The Black Goldfish

The Black Goldfish

A Story by bba

A little girl found a black goldfish in a bottle at the beach.


Jane stepped into the cold water; her feet sank slowly in the sand. The blue water reflected the clear sky, and the sun danced blissfully on the surface. She looked straight ahead, trying to see what was beyond the horizon. She saw nothing but the endless waters of the sea. The strong wind whipped her face, and she closed her eyes. She could hear Melissa’s voice amid the sound of the ceaseless ebbing of waves. She opened her eyes and glanced to her side. Her little girl was crouched on the beach, and calling her.

“Mommy, look what I found,” Melissa shouted excitedly.

Jane walked towards her, thinking that it must be a small crab her little girl had just discovered.

Melissa had always been interested in animals especially in fishes. Last Christmas, Jane bought her daughter a pair of goldfish. And after only a week, Melissa already knew a great deal about the fish and could actually name the seventeen main varieties of goldfishes.

Jane’s shadow towered over the girl’s smiling face.

“What is it, honey?” she asked.

“It’s a goldfish,” Melissa answered. “But I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before.”

“Is that so? Maybe it’s one of those rare ones you were telling me about. What’s it doing in the beach?”

She crouched down next to Melissa.

“It’s strange, isn’t it?” Jane asked as she examined the fish. “Who would leave a fish in a bottle on the beach? Surely, they should’ve just let the fish out the sea.”

“Don’t be silly, Mommy. Goldfish can’t live in the sea. It’s a freshwater fish,” the little girl corrected her mother.

Jane picked up the bottle and held it in front of her face. The red eyes of the black goldfish stared back at her.

“Can I keep it, Mommy? Please?”

Jane thought about it for a moment.

Melissa already has two and she has been taking care of them quite well. What harm would another goldfish do?


The ten gallon fish tank glowed like a spectral cage on the table across Melissa’s bed. The two goldfishes swan around the tank, nibbling on loose pebbles and the artificial plants, and chasing bubbles that rose up to the surface. Their golden scales shimmered on the light as they swam and their tails wagged idly behind them.

Melissa entered her room with the bottle held close to her bosom. She placed the bottle down on the table; the black goldfish floated motionless inside. She removed the fish tank’s cover then took the bottle and plunged the half of it in the fish tank; she wanted her new fish to get used to the temperature of the water before placing it in.

The two goldfishes swam quickly up and inspected the bottle by pecking its base.

After a few minutes, Melisa tipped the bottle and let the new fish swim out.

The black goldfish floated for awhile, then upon seeing the other two fishes, darted towards them and tried to bite whatever its jaw could catch. The two goldfishes scrambled away and tried to hide behind the artificial plants and the plastic ship, but the black goldfish kept on chasing the two wherever they swam.

“No!” Melissa shouted. “Hey, cut it out!”

She lifted up the empty bottle and placed it on the table. She grabbed the fishnet and tried to scoop out the black goldfish. It darted around and around the fish tank, dodging Melissa’s net and chasing after the other two fishes.

The water in the fish tank splashed on the table and on Melisa’s shirt as she whisked the fishnet with vigor, determined to stop the new fish from doing any harm to her old ones.

Why is it acting this way? Melissa asked herself. Goldfishes are not temperamental, and they usually welcome its kind with no trouble.

“You will be staying in there until I find out what you really are,” she said as she placed the black goldfish back in the bottle.

Melissa stared at the fish, water dripping down her face, and the black goldfish stared back at her with its blood-red eyes. It looked like a goldfish but didn’t act like one.


Melisa spent the rest of the day reading about the black goldfish. She consulted her goldfish book, looked at the pictures, and compared the characteristics of the fishes on the book and the one inside the bottle.

The black moor was the closest fish she could find. None of the other black fishes on the book - the rancus, black orandas, black pearlscales, and black hubinas - resembled the new one. Its protruding eyes, or telescope eyes as the book said, were the unique feature that helped Melisa distinguished the new fish. The only difference the black goldfish in the bottle had from the black moor was its blood-red eyes.

Even with the help of Jane, they found nothing about a black moor having red eyes. They browsed through the websites, queried on some forums, and checked the list of disease and parasites that could give a fish red eyes. They finally gave up when it was time for dinner.


Melissa slept quietly on her bed. She couldn’t hear the strange sound throbbing in the room. No human ear could hear it - only the fishes could. It resounded on the waters of the fish tank and rippled the surface.

The two occupants of the ten gallon fish tank scattered around, bumping the glass walls with their heads and bodies - their mouths opened and closed, making a desperate cry for help. Next to the fish tank, the bottle was unperturbed.

The black goldfish floated inert as if listening intently to the sound. Its blood-red eyes fixed on the sleeping girl. It opened its mouth once - a bubble rose to the surface.

It answered the call.

The black goldfish shot up from the bottle and landed on the table on one side. It opened its gills and gulped for air. It jerked its body up and fell down on the carpet. Another gulp for air, and it flipped its body again.

