Originally published March 15, 2015
I’ve been trying my hand at fiction again. It’s a nice release with taxes, year ends, moving, and well, hospice. This story is from a flash fiction challenge in a small Facebook group. I hope you enjoy it.
Michio hugged the warm rock as the cool water washed over his limbs in the rhythm of the tides. The secluded tidal pond filled when the tide was high in the bay. This was a place Micho could be alone; where no one would disturb him. He was long-lived for his species; but then he was not permitted to breed. This was a voluntary commitment made when he became a student of the tribe’s Keeper. After months of intense study, and lessons in the art of his kind, he succeeded his teacher. He was growing old now and his hopes for a suitable successor were fading. Perhaps that was the way it was to be. The world was changing rapidly in ways his people could no longer control.
His folk were exceptional hunters. They were intelligent, agile, and masters at camouflage. But, the waters that made up their home were changing and food sources were quickly disappearing. Invaders had come. Four-limbed creatures that moved oddly. They lit up the waters and blew bubbles like a school of hunting dolphins. They threw things into the sea, made loud noises and had attacked the folk without provocation. His people should move, but they could not leave the cave.
Michio slid down from his perch and swam the short distance to the cave at the edge of the bay. The cave was a magical place. Many generations of Keepers had created the art found on its walls. Even the invaders seem entranced with something that did not look entirely natural but for which they had no explanation. Michio hoped their work would survive and much of his daily meditations were devoted to seeking a way to protect it.
Carefully, he positioned himself on a clear section next to the work he had completed the day before. He ejected his ink carefully along his extended arm. Working quickly and with a dexterity born from years of practice, Michio recorded the latest legend he had heard. He worked methodically through the night.
In the early morning hours the moon sunk close enough to the horizon to light the entrance to the cave. In the reflecting light, flickering across the walls with the gentle beat of the surf, Michio noticed a very old entry in a semi-exposed crevice. Finished with his night’s work, he swam to the crevice and climbed up the wall for a better look.
As dawn broke on the bay, Michio saw the answer. He and his folk could protect the cave. They could preserve it for those who knew what it was and where to find it. They were, after all, masters of camouflage. And Keepers of the Sentient Invertebrate Living Kabbala (SILK).