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Story 4

Selina Rosen

 Selina Rosen is no stranger to Texas and Southeast U.S. science fiction and fantasy. She isn’t just a creative "renaissance" person. Selina is a creative whirl-wind. She writes, performs, markets, teaches, sculpts, edits, and runs her own publishing empire: Yard Dog Press. Here is one of her terrific stories.

4 Star Stories is proud to present "Fish Story".

This one was published in Lone Wolf’s Tooth and Claw, a multimedia CD-ROM. They wanted stories about animal attacks, something different. I think you’ll all agree that "Fish Story" isn’t your typical "animal attacks" story.

-- Selina Rosen


Fish Story

by Selina Rosen

"All right buddy where are you going in such a hurry," The trooper said shining a flashlight in the guy’s window. The guy was filthy covered with mud and what might have been blood.

"Officer please... you don’ understand... You gottah let me go, they’re after me an’ you don’ want ta stop me, ya sure don’ wannah be doin’ that."

The guy’s breath stunk of whiskey, and Jed only then noticed that an open bottle sat beside the guy on the seat. "Step out of the car, mister"

"Dammit man, you’d better let me go..."

"Buddy," Jed said moving his hand to caress the handle of his 45. "You better get out nice and slow and keep your hands where I can see them."

"Man you just don’t get it. Why won’t anyone listen dammit?" The man opened the door to his truck and slowly got out. He was limping a little with what looked like a knife wound in his upper right thigh – this was no doubt the source of all that blood. "Now listen to me, I ain’t drunk an’ I ain’t crazy. If’in ya wannah live to see mornin’ you best be lettin’ me go. There are things after me. Things ya don’ wannah be dealin’ with."

"That what stabbed ya then? Little green men?" Jed laughed.

"No dammit but something even more crazy soundin’ an twice as dangerous cause it’s real," The man sighed as if he didn’t expect to be taken seriously.

"Better give me your driver’s license," The man handed it to him still in his wallet. Jed checked him out as he read the guy’s stats to make sure everything matched up. Jimmy Dean Walker looked every bit of the 6 foot 4 his drivers license said he was, and his substantial beer gutt not only said that he probably wasn’t no athlete, but that he probably weighed the 260 pounds he’d claimed. It said forty and he looked forty, and that mop of black hair would be hard to mistake. His breath smelled of liquor, yet from what Jed knew of drunks he now realized that this guy probably wasn’t, his eyes weren’t glassy looking he didn’t seem distracted at all, and his speech wasn’t slurred.

Jimmy Dean moved to scratch his head.

"Keep your hands where I can see them." Jed ordered. "So... how’d you get stabbed?"

"I didn’ get stabbed. Dammit man, can’t ya jus’ let me go? I’m only dangerous to anyone if I stick around and I don’ mean to stick around."
"How’d ya get hurt?" Jed said ignoring his pleas.

"You won’t believe me if I tell ya."

"Try me?" Jed said.

"A mutated walkin’ catfish finned me." Jimmy Dean sighed again.

Jed started laughing. "Alright buddy walk over to my car you’re taking a breath test."

"Dammit man..."

"Move!" Jed was losing his patience.

Ole Jimmy Dean was barely legally drunk which meant he probably wasn’t drunk at all. However he had obviously been in some sort of tussle. Jed searched him, didn’t find anything but a pocket knife and a pair of fishing pliers, but he handcuffed him anyway and put him in the back seat his hand on the top of his head.

"Dammit man... Please ya gotta believe me. They’ll be comin’ ya best be lettin me go."

"Who’ll be comin’?"

"The catfish."

Jed laughed and left his prisoner locked in the back of his car as he went to check out the man’s truck. He found a twelve gauge shotgun and a 35 caliber revolver behind the seat as well as a huge fishing net. He put the weapons in the trunk of his squad car and headed for the station.

"You’re making a terrible mistake," Jimmy Dean said. He was tending to the wound in his leg, or at least poking at it to see how bad it was.

"You best not be threatening me boy."

"I ain’t threatenin’ ya, puddin’ head, I’m warnin’ ya," Jimmy Dean said. "I know It sounds crazy. Don’ ya think I know it sounds crazy?"

The man sounded near tears, not something you expected from a man of his size. Jed watched the man fiddling with his leg in the rear view mirror. "Maybe we oughtah take ya to the hospital an get that leg looked at before we take ya to the station."

"For the love ah God don’ do that." Jimmy begged. "It’s bad enough what’ll happen to all ya’ll with out a whole hospital’s fate on my conscience."

Jed just ignored the crazy old coot the rest of the way to the station house.


Jed’s chief looked from him to the prisoner. "So far no one’s called any sort of altercation in. Nothing that would match what’s happened to this guy anyway. I’ve tried calling the station in Green Spur to see if he’s a trouble maker or if they’ve had trouble, but so far I haven’t been able to get through the lines are apparently down, I keep getting a service message. Maybe if we can get him talking he’ll tell us what happened."

