The Bluegill Girl

Kara stretched her arms above her head as the morning sunlight shimmered down through the water and and slid across her face. She inhaled a large mouthful of water and it was refreshing as it passed across her gills. She kept her swim bladder at neutral bouyancy and floated within her circle of tall grasses. The jade walls of her home from the others was welcome and these few moments in the golden sunlight at the beginning of the day were her favorite time.

She was in charge of the schools, which were their main food source. She must check them everyday, and endure the presence of the other keepers. It would be a good day if she was paired with anyone other than Sass.

She deflated her swim bladder and extended her arms in one last stretch. She kicked her feet and swam out of her home. Just outside, she stopped by the mussel bed and used her stone knife to release several and pry them open. She scraped out the animals with the tip of her knife and slurped them down, shivers of delight rippling down her back. A breakfast that wonderful should signal a fantastic day. Maybe today it would.

She slid her bony ankle catches together and locked her knees. Kara gave a powerful pump of her pseudo tail and sailed through the water to the shallows. She slowed and unhooked her ankles and released her knees. She glided over the grazing plateau and stopped, watching the bluegills weave through the grasses. She adjusted her swim bladder so that she floated above her schools.

Kara slowly reached her hand down into the school. The bluegill did not scatter and swam around her hand. She tickled a few on the belly, and they flipped and swam away.

I will eat you someday, she thought. I have eaten you. I’ve seen your heart. Does mine work like yours? Your gills look like mine. Mine must work like yours. Why must water stream across them?

A shadow floated above her and she looked up. Taras. He swam down to her, careful not to disturb the schools. Are you playing with your food again? He signed.

Kara grinned. AlwaysPlayful fish taste better.

That’s what my friend says. She studies fish, you know. Knows a thing or two.

Glad to hear it, Kara signed, grinning the entire time. Taras always knew how to make her feel good about her smarts. Today was a good day.

B = bluegill

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