The Whales, by Nicole Hebdon


The Whales

The day the high school couple skipped class to go sunbathing, two whales had beached themselves.

“They’re probably a couple,” the boy said. And the girl smiled, relishing in the privilege of dating a true romantic.

Everyone on the beach bought plastic buckets from the nearby dollar store and laughed as they splashed the salt water over the whales. The girl had the boy take a photo of her as she did so, making sure she hid her smile behind her hand, so everyone online would know how concerned she truly had been.

The fire department was called, as was the marine biology department at the local college.

The seagulls and the pigeons stayed away, squawking in confusion whenever the whales snorted out some of their thinning oxygen supply. Only a flock of green parrots were brave enough to stab their pink beaks into the flesh of the whales.

Some of the thinner beachgoers were assigned climbing the pectoral fins and chasing the flock away, but the parrots could not be shooed.

When the marine biologist arrived, the salt water was rolling off the whales in pink streaks.

“The biologists said they’re going to bleed to death,” the boy explained to the girl.

“Oh no,” she replied, glad she had gotten a photo before the birds mutilated the whales.

“But they’re going to die together.”

They went back to the dollar store, where they filled their arms with sodas and cookies, so they wouldn’t be hungry as they watched the whales die in the peach glow of the sunset.

Nicole Hebdon is currently an MFA candidate at Stony Brook Southampton, concentrating in fiction. She also has undergraduate degrees in multi-media journalism, magazine journalism and communications. She has been published both journalistically and creatively in DoNorth Magazine, Fembot Magazine, Strange Beauty Magazine, FAE, Countryside Magazine, Zplatt, and Lumina online, among other publications.


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