(from Imitation Nature)
At times, even he grew afraid, of the sea and its dark places.
Others feared him and his power, even envied his row after row of razor-sharp teeth, his sandpaper hide, his jaws that spread wide enough to devour anything he chose to eat.
But they never understood his curse, his need for constant motion, the swishing bubbles and the endless circling to keep him from falling.
Through motion alone, he kept breathing. Through motion he forced water through his gills.
They feared him because he constantly killed. He had a fire inside of him the water could not quench – only blood and shredded flesh.
Others moved away when they saw him, small things even scurrying on the ocean bottom as if they might be next.
He seemed so majestic when he passed over them, leaving his broad shadow across the bottom like a twin.
But he had no voice the way the lion had, and could not roar, living his life in silence – perhaps even more terrifying to others who did not always know when he came near.
They did not understand his hunger or his need to move, and perhaps they thought him some evil god they could appease with prayer – if only they could find the right prayer, not knowing no prayer would save them if he chose them.
He was a glitter of silver in the water, a stirring tail, an open mouth, a snout always sniffing ahead for the scent of blood, swooping down like an eagle might, rising with his victim clenched in his jaws.
But he was always hungry – at no moment satisfied – and always fearful of falling into the darkness below from which he might never rise, always moving, circling, feeding, watching his own shadow for that day when he would no longer see it, and knew then, peace.