Seahorse – what a great picture for our #writephoto prompt from K L Caley today.

a yellow seahorse bobbing along in the water

I’m still having trouble getting my writing brain into gear, but just putting one word after the other seems to work. I decided to stop at 370 words today. Sometimes there is nowhere else to go.

Seahorse

Akula rocked as the waves above surged over the dying reef.

His family were safe among the fronds of seagrass, but for how long?

Monka, his mate, had long since departed, seeking a safer home. Many of the females had gone, hoping that strength in numbers would aid their exploration.

The bleached coral stretched in all directions until it dropped off into deep water to the side away from the sun. Monka had gone away from the sun’s high-rise point, reasoning that it would be cooler in those waters and maybe the coral would find conditions to its liking.

Akula stayed, nursing their offspring, guarding them from danger, and now, teaching them how to find food. It was increasingly scarce. More and more sea creatures were moving away. And with fewer creatures, there was less detritus. Once abundant plankton was now rare. The seahorse speciality of sucking up the miniscule food sources with their snouts was becoming a liability. What else could they eat? 

This dead fish, lying on the coral. Akula darted in to suck as much of the floating flesh as it could before the bow wave of a larger fish pushed it aside. Best to keep out of their jaws, anyway.

He sought out his brood and shared what he had got with them.

“I’m hungry, papa.” So many of them still hungry. 

“Let us move to the southern end of the reef. See what we can find there.”

A crowd of reef dwellers awaited them.

Akula darted away from hungry mouths, to the shadow of some cliffs. Did he dare go down onto the ocean floor? Could he stand the extra pressure of the depths? And what about the children?

The answer was no, but it was answered by a huge surge wave which swept all those at the end of their world away, floating in the open ocean, adrift, hundreds of feet above the new sea bed, and then thousands. 

“Hide behind me,” called a gigantic shape flapping at each corner. 

“Where are you going?” Akula called as he herded the family into the creature’s wake.

“Somewhere there is coral, and food.”

All they could do was swim, and float and hope.

© J M Pett 2022

writephoto

Seahorse | #writephoto Flash Fiction
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