By: Aidan Connors

The object of my hatred buried a hole in my heart that left a void that even the best materials could not repair. For years it taunted me out in the deep water, laughing at the fact that it took my daughter, knowing that I could do nothing against it. Its powerful shark tail sent my crew and me in circles for weeks. Its fin instilled fear into us even above water. And its teeth, the various teeth that ended precious human lives, flashed in the sunlight, ready to strike. But no more. Weeks of searching were all about to come to an end. It thrashed endlessly in our net, showing no sign of stopping Still, eventually, the stamina of the beast finally gave out. Even with the combined might of my entire crew, the task of bringing the creature aboard proved to be a much greater challenge than it usually would be, but with one final combined effort, we pulled it out of the cold water and aboard our boat.

“This is it, lads!” I said thunderously, “weeks of effort for this moment! Today we rid the sea of something that’s brought pain onto all of us!”

It was obvious they thought otherwise. These weren’t sailors or fishermen; they were boys with their heads stuck in the clouds. Some even stared at the fish with looks of pity, horrified by their own actions.

“Wilson! Bring me a knife, boy! We’re going to give this thing exactly what it deserves.”

But to my further irritation, each one of my crew stared shockingly at the beast’s midsection.

“There something wrong with your ears, lad?” I asked, to which he looked at me as if he murdered someone.

“Mr. Lawson, sir, she’s pregnant.”

For a moment, my will slipped by that word that would generally bring joy to a human’s soul, but it wasn’t human. It couldn’t possibly feel joy. Wilson continued to ignore my command leaving me to do it myself. I grabbed the nearest knife off a chopping block, then kneeled down to the head of the beast. I looked deep into its pitch-black eyes expecting to see its rage and hatred as I wanted it to see mine, but I found none. Instead, I found a sadness all too familiar, a sadness only a mother dying with her children could understand. Though merely a fish, I understood her sadness all too well, not just because of my only daughter but because of my unborn son, who I would never meet. She looked into my eyes, begging not for her life but for her children. But this thing, it couldn’t harbour such emotions.

Could it? With every struggle she took, her suffering soul became more radiant. For the first time, I saw her life and its magnificent outcomes. I saw the future of her children. She took life from me, but what type of monster would I become if I took more lives from her?

I felt the knife slip from my hand without the intention to pick it back up.

“Let her go, lads.”

Aidan Conners is a short story writer, currently taking the Professional Writing course at Algonquin. He is also a fan of comics, animals, video games, 90’s rock, horror movies, riddles, and reading. Aidan’s all-time favourite genres are Sci-Fi, Horror, and Animal Point of View, and if you ask him why his answer will always be the same: Because of the philosophies that they present.