The sea ripped and tore, leaving the shore lacerated and exposed. The sea foamed at the mouth, like a hungry beast yearning for more. The sand rolled over and over, like a restless child in the night. The sea hit the boulders on the shoreline, SPLASH. The water spat at the hard rocks as it recoiled with a hiss.
Soft, faint prints lined the rocky ocean bottom. They appeared, then vanished, then appeared again. Any beast to roam those waters at that time of night would be deemed hysterical.
And perhaps, he was.
His prints lasted mere seconds before becoming erased from history. The angry water covered his tracks with every swipe of the waves. The beast let out a small roar deep under the waves, a roar that would send starfish running. It wasn't his fault that his existence was tied to a shadow. It wasn't his fault that he was built with sharp teeth, long, shaggy hair, and sharp claws. Nor was it his fault that the legends revolved around him as ‘the monster of the deep’.
Was it perhaps his sharp neon eyes, or short-button nose? Was it his ferocious roar or slashing armored tail? Or perhaps was it his home, the Raging Sea itself? Whatever it was, everyone avoided him like a deadly disease or spiky urchin. His howls and yowls remained trapped under the suffocating waves, and his cries were drowned out from the water’s boastful splashing. His whimpers drifted away in the salty breeze, and his squeaks were muffled by the surrounding coral. Everything he did seemed pointless; every sound his huge jaws made was snuffed out like a candle deep in the night. No one from Above ever laid eyes on him, and everyone in The Deep steered clear of his towering figure in the shadows.
But, he wasn't all that mean. The giant furball even had a sensible name, Seymour. He smiled, a large toothy smile, to any creature that he ever laid eyes on, even if just for a fleeting moment. He never fussed when his cave filled with ink from a passing octopus. He never whimpered when things didn't go his way. He never attacked anyone, except the kelp that he ate daily, being vegetarian and all. He was really just a large furry bundle of joy just waiting to be discovered in the ocean depths.
Months went by at a pace slower than a sea slug. Some days, Seymour never saw anyone, but other days, he was lucky to grin at an unsuspecting octopus or a small school of fish.
Days rolled in and out with the tide, and nights seemed to last forever.
Until one night in particular rolled around...
A small glimmer of light, a mere flicker, wandered in the dark cave under the sea. It was a glofish, easily identified by its bright green bottom and floppy antenna. It was no bigger than a clam, and could be trapped by one too. Its fins were minuscule, but he still swam quick enough.
The lost little fish swam deeper into the cave, until his light shone upon something unnatural, almost like hair. Curious, the glofish paddled closer and closer until his light dimly lit up the reddish-brown substance. The glofish, by the name of Marcus, cautiously poked this ‘thing’ with his fins. Nearly instantly, two large glowing eyes peeped open, and Marcus pushed himself backward in shock.
Seymour’s green eyes followed the little flash of light that had woken him up.
"Hullo there, little creature,” Seymour said, in his deep voice, as he flashed his signature grin at the creature. Seymour waited, expecting the little guy to scuttle way back where he came from. Several heartbeats later, the creature remained, in shock.
Excitedly, Seymour spoke up in his low, thunderous voice.
“My name’s Seymour, what’s yours little guy?” he asked.
“M-my name’s Marcus, p-please don’t eat me, Mr. Seymour sir…” the poor fish said as he trembled fiercely.
“Why would I want to eat you, Marcus? I love little creatures like you! In fact, I wish I had a bottom just like yours, it's so pretty!" Seymour said as he sniffed the little glofish.
“I-I...really? Y-you like m-my shiny bottom?” Marcus stuttered, as he flashed his green bottom by Seymour’s corresponding eyes.
“Yes! Of course! Any creature would be crazy to say that your bottom isn’t pretty. Now, come, my new friend! Tell me about yourself! Why don’t we go for a little swim, you and I?” Seymour asked, being as friendly as possible.
“Uh...sure, I see no harm in that…” Marcus said cautiously.
“Great! Let’s get going then!” Seymour said, as his armored tail swished the sand in his cave. Marcus’ light twitched; he was slightly annoyed at how energetic this Seymour fella was.
Seymour thumped out of his cave, and the tentative Marcus followed close, but not too close.
“So, little Marcus, tell me about yourself! Where have you been? Where’s your family? Ooh, how many friends do you have? Where do you live?” The questions flowed out of Seymour’s large mouth as he walked along the ocean bottom.
“Woah, slow down. I’ve been to lots of places from the surface to the deepest of the deep...uh let’s see...my family is really large, about thirty members...and uh I don’t have many friends actually…”
“Aw, why don’t you have many friends, Marcus?” Seymour asked, his giant green eyes filled with compassion and worry.
