SHARK HORSE: CHAPTER 13
SharK-KhaoS or 20,000 Leagues Under Siege
“Oh, so it’s back to pretending we’re human again? C’mon… spare me the Uncle Tom routine, okay? You can’t keep denying what you are, man. You think the humans will ever accept a half-breed like you? They can’t. They’re afraid of you. And they should be. You’re an animal, you’re a fuckin’ maniac! Look at ’em. They’re cattle; pieces of meat. What difference does it make how their world ends? Plague… war… famine. Morality doesn’t even enter into it. We’re just a function of natural selection, man. The new race.
– Deacon Frost
“Give me the amulet, you BITCH!”
– Count Dracula, talking to a five year old child in a children’s movie, The Monster Squad
– Marlow, 30 Days of Night
Somewhere In The Atlantic Ocean
“Shark Horse,” said Professor McAlister, “I’m scared.”
“Me, too,” said Donny, “This water’s deep and looks dangerous. What if we get eaten?”
Back when he was a man, Joseph Sigo harbored a healthy apprehension towards swimming in deep water. It wasn’t a rational fear, per se, since your odds of drowning at the beach are something like one in 3.5 million, and Joseph was always a fairly strong swimmer. But then, the hydroskourophobia that irked him and plagued so many others wasn’t due to the thought of drowning, was it?
It was the fear of something unknown lurking beneath him in the depths. Where the water is deep, or dark enough, you can’t truly know what’s underneath you. So, when he’d go skinny dipping with his friends late at night during his hippie days, stoned out of his mind and paranoid, Joseph could find himself quite worried indeed. But, ever since his Reich-induced apotheosis into the ragged-toothed lusus naturae that he had now become, Joseph Sigo had naturally not feared even the deepest, darkest waters.
“A man goes swimming and gets eaten,” said Shark Horse, “And you think that of me? No. I am the danger. I am the one who eats.”
“That sounds like something my master says a lot,” said Donny; that was the last thing he said as they plunged into the icy water, having moments earlier vacated the Turtle-Plane. As the freezing water washed over them, Shark Horse took a moment to ponder that, despite his nature, he’d only gone swimming a couple of times since his transformation. It felt good. He was just as dexterous under water as he was on land; and the nature of Sharkour was amphibious. Donny likewise seemed at home, despite his anxiety. Nevertheless the two chimeras had to keep a relatively slow pace to allow the doctor to keep up with them.
A bright floodlight allowed them to make visual contact with one another; a waterproof radio system allowed them to communicate verbally. These were designs of Donny’s. They would help the trio communicate as well as navigate, although Shark Horse was perfectly capable of navigating even in the darkness due to his extremely enhanced senses.
“Well,” said Dr. McAlister, “If my calculations are correct (and they always are) then Atlantis should be right beneath us, exactly twenty-thousand leagues straight down.”
“Hey, Doc,” said Donny, “I read your book – great stuff, bee tee dub – but I’m not sure I agree with your conclusions here. You said Atlantis sank somewhere in the Mediterranean 3,600 years ago. Now, factoring in Continental Drift, the currents, and rotation of the Earth after all that time, my calculations would indicate that Atlantis should be about twelve miles West of here.”
“Foolish Turtle,” said Dr. McAlister, “You failed to factor in the Gravitas Infernalis – the additional movement induced by the forces of Darkness.”
“The… what-as infer-what-as?” Donny asked, “I don’t recognize that from any science text…”
“Science as you understand it does not apply under the Ocean. It is a world of magic, full of vampires, Kaijus, leprechauns and Stingray Wizards,” said Dr. McAlister.
“That’s ridiculous, of course science applies underwater, we’ve been studying the Ocean since-” Donny started before being abruptly cut off by Shark Horse.
“Enough of that,” the equicthyous vigilante commanded, “You can discuss your Tokyo Drift and your Gravity Fern Gully later. Dr. McAlister is the expert here. If he says Atlantis is twenty-thousand leagues straight down, we trust him. Now each of you grab one of my fins. I can get us there faster that way.”
The two nerds did as they were bade, and, clutching the fins of the mighty Shark Horse, sped to the wicked depths of the briny sea.
Meanwhile, Back In Santa Ana
“In certain extreme situations, the law is inadequate. In order to shame its inadequacy, it is necessary to act outside the law. To pursue… natural justice. This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it’s an emotional response. No, not vengeance… Deliciousness,” Lady Shark Horse said, the hardened criminals before her cowering.
