He was a sailing man, Saul. He went out into the deeps for fish. And now and then, he’d catch a shark. And he’d kill the shark, of course, and sell it for meat, because fish have no souls.
But there was one. Once. A young one. A small one. A great white.
Its eyes were deep black pools. They were cold. But there was a spark. And it did not snap at him as he dragged it up, but only lay there limply, defeated. It takes a soul to be defeated, Saul thought. It takes a person.
There was animal there, too, in its eyes. There was mindless hunger. But there was something more.
Soulless things know not surrender, thought Saul.
So he armored his hand in mail, and he took the hook from its throat, and he shoved it back into the sea.
And as he took his boat to shore, he saw it following him, slick and grey in the water. And not until he came to port did it turn, like quicksilver, and flow away.
He went out again, the next day; and the shark was there.
And again, the next.
And not every trip, but two in three at least.
It would fight him for a fish, sometimes. But mostly it simply watched. And it grew larger every day.
He drank in the tavern one night, and he heard the stories. “There’s a shark at the beach,” they said. “It knows no fear of man.”
People were dying.
“I’ll teach it to fear me,” said Saul. And he went out on his boat. And he took a spear. And when he saw the shark, he drove down the spear, over the side, and it pierced the creature’s flank; and it thrashed and twisted as he drove the spear home. Then he let it go, and he turned around, and he sailed home, and it did not follow.
Sometimes, people died to sharks. It was that kind of beach. But he did not think it was his shark again.
The sea is not kind.