Modern history

Fleeing for Safety

The shark had vanished from human view, camouflaged by the dark creek water, leaving no trace of its presence but the distant shouts of men and a small wake washing diluted blood to the banks. Releasing huge stores of energy summoned during its attacking frenzy, the shark was fleeing for safety. It did not know fear but responded to danger, and certainly there was threat from the men and boats on the creek.

The attacks on Stanley Fisher and Lester Stilwell had not sated the shark for long; more than ten pounds of human flesh was a small meal. The shark's life consisted of taking ten, twenty, forty pounds of fish in a single meal and moving ever onward for more, never knowing when the next meal would come. All that had changed was that the meals now included humans. The brackish water weakened the shark, and the confines of the creek were disorienting. So the big fish hurtled downcreek, seeking a return to that open world, the world of the sea.

Yet everywhere it traveled in this small space, driven by hunger, it sensed the lure of prey. Far ahead in the creek, pulses exploded underwater, sounds and scents that shortened the closing distance. Above in the deepening sky the moon was wheeling toward an eclipse, waxing and intensifying its brightness and its pull on tides and fish and the predatory instincts of sharks. The shark made a series of adjustments in the set of its pectoral fins and the thrust of its tail, hunting now in a frenetic state.

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