Chapter Seven: Haunted
by Naia Zifu
Jaki huddled in one corner of his tank, his small body shivering with fright. Once in a while, he thought he caught sight of something in his peripheral vision, and flared in its general direction, but each time he looked over properly, he found nothing there. Jaki was beginning to think his tank may be haunted.
It all started as Jaki was doing his usual afternoon patrol. He was just checking beside the big purple plant to make sure nothing was hiding there, when he thought he saw a blur of movement nearby. He first looked, then swam over to investigate, but saw nothing. Suddenly, he heard a noise and felt a shockwave travel through the water to hit him in the tail, so he immediately turned and flared at the intruder. . . except there wasn't one. Had he only been imagining things, after all? A flash of movement over by the rocket ship convinced him otherwise, and he swam over as fast as his fins could carry him. A thorough investigation of the area found nothing there, either. He was trying to puzzle out the whole situation when he heard a loud sound right nearby, accompanied by a shockwave that sent shivers all along his small body. He was sure he would catch whatever this was this time, as he quickly whirled around to face the tank wall. He flared at the black and gold fish he saw behind him, until he noticed with some embarrassment he was looking at his own reflection. Well, if there wasn't another fish that had somehow gotten into his tank, what was it? Another blur of movement caught Jaki's attention, and when there again turned out to be nothing there, it set his overactive imagination into overdrive. Maybe there had been another fish who had lived in this tank before him, but had died, and now his restless soul wanted him to get out, or else! He wasn't the type to back down from a fight, but when there was a ghost fish involved, what was he supposed to do? He couldn't charge and bite at something that didn't have a body!
Another sound startled him, and in his frightened state it took a while to register as the sound of the front door closing, until he saw the familar face of Galaxia, the woman who took care of him. She'd just come in from another day of looking after her own world, so she was sweaty and dirty, and had added to the collection of stains on her formerly white tunic and slim coral pants. She unpinned the trio of buns and let her long hair cascade down her back as she approached the tank. No matter how tired and dirty she was, she always seemed to have a smile for Jaki.
"Not coming over to greet me today?" she asked when she saw him huddled in the corner. "Are you not feeling well?"
Jaki peered around to make sure there were no ghosts before starting timidly out of the corner. Another sudden flash of movement caught in his peripheral vision sent him scuttling back, however.
"Good afternoon, Eri," Galaxia said, reaching over to pet the little lizard on her frilled blue head. "It's nice to see you again."
Wait a minute, that was. . . Eri was. . . it was all just another one of her silly games?
Eri cheerily licked the side of the tank. Then she slapped the side of the tank with her tail as if tagging Jaki as "it" and darted off. Jaki, however, was not amused, and refused to give chase this time. She'd had him scared out of his mind, thinking his tank was haunted by a vindictive ghost fish! Okay, so maybe some of that was his own fault, but still. . .
"Play nice, now, Eri," Galaxia scolded. "No slapping the glass."
Eri peered out from her current hiding place near the rocket and tilte her head questioningly to one side.
"You heard me. Don't do it-- it's not good for him."
Eri seemed to nod agreement before ducking back down to continue her little game of hide-and-seek.
Jaki happily munched the larvae he was given for his dinner, as he wondered how long it would take for Eri to notice he was no longer playing along. Ah well, at least it would keep her occupied and out of his way for a while.
Just then, the lights flickered several times. They went out completely for a long moment, and by the time they came back on, Jaki was once again huddled into a shivering mass in the corner. There really hadn't been another fish who had died in this tank before he got it. . . had there?
©2008 Naia Zifu (), all rights reserved.
Galaxia is a SM character I don't own rights to. Jaki is a black and gold halfmoon betta fish given to Galaxia by Neo Queen Serenity while she was guest-starring in a holiday special over on Court Intrigue. Eri is entirely of my own creation. As always, I'm not trying to make money off anyone else's ideas.
Jaki's World started out as a way to amuse myself while waiting for actual gaming to begin on This Chaotic Universe (chaoticuniverse.), and meant to take place during that version of reality. I'll likely do some fic along a similar line, however, which these should just as easily fit into.