The next morning, the captain was strolling the deck of the Golden Bee, enjoying a nice breakfast of goddamn mackerel pike, turning his eyes heavenward for a moment and asking God why, in all His infinite wisdom, why did He give man a thirst for the sea and yet make the beasts that live within it taste like a dead man’s nethers, and then there was an alarm, a ruckus from the crew, yelps, feet squeaking against the planks, and the captain turned and saw something rushing at him, a noise, a slash of white, speed beyond that of a mortal man, surely, and the captain put up his hand to deflect the blow but the knife went right through his wrist—
EDITOR’S NOTE: Not to be pedantic or anything but it was a shark’s tooth, not a knife.
—and then there was a coolness at his neck and then a wet warmth and then the captain was dead on his feet, lurching like a drunkard but not falling, and then this specter, this murderous ghost, absolutely stark naked by the way, this phantom took the captain by his lapels and flung him overboard like a rag doll, his twelve-score pounds negligible to the monster, its hands stained red with blood, and the sea opened up and swallowed the dead body of the captain, and I am not speaking figuratively here but saying that an actual eddy formed just off the port bow, a whirling throat of air, and the captain tumbled several hundred feet before hitting the first drop of water, and then he was consumed, twisted apart, and the throat closed up again, spewing a geyser of seawater against the Bee.
And just like that, the fisherman became the new captain. The crew was not interested at all in disputing the authority of this tooth-wielder and neither was the dead captain’s wife, who unlatched the door to her quarters and welcomed him back without a word.