I couldn’t remember the last time the water in my bowl had been changed. My gills and fins burned, and I scratched myself furiously on the gravel, trying to relieve the pain. The light was so dim, it was hard to tell if it was bright or dark-time. Even so, I could see my brilliant silver colouring had faded to a dull grey, and it had been so long since I had stretched out my fins, I was afraid they would wither like that dead blue-green male.
I spent my days sulking at the bottom of my bowl. There was something wrong with the two humans. They often made loud noises at each other, and sometimes the way they moved, reminded me of two males posturing before a fight. The female human often spread her fins at the male and darted away when he came too close. I wondered if that was how they mated, and I watched the human male jealously.
He didn’t seem to understand what he was supposed to do with the female once he had her, and so I started working on a bubble-nest, hoping to show him how it was done. Sun-Tail, the male in the bowl mine next to me, was watching, and I flared my beard at him when I caught him blowing bubbles at me. He flared back, and forgetting my bubble-nest, I tore over to the other side of my bowl and attacked him fiercely through the glass until I finally conceded defeat.
“You are getting stronger and stronger every day,” Sun-Tail panted. He had blown his tail with all his flaring, and I gloated to see how much effort it had taken for him to beat me. When I opened my fins fully, I could see they were almost as long as his, although the very tips were torn and black with the first sign of rot. After that I spent the rest of the day patrolling my bowl, frightening the other males, none of whom were as big as me or the monstrous Sun-Tail. Sun-Tail was amused by my boasting, but when we fought again later that bright-time, it was finally me who was victorious.
I had been sleeping, when the water in my bowl suddenly rippled and I was thrown almost completely out. There was a strange noise coming from somewhere nearby, and I spread my fins open in fright. I could see Sun-Tail slowly circling his bowl, and when he spotted me, he flashed up his dorsal fin in reassurance. “It is only the two humans,” he said calmly. “They were chasing each other again. I think the female is going to get a good nipping this time.” Looking around, I could see none of the other bettas seemed troubled by the male’s aggression. But I still felt nervous. I hoped the female had submitted, and not let herself be too badly torn up by the male.
However, no one came to feed us at dark-time, or at the next light-time. The damp and cold crept into our bowls, and I spent most of my time drifting near the top. It hurt when I went up for air, and even Sun-Tail grew more and more subdued as the day passed. He didn’t answer when I asked if the humans were ever coming back, and when he heard me asking one of the other males, he looked so ferocious I was terrified he was going to jump into my bowl and attack me.
Here's some pictures I found of what the two main characters, Silver-Scale and Sun-Tail look like: