Photo via Google Maps streetview
The fishermen drove the first kaloosh back underwater.
An isolated encounter, perhaps. Still, Mamma Joo forbade me and my sibs from clam-digging.
Then several came, eating two fisherman and injuring more.
We were scared, sure. But nobody abandons their life-home after one disaster.
The third time, two uncles died, and my sister-friend’s mamma.
Mamma Joo insisted on leaving.
Mamma Enke said her portents didn’t make sense. “Can’t run from fate. Always follows you.”
We moved upland. “We’re safe here,” Mamma Joo said. “Too shallow for kaloosh.”
Trouble is, I can sense them, inside my head. They’re getting closer.
My fate, following me.
No longer. I paddle quietly through dark waters. I’ll reach the kaloosh before they hit shore. Before they eat anyone else.
I don’t know what I did to deserve this. Hopefully this sacrifice will wash my sand clean.
Sorry I couldn’t explain, Mammas. Until the final wave, farewell.
Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge. Big thanks as always to Karen and Josh for hosting this great prompt! This week Pegman takes us to Middle Torch Key, FL. Click on the link to read the other stories inspired by this location — and feel free to join in and write one of your own!
World notes / gratuitous exposition dump: The characters in this story live in a fairly small and isolated society who worship yet another version of the ocean deity. The narrator naturally believes that any monster coming from the ocean is a punishment from this deity, or perhaps a challenge. The “final wave” saying refers to their religion’s eschatology: they believe that at the end of time, one great wave will cover the world, scouring all evil and sin, and washing away the dead and the living. Only the true believers will be saved, swept to the last island, where they will be reunited with their loved ones and live in harmony.