Ghost Fish swam slowly across the pond. If koi could waddle, she would have. Her normally bullet shaped grey body spread wide with eggs.
She felt like something big was going to happen, she just didn’t know what.
Victor and Shadow, two large male koi, swam next to her, possessively flanking her and steering her away from the other koi. She felt threatened but didn’t know why.
She felt a spurt and a need to swim wildly. Behind her, the pond water clouded with hundreds of tiny eggs. Victor and Shadow pushed Ghost Fish to the side of the pond, then chased her as she zigzagged away from them. The two males swam aggressively through the cloud of eggs, furiously spewing sperm in an unconscious need to fertilize those eggs.
Ghost Fish swam behind a water plant and hovered to rest and hide from the male koi. She was exhausted.
She looked at the eggs floating on the water but didn’t know what they were. She wasn’t wired to have maternal feelings. Most fish spawn and swim away. Eggs are fertilized or they aren’t. They develop and hatch or they don’t. They’re on their own.
Two days later, the water in the pond was clear again. There were no more eggs. The koi had eaten them.
Ghost Fish had no memory of spawning. Victor and Shadow stopped flanking her. All was normal in the koi pond again. Until next summer.