Part III: Shark Horse Versus Nazis!
By Jeffrey Kieviet
“There will be blood in the water and the sharks will come.” – Old Russian Proverb
*Warning: Graphic Violence Against Nazis
The sun began to rise in the distance, a yellow glow tossing morning beauty onto the picturesque field. Glancing over his shoulder (fin), Joseph “Dark [Shark] Horse” Sigo saw the small lab shrinking in the distance as he galloped through the tall grass. The air was chilly and dry, or perhaps the shiver was relief as the evil Nazi hideout disappeared behind him. Regardless, Shark Horse was thirsty, his breath raspy and his skin felt like a windy desert. He paused a moment in the field to gulp some air and listen to the sounds of the morning.
Nazis? Mengele? An old man who was now half-horse half-shark? Nothing made sense anymore. As the crip air began to wash the taste of Mengele’s beastial blood from his mouth, the faint babble of a brook caught his attention. At a slow trot, Shark Horse trampled through a patch of dandelions toward the sound. He’d never had a chance to test his equine extensions before being gunned down by one of the evil Nazi followers, now he had the additional difficulty of getting used to his Selachimorpha parts. He was top heavy, with more weight on his front hooves than he’d had before the cop shot him. His breathing was labored and his vision blurred revealing a more panoramic view of his surroundings.
Step by unsteady step, he cantered through a row of trees and found the burbling source. The brook glinted cooly in the early sun’s rays and Shark Horse lunged for it eagerly. Throwing himself off balance, he tumbled on the loose stones of the shore and plummeted into the water. It was much deeper than he expected, and in a knee-jerk reaction, he pulled his legs up to avoid breaking them on any large rocks as the current began to sweep him down stream. After a moment he realized he was breathing. Underwater. He wasn’t straining to hold his breath, he just felt his lungs fill with oxygen, completely out of his conscious control, the way a heart beats while sleeping or a kidney does stuff to your pee without you thinking about it. Arching his back he felt his fin catch the current. With a tentative kick and a shake of his rump, he felt himself jet through the water. He was swimming. It was awkward going at first, but if a sea horse can move around with a tiny curly cue tail and squat dragon wings, there’s no reason a dorsalled beast of burden couldn’t get the hang of treading water.
It was miraculous. He had a small nagging thought about sharks being salt water fish, but he was breathing well enough in this fresh water. Whether it had something to do with the horse’s powerful lungs or the monstrous doctor had altered the laws of science, he didn’t want to think about. He continued with the current, getting accustomed to the clumsy swimming and beginning to pick up speed. The recent events had left him discombobulated and in a more-than-foul mood, but the peacefulness of the river settled something deep within him. And that’s when he smelled blood.
Just down the stream, there was a large grated pipe that popped out near the bottom of the bank. Shark Horse approached the grate and sniffed, if one can “sniff” under water. Eager to find the body that was leaking such wondrous smelling crimson (not that he could actually see it; his shark sense could detect even just a couple drops, a few parts per million). He tested the grate with his powerful shark jaws. With an easy clink, the wiring shattered and he pulled a large chunk loose, leaving a hole almost big enough for him to pass through. He jammed his face into the hole and wriggled until he slipped its metallic grasp. The sharp edges raked his skin, but it was too tough to be torn or even irritated. He swam through the dark passage as the iron, sanguine taste grew stronger.
Taking a turn down another pipe, he found a light flooding through a small gap in the ceiling, another grate, and that is where he saw drop after drop of beautiful blood dribbling into the water. He tried to get a better view of the area through the grate, it looked like a plain white room with couple of hazy figures passing back and forth. He listened but all he heard were muffled voices. Slowly, he turned on his side and maneuvered one eye to the water’s surface so he could get a clearer view. The blood was running down the fingers of an unmoving hand, most likely belonging to a fresh corpse. But the two figures he saw walking about the room put a smile on his already toothy-grinning face.
They were scientists, but more than that, they both had red bands with Nazi swastikas on their upper arms. He must have doubled back, the river’s current bringing him back toward the horrid lab, and the under water piping lead to its deeper recesses. He pulled back a bit, sinking down into the murky depths of the pipe. Another odd thought nagged the more skeptical parts of his mind, something about sharks not being able to swim backwards, but the rules of man and beast no longer applied to Shark Horse. With all the strength his swimming could muster, he launched himself towards the grate.
He broke through with a ferocious snap, the bubbling white water spilling onto the floor of the examination room. For an instant he was airborn, around the room he noted many empty, metal gurneys, saw the man on the floor bleeding from several bullet holes in his chest, the clothes, jewelry, and greasy hair suggested Italian mob affiliations (or at least the stereotypical suggestings), and all in this split second, he noticed one of the Nazi scientists with a gun, raising the pistol towards the beast bursting through the floor.
