Short Story: “Lament of a Lost Daughter” Part 1

Isabella McCall, Columnist •

The silvery-black scales of the deceased salmon flew out chaotically in all directions. One landing with a soft, wet plop on my cheek. I twitched as my skin felt the contact of the cold, alien object. Most of the other workers would have just wiped it away with one sloppy stroke of their yellow-gloved hand. They wouldn’t care about the blood and offal that would leave grimy streaks across their rough faces. I did care though. I didn’t like painting my face with the remains of the 56 salmon I had tactfully scraped since I donned my yellow-gloves early this morning. Parts of their slippery remains drying and becoming a putrid coating that must be scrubbed off with a grating washcloth.

My eye was beginning to water. Pouring a salty drop on the strange lump that bothered it. I lifted my elbow against it and pushed it away from my cheek onto my forearm, leaving a trail of residue along my face. In a sense, I must have resembled a kind of primeval hunter. The traces of my gutted kill covering parts of my skin in a type of conqueror’s makeup.

Nevertheless, reality returned and I was no more a hunter than a tree standing in the forest, observing the surroundings. I appeared to be a common female college student, fleeing to Sitka as a summer laborer so that I would bask in the rampant wild and lose myself to the drug of personal independence. That was what the locals and the other summer migrants assumed.

Selfishly I thought myself different. I was a college student, I was an itinerant who had found work at a small fish factory, I was enjoying the backcountry when I wasn’t working. My difference from the cliché being I came here to this semi-isolated place not to run wild with an abandon of a child, but to mentally process my thoughts.

If one was to look past my typecast they would see the pattern of my every moment. The monotony that kept the wretched torment of my mother’s death away and kept me unbroken.

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