“The Whale Fall”
Please enjoy my story “The Whale Fall” first. I’ll explain the creation process in detail in later chapters.
52 Hertz Whale
The idea of the story stems from a popular Chinese song A whale of an Island (化身孤岛的鲸), which was adapted from another song We Hardly Remember (我们都忘了).
The normal sound frequency of a whale ranges from 15 to 25 Hz (which is inaudible to humans), while scientists discovered in the 1980s a whale which called at the very unusual frequency of 52Hz. It should be the most lonely whale in the history, cruising in the depth of the sea while no partners would echo to its calling. There have been documentaries, short films and music pieces about the whale.
A whale of an Island narrates the story from the perspective of the whale, which never really had a listener. It had seen the turquoise-blue stream through the forest, the deep color of rubies at sunset, the violet wave cascading down the cliff. Many had it witnessed, but it never had the chance to tell its story, to tell what it had seen to anybody. Finally, sometime before it met its demise, it met someone who could truly understand its feelings. They had a good time before the whale turned into an island, i.e. the whale fall. The whale perished but thousands of creatures live on the island of its remain.
I don’t know how long I have wondered in the ocean, alone. I have no family or friend. Ever since I was born, my family treated me as a freak. They never spoke to me and they didn’t listen to what I said. So I left, far away from home.
The first few years seemed great. In winter, I would bask in the warm sunlight under the Mediterranean. In spring, I would see the snow melting in Siberia. I’ve seen eagles spread their wings in the clear sky and green algae dancing to the waves of the sea under my belly.
The ocean itself is full of stories, and I’ve seen many, but it is a pity that no one would listen to me telling them. After all, I am all by myself.
I have spent the last 20 years in search of my kind but never succeeded. I am just a tiny drop in the wide sea. My calls never got replies but I never give up.
I would still tremble in fear, or despair when I remembered that night when the violet storm ripped our boat in pieces. All my friends were lost. I am scared, cold and hungry. I just wanna go home.
I survive somehow. It is because of Moby. When the storm attacked us, our boat broke apart and I was thrown into the sky. When I woke up, I realized I was on Moby’s back.
Moby is kind and gentle. He would sing when we travel. I know he is telling stories, the stories of the places he has been to, the stories of everything he has seen. I never realized how beautiful the ocean can be. Moby shows me all of it.
In return, I sing too. I sing the traditional songs that everybody in my hometown can sing. Moby seems to like them very much. He is not just a whale, but more a close friend to me.
The ocean isn’t always agreeable. I witnessed the tragedy and did all I could to rescue them, but I only saved one girl. I can feel her on my back.
Every time the girl sings, I feel relieved and healed. She has the voice of an angel, beautiful and pure. Though I am not able to see her face but I bet she has the most clear eyes in the world. She would gently touch my past wounds when I tell the stories. She is the first who would patiently listen to my stories.
The song, the greetings, the touch, the companion. All these I feel for the first time. I know my time is up but it is good to have a friend, my first friend.
It is time. After so many years in the ocean, it is time that I give something back. I wish I can hear she sing one more time but I know that saving by a passing ship is best for her. I never find someone like me but I am thankful that I found someone who understands me. And that’s what really matters.
Time to go to sleep. Let my body be the home to the millions of creatures in the ocean. That is the last thing I can do. Farewell, my friend.
I spent a lot of time figuring out what was the best approach to tell the story. I chose the dual perspective because there is a novel (Flipped) that adopt the same technique which I really love.
I tried to make the story as understandable as possible but the limited time has made it difficult. The transition of Moby and the girl becoming friends is not detailed enough, though if it is, the audio would be at least 30 minutes long.
It is pity but maybe I’ll expand the story and make a full version in the future.
Original Lyrics in Chinese