Shark Horse didn’t hesitate, he snatched at the man’s head with his powerful jaws, and took off the upper half of his body, the spasming legs kicking a steel toed boot straight into the other scientist’s shocked face. Man and shoe collapsed to the floor, and Shark Horse quickly slid back into his watery hideaway to finish devouring his prize.
In his life as a man, Dark Horse had enjoyed breakfast food more than most earthly pleasures; a well made steak and eggs platter could start a day on such a high note that nothing could bring a rain cloud to his mouth parade. But this villainous scientist was delicious in a way Shark Horse could not describe. The only applicable simile was like a beer battered cherub in devil’s sauce, a signature hyperbole of his old Minnesota diner. After a chew and a swallow, he ventured another look into the death chamber above.
Shark Horse felt his dorsal fin breach the water and his eyes looked into the now blood spattered white room. There was no movement, no alarm or siren. He sunk a moment and then launched himself back into the room, landing with a slight wobble on his soaking horse hooves, washing some of the blood off the floor to drain into the gaping maw from whence he came. Cautiously he surveyed the room, his ears (holes?) perked, seeking a cry of fright to the horror he had caused, but there was only the soft hum of florescent lighting and the drip drip drip of his sand-papery skin & fur shedding water & blood.
Shark Horse walked to the scientist splayed on the ground, the one who had been hit in the head with the boot, and saw that his face was a squashed mess of terror, his nose broken in inhuman incongruity, his shallow breathing blowing bubbles in gooey, congealing puddles of blood, like a child had stuck a straw into not-quite-ready jello. Partly to put the man out of his unconscious misery, and partly because he was a freaking Nazi, Shark Horse slowly lowered a powerful hoof onto the mess of head and face, until with a terrific pop, brains burst forth like a sludgy grey & pink firework.
Moving to the door, Shark Horse realized he had no way to exit the room (other than the hole in the floor). He glanced around the room for some sort of tool, but settled on the mobster-looking guy on the floor. The tan Italian had powerful looking hands that were now useless to their dead owner. Tentatively, Shark Horse grabbed the man’s arm with his jaws and pulled. The arm severed with a sickening, tendon-pulling rip. With a nod, Shark Horse threw the man’s hand toward the door handle while still warily holding the arm’s shoulder and elbow. It took a couple tries, but eventually he got the hand to land on the door knob with a muffle squish. He then bit down on the arm, causing the muscles to tense and grip the knob with mortified force. With twist of his bulking neck and body, Shark Horse turned the handle and opened the door with the dead man’s hand. Now he was free to loose his carnage upon the rest of the Nazi laboratory.
He moved down the hallway with predatory ambition. His eyes scanned quickly, looking for any movement or evidence of wandering Nazis. There was a steady clump, clump, clump coming from just around the corner so he stopped, fearing the clomp of his own hooves would alert his victims to his presence. Suddenly 3 men turned the corner, 2 were clearly Nazi soldiers in full SS regalia, the 3rd was being marched in front of them, a short, fat man in handcuffs and a shiny purple suit & tie, his long hair falling out of a messy ponytail.
Stunned with rapture & horror at the creature standing before them, none of the men moved. Shark Horse took a step towards them, and the one on the right audibly shat his pants, thick, pulpy coffee ran from his pant leg. Before either soldier could raise their automated rifles, Shark Horse charged. He knocked the plump, purple man into the beshat Nazi with a force that could burst a submarine hold, causing the man’s bubbly bulk to squash the Nazi like a pancake. Quickly aiming his hind legs towards the remaining Nazi’s face, Shark Horse kicked with all his might, attempting to send the man head-first into the ceiling. However, the power behind the kick was so ferocious, his hoof punctured the man’s chin and crashed out the crown of his head, not even lifting the man from the floor. Some of his grey matter ended up splashing on the ceiling, so for all intents and purposes, Shark Horse had succeeded tenfold.
Casually, Shark Horse walked over the fat man on the floor, full of broken bones and popped organs. He didn’t have much time left in this world, but the squashed Nazi beside him was literally stuck to wall like a flattened, burst paintball. Curious, Shark Horse asked the man, “Who are you?”
Whether the shock had left his dying body, or he was just a ballsy dude to begin with, the fat man spat blood on the floor and looked into Shark Horse’s eyes as best he could. “I’m Lou. What the hell are you?” He coughed up more blood.
In response, Shark Horse grinned his shark grin and stomped his horse hoof.
