WIOLA: A seat fit for a queen, she thought. The little princess sat on one of the stones that bordered the small pond, or large puddle, that resided in her backyard. A construction paper purple crown atop her head and a net in her hands which she crafted herself out of the embroidery thread mama bought her for making bracelets. She didn’t like making bracelets. She threaded the net onto her fingers and dipped the knotted tangle into the water, pulling it like a cat’s cradle. Holding it there, she hummed Fur Elise and waited patiently, and sister whistled along.
DIERDRE: She watched as little sister dunked the net into the fishless water. She barely appeared to be trying to catch one at all; she hummed distractedly and gazed around the foxglove-and-scotch broom-strewn backyard. Whistling with her, sister almost wondered why they were doing this. As the duet came to the close of their song, sister touched her tinier version’s shoulder and pulled her arms out of the green, opaque water, knocking of the oversized crown. Let me try, she said.
WIOLA: She handed the tangle over to sister, licking the murk off her fingers. Moss!, she screamed. Don’t do that, said sister. You’re going to get yourself sick. Sister combed her long fingers through the web and took her turn sinking the net into the water. Are there even fish in here?, asked sister. I saw one yesterday, she said. They sat in silence, breathing the cool air that the sun breathed down on them. The purple and yellow from the flowers around the yard reflected into the water, creating a stained glass window. She wondered if the fish could see them, but they could not see the fish. We just can’t see them, she said to sister. Sister sighed. What color was the fish?, sister asked her. It was bright orange. It was the brightest gold. Sister told her that if there were any fish in this water, we would be able to see it.
ALGERNON: The tea-leaf colored haze obscured all vision, but he could see from below. The dense green clouds surrounded him at the bottom, covering his ochre scales. Sitting motionless, coated in hairy algae, he peered up and onwards through the fuzzy fog at the two girls: one tall, one not.
DIERDRE: I don’t see anything at all, she said. It just looks like a bunch of dirty grass. How deep is this pool, little sister? Little sister remained silent, concentrated on the depths, the darkness of the obscure puddle. Big sister watched her wave her hand through it, creating ripples, and watching as the light reflected through the pool, making it appear lighter. With the net in her lap, she was merely peering into the pond. As she stared into the black, she noticed a shimmer. She leaned forward, very slightly, and the stone she was crouched upon tilted slightly in the mud. Craning her neck, she decided it was just the sun. Little sister shrieked, did you see that? Sister, did you see that? It was him! It was the goldfish. Little sister, it was just the sun bouncing off your ripples, she explained.
ALGERNON: Movement was a mistake, and he froze as he saw the frantic shadows furrow at the water’s level. Feet below, he hid.
WIOLA: The little princess was sure she’d seen it, the lucky fish, the goldest, oldest fish in the pool. In a fit of excitement, she jumped into the depths, drowning out sister’s screams and abandoning her crown, floating atop the water. Sinking into the small, deep hole, she opened her eyes from behind the bubble goggles and she saw him. A stoic, golden stone, she grasped for him violently, recognizing his stillness as a disguise.
ALGERNON: Buried in arms, buried in arms and teeth. Slipping and fighting her elephantine appendages, the fish bubbled silently, fearfully. His eyes went blacker than the black bottom water.
WIOLA: A grab, a hug, a bite, a pinch—a fit of shimmering scales and swimming hair. Her arms overruled the meat’s struggle and she screamed her last breath at the sickening sight of his eyes bulging from the scaly golden skull. She attempted to blink the black from her eyes, with no success; the mossy green clouds closed in on predator and prey.
DIERDRE: Murky bubbles, black bubbles, green and red bubbles emerged from the deepest pool. Sister ran: she ran over the hills, grass to her thighs, dress drenched in perspiration and tears and dirty green water.
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