Cracks in a Fishbowl


Isabella Fountain '25, Author

“Smith to Davidson. One hundred miles to destination. Need landing clearance. Over.”

“Copy that. Specimens are in stable condition at location. No need for quarantine after transit. Over.”


“Smith, do you copy?”

“Yes, copy. We’re experiencing some mild turbulence—”


BOOM! An explosive clatter rang as shelves rocked inside the aircraft. Shards of glass mixed with water littered the floor. Reptilian creatures cavorted around, pounding on the walls and sinking their little teeth into anything they could find. The cabin shook again as two jets swooped by, startling the aliens even more. Each jet extended a mechanized claw and clamped onto a wing, disabling the smugglers in mid-air. The radio signal, full of dispatchers panicking on Davidson’s end, cut out and was interrupted by another voice, cold and female.

“Darius Smithfield,” the voice said. “You are under arrest for violating Airspace Code 1263 § 15 by transporting government-owned specimens over state lines without authorization. Cooperation would be in your best interest.”

“Mom, I’m home!” Emily removed her backpack and jacket, exhausted from the walk home after basketball practice.

Her mother hugged her, asking how her day was. After explaining that she “had so much homework to do” and “couldn’t talk much longer”, Emily rushed downstairs. She removed a plank covering a hole in the basement corner.

“Here, this is for you.” She put a baggie full of hot dog slices she sneaked out of lunch into the bowl. The fishlike creature snapped at them like a piranha. He then tried to eat the plastic bag before she pulled it away. “Don’t eat that, silly!”

The creature jumped straight onto her shoulder. Intrigued by her jersey, he bit and tugged at it.

“Hey! Stop!” she cried out just quietly enough to not alert her mother. The alien did not stop. “What’s wrong with you, Gizmo?”

He drooped into the crook of her neck, gazing at her with his beady black eyes. His tail was striped with scratches, and parts of the fin were impaired. Broken glass must have lodged in there when she found Gizmo last week. She never told anyone, even her parents or friends, about her strange discovery of a plane wreck in the woods, and she has been caring for the crash’s only survivor in secret since.