“Doesn’t matter.” He smiled back, sheepishly. “The don. He needs to know.” Lou was breathing hard and could barely keep his eyes open. “There were terms. A negotiation. But those lying Nazi bastards. All our guys are dead.” He was fiddling around in his pockets. Eventually he found what he was looking for and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. “I don’t know what you are, I don’t know what part you’re playing in all this,” he snaked out a cigarette and stuck it between his lips, letting the pack fall to the floor. “I heard they were experimenting with animals but gadzooks, you’re one for the picture books kid.” With a last effort that caused his body to shutter and slump, he lit the cigarette. “Yonkers. There’s a guy, a ‘plumber.’ Fixes things. He’ll know what to do.” He was rambling now, delirious. Lou took a long drag on the cancer stick, and with his last words, Shark Horse literally saw his last breath leave his body. “Kill those Nazi scum. Kill ’em alllll…” With a cough and a gurgle, Lou died.
Shark Horse looked down at the broken bodies. He had not meant to kill Lou, hadn’t really thought about it, just reacted to Nazis with guns. He felt a small tinge of remorse as he thought about the man and what he’d said. Yonkers? New York? This was starting to sound like some Mario Puzo mobster novel. As he shook Nazi brain from his hoof, he realized this was more Mary Shelly than Mario Puzo.
He moved further down the hallways, like a shark in the water seeking out its prey. An open door, an empty room. More exploration seemed to leave this place deserted, but that didn’t make any sense. Hadn’t Lou said there had been a negotiation? So Shark Horse continued searching for some sort of meeting room where Mengele’s modern Nazi army would have met with Don Corleone and his mobster goons. A ridiculous thought, but not as ridiculous as the reality that was about to happen. Noise came from further down a hallway to his right, a great hustle and bustle as if there were a large group of people talking and moving about. He snuck down the hall in an awkward crouch until he came up to a set of doors with small plastic windows set in near the top. Glancing through, he saw a mess hall. There were Nazi soldiers, scientists, engineers, cooks, all eating and laughing like they didn’t have a care in the world. They must have been celebrating their success over the mob “negotiations.”
For a moment, Shark Horse considered turning back. Returning to the hole in the ground, evacuating the compound, trying to find help, a way to demolish this evil place of hate. But he was alone, who (or what) would help him? He couldn’t go to the police, he couldn’t go out in public! He chastised himself for his moment of weak will and desperation. Revitalized, he knew it was now or never. He never had a strong fear of death, what better way to embrace it than by charging headfirst into a murder of Nazi crows and tear them limb from limb. They were not expecting him, with his element of surprise he could probably take many with him…
He killed them all.
Bursting into the mess hall like a demon out of the blackest pits of hell, Shark Horse was a nightmare visage on 4 legs. He trampled many of them under his vicious hooves before they even had a chance to react. Some of the bodies that ended up near him he tossed aside like rag-dolls, knocking his shoulder & fin into them at full force, causing them to tumble over other soldiers like bowling pins, in a mess of arms and legs and heads. They careened into table tops and broke bones & necks. Some of the ballsier ones tried to jump on Shark Horse, as if to mount & break the beast, but he slammed them into walls or other bodies. After a moment, some began to shoot at Shark Horse with their automated weapons, but there was so much chaos and confusion, bodies flying in all directions, that most of the bullets ended up in their comrades. A few struck Shark Horse’s flanks, and unless they were direct hits, they bounced off with hardly more than a shallow flesh wound. His skin was tough, but not impenetrable (he was only a Shark Horse after all, not some inhuman god of thunder & bullet ridden Nazis), he ended up with a few small pellets in his buttocks, but he barely registered, their impact being not much more than a mosquito bite.
As the horde began to thin and the floor became carpeted with dead and death rattled Nazi scum, Shark Horse bit off the torso of an armed attacker, and much like using the guido’s hand to open the door earlier, clamped in such a way that made the severed hand twitch and fire the gun. It was poor aiming, but now he was “armed” with a weapon. Mowing down row after row of intruding Nazis, more began to poor in through the doors, alarms and sirens in full flash, screeching the alert throughout the compound. The waves of victims seemed never ending. At one point, someone tried to smack Shark Horse in the face with a food serving tray. After that failed, the man ran tried to run from the room but tripped over a body and wasn’t able to brace his fall since he was missing both arms. He splattered nose-first on the hard ground. Taking the abandoned food tray, Shark Horse hurled it with his mouth, much like a dog catching a Frisbee but in reverse. The whirling weapon decapitated some and bisected a few more. With his mixed arsenal: dismembered gun arms, Frisbee food trays, and general body parts: soon the whole mess hall was awash with blood and gore.
There were a handful of injured-but-not-yet-dead Nazis still moaning about the room. Tearing the intestines from the guts of one of their disemboweled brethren, Shark Horse ran in quick circles and rounded up the remaining survivors, pulling them tight in the center of the massacre. Shark Horse was bleeding from a few small wounds, but nothing life threatening, and his adrenalin was running so high he couldn’t feel anything but exhilaration.
