For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #157, where we write about the photo below, by timbri97 @ Pixabay.com.
“And so, ladies and gentlemen, this is Loch Awne.”
The rugged guide lifted his arm, to show the magnificent vista over his shoulder.
“This wa’ the last surviving breeding ground of the now-extinct North Atlantic crab.
“Where once these beautiful creatures had many spawning grounds, both along this coastline and elsewhere, the rise in sea temperature reduced their habitat. Ten years ago, hey even stopped coming to Loch Awne, and we now believe that they’re extinct.”
“How much as the temperature gone up?”
“I started this job back in 1983, and, back then, we used to manually measure the temperature in the harbour back down in Kilfoyle, where we just came from.” He now motioned back along the pathway they had just climbed. “Now, we have sensors all over the place, and we see values about 3º warmer. But that was enough for them, mind”, his voice rising to a crescendo, before he added quietly, “they were fussy little beasties.”
A pause for breath.
“Course, it’s a little bit cooler at the top of the loch, where there’s constant run-off from the mountains. But that was a long way to walk if you only had tiny wee legs.”
A small boy in a bright orange cagoule put his up.
“Did you ever see one?”
The guide laughed. “Och, yes, laddie”, he smiled, “I used to see thousands of them. They would come into the harbour from the sea, then just carry straight on into the loch ye see. He became melancholy. “But not any more.”
Regaining his composure, the guide reassured the boy.
“Ye’ll mebbe see a model or two back in the village, at the museum.”
The boy tugged on his mother’s new, weatherproof blue jacket. “Mummy, what’s ‘extinct’?”
The woman looked worriedly at the guide. That was another new word she’d need to explain.