So this is what it’s all about

This is my first go at posting a blog and as this site is supposed to be a place to display my stories, here is one I wrote earlier.  Actually I wrote it last week as a very quick reponse to an assignment for one of my writers’ clubs.  The topic was simply “the beach”  so that’s its title.  Comments (not rude) will be welcome.

The Beach

“I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.”

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) 

The sky was only just taking on a red hue as Is’a’ac crawled slowly from the ocean onto the shore.  Without the buoyancy of the water it was hard work using his weak legs to haul his heavy shell over the pebbles.  His siblings were left playing in the shallows, turning over stones with their three-jointed arms, looking for tasty worms and other small creatures to pop into their multi-tentacled mouths.  They were hungry because there hadn’t been much food to find for days.  Is’a’ac was hungry too but he wanted to watch the dawn.   Painfully he turned to face the ocean and raised his eye stalks to gaze out to the horizon.

The red glow grew brighter, but before the red sun became visible a bright blue-white disc, too bright to look at directly, leapt into the sky.  A few moments later the horizon gained a red bulge which expanded until fully a quarter of Is’a’ac’s view was taken up by the red giant.  It rose into the sky, its huge red disc keeping pace with its tiny dazzling guide.

Is’a’ac watched in wonder until another pair of waving eye stalks caught his attention.  The owner of the eyes remained below the surface, but he recognised the urgently waving patterns as a command from Parent.  Reluctantly he heaved himself over the pebble and shell-strewn beach, back into the water.

“You know it’s dangerous out there,” Parent waved angrily, kicking at the pebbles with clawed feet to drive into the deeper water, “the light and air will kill you.”

“I know,” Is’a’ac replied, following, “but I only stay out for a few heartbeats.”

“But why?  There is nothing to eat amongst the dry rocks.  Why leave the water at all when all we need is here.”

“I’m interested in watching the suns.”

“What a waste of time.  What is the point of staring at the suns and damaging your eyes.”

“The suns are what give us day.  When they are not in the sky it is night.”

“Yes of course.  Everyone knows that.”

“But why?  Why are the suns in the sky during the day and not at night?”

“Why doesn’t matter, it happens and you should be thankful it happens.  Now go and join  your siblings looking under pebbles. We need everyone looking for food at the moment.”

Parent marched off, eye stalks turned deliberately away from Is’a’ac to avoid seeing any reply that he might make.  Is’a’ac floated disconsolately.  Why was no-one interested in what he saw when he crawled onto the beach?

He’d been doing it for many days now, almost every morning.   Sometimes he’d seen the white speck first before the great red sun appeared and sometimes the white star followed.  There had been a few days when they had risen together, each day the bright blue spot further across the dull red disc.  There had even been days when the white star had not appeared at all.

Is’a’ac realised he was feeling hungry so blew air from his gills and sank down to the pebbles to join R’ob’ert and Ed’m’und turning over the stones.

“Hello, Is’a’ac,” R’ob’ert waved, “look what I’ve found.”  He held up a pale pebble between his pincers.  “I can see through it,” he added lowering an eye until it was almost touching the smooth stone.

“Very interesting,” Is’a’ac said.

“Not much to eat round here. The worms have burrowed too deep to get at them”  Ed’m’und signalled miserably,  “it was the same a while ago.”

“That’s right,” Is’a’ac said, “Now that is interesting. It was just when I started looking at the suns in the sky.  The little blue one rose before the big red one, just like now.”

“We’ll starve if we can’t get at the worms,” Ed’m’und went on ignoring Is’a’ac.

“No, we won’t,” Is’a’ac said thinking fast.  Perhaps the cycle of food was linked to the patterns the suns made in the sky.  When the blue sun led the way, the worms dug deep, but when the little sun didn’t appear the worms would come out and they’d all have plenty to eat.  Is’a’ac felt excited.   He explained his idea to Ed’m’und and R’ob’ert

“That’s daft,” R’ob’ert said,  “How can the two suns affect how much food there is.”

“I don’t know,”  Is’a’ac said, “but I’m sure I can predict when we will have lots to eat and when food will be short.”

“How can you know which day the worms will appear?” Ed’m’und asked.

“It’s all to do with the motion of the suns,”  Is’a’ac signalled excitedly.  He looked around the pebbles on the seafloor and picked up a large reddish stone in one pincer and a small clear one in the other.

“It’s like this,” he explained,  “I think the blue star is going around the big red one,”  he demonstrated with the pebbles, “When the blue star is on this side  the worms stay hidden.  When it is behind the red sun we don’t see it and that is when the worms are out.”  He counted the days on his mouth tentacles and came to a conclusion.  “This is when the worms will start coming out, but I will need to watch the dawn to check.”

“Parent won’t like it if you keep crawling onto the beach,” R’ob’ert said.

“Well, I’m just going to make sure Parent doesn’t catch me,”  Is’a’ac said

Days passed and they all got hungrier and hungrier, but each morning at dawn, keeping out of the way of Parent, Is’a’ac crawled to the shore and briefly observed the suns rise.  Then on the day of his prediction he watched the red sun appear but there was no sign of the little blue one at all.  He hurried back into the deeper water. Ed’m’und was cheerfully chewing on a worm.

“Hey, Is’a’ac,” he waved cheerfully, “you were right.  The worms are out.  Come and join the feast.”

Parent crawled towards them a worm clutched in its pincers.

“There you are.  Ed’m’und says you predicted this day.”

“Yes, I did, or rather the suns predicted it.”

Parent popped the worm into its mouth and waved its eye stalks.

“Do you think you can do it again?”

“Yes, it always takes the same number of days for the bright sun to go round the big red one.”

“So you will be able to tell us when there will be lots of food and when there is going to be little to eat.”

“Yes.”

“Hmm, it seems there may be a reason to go onto the beach after all.”

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One thought on “So this is what it’s all about

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