Once they were bound, Shark Horse walked up to one of the weeping men, intimidating both in attitude and the fact that a walking shark had just killed hundreds of men in front of them, and asked in his gravelly voice, “What’s going on here!?!” Before the man could even register the question, Shark Horse bit his head off. Adrenaline was running too high, he needed to calm down if he was going to get any answers from these people. People? They were inhuman waste. He walked up to another Nazi who whimpered in terror. “Shhh. Shhh. It’s ok. I’m not going to hurt you.” It sounded ridiculous coming from his grinning, razor-filled mouth. To renounce the embarrassment he felt, Shark Horse bit this man’s head off too, just for good measure. There were only four men left.
Before Shark Horse could say anything to the next Nazi, the man began to blubber in fear. “Don’t! Please! I’ll tell you anything you want to know!”
Shark Horse was amused. “What’s the capital of Borneo?”
The man’s horror faded into confusion. “What?”
Shark Horse snatched off his head as well. He had no use for the frightened, big-mouthed rat. Honestly, he wasn’t sure what use he had for any of them, but he felt he needed answers. Unfortunately for the men bound before him, their decapitated neighbors geysering fountains of blood onto their head & shoulders, Shark Horse didn’t even know what the questions were.
“There are more animals!”
Shark Horse paused. He circled the group looking for the one who had spoken. One of the Nazis, his blond hair now cherry red and darkening to a muddy blackish-brown. “Animals. Like me?”
“No, nothing like you. You were to be the master’s prize.” Shark Horse recognized this man’s voice, recognized his face. This was the police officer who killed him. The horse-him. Back on the beach at the beginning of this nightmare. The man smiled as he saw the recognition cross Shark Horse’s shark eyes. “Yes. But there are other animals, other atrocities. Through that door,” Blondie nodded in the direction of the mess hall opposite where Shark Horse had entered, “to the right. You will find a room full of cages. That is where the research is. You must continue the master’s vision. You must fulfill his prophecy!”
“Prophecy?” Shark Horse growled in skepticism.
“Yes, you must–” Suddenly the man next to Blondie knocked his own head back into Blondie’s nose, shattering his face in a new torrent of raining blood. Blondie slumped in the tangle of intestines. Shark Horse bit the attacking man’s head off, accidentally taking the head of the man next to him in his mouth as well. There was only 1 Nazi left.
Shark Horse stared at the sole survivor, his eyes blank & catatonic, too much fear had passed through his body for his soul to even acknowledge he was still alive. Shark Horse gave him an awkward shrug. “So… what’s the deal with the mobsters? Something about an Italian plumber?”
The man’s eyes twinkled with a minuscule plea. “I don’t…” His voice cracked.
“Figures.” Shark Horse turned and dropped a steaming pile of digested Nazis in front of the man. He cried and bellowed in disgust. Then, for just a moment, sighed with the hope that Shark Horse would spare him. He didn’t. The kick knocked the man’s head off in a clean rip and sent the globe sailing through the air like a volley ball, only to pop on the metallic wall of the far side of the mess hall.
Shark Horse surveyed the room, satisfied that everyone was dead. Every Nazi in the building that had been eating, every soldier that had rushed into the room in an attempt to be a savior, every rat bastard one of ’em. Practically treading water as he stepped through the flood of blood, Shark Horse went through the door Blondie had gestured to. He quickly found the room he was looking for.
Cages lined the walls, papers cluttered the desks, and computers whirred in the still air. Most of the cages were empty, but the few that had occupants didn’t produce much hope. All of the animals were dead too, none of them moved. There was a small rodent in one cage, maybe a orangey reddish fox, it looked peaceful, like it was just sleeping, but it’s chest did not rise nor fall with breath. There must have been some security measure, something to eliminate the experiments in case of alarm. Looking closer, Shark Horse saw that the fox had 2 tails. Further on was a turtle without its shell. Moles with glass eyes, a bird with 6 foot legs, a bear that was so fat its fur was pressing against the sides of the cage as if it were going to burst.
In the last cage was a small bundle of spiny fur, like a porcupine or a hedgehog, but its skin had turned into a rubbery mess of hard, blue plastic, its muscles contracting it into a curled ball of rigor mortise. There was no help to be found. None of the papers or research would be any help to a man with hooves instead of fingers and a shark instead of a face. Shark Horse didn’t know what to do next, there was no one left to kill. Then, from down below he heard a whimper. In that last cage, something moved. Something was alive.
To Be Continued in Shark Horse Part 4 – The Need for Speed (or The Italian Plumber)