Charming learned that day that some laws are not obeyed by inanimate objects. That’s not what he actually thought: that would be more along the lines of “if everyone stares, you must be doing something right”.
Soon a crowd formed to watch him as he raged at the back doors of the elevator car. They refused to open on command, even for a Prince.
The portrait hung at a place of pride in the main hall, depicting triumph over the long odds of his survival. He survived, he flourished, and there were few indications that this would change for years to come.
He had seen what everyone had seen, and had been unafraid of acting on what most knew.
Most everyone before him had assumed that there was no chance of success, and avoided even trying.
He defied those naysayers and struck out to establish himself in society regardless.
His place and esteem rose rapidly. His bat sanctuary became a fashionable charity, with nearly everyone claiming to contribute at least a little. He had the wisdom to keep his true nature a secret all the while, and the outside experts hired by the charity realized swiftly that talking about the ways these bats differed from the norm was not a good career move.
The commoners seemed to be oblivious to the occasional disappearances and unexplained murders. Seeking explanations could only lead to discovering answers, and everyone had seen what happened to people who learned too much.
The bodies were a little inconvenient when they turned up, drained completely of all blood, but the message was clear.
A singing fish hovers before me, silent at the moment; the last notes of Livin’ La Vida Loca are still ringing in my ears.
The fish blinks slowly, and turns as if swimming lazily. It is a rich brown shade, with bright red stripes and even brighter red lips. It glistens in the light, which seems to be coming from everywhere and nowhere at once. It just hangs there, waiting for another request. I’m afraid to ask for more.
The space I’m in is cavernous, with faintly purple walls far enough away in all directions as to not be sure which wall is closest. The ceiling, too, is far above, and shines a little like the surface of a pond on a bright summer’s day.
But this is no pond: there is no water.
There is gravity, and it feels normal enough. The floor is down, and covered in some sort of smooth, shiny, nearly black material. It has just enough texture to look like the surface of a pond on a still day. And yet again, it is not water.
This doesn’t explain the fish.
It also doesn’t explain how I came to be here.
Or why the fish has such a good singing voice and stage presence. Not to mention where the backing orchestra is hiding.
It is just a fish, and I seem to be trapped in its nightmare.