Alex stood on a beach, sweating under the sun. He held an arrow to his cheek, taut against the bow. He was lecturing, it sounded like, to the girl who stood beside him. He squinted along the beach, at a cool green hedge that stood beneath the sun. A white circle was dancing and leaping in front of it. His vision was blurred. The arrow flew from the bow — it was a bad shot — he could feel the bow twisting in his hands. The arrow went cleanly through the circle. The girl applauded.
He walked along the sand, arms and legs stiff and slick in the light. He was nauseated by the time he reached the circle and retrieved his arrow. He pulled off his sweatshirt like a scab and then the softer, more tender t-shirt underneath, and walked uneasily back to where the girl stood. She stared at his belly. He hunched forward, ashamed of his whiteness, ashamed of his flabbiness. She wouldn’t meet his eyes, but reached for his belly with the slow movement of a cat. He brushed a hand across his body in defense and found that his belly was covered with fish scales.