Where the river met the sea, he waited. He had been waiting for three days, from morning to night.
He waited for a fish. A fish so big it would feed all the village. Many times he had seen it. They all had. When They were fishing smaller prey, he saw it swim in from the sea. Swim up the river, always out of reach. Aware of their presence.
This time it wouldn’t be.
This time he let the smaller fish pass. He was motionless like a rock, silent as a tree when the air was still.
Birds flew by. He heard a monkey scream in the forest. A snake dropped into the water on the other side. It swam with its head surfacing. It disappeared.
A big form emerged where it had been. It was here.
Mark sharpened his senses. His heart beat faster. He watched. He waited.
It was gone again.
The sun started to go down, giving the sky a reddish glow. He would have to go home empty handed yet another day. He would need to go back to the small fish again tomorrow. He couldn’t waste more time.
A shadow came in from the sea. Moved along the shore, swam into the river. He could see it clearly now. Its gracious moves. Its eyes, conscious, almost rational.
Too far away. It went into the river, took a turn. Came back. Looked around on the ground. Hunting little creatures between the rocks. It came closer.
Marek lifted his spear. The fish followed the stream towards the pole where he was standing. He had been dreaming about this moment.
It was coming straight up to him. It surfaced, just some feet way. Stayed, as if it was waiting for him,.
Marek’s hands stopped shaking. His spear lifted high. He struck.
The fish swam away, into deeper water. Pulled Marek off the pole and into the sea. He held back as hard as he could. The fish was in its element. Marek was not.
His foot got hold of a rock. He pulled the fish back, took a step. Another. He got his knife out, holding on to his spear with the other hand.
The water was coloured red. Soon the fight was over.
There would be quite a meal back in the village today. They would have a party in Marek’s honour, they would sing songs to please him. Tirip would be impressed, maybe even her father, but Marek felt no triumph.
He felt like he had lost an old friend. The sea was no longer the same.