A Battle Far Above| Bruhad Dave

Bruhad Dave

The first character of the grand play made his sufficiently grand entrance. It was a huge, and I mean huge, swordfish. His tail fins splayed as far as the wingspan of a small aeroplane, he writhed in the sky. His impressive dorsal fin quivered and undulated as he swam and his formidable and sharp snout waved this way and that as he searched for his quarry.

All at once, a fevered sort of stillness, an ecstatic sort of caution gripped him, and he focused all his attention on a squid. This, second player was rather large too, and it waved its tentacles nonchalantly as it swam. The swordfish gathered all his strength and in a fit of uncontrollable fury, he slashed at the squid with his sword. Blood coloured the water, spurting from the gash, and the squid, in a last and desperate attempt to avoid becoming dinner, wrapped his tentacles around the head of his mighty adversary.

Thus they struggled and wrestled, painting the water with more and more blood,  until the  squid  lost  control  of  one of  his curling appendages. The swordfish, canny and quick, jerked his head away from the rest of his tentacled shackles and slashed again in the opposite direction, straight into the squids body.  There was  another terrible outflow  of  blood  and  the  poor  creature stopped  struggling. Now,  and with as much gentleness as he had shown ferocity, the swordfish disentangled himself from his prey and delicately made a meal of the thing. A wave passed overhead, and something dropped into the water  along with  the  crest  of  the  wall of  water.  It  was  a  curved, sharp something, which quickly engaged itself in the remains of the squid, the very tentacle which had been its undoing. As the swordfish gulped, he felt the something stick in his mouth. A little of his own blood gushed into his mouth and he shook himself to remove the hook, for that was what the something was.

At this motion of his, the hook tugged strongly and lodged itself more firmly into his mouth. I  could see the wispy string with which the hook was fastened, though of the fisherman there was no clue. Then the string was tugged again, much harder, but as if in slow motion. It was a battle of brute strength, a battle of muscle, pure and simple. There was nothing else to consider. Whoever had the more grit, the more power, he would win. Either the fisherman or the swordfish, hunter turned hunted. The blood flowed darker and darker, staining the sky all the more, making ripples the size of tsunamis in it. Suddenly, the swordfish arched backward and it looked like he had been defeated, but then he gave another almighty pull and slowly, the fishing boat appeared. Then a hand joined to a thin arm. Then the blurred, mottled shape of a little boy, no taller than four feet if he were of the humans, but actually ten feet tall, because he was of the heavens. He pulled and although his face was comprehensively splattered with red and orange, I could almost imagine him grimacing a child’s grimace, straining his scant muscles to  rein in the huge, struggling, flailing swordfish.

Then a gust of wind, the wind bringing news of a reversal of the tides, the turning of the tables. The boy began to disintegrate as the swordfish gained ground. He was determined though, and his hand gradually grew a knife’s blade. The swordfish had won, or so he thought, but as the boy fell into the seething waves of the sky, he plunged his weapon into the heart of his target with a roar of defiance that might have been thin and reedy if he had been earth-born, but which grew to thunder because he was born of the sky. Fail he might, but he would not let the swordfish win.

Another breeze found only a boat, rocking gently in the ripples the size of tsunamis, as the sky recovered from the epic battle of a great beast and a puny boy. The result of their conflict cast a dark shadow over the world, and made murky the ocean in the sky.

Then I could see no more, because clouds are all but invisible in the darkness. For when has a mere child felled a great swordfish, experienced the joy of victory promptly followed by the cold of the ocean deep except in the shapes in the clouds!

You may not have noticed, but cloud spotting is fun.

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