“But all we did was j-j-j-jaywalk,” the trembling, acne-scarred miscreant attempted to plead, all while clutching his equally pathetic loved one, “Please, Mrs. Horse, we’re only sixteen-”
“Irrelevant! All crimes are equal! You are the cancer to this city,” Lady Shark Horse proclaimed as she dashed towards the wicked perpetrators. Their screams off terror were quickly silenced by the hellish gnashing and whinnying of the icthyous noblewoman’s gaping jaws. The streets of Santa Ana were awash with the crimson lifeblood of the slaughtered hooligans.
“And Sharks don’t get cancer, motherfuckers.”
She smugly licked her lips. She hadn’t had a moments respite when her keen equine hearing picked up the sound of a woman screaming. With a clip and a clop, she was away, dashing towards the sound. She ran down the sidewalk, following the screams with all speed.
I don’t know why Shark Horse is so into that whole Sharkour thing, she thought as she smashed her way through a car and knocked over an elderly human woman, Jumping over obstacles is all well and good, but I can just smash through them. That requires much less effort on my part.
Soon enough, she had pinpointed the source of the cries. A dark alley. Of course it was a dark alley. But the dark was her ally in this dark alley. For Shark Horses need not the light to find their way around. Long before her eyes took in the sight before her, her hearing, smell, and ampullae of lorenzini had worked out what was happening. Two men were standing over a young woman, knives in their hands. A rape in progress!
With a movement more fluid, more elegant than the most graceful dressage horse, Lady Shark Horse fell upon the two would-be rapists and with her mighty strength, flung each one of them into the mesosphere. Their bodies would be found, full of teeth and hundreds of miles away; one in the city of Goleta and the other impaled on a fence at the Mexican border. They would never again threaten another living soul. Lady Shark Horse, satisfied with her work, turned to leave.
“Thank you for saving me,” came a cry from the dark. Lady Shark Horse turned to see the source. It was the one who’d been screaming in the first place. The victim of the attempted rape; based on what little the former Lady Contessa knew of humans, she appeared to be a young human female. Her hair was brown, and the way she was dressed – was that normal for these apes? – fishnets and a corset and oh-so-much-cleavage. She seemed, for whatever reason, to want to talk to Lady Shark Horse.
“Did you hear me? You saved my life,” the human said.
“Whatever,” said Lady Shark Horse.
“Wait a minute,” the girl said, moving to block the Lady’s exit from the alley, “You’re a hammerhead. You aren’t the same Shark Horse who saved me before.”
“I’m the Lady Shark Horse,” said Lady Shark Horse, “And you’re bothering me.”
“I-I-I’m sorry,” said the young girl, “I was just hoping to see him. After he saved me on that first night, I’ve been dressing like a skank and wandering into dark alleys, hoping that he’d need to save me again. Y’see, I never got to… thank him.”
“You are one sorry, messed up human female,” said Lady Shark Horse, “You should seek some kind of help. Now get out of my way before I charge you with obstruction of justice and devour you like a pesky flounder.”
“I’m sorry, Ms. Lady Shark Horse,” the girl said, “But… y’know, I never got to thank Shark Horse. But maybe I could… thank you?”
“No,” said Lady Shark Horse. Suddenly, however, she found a wave of curiosity overtaking her.
“How… would you thank me?”
The girl smiled, and then knelt down. “I’ll show you,” she said, reaching with both hands for… whatever she might find. She certainly found something.
“Oh,” said Lady Shark Horse, “Ooooooooooh.”
Back In the Atlantic Ocean
“Nineteen thousand, nine hundred and eighty leagues,” said Donny, listening to the various beeps and whistles of his custom-made radio, “If the good doctor’s math is right, we should be very close to the lost city of Atlantis.”
“If it even exists,” said Shark Horse.
“Oh, it exists,” said Dr. McAlister, “You’ll have your Orichalcum to save the economy of your precious city of Santa Ana. But I warn you: no one truly knows what became of the vampire sharks.”
“Yeah, about that,” said Donny, “I’m a chimera, genetically engineered by the descendants of fascist Italy. I’ve jumped out of a turtle-themed plane with my best friend, who is a Navajo man that turned into a horse and was then turned into a Shark Horse by the still-living Josef Mengele to service the Nazi regime. I bonded with him when we had to fight a Kaiju together at Pearl Harbor and I watched him murder a man with his clitoris. So it goes without saying that I have a very open mind. But come on – vampires? Sh’yeah, right, Doc.”
