I wrote this shortish story in honor of my fish who recently passed away.
Rest In Peace Pudding ;^;
Pudding opened her eyes.
Shining around her were shimmering silver outlines, fish after fish. Some were bettas, others were goldfish like herself. She turned back, and then looked at the shimmering fish. “I have to go back! Master needs me!”
All the outlines shook their heads. “You can’t go.” They all spoke at once. “You are gone.”
“Gone?” Pudding spat. “Gone? Never. Master needs me. Let me go back.”
“We cannot. You are not able to return.” They echoed in unison.
Pudding turned away and swam as fast as she could, but the glowing fish surrounded her. “We are sorry. We all did the same thing. We died, and we wanted to go back. But we can’t.”
One voice broke away, a young male. “We can’t.” He whispered with tears in his eyes. He was a pumpkin color, with a black stripe. “We can’t. I wish we could.” He broke down crying, and Pudding swam up to him.
“You were hers, weren’t you.” Pudding asked.
“I was.” He answered. “I started the whole thing where she names us after food. I’m Fishsticks.”
“Pudding. It’s a pleasure.” She felt tears welling up, so she turned away. “Is there any way to return?”
Fishsticks looked confused. “No…” But his eyes lit up. “Spirit swapping. We could do that.”
“When we duplicate a baby fish, like an identical twin. We are able to become a fish again, but only for so long. We could go back just to see her again.”
Pudding blinked away tears. “I’d do it for her.”
“It hurts a lot, though.”
“I don’t care. I want to see her again.”
“I’m going with you.” Fishsticks smiled. “I’d like to see master again, and Sashimi. How IS father?”
“He’s my father, not yours.” Pudding muttered.
“He’s not anyone's!” Fishsticks chorused, “He just calls himself that.”
A tiny white and orange fish swam up. “He’s MY papa. Not yours.”
Fishsticks grinned. “Hi Popcorn.”
“Hi.” The little fish responded. He looked sad. “Master never really knew me. I was really sick. I died so young, so soon.”
Pudding smiled sadly. “Me too.”
Popcorn swam next to Fishsticks. “Can I come?”
Fishsticks looked to Pudding for approval, who nodded. “Let’s go.”