The boat rocked so subtly that I barely felt it, though I could see the movement of the water beneath my face.
My vessel was small – just large enough to hold me and a basket of food and water. I’d consumed its contents, and was contentedly stretched out and peering over the edge.
Now and then I caught a glimpse of the fish darting around under the surface. I imagined a whole world down there, one I could only see through a curtain of liquid and reflection, and that was distorted by ripples and sediment. How strange that a place that looked so peaceful could prove deadly were I to enter it for more than a few minutes.
Two large fish, each about the size of a young child, suddenly appeared just below my outstretched hand. They stared at my frozen palm, then slowly turned their bodies to look straight at me. I felt an exhilaration before a wash of fear came over me. It was highly unusual behavior, and carried a sense of foreboding.
The fish floated just an inch closer to the surface, then quickly melted back into the murk. The air around me was heavy and still, thick with my apprehension.
Then I saw the hand, and the arm behind it. My instinct was to pull back, but something kept my gaze concentrated on the pearly white glimmer of a human-looking limb.
Whether I thought it was a dream or simply an illusion I do not remember. But when I saw the body of a woman follow the arm, and what seemed to be the tail of a fish behind that, I knew I couldn’t ignore what I’d seen.