“Believe what you want,” said Dr. McAlister, “But I believe my research has confirmed they still exist. You’ve heard, of course, of the legend of the Chupacabra?”
“No,” said Dr. McAlister, “What you know as El Chupacabra is actually a vampire shark. One that has left its comfort zone in the dead of night to wriggle about on land and feed upon livestock.”
“Riiiiiight,” said Donny, “And you have evidence for this?”
“Not as such,” said Dr. McAlister, “But I know it to be true. But if you want more evidence, how about whale beachings?”
“Huh?” Shark Horse asked, puzzled.
“Everyone knows that whales occasionally wash up, dead, on the land,” said the Doctor, “But what you don’t often read about is that… just occasionally, one of them has two big puncture wounds at – oh, just about the neck area. And the bodies of these whales are found to be drained of blood.”
Donny was silent for a moment. “Well, there’s got to be another explanation. Maybe a boat propellor, or-”
“Quiet! Both of you,” Shark Horse barked to them, “I think we’re here.”
Any doubts anyone in the group had about the existence of the lost city of Atlantis were now quelled. For before them, stretching in all directions, were the beautiful ruins of an ancient civilization. The dome that had guarded it was now full of holes; and from those holes there shown an otherworldly light. It was the light from Dr. McAlister’s belt reflected off of the soft green color of the Orichalcum that made everything up; lighting the murky depths till they were nearly bright as day. The city of Atlantis was an ancient metropolis of spires, runes and gleaming arabesques. It was the most wondrous thing any of them had ever seen. Cautiously, they swam into the sunken city through one of the cracks in its guardian dome.
“Wow,” said Donny.
“Glorious,” said Dr. McAlister.
“Unbelievable,” said Shark Horse. The trio swam further in, mesmerized by their astonishing discovery.
“This will be the biggest discovery in the history of humanity,” said Dr. McAlister, “All my years of research; all my toil; all of it’s finally paid off.”
“You’ll get your due for this, Doctor,” said Shark Horse, “Just remember: I need some of this Orichalcum to save Santa Ana.”
“Looks like there’s plenty to share,” said Donny. They kept swimming. They spent hours exploring the city. It was structured much like any other ancient city; the technology the Atlanteans had had (whether they were vampires or otherwise) was at least as advanced as that of the Ancient Romans and probably much more so. They’d need to take a closer look to be sure; they could certainly spend days and days here if Donny and McAlister had had the air supply to do so.
Soon, the decadent spires began to become even more ornate; the gleaming orichalcum was carved with even more wondrous runes.
“We must be approaching the city center,” said Dr. McAlister, “Where the rulers of Atlantis held their court.”
“You know quite a lot about this place,” said Shark Horse, impressed.
“It’s been my whole life. Years and years,” said McAlister, “And if I’m not mistaken, before us we’ll soon see the signs of a tragedy.”
Indeed, as the reached the center of the lost civilization, they beheld what must have been the Atlantean Royal Palace. For never, anywhere, has there existed a structure so magnificent. Its pillars were wrought from pure Orichalcum, inlaid with the finest gold. Its roof was marble and platinum and studded with diamonds, rubies and even more precious gemstones that didn’t exist on the surface world anymore. But the former glory of this great structure had been shattered by a disaster in the ancient past; the bejeweled roof of the palace was caved in; and crude human-forged metals like bronze and iron littered the marble stones beneath them.
“Imagine this place while it was still above the waves,” said Shark Horse.
“I do,” said Dr. McAlister sadly, “Every day.”
“Do you know anything about the bastard who sank Atlantis?” Donny asked.
“What I know,” said McAlister, “Is that he had several ships. And that’s one of them right there.”
The doctor gestured off in the distance. Lying, broken and in several parts on the marble street, there was a huge, rusted metal object. They swam closer to it; it was black, and had been lately, in the shape of a tube. Emblazoned upon its nose was a familiar symbol; a cross with bent arms. A swastika.
“You guys,” said Donny, “This is a Nazi submarine.”
“Yes,” said Dr. McAlister, “Part of a secret fleet commanded by Heinrich Himmler himself.”
“They came looking for Atlantis?” Shark Horse asked.
“I told you,” said Dr. McAlister, “They sank Atlantis.”
“But… You said Atlantis sank over three thousand years ago,” Donny said, now very puzzled.
“Yes, that’s true,” said McAlister.
“But, they can’t both be true,” Shark Horse said.
