“No, I’m telling you, Bill, it was right there!” He shivered as he said it. Actually, he hadn’t stopped shaking since he got here, zipping around and frantically checking every nook and cranny in the place until he found me. It was totally unlike Bob to act like this, so…as ridiculous as it sounded, I had to admit that SOMETHING had happened to him.
I looked around, trying to see how much attention he was getting. We were mostly in the clear right now. “Okay, Bob, calm down. Now, why don’t you tell me what happened? Give me the details this time. Take it easy.”
He sputtered a little at that, but I saw him open his mouth wide and breathe a little easier. “Alright. Let’s see. It, it happened…well, Bill, it was kind of like this.
“There I was,” he said, “Mindin’ my own, just like always. I was down on the sandbar, keepin’ an eye on things. And, and it was like…I don’t know, it was like I felt somethin’ before I saw anything. This vibration, you know? You really didn’t feel it?”
“No,” I said, and truthfully. “But, I was busy getting a bite to eat, and besides, I’m not real sensitive about things like that. Go on, tell me the rest.”
“Okay. Okay. So, there I was, just hanging out, you know, and I felt that vibration, and then I heard this sound. It was like a roar, like a wave or something, but so much louder! I didn’t know where it was coming from. I felt like it was coming from all around me.” He swallowed, and then looked me straight in the eye. “Bill, you don’t…you don’t believe in, you know, …… , do you?”
“Huh?” I wasn’t sure what he had said. “Say that again?”
Bob moved a little closer, glancing around to make sure no one would hear. “I said…do you believe in…” He dropped to a whisper. “…Aliens?”
I wanted to laugh, but I saw how serious he was—and how shaken up. “Aliens, Bob?” I said. “You—you’re serious?”
“As serious as ick,” he said. “I…I swear, I think this was aliens!”
“Oh, Bob, I don’t think—“
“Just wait!” he interrupted. “Wait, I ain’t told you the biggest part yet. You’ll see!” Reluctantly, I fell silent again; he took that as a cue to go on. “So I heard that sound. It was coming from everywhere! And then…then…Bill, you’re never gonna believe this…Bill, the sky just started churning up! And, and then, it split! Right down the middle, right over my head!”
He was getting loud now. We were getting some looks. “Bob, I—“
“—And then that split came right down to the ground, right in front of me! It was as far as the eye could see in either direction! It was like a clear wall, right there! I couldn’t go through it—it was like there was nothin’ at all on the other side!”
“Bob, come on, maybe we should—“
“And suddenly, there they were!” he shouted. “I saw them! Saw them with my own eyes! They were huge, and, and they had these tall stalks that they moved on, two of them on every creature! And heads that were way up high! And they had these other stalks on the side, and they were hurrying by! I screamed, but they didn’t notice—they just kept going by! Right there on the other side of that magic wall! I couldn’t believe my eyes!” His eyes were bugging out as he said it, as though they couldn’t believe it either. “ALIENS!!” he shouted.
Silence. Everyone on the reef was staring at us now. I sighed; it couldn’t be helped. Gently, I patted him on the fin. “And what happened then, Bob?”
He looked forlorn. “Well…well, then I came to find you. And then while I was on my way, I heard this loud noise, like the same one I heard before…and I looked back, and it was all gone. The aliens, the magic wall…nothing but water. Just like before.” He looked at me again, hope and sadness mixed in his eyes. “You do believe me, don’t you, Bill? I swear I saw it. I saw it all.”
“Sure, Bob, I believe you. Hey, what are friends for? Now, you gotta be hungry after all that. Let’s go find some good kelp before it gets dark.” He nodded, and with a shake of our scales, we swam off into the reef.
The two men stopped at the edge of the water, standing on a rock for a better vantage, and looked back. Broken bits of chariots and gear floated like branches on the waves; later the bodies of the army that had pursued them would bob to the surface, but for now the water remained mostly placid. “Well, that is that,” the younger man said, and clapped the older man on the shoulder. “The Lord is amazing, isn’t he? Who would have imagined He would deliver us through the sea?”
“Indeed.” The older man turned then, and gave his companion an odd look. “Moses…I know this will sound strange…but did you hear a scream as we went through the sea? Like some small animal, perhaps.”
Moses frowned at him, and then laughed. “Aaron, the excitement of the day must be getting to you! Who would have been there to scream? Honestly, next you’ll be saying the fish were yelling. Or talking even!”
Aaron nodded and gave him a grin. “I suppose you’re right. It IS ridiculous, isn’t it?” He turned to follow the people, the last stragglers who were now heading up the shore. Moses turned with him, and they began to walk.
“Just a bit,” he said. “Really, we get a miracle, and you hear talking fish?”
“You once heard a voice in a burning bush!”
“That was different!” Laughing, they followed the people.