I

363 15 4


Keith stared out at the horizon, the ocean invisible save for the moon's reflection in the turbid waters. He sighed as he flopped to the boat's bottom. This was his favorite spot to think- offshore, at night, with only the fish and waves about him. Nevermind that he couldn't swim.

It wasn't that he was unable to, more than he lacked the ambition to learn. He hadn't learned as a kid, and it had just never taken precedence over all the other shit going on. There was always another fish to catch, a few more dollars to be made...

Keith sighed dejectedly as he fiddled with his hair. He was bankrupt- bankrupt and alone. Mom had left him nothing, and his dad had died. All he had was the small house on the bluff and this stupid rowboat. He sat back up, scanning for a good spot to dump his traps. 

Here looked about right. He rolled up his shirtsleeves as he threw the wooden contraption into the inky blackness, watching it disappear beneath the deep. After a few seconds, the neon ball attached to its end floated up, betraying its position under the water. Keith looked at his watch and then to the moon. Shit. He had forgotten about daylight savings time. Again. Looks like he'd have to dump the rest of these off somewhere closer. He adjusted his watch, then grabbed the oars and did a u-turn back to shore. 

The wooden paddles cut through the water cleanly as Keith felt his veins pop in the cool air. He rowed fiercely in a desperate attempt to beat the darkness as he threw off the rest of his traps in whatever spot happened to be closest. No one made it out of this sea alive at night. He thought of his father's untimely demise and shivered.

Finally the last of the pots were in the water and Keith sped back to the wharf. It was strangely difficult, more so than usual. Keith chalked that up to exhaustion as he kept rowing, looking around for the current that would carry him back to the cove. He hit it, and pulled the oars in for the final time that night as he tilted his head back. He'd made it. Keith laughed jovially as he curled up into a ball on the floor of the small dinghy. He had about ten minutes before he hit the sandy shore of the wharf, and nuzzled into a spare net as he drifted off to sleep.

***

Lance chuckled to himself as he finished putting the rest of the crab traps back into the human's boat. That'll teach him to fall asleep on the job. 

It looked like the man was following the southbound current, which would take him directly to the human settlement without any intervention. Lance knew this because he was following him that night. And the night before. And the night before that, and the night before that... Well, you get the picture. 

Truth was, Lance was all alone in the world too. He was bored, and this man was fun. He had been listening to him for so long, he had begun to consider him his friend. Lance liked him because he always went out late at night when all the other fishing boats had long since passed.

He only ever went to five different spots, too. Lance had no idea why, but every night without fail the man went to the different islets around the northernmost point of the small atoll the humans lived on. There were only five, of course, and they weren't very fertile, but the man was stubborn like that. Sometimes the man would talk to himself, and Lance would talk back, in his mind. They had whole conversations that way. 

"Man, I sure am tired."

"I bet. You've been rowing for hours now."

"Wonder where to put these last couple pots?"

"Hmm. Well, I don't see many crabs here. Maybe try somewhere else?"

Sometimes Lance would start the conversation. 

Let Me Go: Mer!klance AURead this story for FREE!