It had started much like any other day. Rolan loaded the nets on the boat and waited, as usual, for his brother to arrive at the boat. The sea was calm and the morning warm, and there was just a hint of feathery cloud as the sun began to ting the horizon.
“Get a move on,” Rolan bellowed at Kiffer as the latter appeared on the jetty still pulling his jerkin on.
“Sorry,” Kiffer said as a matter of course. “Lily slowed me up.”
Rolan knew that it was probably true as Kiffer was still a newlywed, but scolded his brother nonetheless. “Let her hold you up on your own time, those fish won’t wait all day for us.”
Soon the pair had cast off and were making good time to their usual fishing ground.
When they arrived they set their nets and opened the breakfast basket. Winnie, Rolan’s wife had made-up some biscuits and boiled eggs for them, and their was a bit of a surprise that there was cold mutton from the night before’s dinner in the basket as well.
“Good omen, I’ll tell you,” Rolan said as he placed a slice of meat on a biscuit.
“Well, good eating anyway,” Kiffer said dropping some shell overboard and popping an egg into his mouth.
The boat made a sudden jerk, and then settled.
“Net’s snagged,” Rolan said as he got up and began to haul in the guide cable. Kiffer joined him and the net came up easily. There was a decent catch in it, but not enough to have jolted the boat. The catch was dumped into the hold, and the net inspected. No sign of damage was detected, and so it was lowered again.
“Funny,” Kiffer observed.
“Didn’t you notice that there was no birds?” Kiffer asked.
“Didn’t think anything of it, but is odd,” Rolan said thoughtfully.
As he spoke a huge looming form crossed under the boat causing the boat to lift in its wake.
“What in the spirit’s . . . .” Rolan began only to trail off as a huge head broke the surface.
The apparition gazed at the boat for a moment an then dived. The brothers were knocked to the deck by the force of their net being caught in the beast’s jaws and the dentire boat began to be towed into deeper waters.
It was then that Kiffer had the presence of mind to cut the net cables freeing the boat from its seaward course. The brothers quickly took to the oars and beat a retreat shoreward. After what seemed an eternity, they beached themselves some three miles from their harbour.
“They will never believe a word of this,” Rolan said.
“I’m not too sure of that,” his brother retorted pointing to an eight-foot-long gouge along their larboard and the nearly footlong piece of broken talon embedded in the wood.