“Foolish Shark Horse,” McAlister chided, “There is still so much you do not understand.”
MEANWHILE: SANTA ANA
“LADY SHARK HORSE, YOU’RE A LOOSE CANNON!” Quinten was roaring at her, “You ate some teenage jaywalkers? As if our PR wasn’t bad enough from your damn monster boyfriend killing rapists! How the hell are we going to clean this one up?”
Lady Shark Horse sighed. She hated it when these insignificant humans raised their voices to her. Would it really be a big problem if she ate this one? Well, maybe not this one… she kind of liked the way he raged. Cute, like an angry hamster.
“Look, Mr… Shaw, is it?” Lady Shark Horse said in a bored tone, “I’ve been having a great day so far. I don’t need it to be ruined by you. So let me make a few things clear. One: unlike Shark Horse, I have never been human. Human lives don’t mean the same thing to me as they mean to you or him. Two: unlike Shark Horse, I am not employed by the city of Santa Ana. I’m just helping you idiots out as a favor to him. Three: You address nobility. I’m a royal Lady, niece of the Baron Benjamin and daughter of Eddard Shark. I basically have diplomatic immunity here, so don’t bother me. Four: Shark Horse is not my boyfriend. That’s complicated. Five: I could kill you all in a heartbeat, so tread carefully.”
Quinten took a deep breath. “Look, Lady,” he said, “I admire your spunk, even if you are a god damn Shark. But you’ve got to understand: the world didn’t even know Shark Horses existed until just a few days ago. Suddenly, there’s these creatures running around killing people. You gotta realize that folks are scared. I just don’t need you adding to it.”
“Well,” said Lady Shark Horse, “If you show me some respect, I will show you the same. You could simply have asked nicely.”
“Well, uh… look, I’m sorry, Lady,” said Quinten, “But it’s just that I don’t like sharks. And I don’t like that your boyfriend was promoted before I was. I’m man enough to admit it makes me a little sore, y’know.”
“Call me Contessa,” said Lady Shark Horse, “You don’t need to hate sharks, we’re not so bad. At least, not this Shark. And, once again: Shark Horse is not my boyfriend. Actually, I had… a new experience today. I met a lovely young lady who… was able to do something with her mouth that Shark Horse could never do for me. With his teeth and… no lips and all.”
“Wait,” said Quinten, “Did you… uh… you met the Shark Horse Groupie?”
“Well, uh… her real name’s Lucy Aberzeen, but we call her the Shark Horse Groupie cuz she’s always calling the precinct, trying to get ahold of Shark Horse. Think she wants to blow him, ya know?”
“Is that what that’s called?” Lady Shark Horse asked excitedly.
“Wait… did she… you… of course, cuz you have a… Awww, gross!” Quinten sputtered.
“I don’t think it’s gross,” said the Lady, “I think it was wonderful. And I’d like to experience it again. And… Mr. Shaw, if I may… I think the reason you don’t like Sharks might be due to… some unresolved tension you’re feeling.”
“Well, uh… What do you mean?” Quinten stammered again.
“I’ve seen the way you look at me,” she said, “And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about you. I’d be willing to… release a little of your tension, if you’d do the same for me.”
“Well…” said Quinten, “I’m flattered, I really am, but…”
“Say yes,” Lady Shark Horse purred.
“Well, uh… Okay.”
Shark Horse, Donatello and Dr. McAlister swam further through the ruins. They were still just as beautiful as ever, but Shark Horse couldn’t take his mind off of the sunken submarine. His brain was racing, trying to come up with an explanation for everything that made sense. But, he supposed, not much of this made sense.
“Y’know, Doc,” Donny was saying, “I read about you. A little bit. For as many crazy rumors as you discuss on your blog, there’s just as many rumors about you.”
“Are there?” the Doctor said, oddly calm. “Like what?”
“Well, one of them is that your schooling was financed by… Josef Mengele,” the turtle said, “Like he was a mentor to you. Those people that think he’s still alive say that.”
The doctor laughed a bit, “Oh, really? Is that what they say?”
“Well, yeah,” said Donny, “And, y’know, it sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory, except we know he is still alive. Just… in space somewhere.”
“Turtle, there’s so much you don’t understand. There’s so much that either of you don’t understand. But you’ll learn. Stop here. There’s something I want you to see.”
The doctor pointed ahead of himself; both Shark Horse and Donny gasped at the sight ahead of them.
