Black Pearl

All Rights Reserved ©

Be a Shark

“We start our journey tomorrow. You three be good until I get back from work,” Alima said and grabbed her bag. The bag was stuffed with scuba diving equipment as usual. Alima slung the bag over her shoulder and turned her back to the girls. “And please, don’t do something you might regret.”

“Whatever,” Victoria said. “I’m going to hunt for breakfast. I’m starving.”

Garai and Maria giggled amongst each other. Victoria managed to grasp a fragment of their conversation. “...bet there won’t be any fish in the sea by the time she gets back.”

And with a swift motion of her hand, their lips were frozen shut in white frost and ice. Garai and Maria let out a muffled scream. Victoria gave them one last smirk before lifting the lid of the pool exit and left. Garai and Maria turned their stiff frozen lips to Alima. Alima tried to keep a straight face but she found it to be quite a challenge when there were two icy human duck lips in her face.

Alima shrugged. “If you ask me, you two deserved it.”

The two girls gave Alima a hard look that said, help us. Alima gave them a fake wince and said, “I’d love to spend my precious time to thaw out your frozen lips with warm water, but unfortunately for me, I’m going to be late. There’s a special case assigned and I want it.”

“Mrrmeemaa!” They wailed.

“See you two later, girls!” Alima waved and she dived into the pool and left.

~

“Ahhhh!” cried a man. That man in particular was marine biologist, Kevin Ho. He and Alima were actually close acquaintances. Around the crew of marine biologists, he was known for having nerves of steel. Kevin specialized in studying the more gruesome creatures of the sea that some marine biologists wouldn’t dare get near. He and Alima were usually assigned to do shark cage assignments or deep sea diving. And because of his famous dauntless reputation, it was a wonder why Alima saw him fleeing from the shark tank.

“That’s it! That’s it! I’m officially done with this!” Kevin was still in his wet-suit and left behind a trails of water. Immediately, a pungent smell of iron hit Alima’s nose and she turned her face away from her co-workers, fearing that she might drool. She knew the smell too well; it was the smell of blood.

“That demon almost bit me!” Kevin said, holding his injured arm with his available one. As Kevin got closer, the smell of blood became more prominent and Alima’s stomach growled. Calm down, Alima told herself. You are not going to eat him. You eat him and your cover gets blown. And on the count of three, Alima forced herself to look at Kevin.

“Oh geez, that’s a lot of blood!” Tanya said and covered her mouth with the back of her hand.

“It shredded through your chain-mail!” said Dr. Watson. His face paled and he looked away from Kevin’s injured arm. The murmurs of the biologists grew louder as more of them gathered around to see what was causing the commotion.

Finally, the professor made his way through the crowd, having to push some people aside in the process. “What is all the fuss about?” The professor twitched his fuzzy mustache.

A biologist answered him. “Kevin’s been bitten!”

Due to Kevin’s pride, he became red in the face and spat, “I wasn’t bitten! It’s just a graze!” Kevin wasn’t exactly a someone who was full of himself but he was proud of his reputation. Having worked as marine biologist for almost two decades, he had never been bitten or injured. He wanted his reputation to stay like that.

The professor squinted his eyes as he examined Kevin’s arm. The wound wasn’t deep but it was still bleeding and there was a chunk or two of red flesh that looked like they were ready to fall off any second. The blood had also stained his tan yellow skin into a tinted orange-red. The professor said, “I see...it is a graze. But we do need you to get taken care of.”

“But professor!” said Dr. Garcia waved her hand. “Who will treat the shark? The lobster trap is still clamped on its fin. If we don’t get it off soon, the shark’s tail might get worse and we might have to consider amputation.”

The professor sighed, raised his head, and said, “Who would like to take over for Dr. Ho?” And right away, all the biologists shrivelled up to try to hide themselves behind the person in front of them.

Alima looked around and said, “I’ll do it.” The biologists gave her startled looks that said, Is she crazy?

“Fantastic!” The professor grinned. “I knew you would do it.”

“I have one request.” Alima added in.

