The Fountain Frog | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 08, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 08, 2018

The Fountain Frog

The sea's calmness would pull one in with its tentacles. The sea never runs out of tentacles, because of course, the sea is always thick with octopuses. It would be plain wrong if it ever did run out of them. One would find it hard to believe how calm the sea was. If you were a boat, you would find it rocking you back and forth, sometimes caressing as well, as if you were a baby cradle. An outrageous sea below the pouring sky and a quiet one below the blue were cousins. Almost like the whale family. The whales' ancient cousins used to walk on land, eat everything alive. They were ferocious, had beastly teeth, tail, and claws. But along time, their interest nose-dived into life in the ocean. Nature shaped them with its laws and they don't walk anymore. They're swimmers now.  The sad part is, the whales lost their cousins but the sea hasn't.  You see, the sea isn't always quiet.

A piece of wood was aimlessly floating on the sea. It had dragon heads on both its ends. If breathed life into it, one would instantly believe that it was a dragon without skin, with visible bones, carefully placed.  Someone called Esther was inside the dragon's belly.  He was just swallowed, not chewed, still in one piece. The wooden dragon was a saviour. When the volcano had let its anger out, choking the sky with thick clouds of smoke, swallowing the whole island, hurling meteors at those who had run and those who hadn't, he had boarded the dragon and left the grumbling island behind. He had heard the people crying, animals roaring, palms crunching. Only the birds had survived, other than him and the boat shaped dragon.

The landscape assured that the dragon was heading towards the sun that hung low. Even if it were true, the dragon would keep floating, but it would never reach the sun. The moon would show up, the storms would pass, Esther would die and his skeleton would rot, along with the dragon's, but it would never reach the sun. It had been days since Esther ran out of food and fuel. The nights passed calmly thankfully. The sea cousin never visited. Esther survived on salt water and fish whenever he could catch one. The prospect of catching a fish was as thin as his skeletal body. He was out of energy, emaciated. His ribs were begging of his skin to set them free. But his skin would never keep the request. The dragon was lifeless, it had run out of fuel, and its engine lungs had become obsolete. It floated like dead bodies in the ocean do. The submarine whales often swam around the boat. Esther loved watching them. Until then, he had only heard stories of the whales, how their ancient cousins had grown tails and jumped into the ocean. He climbed on one of the dragon heads whenever he felt something rupture out the sea, as though the sea was taking a shape. The submarine headed whales circled around the dragon for a long time whenever they came. The scenery was like that of a fountain; the boat was the centrepiece, the whales were twirling water aerators, the seagulls were random viewers, and Esther was a tiny frog stuck inside the centrepiece, without food, without the likeliness of living long enough, without the likeliness of being noticed.

The sun was preparing itself for its regular meditation under water. It wore the kind of orange that it usually wears before leaving. The whales were gone, deep down the sea, like submarines. Esther gave up. Hunger pinned him down with its paws. He knew it was his time to say goodbye to the sun. After all, starvation claws one first, and then sinks its teeth deep into one's will to hunt for survival. The land whales took the shape of hunger and visited Esther. He lay inside the dragon belly, waiting to breathe his last, expecting food in heaven. The sun went down as it always does. The frog caved in to starvation. The centrepiece stood still. The water aerators were turned off. The viewers had gone home. The sea cousin never visited.

The water aerators and viewers would always come again. They wouldn't even know of a frog inside the centrepiece and that it had died and decayed. As for the centrepiece, it was always pleasing to one's eyes, whether breathing or not.

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