It was, they were certain, a calling down of something upon the draining. Some said they heard words coming from the ground as the water was pumped away and that was what made the eels do it, starve themselves that way. Some days she felt there were waves, rip tides and countercurrents, tripping beneath the floorboards, rolling behind her when she wasn’t looking, upsetting the uneasy balance.
Some days she felt there were sea creatures dredged up in there too, come back instead of him: shoals jittering over her legs at night, great breathing somethings disturbing the carpet line, shellfish washed up in the bath. They climbed onto the bed and lay down next to her until there were so many there wasn’t room and then they piled on top. They wanted to tell her how hard it was to have what they had: black, waterproof bodies you had to keep moving otherwise you’d die, and legs like supermodels. They were always off balance and she pitied them until she couldn’t breathe.
She wondered if perhaps she was not quite lost yet, if there were syllables she retained that were still her own; if she felt, at times, her own language pressing back. Stood in front of the mirror and looked at the strangeness of herself. Made up from sea findings; the things left behind. She knew the plan well. And though there were someone else’s thoughts hooked and barbed inside her, she saw the dark passage of where she was going: not a rescue at all, only a stripping away, a cursing back into nothing. He looked at her and understood he had taken everything he could and then he left.
It was harder being left behind.