Cosmic Dust

It’s not that long ago when I was prodding a stick in the pond in the back garden and making hell for the frogs. I’d stir up the amorphous blobs of frog spawn as well, marvelling in how they caught and scattered the sunlight when they broke the surface. Throwing pebbles at the goldfish was fun too. The large fish were slow and that made it easier to get an accurate shot. With the water lilies covering a lot of the surface, I think I did quite well.

One of them had fungus growing on its side. Mr. Mouldy attracted unwelcome interest and amusement from one of his cohabitants – Jaws, I called him – who harassed him continually. I felt sorry for Mr. Mouldy, so Jaws received much of my arsenal of small stones.

Most of my fun was with a group of twelve small fish. They darted around very quickly which made hitting them nearly impossible, but their group dynamic was a wonder to watch as they swerved in unison and with precision to avoid my showers of grit.

Mum never knew about my time by the pond, of course. She probably thought I was making mud pies. Who’d ever condone such inhumane behaviour?

The pond suffered when the Earthquake came later that summer. A rupture in its plastic lining caused it to drain. I found Mr. Mouldy squashed under a fallen rock in the sloppy mud bath that the pond had become. I never found Jaws or any of the others.

The quake gifted our house with a wide crack in one of the supporting walls which the authorities deemed as a risk to its structural integrity. They moved us out into a small makeshift wooden shack that had been built quickly with dozens of others, all crammed closely together. It was sad to leave the building that had been our home behind. There was no life left inside, but the ivy and other weeds were allowed to grow unchecked around it.

The geologists said the quake was triggered by the unusually close proximity of the moon which exerted stronger than usual gravitational and tidal forces. Of course the religious nut jobs told us it was the various gods from their respective religions who were displeased with how we live out our lives on this Earth. If they were all to be believed, then we’d made a lot of gods angry.

There was no space for a garden by our shack so we made do with potted plants on a small terrace by the back door. I had no clear view in an...

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Paul Sterlini
Aug 13 2020

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Sad, poignant, thought provoking; even funny. This is quite simply brilliant writing that will stay with you long after you've finished.

Rod Webb
Aug 30 2020