The professor shrugged nonchalantly. He was already relieved that someone was willing to take the task after the recent attack. “Sure, what is it?”

“No one watches me.”

It did sound strange to the professor but he didn’t deny it. “I’m fine with that. But Miss Tuma, what if you get hurt? No one would be able to help you.”

A sly smile grew on her glossy lips as she said, “Then so be it.” This time, the biologists believed she was insane for sure.

The professor nodded. “Okay then, I wish you good luck. Farewell for now while I deliver Dr. Ho to the hospital.” After the professor and Kevin left, the crowd of biologists hastily dispersed. They thought for sure Alima was shark bait and wanted to get away from her as possible. All the biologists left except one, Abhilash.

“Are you sure you don’t want anyone with you?” Abhilash said with his hands tucked in the pockets of his white lab coat. “You do know that that particular shark is a Mako shark. They’re known to be very aggressive and dangerous.”

Off from the top of her head, Alima said, “The Isurus oxyrinchus. I know they’re dangerous but trust me, I can do it.”

Abhilash still refused to leave and said, “I’m not scared.”

“And so am I.” Alima said. “Please respect my wishes. I’ll be back.”

“Fine, good luck.” Abhilash said. “You’ll need it.’

Alima had arrived at the shark pool. The pool was absent of people, just as she had requested. The pool was very large and took up almost the whole entire room. She glanced down at the cerulean blue waters and saw that in the middle of the pool was the mako shark. It was weakly swimming and the water that surrounded it was dark red with its blood. Alima looked at her chart in her hands and read:

Mako Shark #85

Weight: 446.335 kg

Length: 198.12 cm

Alima scrolled skimmed down to its condition.

Tail caught in lobster trap.

Amount of blood lost: unknown.

Date rescued: 4/1/15

Time: 2:15 p.m

Alima placed the chart down and glanced around for anyone who still might be there, lurking; she found no one. Alima approached the pool and before she could kneel down, the shark had swam up to the edge of the pool and thrashed. Alima scurried back to avoid the water droplets from landing on her. The shark kept thrashing, water splashed everywhere. Alima waited for it to stop and when it did, the shark was still at the edge of the pool with its head protruding from the pool’s surface.

“Feisty, aren’t you?” Alima said.

The mako shark had a long slim body of a torpedo. And although sharks do not have smooth skin, the shark’s blue body blended well with the pool water. Alima slowly approached it. It was so creepy how it was just staring at her, motionless, with its black eyes and its mouth agape, baring its tilted white teeth.

“You hurt my friend,” Alima said and waited for a response. The shark opened its mouth wider as if showing its teeth on display. Alima laughed and opened her mouth as well. She focused and her siren teeth popped out. They were thin and long and razor sharp as she had remembered it. Long ago, Alima had used these teeth to kill her men. The shark could not blink but it did acknowledge her. Alima felt it.

Alima retracted her teeth and said, “See, you and me are almost sisters.” Mermaids sort of had a thing for communication. It wasn’t true that they had fish friends (because of course, mermaids ate fish) but it was subtle ability every mermaid had.

Sisters? The shark seemed to say.

“Yes,” Alima nodded. “Sisters.”

How so? The shark waited for an explanation.

Alima crouched her body at the edge of the pool and came face to face with the Mako shark. It probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do but she did it anyway.

“We are both strong and dangerous. We are the killers of the sea.” The shark’s pitch black eyes twinkled. It understood. Alima went on.

“And both you and I are so very lonely.” Alima said and flashes of memories flickered through her mind of all those centuries swimming in the sea alone. Even the beauty of the sea couldn’t penetrate through her brooding sadness. “We’ve always been feared because no one wants to be friends with monsters like us.”

This time slammed its injured tail against the water hard as if making a bold statement.

No. How are we monsters? We were born like this. This is who we are. We are sharks.

“No...I’m a siren,” Alima said and the shark argued back.

You’re a shark. Right now, you want to be a goldfish. Goldfish are dainty, beautiful, widely admired. But guess what? They spend all of their lives stuck in a bowl, on exhibit 24/7. And what use are they to nature? Their only purpose is being a live display.

