“Dumb spotters,” he thought, “five, I’m sure, two pretty big.”
“Good,” Cragged Face thought. “Just bring ’em in.”
Jolly’s tail flicked once, propelling him high and into the open water. A solitary figure against the purple dusk, he sent a forlorn wail toward the spotted haifs. His call was loud and shrill to convince them of his panic, and it blasted through them and far beyond. He never considered how far it might go. His mind was on the haifs’ primitive thoughts.
“Hot blood-filled food!”
“Ambush, hot blood food,” the biggest, their leader thought. Her cold blank eye stared with sadistic pleasure as her jaws snapped open and shut in rapid succession, flashing her glowing razor teeth in an attempt to foment fright that locked lesser fish in paralysis.
“Simple minded,” Jolly thought, watching her circle low and left, attempting to slip behind him. The second, the beta, its tail flicking sand, glided to the right. The three others, the bottom of the pack, hovered behind the boulders, their monotonous minds gurgling, “Hope food come here. Eat soon.”
Jolly’s jaw dropped. The blue luminescence of his dagger teeth glowed neon against the darkening night. He rattled off a machine-gun string of hiccupping giggles.
The alpha thought it was a call of distress and turned her body vertical, her massive tail slapping side to side, thrusting her upward to drive her teeth into Jolly’s belly.
Jolly ignored her last thought, “Prey mine.” Canceling it with simple math, “One down, four to go,” he shot toward the three youngsters who lay hidden, salivating at the prospect of gorging on his flesh. He sensed the shock wave as Slams drove his torpedo body into the alpha’s ribs, rupturing her heart on impact. Back to the right, the beta’s frantic gurgles drew his eye back to see Cragged Face’s razor fin ripping. A blink, then the haif was alone, limp in the water, its innards slopping out through its gaping belly.
“Now three against three,” Jolly thought and cackled as he flashed left of the juvenile spotters’ trap.
The smell of blood and bile, their own blood and bile, a warning to most creatures, sent the haifs’ sickle tails hammering, driving them forward, the ominous deaths of their leaders ignored in their frenzy.
He led them. They chased. Soon they were strung out, the strongest outdistancing the weaker two. Jolly spun, turning from prey to predator. Flashing under his pursuer, he sliced its belly from jaw to tail, then ambled back and nibbled on its liver as it wheezed out its final breaths.