The Shark

“How long have I been,” thought the shark.

Five metres of gray death threaded the canyons and shelves of the reef’s edge. Small fish, suddenly radiant in their health, darted from the path of the predator. The Great White never missed a shot. If you were sick you may as well swim directly for its jaws.

The shark’s eyes were particularly cold this day. It must have swum in this ocean for over one million years. But something was wrong of late.

Very wrong. Black mists sometimes clung to the surface, and the blood that gushed about its veins often filled with lingering pain.

It did not know what this pain was. It wanted to mate. Females were rare, and getting rarer, plucked writhing and in agony by alien creatures plundering from above. A terrifying technology. A sense of despair. Desperate despair.

All was tragedy. There was no dignity.

A smaller shark slithered upon the sandy bottom, some distance down, the Great White observed, clinically. It had little sympathy for its own kind. A possible meal.

The smaller shark swam rapidly into the retreating gloom. The Great White pressed on.

Momentary interest. Pressing on. A definition of existence.

Ahead, upon the flat of the reef, a strange form, black, but with bands of brilliant colour.

An alien.

Wary, the shark redirected its inspection, always keeping the form of the stranger steady within its gaze as it commenced a wide predatory arc.

The alien did not detect the monster.

The alien’s smell was nauseating. But it might be easy prey. The Great White was hungry. Hungry and jealous.

The alien was engaged, utterly engrossed in itself. The Great White was no fool.

The attack was rapid, violent, and terminal. Divine blood clouded the Great White’s retreat.

The alien was foul cuisine. It would sit ill in the shark’s belly for many weeks.

The alien shadows upon the surface broke into confused images. Sounds echoed across the reef. The shark was unmoved. A fool and his money are quickly parted. It moved on.

Forever on.

“How long have I been,” thought the shark.

Robert Ellery Phillips

The Shark

Robert Phillips

CLAREMONT, Australia

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

Maybe what they call existential. Certainly ordinary. There are some bullies I heard about. It’s for them.

Artwork Comments

  • Writers-Block
  • Robert Phillips
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