We've all heard exaggerated stories from fisherman, hunters and athletes. The "big fish" story is a classic form of entertainment. But what happens when "big fish" and "fantasy" collide?
H. L. Burke
Last time Theodore went fishing, he inadvertently released the Kraken. It's okay, though. Theodore likes calamari.
Deep in the northern forest of Aomori, in the Yagen Valley there is a a natural Onsen hot bath. After a soothing soak I travelled further up the path. We’d been warned not to stray too far as the area was filled with sacred sites. But with the vigor of youth and the courage of Asahi beer in me I ventured out into the wilderness. I found an old trail that led to a set of ancient stone stairs. Fifty-six stairs, to be exact, covered by years of debris and brush. Fighting my way to the top I found a shrine that must have been built during the Kofun era. Sitting atop the small shrine was a beautiful golden fox. It’s golden fur bristled at the sight of me and I froze.
“You should not be here.” It sang to me in perfect English. “Take off your shoes.”
I kicked off my Nikes. “I’m sorry, I was just curious.” Why was I talking to a fox? Why wasn’t I running away in terror?
“Curious of what?”
“Where the stairs led.”
“And where did they lead you lost cub?”
“To the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” A low sound like purring came from its throat as its three tails whipped back and forth.
“Very well, you will not join them lost cub.” With a flick of its nose it pointed to a pile of skeletons I hadn’t seen before.
“Thank you…I’m not sure the appropriate term to refer?”
With a flourish of electric blue smoke a woman as beautiful as I have ever seen appeared, our noses almost touching. Leaning in she rested her hot cheek against mine, whispering in my ear.
“You can call me mistress if you pledge your life to me or you can call me a dream if you wish your life to be yours.”
The feel of her pressed against me cried out for me to scream the word mistress, to be her worthless slave for all eternity. The word rose inside of me, bubbled up like a geyser.
“It’s just a dream.” I screamed into the empty air of my tent.
“Then go back to sleep.” Turbo grunted in the next tent over.
I never found my shoes.
Kandi J. Wyatt
Excerpt from Dragon's Revenge
Kyn turned back to Wylen, his dragon. Amazingly, there wasn’t a speck of mud on his midnight-blue scales.
“How’d you manage to stay clean?”
“I found fishing.”
“You found fishing? What is that supposed to mean?”
“I dive into the water after the fish and catch them in my mouth. Then I float over to the side while I am eating. By the time I am done eating, I arrive at the shallow water and take off into the sky again for another fish or two.”
Kyn shook his head. “As long as it keeps you clean, I’ll be satisfied. I have my hands full trying to bring peace here.”
Jessica L. Elliott
I'm not much of fisher, but I do enjoy hiking, especially in the hills of Kansas. And yes, we do have hills here. As I was hiking one day, I saw a glimpse of white in the trees. I stopped and saw nothing. Thinking perhaps it was just a trick of light, I continued walking. Then I saw the flash again. Could it be? I walked slower and kept my eyes open. The faintest break of a branch and I saw him. A magnificent unicorn stallion. We looked at each other. He dipped his head and I bowed back. Isn't that what you should do when you see someone so regal? Then in a blink of an eye, he disappeared into the woods. Now you can say all you want that I imagined it, but I know better.
D. W. Frauenfelder
Back in the old days when I was young and carefree, I traveled to Italy to be an exchange student. Now it happens that where I lived had been the home of the ancient Etruscans, who at one time were more famous than Romans and who had the special gift of telling the future. In the middle of Etruria sits a volcanic lake, Lago di Vico, supposedly created by Hercules hitting the ground with his club. It's true, you can look it up. Anyway, I was bicycling around that lake one evening when I heard a strange voice coming from the lake. I stopped the bike and followed the voice. "Feed me, feed me," it was croaking, like a frog or toad. Except when I came to the water's edge it was no toad but a huge pike with a lippy, snaggletoothed mouth. I got out a piece of bread from my knapsack and threw it to the fish, and it submerged with a splash. When I returned home, I told the mother of the house what I saw. "That fish wasn't saying 'feed me,'" she told me in Italian. It was saying, 'figli, figli-- sons, sons" (I know that doesn't look spelled right, but the "g" is silent!). "The fish was prophesying that you will have sons!" And bless me, thirty years later my two sons are going to Italy. I've told them to look out for lake pike. This time I hope one will predict grandsons.