Hundreds of coffins; well, sarcophagi, really. And each of them was gleaming, jeweled, and in the shape of a shark. A very, very large shark. There were hundreds of gigantic shark coffins, stretching as far as the eye could see.
“We’re in the Atlantean Necropolis,” said Dr. McAlister, “The Orichalcum Sharkophagi. The place that became the home of the vampire sharks.”
Lady Shark Horse was having a devil of a time trying to light a cigarette. She needed one; the passionate session that she’d lately experienced with Quinten had left her exhausted. He could do even more things with his mouth than that “Lucy Aberzeen” human ever could. She was sitting alone in Deputy Shaw’s office, tired but thoroughly satisfied.
As she relaxed on the cold floor of the dark office, she was startled back to reality by the ringing of the phone. Having no ability to answer due to not having hands, she simply sat and waited for the annoying noise to cease. Finally, after a few rings, the answering machine kicked in. A fearful, familiar human voice came through.
“Hello? Deputy Shaw, it’s me, Lucy Aberzeen but don’t ignore me this time! It’s an emergency and it’s really important! I need to talk to Lady Shark Horse! Like, right now, because I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to… I had an encounter with her earlier today, and I… uh… swallowed. And, ever since I did, I’ve been… changing! So help me, God, I don’t know what’s happening to me, but I’m not human anymore! Oh, Jesus, you’ve got to be able to help me!”
Lady Shark Horse stood bolt upright, knocking over Quinten’s swivel chair as she did so. She’d become what she was due to radiation… and possibly also due to magic. So it stood to reason that her… fluids… would have both radioactive and magical qualities. She’d failed to consider the effect consuming them might have on humans.
She was attempting to think about what to do next when the office door swung open and Deputy Shaw entered, freshly showered, clutching a cup of coffee, and smiling broadly.
“Hey sweetie,” he said. Then he spied the look of consternation on her face. “What’s wrong?”
“Quinten,” she said, “We need to get you to a hospital.”
“The vampire sharks from Atlantis,” said Dr. McAlister, “Never truly went away. Some still roam the ocean today, but many slumber here. They are staggeringly ancient, after all.”
“What the hell is going on, McAlister?” Shark Horse demanded, “How the hell do you know all this?”
“I told you, it has been my life’s work,” said McAlister, “I have brought you here for this reason. You think it was you that brought me here, but; no. It was I who manipulated you into seizing me and bringing me to Atlantis. All the blogs, all the books; I knew one day I’d find someone like you, Shark Horse. I actually wanted to bring Sea Wolf… But Josef said you’d be better suited.”
“You brought me here? Why? And… Josef?” Shark Horse barked, his words garbled by the high-pressured waters, “Then the rumors about you true? You are shady? Mengele financed your schooling because he was your mentor?”
“Not exactly,” said McAlister, “Mengele did finance my doctorate, but not because he was my mentor.”
“He financed it,” the doctor said, reaching up and unlocking the latches on his helmet, “Because I was his.”
McAlister laughed. And then began to pull the helmet off of his head. “NO!” Shark Horse cried, “You’ll die-”
But then the helmet was off, and McAlister was still laughing. As he did so, they saw his eye teeth. White. Narrow. Pointed.
“I’m disappointed in you, Shark Horse. All your advanced senses, and you never tried to sense my heartbeat? If you had, you’d have noticed that I don’t have one. I told you there was a juvampire who shattered the blood bank and drew in the sharks,” said Dr. McAlister, “What I didn’t tell you is that I am that juvampire. Well, perhaps not so juvenile anymore; I’m now over three and a half thousand years old. Herman McAlister is but an alias. I have had many over the centuries. My name during the time of Ancient Greece was Lycaeus Khaos. I am the last of the true vampires. I have brought you here, because you must fulfill your destiny. And your destiny lies with the vampire sharks… Ah! Ah! Ah!”
Shark Horse looked around him; suddenly, all of the Sharkophagi were open. Their lids lay shoved off to one side. Shark Horse reached out with his Shark Sense, but he sensed no heartbeats around him. He could, however, feel dozens upon dozens of eyes staring at him.
“The vampire sharks are here, Shark Horse,” said McAlister – Lycaeus Khaos – still laughing, “And they’re awake.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
What Is Shark Horse’s Destiny With the Vampire Sharks?
What’s the Deal With The Ancient Nazi Submarine?
What’s Happening to Quinten and Lucy?
TUNE IN NEXT TIME, SAME SHARK-TIME, SAME SHARK-WEBSITE, FOR: