The skeleton fish

From a black beach in the Westfjords

The skeleton fish lay on that beach. It hadn’t lived in a year or so. Sand grind down its delicate frame with one eye turned up toward the sky. It was an eye intact, not feasted upon like the other. The skeleton fish knew of its demise, alas its journey here was dubious. How had it come to this?


It wished it could hear the crashing waves. It knew of the depth of the sea, oh, how it missed its friends. The skeleton fish suspected there to be others like him. Dead on the beach. But no longer could it lift its head and see for itself.


A little girl with auburn hair knelt down next to the skeleton fish, gently touching its spine. She daren’t move the one-eyed creature for it was old and dead and there were others. More preserved than it, with flesh to their bones.

"The skeleton fish" by Mel Piper
Photo by Mel Piper

What had happened to them? she wondered. They were of impressive size with muscly shine. None succumbed to sickness, they had not been here all that long. The girl strode past the other fish. One still fought to catch its breath. She could not save it, for taking it to the water would kill her. There were monsters in the water. And she was alone on the black beach of the Arctic Sea.


The skeleton fish with one eye saw her leave and knew what she was thinking. Little girls with auburn hair should not be here alone. Perhaps she was a monster, too. It still felt her touch its spine and yearned to close its eye.


The sand stops grinding down its bones. The skeleton fish will remain on the beach for now. Yet there is hope. Soon the rain might wash it out to sea, where it will rest among its friends.