Undersides

 

Ted woke from sleep with a start. His father had tasked him with guarding their morning catch while he went out for one more quick run, “just to see if I can nab that slippery son-of-a-gun”—a big striped bass that managed to wriggle off Pa’s hook somehow. Ted had drifted off, head on a cushion from the boat, lulled by the slap of waves against the bottom of the dock.

 

Poor fish, he thought, looking at the pale undersides of the cadavers in Pa’s blood-and-gut smeared cooler, the odor turning his stomach. The breeze of the morning had strengthened into a steady wind, and the trees that loomed over the beach cast long shadows over the dock, the leaves lashing against themselves, clouds closing in. Ted pulled his knees up to his chest as goose bumps pimpled his bare arms and legs.

 

It was raining now, just a mist really, but Ted could barely make out the buoys where the bay met the inlet. He squinted into the murk, straining for a glimpse of the pointed bow of Pa’s boat.

Kathryn Silver-Hajo

Boston Literary Magazine

June 2020 Issue