art by Alan Bao
Lures, Hooks and Tails
by Adam Colston
"Where do you do it, young man?"
Peter glanced up from his book at the middle-aged woman--the only other occupant in the train compartment--and smiled.
"I'm sorry? Where do I do what?"
The train continued its rhythmic clanking and rocking and the woman smiled back. She inclined her head towards the pile of fishing gear piled on the empty seat beside him.
"Your fishing, I mean. Where do you fish? Rivers, lakes or sea?"
"Oh right." Peter nodded. "The sea. Well, the beach actually. I sea-fish from the beach."
"Ahh, so you do fish from the sea, then."
She turned away and gazed out of the window. Peter watched her for a few seconds more before turning back to his book. She was much younger than he'd first thought, and quite attractive.
"You seem a little too young to be a fisherman of the sea."
Peter glanced up again. She smiled at him--bright white teeth, full red lips; his heart skipped a beat. She really was very pretty.
"I'm not actually a sea fisherman, it's just a hobby. And I'm not that young." He bumped his age up a couple of years. "I'm seventeen," he lied.
She nodded. "A young fisherman, then. Would you do something for me, er...?"
"Peter." He volunteered.
She smiled again.
"Peter. I'm Vesea. Tell me, would you open the window, Peter. It's quite warm in here and I do so hate to touch a window."
Peter jumped up.
He went to the window and pulled down the top frame a few inches, letting in some noise and wind.
"Train windows can be dirty," he said wiping his grimy fingers on his trousers.
"It's not the dirt that's the issue for me, but the glass."
Peter turned to look at her. Her blonde hair seemed to flow over her shoulders.
"Why? What's wrong with the glass?"
Vesea arched a beautifully shaped eyebrow. "I see things in glass windows that others can't."
"You see things? Like what?"
"Would you like me to show you?"
Peter paused at this rather odd invitation. She was very beautiful, but ever so slightly weird, he realized. Weird was forgivable, if you were beautiful, he decided.
"You can show me? Of course." He paused. "How?"
"If you put your hands on the window, I'll touch the back of your hand, and you'll see what I see."
She showed him a delicate finger and waggled it in the air.
Peter nodded and imagined that perfectly formed finger touching his hand, perhaps even... Lurid fantasies evolved at lightning speed, but he shook his head to quell them.
"Okay... sure, why not?"
He stood and placed his palms on the window. Vesea lightly touched the back of his hand with a single pale finger.
Suddenly the glass softened and became a pliant, flexible, and undulating surface.
Peter gasped and his heart accelerated like an express train.