It was a quiet and somewhat cold night. There wasn't much of a moon to talk about, and the stars that perforated the dark veil above didn't bring much light to their lonely boat. Billobi inspected the night sky with great awe and tried several times to count the stars - only to be interrupted every time he reached fourteen.
"Did I tell you about the stars, young lad?" said the voice. It belonged to the owner of the boat, an old man named Badsey. He was the ferryman, and made sure people got safely across the waters from Ketch-in-Loch to the small, treeless island of Skiff-in-Loch.
Or, he would have, had he not dropped the oars.
They sat stationary, all alone in the small boat in the middle of night. Billobi was on a mission for the Inquisitive, to do an interview with a strange (according to his editor) woman that lived on Skiff-in-Loch. It was his first time this far west, and it was his first meeting with this ferryman.
"No, you didn't tell me about the stars, Mr. Badsey", said Billobi polite.
"Ah, it's candles, yes, yes! You see, people live up there!"
"But, how could one survive up there? I reckon you'd fall down at once?"
"But you see, it's them mirrorpeople, yes. It's our reflection that lives up there, the mirrorpeople. They look up at us sometimes and wonder why we don't fall down on them, yes. Mirrorpeople!"
Billobi pulled out pen and paper from his backpack. Maybe he didn't have to travel all the way to Skiff-in-Loch for his story?
"And, and! And sometimes, when they sneeze, it starts to rain! Yes, yes."
Or maybe, Billobi thought while taking notes, maybe he'd die of thirst in this boat with this crazy old man, and these notes of sneezing people in the sky will be his last words.
"Oh, and did I, did I", old Badsey said excited when he noticed that Billobi took notes. "Did I tell you about the time I lost me eye to an OGREFISH?" he said and pointed at his eye-patch.
"Please do", Billobi said.
"Yes, it was a cold night, much like this one..."
A deep sound interrupted old Badsey all of a sudden. It was so loud that Billobi almost lost his writing gear to the dark water. The echo that followed didn't make it any less frightful.
"What...was that?" Billobi whispered.
"No need to worry, lad. It's probably just a bangfish, yes. The dumbest animal you'll ever know."
Billobi searched the surroundings for any stupid looking fish, but it was hard to see in the dark.
"Why's...why is it called that?"
"It bangs its head against rocks, yes, yes. Sometimes boats too, yes."
"Why would it do that?" asked Billobi, taking notes eagerly.
"'Cause it's stupid! Ah, look what the waves brought in, yes! Good thing that bangfish was around, ey? Don't you drop them this time!"
A bangfish is a rather large fish that lacks a mouth. They are born with a life-long supply of nutrition, kept in a elastic cavity in their forehead.
The only way for them to eat is to bang their forehead against something hard. That way, the cavity will leak a small amount of nutrition that's instantly assimilated by their organs.
They communicate by making a deep, strong sound, where their whole body serves as a resonating box.
Bangfish have been known to bash their heads against boats if they haven't been able to feed for a while.
They either die of old age or by depleting their nutrition cavity.
The 2016 Cartographic Review!
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