“Why are you screaming?” asked a voice that startled Doneyifa into flapping about as she sank. She looked around and saw an odd little crab, sort of floating around her.

“What?” she sputtered as she continued to sink like a rock, and the crab followed her down, clicked its pincers and said, “I heard you all the way from the beach. Is something wrong?”

“You can talk!”

The crab clicked at her, making her rear back, just before she landed on a rock with a painful thump. The crab followed suit, landing with a twirl on what would have been her thighs. She stared at the place where her thighs should have been then she swung her tail, up then down. The crab watched her, without complaining as he was tossed up, and as it sunk back to her tail.

“Are you done?”

Doneyifa frowned at it, “I’m sorry but do I know you?”

The crab did a little dance, clicking its pincers, along her former thighs, and asked in what can only be described as a bemused voice, “I doubt it. I’m pretty sure you’re new here”.

“You mean there really are other mammywaters?”

More dancing, more clicking, “You’re not the first, you know. Although you may be the only living one”.

“What happened to the others?”

“They died” it’s voice dipped a little and Doneyifa got the sense that it was sad.

“Did you know them?” Doneyifa asked, and she reached out a hand to comfort the crab but stopped when she noticed one of its eyes eyeing her hand. She withdrew her hand, then put both hands behind her back, out of the way of those clickety pincers.

“Mammywaters thought they were too good to swim with the rest of us, so no; I didn’t know them. I knew of them”.

Doneyifa nodded, like she understood, then asked the burning question, “Why can you talk?”

A couple of clicks, then, “I’ve always been able to talk. You can finally hear. Thank the Mother”.

Doneyifa’s eyes widened in shocked awe, “You worship The Great Mother!”

“Of course! I’m not a heathen!”

This was all too much, and Doneyifa started laughing. She laughed and laughed, flinging her tail about, and only stopped when she felt the pinch of the crab on her shoulder.

“Ow! Stop that”, she yelled then flicked at the offensive little crustacean but it just dug in, pointing its eyes at her, and said, “Disrespect me again, and I’ll draw blood then the old mudfish that lives in the cave at the bottom will come out and eat you!”

“There’s really an old mud fish at the bottom?” Doneyifa asked in reverent awe, “Tell me the truth, how big is he? Is he as big as a fishing boat?”

The pincers loosened their grip, and the crab climbed closer to her ear, “It’s as big as two fishing boats! Those ones the men use for their noisy parties”

“Oh Mother! And it really eats man?”

“It eats everything”, the pincers clicked again, the crab clearly disgusted, “Filthy creature”.

Doneyfia leaned forward on the rock, and looked down and saw that she was on top of some sort of underwater mountain, or cave. She glanced at the crab, “The mud fish’s cave, is it under here?”

Art by Joe Daniels @joedanimation

The crab’s eyes froze as it took in her meaning, “Don’t be an idiot. It will eat you”.

“I just want to see it!”

“I swear Baghdor makes them stupider each time”.

 

 

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