Eco-Fiction | The last whale out to sea

A monochromatic water color of a humpback whale on a sheet of paper.

"Whale in Water Color" by Alexa Knoll.

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Storyfest 2023

Set in a post-apocalyptic world; civilization around the world has diminished to a half a million, and marine life has been over-fished towards extinction. 

‘Whale’ is a 15-year-old Humpback, with a long scar underneath his left eye. He has cried many times over for the loss of his family to the rising sea levels and whaling ships, until one day he meets ‘girl.’ She is a young girl with bright eyes that ends up saving Whale’s life. 

“Dad, look!” girl shouts from the bow, “look dad!” Her dad is a strong seaman and protector. He gazes out to the abyss of his beloved blue ocean.

“What do you see?” It’s unclear that his daughter could see anything on this gray day. They have been out to sea for three days now, having departed from Sag Harbor and going towards the Cape, where they will then embark on a long journey to the Labrador Sea. They hit a big storm the first night, but Dad and Girl are survivors like Whale, and make it through. 

“It’s a Humpback!” Girl shouts from the bow. Down below under the water, Whale begins to see what looks like a gigantic floating white whale.

“What a strange looking whale.” The whale has traveled a bit, and had seen these strange whales before, yet he could not understand why it carried their enemy, the human. 

“The enemy is waving,” Whale thought, “and joyfully smiling. How odd. I must peak my nose up and see what the fuss is about, perhaps she sees a shark, and is warning me.”

“Hi! How’s the ride?” The girl shouts to Whale. Whale follows until the sun goes down, and the shiny specks of lights appear in the sky. 

Whale thought, “The human girl talks to me all night. I listen, she too lost her mum, but she has her dad. I tell her about my family, and how we spent the summers near her town until the sea levels changed, and my father could not adapt. After my father died, my mother got caught by whalers, and my brother and I left. We traveled together, and hunted together. We saw many things together, and met many others together. Yet, he too left me. After my brother got caught in an old fishing net out at sea, I have been alone for the last seven years. Girl cries for me, and I too shed many more tears.” 

“We are headed to the cape, then after that we are headed to the arctic to trade, hunt and fish with our cousins. Will you come? My cousins have seen pods of your kind near their home. Perhaps they are waiting for you,” the girl explains. I wonder if something else could be waiting for me after all these years of solitude. 

Whale thought, “I decided to follow the girl and her dad, it is a long journey. One that I was accustomed to, but have not traveled in many, many moons. When we make it to the arctic, the water is fresh, the food is abundant, and there is a hope that arises in my chest.” 

“There!” Shouts the girl. Girl’s eyes well up. A pod of humpbacks out in the distance. I nod at Girl, and join my new family. 

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Arctic, atlantic, climate change, rising sea levels, whales

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