The Transfer – Part 2 | 31 January 4/685

A fly fisherman casting in a lake, the sun breaks through an ominous storm overhead.
Izak Jnr

Dearest Jowan, Cora, and patrons of the Unarkida

Continued from The Transfer – Part 1

In Part 2, Pinok continues the account but shifts us to the perspective of the youngest of the Waltins.

Izak Jnr, son of Izak Snr, sometime in the Second Age, The Black Island.

I lay down on the soft grass beneath the Family Tree as Father and Buppa wander off. The warmth of the sun mottling my face puts my mind to rest, and I close my eyes. Scattered by the branches as they shift on a gentle breeze, the light dances on my eyelids. The lake laps on the pebbled shore and becomes a lullaby.

I drift off and fall deeply into my fantasies.

First, I see Buppa standing beside me. He watches closely as I go to cast, and he smiles widely as I achieve the most perfectly straight double-haul. As the line and fly land gently on the water, a glow of pride emanates from within.

Then, I see myself boarding the Dorian Nor with my father. It’s my first time working, and the whole family has come to see me off. Nanna and Buppa stand on the docks with broad smiles. Mother, Father and I cast off and make for the Whale Road.

At last, I am no longer an apprentice. I stand beside my wife, facing the Dorian Nor, hand in hand. Mother and Father stand before me with the rope in hand. Father places the rope between us so it hangs upon our interlinked hands. Mother wraps the rope around our wrists. The Dorian Nor is our future now, and we are tied to it.

I see myself out on deck as we sail calm waters. Men and women are all around, pulling on lines and casting the nets. Father stands beside my wife on the bridge and watches on with pride.

The warmth is fading and the dancing sunbeams become less optimistic. A darkness falls over my dream.

Dark clouds mass overhead and the sea below turns black. I remember stories told to me before bedtime of the fate of us fisher-women and -men. Buppa tells stories of Cyne, the dark at the end of all life, and his home in the deep.

It is cold and overcast now, even from within my dream I can tell. Inside the sea begins to grow aggressive and the boat staggers. I see Father giving my wife guidance while I instruct those on deck to stow the equipment and return indoors.

I am the last on deck. The sea is all anger now, its temper rising as the swell turns from rolling hills to mighty peaks. The Dorian Nor bucks and is jolted to port, then jerked to starboard.

A black mountain of water crashes over the deck. I am lifted away by it, my yellow waterproofs ripped from me as I am swallowed.

Suspended and adrift, I see flashes of lightning that are no help in telling me which way is up or down. The light radiates all around.

Peace. Unexpected at first but more welcome by the second. I start to feel the calm of the end, the darkness before the first light of day. Then I feel him—before I see him.

From beneath me, the blackness pulls at my legs, long tentacles reaching out to drag me into the gaping maw of the world. One ends so that more may begin.

I wake up quite suddenly. The sky is black and a heavy storm is coming in. I look out and see lightning and squalls of rain driving towards the harbour. I hope Buppa and Father are safe.

Beside me, amongst the roots of the Family Tree, is Buppa’s rod. I pick it up instead of mine. I look above and take a deep breath; no ozone. The lightning hasn’t reached here yet but still I can hear him in my head, “Rods down and back inside, too dangerous!”

I decide there is time enough for a few more casts, despite the image of him wagging his finger at me.

At the water’s edge, I begin to pull some line from the reel, the stiff ratchet click-clacking loudly as I give myself more slack. Allowing the water to grab hold and take the excess through the eyes of the rod—I steady my footing—then I lift the seven-foot pole smoothly back over my shoulder and throw it back.

Something feels different. A glance over my shoulder shows me my line rolling in the air, smooth and uniform. I feel a gentle pull at the rod’s tip that tells me it’s time.

I drive the rod forwards and watch as the line glides overhead and over the water. I hear it slipping through the eyes unobstructed. Extended, I feel again that telling tug and I throw my rod back once more to repeat the movement.

It’s the feeling that I imagine an artist feels with the stroke of a brush. I feel like I might understand that look of peace in Buppa’s eyes as he casts, making his strokes through the air.

With a last well-timed drive, I watch in amazement as—for the first time in my life—the line lands straight and true on the water in front of me.

Elated, I imagine the look on Buppa’s face as my own stretches to a wide and childlike grin. I see in his spectre the pride of having passed down his life’s arts before the end.

I begin to retrieve my line.

There is always time for one more cast.

If you’re interested in a longer story from Unara, read Ankit and the Uncle of Refuge, or consider something else from the Journal of G.G. Bailey.

Illustration by Midjourney & G.G.B.

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