The In Laws

The atmosphere over the breakfast table was as frosty as it had been last night after the same old arguments about her family. They both sat there eating in silence until he couldn’t take it any more

“Look how many times do I have to explain this I have no problem with your parents living with us”

He reached out across the table and held his wifes hand, squeezing it gently. She smiled back at him

“If I did I have a problem with it I wouldn’t have dug them up in the first place”

Mr Pickles

When I got home from work the front door was already open and she was sitting on the sofa with Mr Pickles

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat” she said holding the blade in her left hand

“But I still prefer this one”

‘Good Morning Sir’

They had asked me if he’d jumped or if he’d fallen from the pier. Had he been acting strangely, been drinking or had he said anything at all before doing it

I’d been the one who had witnessed it, phoned the Lifeboat Service and the Police. It was me who pointed them in the direction they he‘d gone. I told them I couldn’t be sure if it was deliberate or accidental but the truth was I knew exactly what he’d done

He was the person I use to see everyday on my morning walk. I told them I didn’t know him but we use to say hello to each other and that I’d seen him almost everyday for the past year standing in his usual spot looking out at the river

I confirmed that he never seemed to be drunk or intoxicated in any manner, didn’t seem sad or angry and that he was never aggressive or seemed to have a problem. I told them I’d always suspected that he was on a Care in the Community programme or something but his clothes were always clean and he always seemed well groomed

The only thing I’d noticed was in the past year was that his skin seemed to be getting worse with eczema or some other skin condition as the months passed by

We spoke about how I’d first seen him when I started my morning walks along the river path. He was standing at the edge of the pier staring out. His eyes was really big, dark and round, his features were flat and he brought back memories of a boy in my class at school who had a similar look.

Small, squat, overweight and fish like

Although it now felt embarrassing to say so, I’d given him the nickname ‘Cod Face’

My first impressions were that I thought he was watching something in the water but realised pretty quickly that he was just looking at it.  I said hello to him and he didn’t look at me but simply said

‘Good Morning Sir’

Then he went back to his staring and never answered when I asked him if he was looking at something

This was the same routine everyday, me saying hello, him saying “Good morning Sir” until yesterday when it all happened

As I was approaching the pier I could see him standing near the railings but he looked different somehow. He looked taller, bulkier and his skin had taken on a strange brownish tinge. He was gripping the rail, body vibrating all over

My first thought was that he was fitting so I sped up to see if I could help him but stopped dead in my tracks when the change started to happen. His scalp split open first to reveal a huge bulk of a hairless head. His body shook as the split carried on going down to his back, revealing a muscular, scaly skin. The arms burst out, large webbed hands clenching and unclenching. He stepped out of the cocoon of his old body, kicked it into the river and stretched out

He stepped out over the guardrail onto the very edge of the pier

His new body was neither fish, amphibian or reptile; it was a mish mash of all of them but he was still a man in size and shape. He turned to look at me with eyes that were rounder and darker than ever before. His mouth seemed to form a smile as he croaked

“Good morning Sir”

He dived backwards into the outgoing tide and I watched as he appeared and disappeared on the surface, swimming away in a beautiful looping motion like he was now in his natural environment

Of course I never told them this because who would believe me?

Who would want their face spread all over the internet being called all sorts because they said they’d seen this happen?

I also never told them that as I watched him, he was joined by at least four or five others of his kind, all swimming together, heading out towards the estuary and then the sea