Carlos was flying through the water. His serrated skin was a metallic blue colour, with dark stripes running along his sides and back. His eyes were like periscopes; they could see every single colour in the deeply saturated sea, regardless of lighting conditions. His teeth were a work of art, which almost sparkled in the sapphire waters. Every single tooth looked like it had been carved out of the purest ivory and sharpened into something vicious. They had the power and speed of torpedoes. Carlos might as well have been an organic submarine. The tiniest scrap of meat fell out of the shark’s jaw. It was quickly gobbled up by a pilot fish. Carlos was on the swim.
The shark tracked the scent of blood to the shallow waters before a coastline. He was initially confused, when he saw the sea life, that had amassed there. However, it didn’t take him long to understand. Humans were catching the marine animals for food and God knows what else. “Catching” was an understatement. The humans were over fishing. How they had managed to concentrate so much life in one place was beyond Carlos. The shark’s spherical eyes rolled upwards in their sockets, as he saw a giant net falling over a school of fish, trapping them. By now the animals which were just out of reach of the woven cage, had taken notice of the shark and were now trying to escape from the ring of predators. Carlos ignored the swimming animals and latched onto the bottom of the net. It was only made of rope, which meant he could easily chew through it. The shark couldn’t care less about helping the trapped fish; he was hungry and this was an easy dinner. Carlos began to smell blood, and as he turned his upper body, he saw a red liquid slowly rise from his tail-fins. The shark guessed that the humans must have thrown a harpoon, which had just grazed him. Carlos knew he had outstayed his welcome. Sensing electrical pulses in the water, the shark swam away He’d be back though. No human could keep him away from his prey.
Carlos was never given the chance to return. Whilst fishing, the humans had seen sharks, which must have been attracted by the smell of blood. If the animals were given the chance, then they would eat all of the fish available, which was why the hunters had to keep them away. There were men in boats on the outreaches of the shallow waters, on the lookout for predators. Carlos was unfortunate enough to swim right into them. He could see a shapeless grey object, he guessed it was a boat, sitting above the water and he knew that meant trouble. At first he thought it was a turtle or another shark, but then he realised they rarely swam in such shallow waters. Carlos growled in a confused anger, as something tore through his outer epidermis. The wound wasn’t serious, but the shark knew that he was in danger and swam away.
The shark felt a series of vibrations through the water and the shapeless, grey object started moving; Carlos knew that the humans were following him. They didn’t want him near their food. The humans were moving quickly, but they were little match for the shark. More harpoons were launched into the water. A few drops of blood rose to the surface of the ocean. Red and blue danced together, before the two colours became one. Carlos was hurt, but he would carry on swimming. He was a tiger shark and they are hardy creatures.
Had the humans managed to trap him?
Had he been netted like the brainless schools of Herring he had just been hunting?
He was smarter than that. He realised his silly mistake. Somehow the hunters had managed to overtake him and had laid a cargo net in wait. The net was only made of rope, which meant that Carlos could easily chew through it. His tail fin vigorously moved from side to side, which propelled him into the woven barrier. With one swift bite, he tore the net to pieces and carried on swimming. The shark looked forward and could just about see the shapeless grey object silently resting on the water’s surface; it seemed to be just waiting there. For a mysterious reason, this instilled terror into Carlos. He was furious with himself. He shouldn’t feel fear; he was the tiger of the sea. The humans were the true sharks; ferocious, relentless, merciless. Carlos was growing tired of this hunting game. He expected the boat to have returned back to shore, but it was still following him.
Was this revenge?
Was he just sport?
To avoid detection, Carlos swam down to the seabed. He was slowly approaching the boat, when something sent ripples through the water. Carlos thought he saw a shark, underneath the grey, shapeless object, but something was wrong. He wasn’t detecting any electrical pulses and there was something more. The shark was slowly sinking, which was strange because sharks only sank when they were dead. As Carlos approached the pitiful creature, he noticed it was missing its dorsal fin. The humans must have cut it off and were now disposing of the evidence. Carlos knew he shouldn’t waste food and latched onto the shark corpse before dragging it away. Something wrenched the beast back and shifting a four hundred kilo shark took some strength. Carlos growled, as a metal hook buried itself in his mouth. He desperately tried to escape, but the hook had embedded itself in the roof of his mouth. Carlos was disgusted with himself for falling for such a pathetic human trap. The dead shark must have been bait. He slowly felt himself rising, until he was only half submerged in the ocean. His gills were still underwater. The shark began to writhe in the crystal blue water, as above him, two humans began to admire their trophy.
A bald headed man peered over the side of the boat and stared in awe. “Levi, look at this monster. We’ve caught a fully grown tiger shark.”
Levi flicked the cigarette he had been smoking into the blue waters. “Quit your gawking, Terry. We need to think of a way of proving that we caught it.”
“Aren’t we just going to kill it and take it back? That’s what Mr. Craft told us to do. We can’t anger him.” Terry rubbed his eyebrow in confusion.
“Don’t be an idiot. Do you think I’m so stupid, as to anger a man like him. We just don’t have the space on our boat for a fourteen foot long shark.”
Below them, Carlos was thrashing in the ocean. “We could cut off its dorsal fin?” Terry suggested.
“I don’t want to dirty my hands with shark blood. That’s disgusting. Remove three of its teeth.” Levi ordered.
“You can’t be serious. If I put my hands anywhere near its mouth, it’ll bite my arm off.”
“Calm down. Its jaws are still locked into the shark we used as bait. It can’t fully close its mouth. You can remove the teeth at the sides of its mouth. It can’t bite you from there. I’m sure Mr. Craft will reward you greatly when he hears of your bravery. Try and find the loosest teeth. Sharks regularly shed their teeth. It shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“I don’t know Levi. I’m not sure.”
“Why are you just standing there? I gave you an order! Mr. Craft doesn’t like waiting.”
Terry hesitantly looked at the shark.
“Are you scared? How do I explain to Mr. Craft that we couldn’t get him a trophy, because you were too much of a pathetic, little coward?” Levi knew he was being very underhand, but he also knew that his colleague was extremely weak-minded.
“Bring it within reach then. I’ll get a knife.” Terry hated being called a coward and was determined to prove his friend wrong.
Levi walked up to the boat’s cabin and pressed a button. Slowly Carlos was cruelly dragged from his ocean habitat, into a toxic atmosphere, before being brought within reach of Terry who was lying in wait, holding a knife. Very carefully he reached into Carlos’ mouth and rested the weapon at the base of a tooth. Terry nervously swallowed and began to lever away at it. This one fell away easily, unlike the next two which took some work. As Terry adjusted his stance, he lost his footing and sliced his arm. “I’ve got the three teeth. Let it go.” Levi nodded and pressed a button, which sent Carlos plunging back into the ocean. Afterwards, he took out his mobile phone.
“Hello, Mr Craft, sir. We did it. Terry removed three teeth from the tiger shark.”
“Good work. There’ll be two cheques waiting for you when you return. They’ll be delivered in white envelopes.”
With the hook still embedded in his mouth, Carlos swam away from the humans. The shark was aware that the hook would be stuck in his mouth for the rest of his life and it might affect his eating habits, but he was just grateful to escape. Even though sharks are usually solitary animals, Carlos couldn’t avoid sparing a thought for the creatures, which had been mutilated by Man. All of them had been cruelly dissected until they had become nothing more than memories, drifting through the sky.
I guess you could argue this is a continuation of my poem Harpoon and an extension of my environmental writings. Not the best thing I’ve written.