Published Creative Writing: A Fish & a Figure

A revisit to a childhood dream – a toy comes alive and the subconscious is still.

This sample is an example of a published fictional work. The skills employed in this piece are narrative expression using surreal-like descriptions. It featured in the 2014 edition of Fine Print, now named Vox, the literary magazine at Elizabethtown College. 

The layout of the apartment is that of a block ‘S’ in a game of Tetris. The walls are white and hurriedly painted. The carpet is as blue as the Caribbean Sea and the dolls and giant Lego blocks float upon the threads. From the front hall, the view pans a right, into the soft peach and salmon pink bathroom. The faucet is wet and spotted with water and Crest for Kids toothpaste.

A lone toothbrush sits on the toilet cover, while an empty tub leaves the presences of a very soapy person. Around three feet tall, she uses her tiny hands to pull back the translucent shower curtains farther back. The single incandescent light bulb, shines over everything in the room. As she uses her hands to pick up the toys around the side of the tub, she looks around for the blue fish she always liked to swim with in the Johnson & Johnson’s infused water. A strange feeling comes over her, as she looks up at the pink linoleum wall and sees the blue fish emerging slowly out of the wall. It swims right through the air, as if it suddenly thickened with the molasses she dreamed of eating while her mother isn’t looking.

The fish continues to make its rounds around the whole apartment. It weaves through the living room, through the toys, the tricycle and the wagon that lay below. It makes its way to the bedroom door and swims right through it. She follows, and opens the door only to find the fish hovering over her sleigh bed. She stands underneath it and looks up.

In the fish’s place was a dark shadow – no face, no indication that it was anything of this world. Then again, there was a fish swimming around her apartment. The shadowy black figure looks deep into the little girl’s bewildered and large brown eyes and draws out a long finger. The prickly and bony finger somehow finds its way to her nose and pushes her back.

Instead of falling into the sea of carpet, she finds herself hovering over her parent’s bed. The light of the morning sun peering through the bars attached to the windows. The windows leave room for another ray light to cast over her eyes. She turns and faces towards the white ceiling, slowly floating back down, as light as her own dolls, into the threads and lavender-scented sheets. After making sure her body is firmly non-levitating, she carries her feet out the bedroom, hopping over the dolls, nearly tripping over the wagon, and finally towards the bathroom. The blue fish sits calmly at the top of the bucket of bath toys, as if it never swam, nor looked at her with unknown purpose.

The shadowy figure follows her only in the light, sans a bony figure.