that glorious moment as it was yesterday. That day I deftly kept the bait just a tad below the surface and held the pole straight up in the air making sure the fish doesn’t sense its presence. Then I wobbled the pole to bring the bait to life and to lure the catch. From time to time, I sensed a nibbling on my bait but I didn’t react, since I was not interested in little ones, there was no pride in that. Patience is the key to success and sure enough patience paid off handsomely that day. In a matter of minutes I felt an enormous jolt that reverberated throughout my body as a huge fish as large as its predator suddenly opened his mouth wide to snatch his prey. In that precise moment I swiftly gave a powerful tug to the pole and sensed the giant fish hooked.


Every lasting second of that ecstasy has been vividly engraved on my psyche and stayed with me throughout the years. And now the snapshot of that prized possession is immortalized on my bedroom wall. And to perpetuate my pleasure I even secured the same fishing line tied to the original shiny hook over the image of the fish’s mouth to give my prey the bitter taste of the reality. The superimposition of the real hook on the image was a novel idea. The hook in the lifeless creature’s mouth sparkled in my dark room for years to come.


Since then, his lifeless opaque eyes have pierced through me as agonizingly as the solid bronze hook pierced his blood-crusted mouth.


     That night I went to sleep and despite all my precautions, woke in the middle of the night. As I barely opened my eyes to check the time, I noticed the glowing 3:00 am on the digital clock was dancing in the darkness. Then I suddenly realized I was floating on a rising water. My bed was in water along with everything else in the room. The entire house was flooded as water was rising. I’d had many bizarre nightmares but this one was truly unbelievable; it was not one.


     It was so incomprehensible to see that every piece of furniture in the house and all my belonging was either submerged or was afloat. I managed to wade through the rising water and open the window just to witness the entire neighborhood sharing the same fate.  With a great difficulty I swam outside and faced a raging river running where the street was yesterday. People, cars, bicycles, pets and furniture were all afloat. The eerie tranquility hovering over this catastrophe was unfathomable. Everyone was calm as nothing had happened. Most people were  asleep in their beds flowing on the river. I saw a man and a woman making love, babies were in sound sleep in their cradles and I could hear dogs   barking afar, all on the waves of a haunting river flowing through the streets lit by dim amber streetlights of the night.


     The water was washing life away, yet no one was alarmed. I could go back to sleep and drift away with the flow but decided to stay home and embrace new reality.


     It took me some time but I finally adapted to my new ecosystem and gradually morphed into an aquatic creature, an amphibian organism. As the time passed I noticed I was growing scales on my skin and a set of fins sticking out of my body. Then I developed a new respiratory system that allowed me to immerse in the water for as long as I wished. Now I have a tail to provide thrust and acceleration while I swim. My eyesight evolved to adapt me to my marine environment and now I can masterfully dodge the obstacles in my way as I swim in the darkness.  


     I feed on bugs, worms, flies and gnats and occasionally a fish or two if I happen to stumble across one. I freely roam around my natural habitat but I’m not immune to pain.  I’ve scarred myself numerously when I tried to tunnel through the disintegrating furniture of my milieu but I always managed to escape dangers throughout my life as a fish. Now, I don’t remember anything of my past anymore as my memories faded in the oblivion of my present.


     One day that I was so starving and desperately searching for food, I noticed a shadow of a fish flapping his tail just below the surface in the  bedroom right above a disintegrating bed. Hysterically, I rushed to snatch my prey, emerged from the water, widely opened my mouth to  swallow the fish in one swift action and suddenly I sensed a painful jolt as a piece of sharp metal ripped through my mouth. The more I struggled to free myself, the harder the razor edge barbs on the hook injured my face. Finally I stopped resisting as I realized how securely the hook was wedged in my flesh.


     From that moment on, my entire body flaps in the water while my head is stuck above surface with my wounded mouth wide open. Now I ingest seaweed, bugs and flies if they accidentally get trapped in my mouth and that’s how I managed to survive.


Every night before I go to sleep, I see the victorious look on the man’s face holding me by the fishing line wrapped around his wrist parading his prized catch.


Since then, his lifeless opaque eyes have pierced through me as agonizingly as the solid bronze hook pierced his blood-crusted mouth.