"Chief... this guy’s crazier than ole Cooter’s goat."

"Maybe that’s just his game. Let’s get him to tell his story. More likely than not he’ll crack." The chief nodded and Jed followed him over to where the prisoner sat in a chair still cuffed. As a sign of trust the chief undid Jimmy’s handcuffs – at least that’s the reason Jed guessed he did it.

"So Jimmy Dean want to tell me where you were going in such a hurry? Jed here clocked you at 80 miles an hour in a 55."

"You really wannah know or ya jus’ wannah call me crazy and shut me up?"

"I want to hear what you’ve got to say for yourself."

"If you want any chance at all of livin’ till mornin’ than you’d better listen an when I’m done tellin’ ya best let me go."

"All right Jimmy."

"I was headin’ for the desert. Texas, I figured had them some real dry spots and I figured that might kill ‘em, I mean they gottah go back in the water sometime."

"Kill what Jimmy?" The Chief asked.

"Them mutant catfish what walked out ah the swamp down in Green Spur."

One of the other officers in the station laughed and Jimmy glared at him. "I wish there was somethin’ ta laugh about."

"Go on Jimmy." The Chief prompted.

"I told them. I told them all that company shouldn’ oughtah have been dumpin’ that shit inta the swamp, but there weren’ no body listen’n’ to me then any more than they listened to me tonight.

Started off jus’ like any other Saturday night me an my good buddy Dick down at the swamp puttin’ out a few lines, layin’ back in our chase lounges, bullshitin,’ drinkin’ a couple of brews. Weren’ long ole Dick had him a bite, why that fish put up a fight like none I’d ever seen then it just clean busted that 100 pound test line.

Well we was real excited thinkin’ we’d found us a sure enough good fishin’ hole. We reset our lines and waited expectin’ big things. But we sure as hell didn’ expect nothin’ like that. About a ten pound cat comes walkin’ right up outah the water. Now I’d seen walkin’ catfish ’fore but they was always little things nothin’ like this, an this thing had glowing green eyes and spins. I was scarred -- though I didn’ let on none to Dick -- cause ah I knew that thing jus’ wasn’ normal. Ole Dick though, all he could see was a big ass fish that he could catch real easy like. He picked him up a big ole stick and he wacked it in the head. It fell over and commenced ta floppin’ all about so he hit it again and again till it stopped. I got the flashlight and walked over to have a good look and this thing was... Well it was jus’ all wrong that’s all. I told Dick so, an he jus’ laughed. Said he reckoned it’d be jus fine ta eat it then.

Well we ain’t quit finished havin’ our little tête-à-tête when about a half a dozen ah these bastards come up out of the water fast, some of them bigger than the first. I knew right then we were in big trouble. All stupid ole Dick saw was more walkin’ fish dinners. He started to try and hit these with a stick too. But this time they jus’ ran away from him. An’ that’s what they did too. They didn’ move slow like a normal walkin’ catfish these things moved quick and precise like a cat, and it looked like to me that they thought and learned as a group, because what had worked to kill that first one wasn’t workin’ on these. They were working together all right. Circlin’ us like ya circle some one when you’re trin’ ta figure out their weak spots, an that’s for sure what they was doin’. Well I might look like a dummy ta most folks an it’s true I ain’t had me no formal education but I sure ta hell ain’t no dummy. I grabbed up that dead fish an I started runnin’ for the truck an told Dick ta come on, which I really didn’ have ta do cause even that dumb jerk knowed we was in trouble then. Now I swear them damn things saw that we was headen’ for that truck an they tried ta get round us and cut us off. But I was scarred shittless an ain’t nothin’ faster in this world than Jimmy Dean Walker when he’s scarred shitless. I slung that dead fish in the bed and then I jumped in the cab. That’s when I hear ole Dick jus a screamin’ and screamin’ an I turn around ta look out the back window an now there’s about a pisszilion ah these things an they has got oh Dick surrounded. Well I get back outah the truck an grab ma shotgun from behind the seat and I jus’ start blastin’ them till Dick gets free and he runs an get’s in the truck and we take off.

Now like I said, I ain’t no dummy, so I head for the one man in town I figure might know what to do. Joe Don Peters the fish and game warden. He was eatten dinner and wasn’ too happy ta see us, but I guess he could tell we was pretty shook up, cause he asked us what was wrong an when he saw it and heard our story he said he reckoned on how it probably did have somethin’ ta do with all them damn chemicals and how he guessed that we’d have to send it off ta some lab in the capital ta be sure and in the mean time he’d jus’ try to make sure all the locals stayed clear of that fishin’ spot. He didn’ really seem ta believe our story ‘bout how they attacked us. Guess he thought we was pullin’ his leg cause ah we were sortah known for doin’ that kind of shit, but he sure as hell knew wasn’t no walkin’ catfish oughtah be that big or have glowing eyes and spins and all. He asked us ifin we’d like to have a bite to eat and we reckoned on how that might not be such a bad idea cause of us being scared nearly to death by those mutant fish.

Why we hadn’t barely finished eatin’ all the good vitals his Mrs. had cooked up when we heard one of his rug rats a screamin’ an a yellin’ like it’s judgment day. We all run out ta see what the ruckus is an one ah them big fish has got ahold ah that boy with his teeth... That’s right I said teeth, these things have a mouth full of teeth just like a shark. They shredded that boy faster than shit goes through a goose.

Ole Joe Don he grabs his gun and commences to firin’ but we all know it’s too late fer that boy. An the other one, he never was too bright, jus’ stands there watchin’ as a hundred ah them things gather around his brother an start eatin’ him, doesn’t even start ta move. So Dick, who always was more the hero type then me, runs out and grabs hold of him. Well I guess them things just saw someone running off with part of their dinner and freaked out. They leave off eatin’ an they run after Dick. One of them jumps on his back grabs him with those spines of his then bites ole Dick on the back of the neck and jerks his back bone right out. Swear ta God, fillet him right there in front of us. Poor ole Dick jus’ sortah fell ta the ground like a busted bag ah feed. They got that other kid of Joe Don’s too. I don’t know who was screaming and crying louder at that point me or Don’s old lady.

’Bout the time the rest of us had piled back in the house, Joe Don realized that shooting them with that damn pistol of his just seemed to piss them off. So he runs and shuts the door. Me, I’m wishing I had my shot gun from the truck cause that seemed to actually kill the bastards.

We start pushing stuff in front of the door and the windows. But we know that probably isn’t going to stop them. Joe Don calls the police station but he don’t even get no dial tone. See them suckers done knew. Somehow they knew that we were trying to call for help. Maybe they’re telepathic or maybe they could feel the hum of the wires. I don’ know I just know that somehow they cut the phone wires and we were stuck there. We heard glass breaking then and the couch we had moved in front of the window was tossed aside like it was a child’s toy. They rushed in that window like the troops storming Normandy. I can’t really remember gettin’ in my truck and drivin’ away. All I remember was Joe Don’s poor wife jus’ sittin’ there cryin’ over her dead kids and not carin’ any what happened to her which was jus’ as well cause they killed her right off and Joe Don was still screamin’ as I drove away. Now don’ go thinkin’ I was ah coward cause I wasn’. Someone had ta git out an’ warn the town and there weren’ no one left who knowed what was goin’ on but me. So I drove ta the police station an I gottah tell ya them dumb assed bastards was lookin’ at me a whole lot like y’all is. Even when I showed them that God-awful fish. I got really mad at them, havin’ jus’ watched my best friend an a good man an’ his entire family devoured by these things. I was hardly in the mood for their snide comments about my sanity or my drinkin’. I told them all to go fuck themselves so ah course they was goin’ to lock me up. They was jus’ bout ta shove me in a cell when here came them fish an now they had a taste for blood an they knew even more bout us. Well they had all them cops killed, fillet, an eaten faster than a fat woman can down a cupcake. I tried to grab one ah them fish ta save a man and that’s how I got spined in the leg. Well I could see I wasn’ helpen’ none so I made a run for it and managed to get back to my truck

I took off. Didn’t even know where I was goin’ till I saw the church was havin’ some sort of meetin’. I figured that was the best place to warn everyone and hopefully convince them to put as much ground between them and the devil fish as possible. Tell their loved ones and all.

Course preacher Jackson was pissed off that I interrupted his service and when I told everyone my story he started preaching about the evils of lying and drinking and all the other sins he was sure I was guilty of committing. He hadn’ gotten a chance to tell me I was goin’ to be frying like a Frito in the fiery furnaces of hell if I didn’t change my ways, when them fish showed up an’ by now... Well they’d gotten really good at killen people. Still I somehow managed to get away and that’s when I realized somethin’ more terrible than anythin’ before."

In spite of themselves the entire station was now sitting around listening intently to the man’s insane story. "What was that?" The Chief asked with earnest interest.

"That the bastards were using me for bait. That’s why I was headin’ for the desert. I figured they’d follow me. Now, you’d best be lettin’ me go on my way."

They all laughed at Jimmy Dean and he sighed. Then the lights flashed and went out.

Jed heard a sound like nothing he had ever heard before, like a thousand flip flops pounding on a wet floor. In the darkness someone screamed, and Jed saw dozens of glowing green eyes in the darkness.

"Damn!" Jimmy Dean cursed. "I wish I could get just one person to believe my fish story."



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