The black goldfish jerked its way to the foot of Melissa’s bed; its one visible red eye surveyed the bed. The fish curled its body, lifted its tail and slammed it on the floor. It landed on Melisa’s pillow.

The little girl was still fast asleep.

The fish squirmed towards Melissa’s head. It found her mouth and slithered inside.

Melissa bolted up the bed as the fish writhed down her throat. She coughed violently while holding her neck; her eyes welled up with tears. She wheezed and coughed and tried to shout for her mother. But even her cries were unheard. After a few minutes, Melissa stopped breathing.

Melissa’s body jolted then sat up. She looked around and slid her legs slowly off the bed. The little girl walked unsteadily as if only just learning to do so. She staggered across the room towards the table, lifted the bottle and drank all the water. The two goldfishes in the fish tank hid from her behind the plastic ship.

She took the empty bottle with her on her way out of the room.


The road to the beach was silent and empty. Melissa didn’t come across any vehicles or people. Her mouth hung open as she walked. The front of her pajamas was drenched with water, and thick saliva dripped down from her mouth.

She was following the sound coming from under the sea.

Melissa wadded in the water and stopped at knee-deep. She dipped the empty bottle on the surface, filling it with water. She walked back to the beach and placed the bottle down.

A black goldfish floated inside.

Melissa turned around and plunged back into the water. She couldn’t see anything but she knew that the creature making the sound was watching her. She swam down and followed the voice of her new master.


The End

© 2011 bba

Author's Note

Updated. Still not happy with this version but it's much better than the first.

My Review

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Featured Review

Not too bad. Sentences were a bit short. Great idea though. Never would have thought I would read something like this. Goldfish? Really? Great idea. Could use a few areas to be re-written, but overall you did a good job. This would be a great to turn into a novel or a longer short story. You could really go somewhere with this idea. You should give it some thought. If you do, I know I'll be the first in line to read it.

Posted 10 Years Ago

4 of 4 people found this review constructive.


I enjoyed reading this. Write more. Keep writing.

Constructive criticism:

The ending of this piece is very dark. That is good. However, the segment of your story where the fish flaps out of the bottle and literally Flips and flaps over to your main character's pillow is far too comical and ridiculous for the tone that you are clearly trying to convey.

Consider that the spirit of the blackfish floats into the girl's mouth. That would improve the piece. You could even make the spirit of the fish far more hideous and larger and uglier than the original black goldfish, with horns and wings, tentacles and fangs.

That would be more consistently dark.

Also, the ending was unclear. Is the real Melissa stuck in the bottle waiting for someone to trade places with? If that is the case, I feel it needs clarification.

Overall this is good practice. Write 20 or 30 more dark pieces of this length and breadth and you will one out of it strong.

Posted 6 Years Ago

wow. i was hooked from the start. very unique story. keep up the good work and give us more to read!

Posted 7 Years Ago

Nicely done, very original, it's hard to write something original and this is one. It's very mysterious and weird. Other than a few grammar and spelling errors this story was great. Sure there were some parts of the story that urked me, like the way the fish got to the bed, I would suggest putting the fish tank next to the bed so the fish only has to be on the table and bounce on to the bed. I liked the story overall; great job.

Posted 8 Years Ago

Wow. A thrill that sent chills down my back. Besides sentence structure and grammar, the idea is pretty new and amazing. Nicely done! I give you props :)

Posted 8 Years Ago

never saw the end coming. i don't judge grammar, it was all about the story telling for me.

Posted 8 Years Ago

You were the only winner. I got to say, none fit the criteria but I thought it unfair to not pick a winner.
I did like this though - for the title and it is a very well written story. It was longer than what I asked (much longer)! I prefer stuff that people create fresh for a contest but thank you for entering regardless. I do hope you enter another one of mine and do even better!
I like in this that it's not a pet I expected like a dog or a cat but a fish!! "Bosom" doesn't seem the right word though. I'd just say chest as bosom can be either Shakespearean or sexual. I didn't like the story towards the end. It did get a bit weird. If it were changed, I would've loved the story rather than just liked it.

Posted 9 Years Ago

This was AMAZING!!!!

Posted 9 Years Ago

Nicely done - you've got a few grammar/structure issues, but overall it's quite nice. Very gothic and dark. It's almost hypnotic. I love the image of the conclusion, with the child staggering down the shore, a black goldfish in hand. Lovely job.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I agree with Starninja about the Lovecraftian nature of this story. It's like a combination of Call of Cthulhu and Dagon. Awesome f*****g job.

Posted 9 Years Ago

How Lovecraftian. Could it be a new ploy by the Deep Ones? Is R'lyeh on the rise? Who knows!

Posted 9 Years Ago

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31 Reviews
Shelved in 3 Libraries
Added on December 20, 2010
Last Updated on February 11, 2011
Tags: Flash Fiction, Horror, Goldfish, Beach, Little Girl, Animals, Bottle, Sea, I really don't know how to tag m, Brian Ayson




I write short stories mostly, somewhere within the realms of horror, fantasy, drama, dark fantasy. Please feel free to read and write a quick review of what you think of my stories. Any comments gr.. more..

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