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by David S. Atkinson

Max stepped out onto the trail leading past the beach where all the sea lions lounged. This was his fifth day in the Galapagos and he’d gotten permission to walk that particular island alone. It was a pleasant morning, but windy. At that moment, a large male waddled up to him and barked: “Greetings!”

Startled, Max stepped back. “Um, hello. Did you just talk?”

“Of course!” the sea lion bellowed. “I am king of the Uther tribe, emperor of all sea lions. Our planet is hurting and we are dying due to the actions of man, so we have chosen you as our champion and have thus revealed our true nature.”

“Wow. Umm … thanks?” Max wasn’t sure what one said to such a thing, or to sea lion royalty at all.

“We will imbue you with all of the magic of our people, give you incredible powers so you may fight for our cause in the world. The ability to mentally move objects will be yours. Conventional weapons will not harm you. Food, drink, and breathing will all be unnecessary.”


The regal sea lion led him to a sharp cliff side. An abrupt drop led way down below to the surf crashing on a pile of jagged boulders.

“Walk forward now, champion. Step off and use your new abilities to fly as a way of signaling your acceptance of our bestowal and take your rightful place as a god among men.”

Max obeyed. He stepped out, and immediately plummeted to his doom on the waiting rocks. As his bloodcurdling screams poured from his limp body, along with various fluids, a crowd of other male sea lions hopped over to the large one and high-fived flippers with him.

“Dude! Another one! That’s eight for you this month. These hikers are morons.”

Nearby, unconcerned females tended to their pups.

David S. Atkinson is the author of Apocalypse All the Time, Not Quite so Stories, The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes, and Bones Buried in the Dirt. He is a staff reader for Digging Through the Fat and his writing appears in Literary Orphans, The Airgonaut, Connotation Press, and others. His writing website is davidsatkinsonwriting.com.