The next thing the shark did was submerge back in the water for a few minutes and popped back up.

Sorry, I needed water. As I was saying, goldfish are no use to nature while we sharks have a great purpose. Think about the food chain.

Alima was baffled. Sharks knew about the food chain?”

We sharks serve a purpose. We control the fish population. Without us, the one fish species might grow too quickly and before you know it, all the mackerel will be gone! And we can’t let that happen. I loooooovvve mackerel!

Alima laughed. She realized the shark was right. She would always be a siren and nothing was going to change it. She may as well be proud of it.

“I’m a shark.” Alima said.

Louder! The shark urged.

“I’M A SHARK!” Alima shouted.

Yeah!

Alima smiled and said, “Thank you.”

Anything for a sister. The shark said.

Alima’s eyes went to its tail. The tail was still bleeding and the lobster trap was still clamped tight. “I want to help you,” Alima said. “I can get it off, trust me.”

The shark turned backwards and rested its tail at the edge of the pool in front of Alima. The lobster trap clattered when it impacted the edge. Alima leaned closer to examine the tail. The tail still bleeding. Dark red blood slowly leaked from the tail. Alima was able to locate where the tail was caught and realized that the door to the lobster trap was jammed.

“Wait here and don’t move,” Alima said and went to her bag. She dug through the back and took out a metal ruler. The ruler was a foot long and was smooth and stiff. Grasping it tight, she wedged it in the door of the trap and wiggled the ruler back and forth. In no time, the door busted open the shark’s tail was free. A confident grin grew on her face as she said, “Success.”

Alima ran to fetch a first aid kit that was hanging on a wall and bandaged the shark’s tail and secured it snuggly.

“Within a few days, you’ll be out in the sea in no time.” The shark lowered its jaw to reveal a toothy smile.

Thank you. My pups owe it to you.

Alima gasped. The shark was pregnant. That was why it was so aggressive and wouldn’t let anyone near her.

“No problem...sister.” Alima said. The shark pulled back its tail back into the water and it rested.

Oh yeah, I’m also kind of hungry. Do you so happen to have any mackerel on you? The shark asked.

“There’s always mackerel!” Alima said cheerfully. “I’ll go get some.”

When Alima stepped out of the exit of the shark pool, she bumped into Abhilash who jerked in surprise. He had been spying on her. Alima wanted to shred him but she took a deep breath or two and said calmly, “What are you doing here? I remembered I had requested that there be no watchers.”

“How did you do that?” Alima said. His reddish brown eyes stared intensely at her as if what she had done was a miracle. He looked back to the shark and back to Alima and repeated.

“It’s a trick I learned from someone.” Alima lied. She had her neck craned to make full eye contact with him. Abhilash ran his hand through his thick shiny black hair in frustration. He really did look like a Bollywood star, especially with his glowing brown skin.

“Why are you lying?” He asked.

“And why were you spying?” Alima asked.

“I won’t answer honestly until you do,” he said.

“Fine,” Alima said and walked around him. “But just to be clear, you and I are not on good terms.”

And before she could leave, Abhilash hand had slipped under her hair and slapped her neck. Alima turned around quick as lightning and pinned him against the wall nearest to them. She had her hands on both his shoulders, twisting his white labcoat. With eyes wide and a racing heartbeat, Abhilash swallowed. He knew he was in big trouble.

“You dare touch me one more time and you’ll regret it.” Alima said gravely and released him.

Now there was a reason why Alima responded to that. To normal people-humans-that incident would’ve been just plain weird. But to Alima, it was personal, real personal. In the Siren society, no one touched each other. Touch had either two meanings: it was either sensual or it was deadly. And in that split second when he touched her, she sensed it was a threat.

Alima dusted off her labcoat and fixed her hair as if nothing had happened and left him out of breath and frightened. Good, she thought to herself. That was just how she prefered her men. After that, her day went by normal as always and she got to feed the shark. But there was something that bothered her: a faint beeping sound that was lingered at the back of her head. Abhilash had stuck a tracking device on Alima’s neck.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.