Write what you know, they say. Guys can’t write female characters, they say. Well, for us spec fiction writers that just doesn’t work. No one has been to Mars, nor Alpha Centauri, yet Sci Fi novels abound. Vampires, ghosts and aliens anyone? Point made.
Me, the toughest character I ever wrote was a dolphin.
It all started in the usual way, out on a boat with my wife on San Diego Bay. By the plane ride home I was already plotting out “Riding the Bow Wave,” about a wounded dolphin trying to find his way home.
Riding the Bow Wave
Infinitesimal, like a single raindrop falling on a tranquil sea. A few heartbeats later a second, and then a third. Too numb to listen, I fade back into the swimming half sleep. Lost, starving and exhausted, rain is of no interest. All I want is to make my way home.
More taps, persistent, yet without the randomness of rainfall. My eyes flutter open, my head swivels slowly, imaging the distant pings through my jawbone. A sonic mirage, I tell myself, as my eyes droop again. I have been swimming toward the sunrise for countless moon cycles now, through the vast deep water devoid of food or companionship, more a skeleton with fins than the dolphin I once was. Not even a whole skeleton—my right fin has been half amputated.
The swelling amplitude and the eerie familiarity of the pinging eventually cut through my stupor. Both sides of my brain awaken, listening, counting the voices. Four, no five. None bold enough to be Ger-Ald, but still they are friends. An ocean ago, Mel-Nie trained me to recognize foes from friends by their voices, their sounds. The water suddenly frigid, I tremble. Thinking makes me remember. A sea of blood and fire, a world away. Chi-Laa’s blood. I’m awake.
All for now, it’s not published, yet.