The Hunt by C.T. Piatt
The meeting spot is not hard to find, though when I arrive Miztan is not amongst the waving seagrasses. A few manatee graze, a younger one blunders forward to investigate me. His sad face, still chewing, closes in on mine. Tiny eyes peer at me. I reach below his huge chin and scratch. He turns on to his back, rubbing his side against my chest. I feel his smoothness rasp across my scales. I smile as he turns and rubs me again, his grunts of pleasure causing his mother to lift her head. I am no threat. She returns to her continual grazing.
I enjoy the silent company of this young manatee, his affection based on his pleasure. He offers no attachment, requires no obligation. I am there for him to use, a scratching post, just as he would use the coral, a rock. My only difference is that he can direct my attentions.
"Acoloti. You waited. I feared you would leave." Miztan swims over, oblivious to the retreating manatee. I have swapped a welcome silent companion for one overfull of words.
"The manatee kept me company."
Only then does he look. "Can you believe the humans mistake them for us?" He smiles. "Are their eyes so blind they can not see the difference?"
I shrug. I had heard but what humans did or didn't do has been of no concern.
Miztan swims away, with the currents. "Acoloti, hunting's this way."
Miztan is not quiet as we swim, his mouth works as hard as his tail. I let his voice swell over me. Most of his words mean nothing to me. He talks of gossip amongst the other males, tales of the females. I smile at the fact Miztan has more words to say of the females than of the males, despite we outnumber them ten to one.
He stops. I stop next to him and look. Deep blue waters surround us. The surface is fifty tail lengths above. The seabed is out of sight. "We're here."
"Where exactly is here?"
I wonder at his evasiveness, since his previous chatter has been so explicit. "What are we fishing for?" I know mackerel and tuna come to these deep waters, but I see none.
"That." Miztan points to my left and up. In the blue, barely seen against the pale light of the surface, is a sleek body. It swims slowly, with deliberate waves of its crescent tail. As it turns I see black tips on the caudal fin, cobalt blue back, stark against the white of its underbelly. Its dorsal fin is upright and blue.
Shark. Mako shark
Miztan grins manically as I turn to him. Before I can ask, his tail flicks powerfully and he rushes upward. I stare unbelieving, wondering at the foolhardiness of this Aminiatl. How can he not know makos are fiercely territorial?
"Come on, Acoloti." His voice drifts back, encouraging not only me to join him, but the mako. Miztan seems unaware, still steadfast in his swim upwards. The mako slowly turns, lazily swims in a widening circle seemingly away from Miztan's path. But I can see its intent. Miztan's orange hair giving it a target it cannot miss. Not as prey; as competitor for the mackerel.
"Miztan?" My tail flicks as I power up. Strong and steady but I put all my efforts into catching this crazy Aminiatl. He ignores my call, instead turns so the shark sees his back. The shark's speed increases. Miztan's does not.
I concentrate on my speed, refusing to waste energy to voice concern Miztan obviously does not share. He has slowed, as much as the shark's increased speed. Though Miztan is still below the shark the distance between them is less than fifteen lengths. Their positions are reversing. The shark is dropping as fast as Miztan is rising.
I hasten, my tail pounding furiously. As crazy as Miztan is, as foolhardy and as stupid it is to come to his aid, I cannot watch the shark's attack. Nor can I leave Miztan to his own mad stunts.
The water streams past my ears; calling out impossible at this speed. My arms tense in sympathy with my tail. I gain ground. But not enough. The shark is within a tail length from Miztan.
As Miztan casts a look over his shoulder the mako quivers, tail shudders. Then with a sudden flick it lunges, its speed bursts tenfold. Its jaws open and snap shut. On water.
Miztan sprints. His tail blurs as he pumps it. Somehow I find more and I chase the two. I can barely see, the water tries to tear my inner lids open. Still Miztan rises, the mako following. I am desperate to close the distance, knowing that to catch Miztan I must pass the mako. Knowing the danger in that.
I propel myself, forgetting the danger, just desperate to reach Miztan. The water becomes clear, brighter. I pass the mako, its sudden swerve causing me to lunge higher. Miztan is but an arm's length away, yet I cannot reach for him. He surfaces first. His body leaves the water, tail still flicking furiously, futilely in the air. I follow. The air is warm, the sun blinds me. I too continue to pump my tail, the habit unbreakable. Miztan rises, glorious in the air, orange hair reflecting the morning sun. A beautiful arc, spinning in joyous triumph as he reaches its apex. As if in slow motion I rise above him as he twists and turns and dives.
I tumble, deliberate in rotation so I can watch his splashless entry. Watch as the mako reaches its apex and splashes back to the ocean that should hold us.
As I fall, I take a glorious breath of sea air before I re-enter.
The water enclosed around me, its warmth folds over. Miztan is far below, the mako in the distance to my right. Its hunt over, forgotten as it stalks another, more reachable prey.
Tail powering I catch Miztan, his face childish in delight, hair fluttering, reflecting his delight.
He spirals as I slow, circling me, close enough to feel his heat, to see his hard cock. I know my own is erect.
"Acoloti, by Nereus's trident that was ..." He spirals off, deeper. I swim lazily, let my adrenaline wash away as I pass through a school of blue hardtails, blue and silver flash as they scurry to avoid me. I have no desire to hunt them. I am sated on the thrill. On the freedom, the pleasures, the opportunities.
I had forgotten.
Miztan rejoins me, his body trembling, purple scales shimmering, bright orange ringlets around his face, though I don't know if he feels enjoyment or exhaustion.
"So Miztan, who hunted whom?"
He grins. Spins, tumbles and slows. I slow with him.
He shrugs. "I hunt life, Acoloti. I take my chances and swim what may." His hand strokes my rump, my cock. His lips touch the crook of my neck. "Life is too short to wonder, to regret." He dives. I grin and dive too.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~After years of writing words within the I.T. industry, C.T. Piatt (Cat to her friends) turned to fiction as a hobby, a hobby that has become an obsession. Since writing that first story the words haven't stopped flowing. With her life-partner's support, writing is now included in their lives; in between work, photography, car racing, and spending time with the family and enjoying the Australian sunshine.
Email cattrip AT optusnet DOT com
Cat has previous publishing credits through Torquere, and her most recent work is through Freaky Fountain Press, where you can find Come Play.
Cat is currently working on an anthology of 13 werewolf stories; when it’s ready, she’ll update us, and if this lovely piece is a taste, we’ll enjoy it.
Thank you, Cat!