Aqua Lung

Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Tara! Where have you been? And where’s your sister?”

” We were just playing on the rocks by the water, Mommy,” replied Tara.

“Where’s Tricia?”

“She’s playing ‘fish’,” replied the young girl.

“What are you talking about?” asked her mother.

“I told her that people can breathe underwater like fishes and she said they couldn’t so I held her under the water to show her.”

“What? Oh my God!” yelled their mother, running towards the rocky shore.

“It’s ok, Mommy. She’s still floating there!” Tara yelled after her mother.

She grinned. It was nice to finally prove her sister wrong.

Word Count: 99

[This is my entry into this weeks Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Use the photo prompt to create a short story in 100 words or less. The title is not a reference to the fantastic album by Jethro Tull but rather a subtle play on words as well as a nod to the SCUBA device.]






62 thoughts on “Aqua Lung

  1. Chilling! Great story, Chris! It reminds me of when I was 4 years old (she was 6) and my sister and I were standing by a pool at a motel. She told me I couldn’t swim and I told her I could. (LOL, of course I couldn’t!) So she pushed me into the deep end of the pool. I was drowning when the motel manager got home from church and jumped into the pool and saved me. (He was in his suit).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Not sure if you’re a Walking Dead fan, but Tara reminded me just a tiny bit of Lizzie. If you’ve not seen the show, probably just as well. It was one of the most disturbing parts of the entire series.

      Thanks for the read and comment. 🙂


  2. Well. That sure took a turn. I like how complex Tara is as a character already, even though your story is only 99 words. At first we assume she’s a little psychotic, but there’s an innocent in the last couple sentences that remind you that Tara is still just a child and so we have to ponder, how much of her actions can be attributed to being a psychopath and how much to being a child?

    Fantastic job, Chris! As always 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You just have this warm, friendly “Come tell me all of your secrets” kind of vibe about you. Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility. My Uncle Ben taught me that. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. mandibelle16

    Reading this I’m kind of caught on what I think went down. My first thought is a bit of humer because one of my best friends is named Tara. But then quickly, this little girl makes me think she’s no Tara I know. I’m not sure if this girl knew her sister would die, if she already had some deviousness in her or she was playing a game and she thought it was only play, holding her sisters head under until she floated. Another side of me says, how could Tara not know? She’s not that young. Very well written Chris. Chilling, a piece to make one think about something they’d rather not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda. I’m letting everyone decide for themselves what state of mind Tara was in and whether she’s devious or naive. (My bet is that she’s a sociopath). This story did turn out creepier than I had originally envisioned. I’m glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. Nothing like waking up to a nice cup of coffee and tearing a family apart. (I’m a monster). Yeah, this definitely ended up being darker than with what I started.

      Thanks for the read. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. gahlearner

    This is excellent (writing) and horrible (fate). I can’t even imagine how the mother must feel, how can she ever love her other daughter again? There’s a horror story in the making.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The dialogue, the deliberate avoidance of descriptive details, the timing of that last sentence all point to one thing: This is a brilliant story! Chilling, horrifying, nightmarish, awful, yes, but brilliant.
    This is where I sensed what was coming:
    ‘“She’s playing ‘fish’,” replied the young girl.’
    And yet, when more was revealed, it was still a punch to the gut.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Which ever way readers view this: either as Tara being malicious, or being an innocent child not quite understanding how actions impact others, this is a very haunting tale. Very well done with creating a complex character in so few words.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with others. This is disturbing. If she’s a very young child she might not realize the full weight of what she’s done, but of course she will. I sat through the first season of The Walking Dead because a friend of my daughter is one of the cast, but I finally had to stop. It was just too gruesome. She said she couldn’t even watch it and she’s an actor. Very heartrending story but well written, Chris. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My daughter is Sayjal Joshi. She works with Second City Theater Company in Chicago doing improv and also does stand-up and comedy acts in some of the clubs there. She’s also done voice overs and commercials. She sometimes teaches improv for Second City and for the owner of one of the clubs. Her friend in the series is Steven Yeun, the Korean actor. He used to work in Second City. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! First off, Steven Yeun is fantastic. Glenn is one of my favorite characters. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing stand-up for years. Was even going to take some classes in Phoenix before I moved to Wisconsin. Perhaps I’ll take a drive to Chicago and catch your daughter’s act. Thanks for sharing that, Suzanne. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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