The first customers of the day were two children, pointing to the rainbow fish swimming in the bucket, saying it's from a dream they had the night before. I didn’t pay attention to them, I couldn’t wait to go home and propose to the love of my life; she’d never believe where the golden bracelet was from.
Another customer was looking into the bucket in front of me.
"Ah, this reminds me of a dream I just had. These fish were swimming all over the island. I’d never felt more hopeless!”
Her words struck me instantly, bringing back a memory from the night before: I was swimming as usual, but instead of seeing sand on the bottom of the ocean I was looking down at the roof of my own house together with the rest of the village - intact but deep under water.
More people gathered around my fish stall to listen to the woman’s words. Realising we all remembered the same dream, we started sharing one moment or another from it, matching them, like puzzle pieces, to display a tragedy we had never really been afraid of before - our beloved island, covered in water.
'But who brought this curse upon us?'
I didn't wait to hear any answer. Instead I fetched the bucket with the rainbow fish and snuck away. Everyone knows that Gods talk to us through our dreams, sometimes showing us the future, and the more people share that, the more likely it is to come true. It was only a matter of time until the others realised it had all begun when I caught the rainbow fish this morning. At least they didn’t know about the golden bracelet wrapped around it. How could I have been so selfish as to see it as an engagement gift? I had to fix my mistake before we were all buried under water.
I arrived at the temple and tried to say an apology while placing the bracelet but my mind went first to my lover and I apologised to her instead for not bringing the gift home. All that was left was to take the cursed fish back to the ocean. Wait, I didn't mean to call it cursed! Why do I keep annoying the Gods with my recklessness? The fish is blessed, it brought us the golden gift for Atlas, so-
I was almost at the cliff’s edge when - to my horror - I tripped and the fish flew out of the bucket, falling to the ground, between the rocks and- did it hit the water or not?! I leant forward to check, but I couldn’t see it anywhere. I could only hope it was happily back in the ocean, ending the curse brought upon our island.
There was nothing more I could do, so I closed my eyes and listened to the waves. Nothing I could do except pray for Atlantis and our people, and try to forget the image of our island, underwater.
Written on: 20 March 2018
Note: This story was submitted for an international writing competition on the theme: "Dream".