Storytime: Kronos.

October 28th, 2015

It was just a few hours every night, when the dark was full and very little could be seen.
A few hours more than it had used to be. Still, there was no getting used to it. This gap in time where movement slowed and strangeness took its place. There were no means to understand it.
But what happened after… that was right. The return of realness.
Splashing. Waves. The sound of movement of water in air. Something glittering on the far side of an unresponsive, unseeing pupil. Light.

The sun rose and he was alive.

he, not He. Too old to be an it, but not the right time of year for He. Maybe it’d never be that time of year again; he was stiff in those parts, and not in the right way. Stiff in all his parts now, waking slowly, so very slowly, billowing back up from the bottom of his body and spreading out from the central stubby trunk to the four great paddle-flippers, coming alive as his heart stirred again.
One. Two. Three.
Ten beats per minute. Not that he knew what a minute was.
The blood reached his skull, and took its time filling it. The trouble wasn’t his brain, small as it was; the trouble was the sheer scale involved; his head was a quarter of his length, even if most of it was snout and teeth, teeth, teeth.
Once it had been teeth, teeth, teeth, teeth, teeth and more. Some of them were having trouble regrowing; still bent and broken in their sockets long after they should have been shed.
They chewed at the water, gently; the massive muscles powering them crawling over his skeleton. Quiet information began to seep in from his periphery, things his dulling eyes could never tell him: smells; the ripple of the currents; an alarmed flutter of fins.
The last drew an attention that had grown out of instinct and into habit. he spun – one of those movements that looked much slower than it was, spread over ten metres of reptile – and hauled himself forward with all four limbs, mouth snapping open with a speed that shrugged at water pressure.
It shut on blood, and for a moment he was almost full.

he was hungry, hungry all the time now. he remembered when he hadn’t been, in skips and starts. Long, long ago, when he was still growing quickly
he was always growing, even now
When he was very small and new – he was an it then, too young for anything – and it had found a strange thing in the water, smaller than it. it’d spun around and around and around it and nipped at its limbs until the spindly bony bits came free on one side and it could only turn in slow clumsy circles. Oh how it’d learned as it’d feinted and dodged. The play had only ended when the smell of blood grew too strong to ignore, and that was when it had learned that fish were food.

Good food. Good food. But he’d eaten it all already, and now he was hungry. Hungry all the time.
The stray scrap of blood spread over his scales as he slipped deeper in the water column, looking for stragglers of the nightly migration from bottom to top and back again. A hundred miles from shore, the only place to look was down.

It was cool down there, calmer. Bluer. he let his heart slow again as he tumbled down, and began, moment by moment, to grope at the vibrations of the currents.
There was food down there. Smaller than he was. Like everything else always had been, everything he’d ever seen.

Blood was darker down there too. Not that there was much. he bit and tore and swallowed and bit and tore and swallowed and somewhere this was a long time ago, when he was a He, the first season he’d been a He. Tearing and feeding beyond His means to build up bulk quickly, to show Himself, to meet a She.
He had done it, he thought. If he was thinking. The dark was slow and thick around him, and the memories moreso.

The sun rose and he was alive.

he was at the surface again, winched up by old instincts as much as thought. Maybe he’d fallen asleep down there. Maybe he was still asleep down there; but no. he was hungry, so very hungry. In his sleep he bit and fought but never felt the urge.
Not that urge.
Awake, it was as lost to him as hunger was in dreams. It had been a long time since He was. But so much longer since he’d seen a She.
Nearly as long as it’d been since he last duelled another He.
But time didn’t matter; the sunlight mattered. he was awake and he was near-shore and the water was filled with gliding, sporting little morsels. Not infants but too small to be subadults; juveniles. This was the edge of a nursery, the place where bay met blue and soon the long-throated little swimmers flitting about in here would be out and free and far away from him, growing older, growing bolder, nearly as long as he was – even if most of that was neck.
Not yet.
his jaws closed and they closed on more than water and there wasn’t more than time for a sharp squall before his teeth met and the flesh parted, cutting the juvenile in half, in head and torso.
he ignored the former and ate the latter and cruised away from the cries and the little fountain of blood and remembered when he’d done this the last time he’d done this; robbing the cradle of a cousin to fuel his own dreams. They might be his nearest relatives but they were not his kind. They were its, not hes and shes, definitely not Hes and Shes. They were the biggest meals he could have and he needed them because even if the pain was absent for now he could still feel the oncoming pang of that terrible, terrible hunger.

The sun rose and he was alive.

But the sun was dim.
he was far underwater. How had that happened? How had he happened? There wasn’t much breath left in him, and he had to move quickly to reclaim it, to suck in air above the blue in the cold sharp dry.
he shivered in his blubber, and not just from the chill; arthritis was creeping over him day by day now. No matter how fast he grew, it could grow faster.
But not as fast as that stabbing, groaning, endless hole in his stomach.
he was far away from shore, it was time to go down again, to drop himself out of sight and into mind and snout and smell and touch from a hundred metres. An ammonite or belemnite would be nice; there was no shell that his teeth could not puncture, that his jaws could not crush.
A nice ammonite. Yes. Or a squid. Yes.
One like the ones he’d devoured so many years ago, when he’d left his nursery. A soft, fat-bodied, older thing too slow to jet away in time. A quick lunge and a bite and it had been down his throat before he could think.
his teeth closed on empty water and old thoughts. Where was the squid?
he’d seen it. Where was it? It had been there, it had been real, as real as that horrible, endless pit inside him, and now it was gone. It was inside his mind. Food should not be inside his mind, it should be inside his mouth.
he came back to the surface slowly, with a hesitation that verged on timidness, and his creeping motion must have disguised him for he very nearly blundered into an animal with his snout. he spun back in alarm – but wait, it was small, so small – and then investigated. It was a peculiar thing, to be so much smaller than him, so very small. And such spindly bony little limbs. He nipped at one lightly and it came free with only a soft tug, he took its partner and watched in puzzlement as the strange thing spun in slow clumsy circles. He’d never seen anything quite like it. He’d never seen anything quite like it. But there was a good taste there, a familiar taste.
Blood. Yes

The sun rose and he was alive.


It was not dawn. It was midday. It was midday and that couldn’t be true. he woke at dawn. he always woke at dawn.


There was a soft, fuzzy sensation in his rear flipper, bumping against the waking nerves. A tug. A pull. A shove.
Something was touching him.



his jaws gaped, wrestled at nothing. Pops and creaks inside him as withered muscle stretched itself over old, long-cracked bones.
And as he turned, slowly but endlessly, he saw the source of the strangeness – a strange thing, a strange thing. It had a stub of a tail and four flippers and a long, long snout with teeth, teeth, teeth, teeth, teeth and more, and it spun in the water with a swiftness he couldn’t understand, only a little smaller than he was.
he couldn’t understand anything. But this he KNEW: he was hungry, so very hungry.
his jaws opened, and closed on scales.



The blood was slicked on his sides. Some of it was his.

he was full, though. So very, very full. And tired.
It had been a long
since he had been full
It made him think of before, when he was He and had seen so many of his kind.
And there had been so many of them, all of them small and safe in their nursery.
Swimming down the long coasts, the Hes and Shes.
Duels along the reefs, closed-mouthed.
And side-by-side, the long courtships.

But that had been a long time ago, in the daylight, and it was very dark now.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. SevenEight.

The sun rose.

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