Every so often, DJ Matticus, proprietor and Chief Scribbler of The Matticus Kingdom, writes the opening of a story and Prompts us to finish it.
I was trying to develop a sense of inexorability with this story. Did it work? And any criticisms are welcome.
Light filters through the cascading waves of shadows running down the high canyon walls. Shining fingers reaching down from the heavens to highlight the beauty of the world, you notice the warm spots of rock and water where the light touches and you smile. The constant hum and crash of the river at your feet adds the symphony accompaniment to the play being acted out for your enjoyment. Time slows and races with the rise and fall of the orchestra, and your heart follows along.
Stepping to the edge, you set your balance and brace your feet, then let the fly taste the air as you whip it once, twice, three times over your head. The line pulls against your finger as you release it and for a moment your world is reduced to the flight of the fly and the whine of the reel. As it splashes down, and you are pleased with its placement, the roar of the river rises back up to a near deafening volume, and you begin to coax the fish out of hiding with a delicate dance of pressure and movement.
A flash of silver deep within the rolling blue and white, as a trout breaks cover beneath the rocky bottom, and there is a small tug on the taut line…
It’s a slight tug, and you savor the tension in the line as you rest your beer on a rock near the riverbank. You wait a moment. The tug gets stronger, then stronger still, becoming more insistent. The voice of the river and dappling of the sun combine with the pull of the rod to create a feeling of magic in the lush wilderness. “Guys?” you call out, wanting your friends to witness this one perfect moment. “Guys!”, but they are too far away to hear. Another yank draws you deeper into the water. You fight against the pull on the line, but the rubber of your hip waders slides against the slick stones of the river.
It never occurs to you to let go of your rod and lose the beautiful fly, or the prize it’s snagged. As you are pulled along, you start to worry about being dragged to the center of the river, where you know it’s both deep and fast running. You reposition your hands on the rod for a better grip. You can’t imagine how big the trout must be – you’ve never had to struggle like this before!
Finally, your heel braces against a rock and you gather your strength. You know the fight is almost done.
With a tremendous heave, you snap the rod back, the supple wood arcing dangerously before it straightens, bringing your catch into view.
And you learn the last things you’ll ever know –
Magic can be dangerous.
The Loch Ness monster isn’t a myth.
And it doesn’t just stay in the loch.