“Oh, no reason...it’s just a flaw of mine…” he replied as he drifted close to the giant.
“Well, people shouldn't not like you because of a flaw that you have! Everyone is made differently, I mean look at me compared to you! I’m gigantic with teeth and hair, but you’re a fish and teeny tiny. We’re all made specially, and true friends would love you for who you are, the real you,” Seymour said, with a hop in his step.
Marcus remained silent as he dwelled on Seymour’s wise words.
“You know what? You’re absolutely positively correct, true friends would love you for who you are. Thanks for opening my eyes to that truth, Mr. Seymour,” Marcus said, as he fluttered closer to Seymour.
“Oh please, just Seymour is fine, Marcus.”
“Okay, Just Seymour it is,” Marcus said with a small grin.
“Oh you silly!” Seymour’s reddish-brown hair flowed behind him as they moved onward.
A sudden blackness seemed to fall over them, an all too familiar kind of blackness…
“OCTOPUS SWARM!” Seymour yelled as the inky dark moved in. In a frantic rush, Marcus spun around, his light flickering and fading, searching for the green eyes of the giant.
“Seymour! Where’d you go, pal?” Marcus shouted hopelessly into the infringing black.
“Marcus! Come back, buddy! I’m over here…” Their voices were drowned out in the thick fog all around them. The inky spray began to settle down to the ocean bottom, but never fading completely. The two frantic searchers parted ways mistakenly, Marcus going right, and Seymour going left.
The hairy giant searched long and hard, but to no avail.
“That’s great. Just great. I’ve finally made a friend, and then we just have to get separated from each other by a stupid octo-storm. What luck,” he mumbled to himself as he moved coral aside to search.
The darkness clung to Marcus like a million tiny sucker fish clinging to a shark or whale.
He had never felt so lost and alone in his whole four years of life. He wrestled with the dark as he swam and jerked to escape its firm grip.
Suddenly, Marcus felt an eerie presence directly behind him. The creature was huge, maybe even larger than Seymour himself. Trembling terribly, Marcus spun around to confront the beast. It reeked of blood, its belly full of some unsuspecting animal. Marcus squeezed his eyes shut and flicked his light off.
“Seymourrrrrrrrrrrr!” he shrieked with all his might.
Seymour’s ears perked up at the tiny squeal of the glofish echoing in the water.
“I’m coming little buddy, hang in there!” he shouted back. He ran, as fast as his short legs would allow, to the fish in distress.
Marcus curled up into a ball, shaking all the way.
The shark opened its horrific jaws, and Marcus was sure he was to be the shark’s dessert. He prepared to be crushed to death, to be impaled, to be pierced, to be swallowed...
But the moment never came.
Marcus broke his ball of comfort and glanced upward.
Seymour, using his momentum to his advantage, became a giant ball of fury as he jumped up and crashed into the shark, sending him spinning sideways. Momentarily shaken, the shark swam back to the giant that knocked him down. His beady black eyes gazed balls of anger upon Seymour, as the shark prepared for another attack.
SWOOSH, went his fins as he sliced the water silently. His jaws opened up to reveal his rows of sharp white teeth, and he dove straight towards Seymour.
“SEYMOUR! WATCH OUT!” Marcus yelled at his friendly giant. Seymour faced the great white shark and put on his best scowl as he braced for impact. Nostrils flaring, the shark approached, angry as the sea itself. Seymour and the beast collided with an unnerving CRASH.
Fang against fang, the two battled. They bit and scratched, locked in a vengeful dance-like fight.
Seymour’s giant padded paws kicked the shark downward, but the shark bit back in return, extracting a yelp from the furball. He bit the shark’s tail, and tried to swim away, but his newly injured leg would not have it. The blood from his leg drifted into the ocean water, obviously attracting the interest of the shark. He swam around the helpless Seymour, and just as he was about to lunge for the kill, two massive killer whales stopped him in his tracks. They pierced the water with their cries and calls, and the troubled shark swam away, his blood from his tail leaking out. The two heroes swam after the beast, flicking their tails in goodbye.
“Sharks and scales, that was way too close!” Marcus exclaimed. “I’m glad he didn’t thrash you to pieces! Let’s head back to your cave and check out that wound of yours.”
Seymour huffed and puffed, thoroughly exhausted from his rush with the shark. He laid down on the sandy ocean floor as he gained his breath back.
“Go on without me, I’ll survive…” He waited until the little fish left before he added, “I think…”
He laid his furry head down and closed his eyes. Oh how good it felt to just lay there as the soft waves played with his fur!
He let out a shaky breath, and it was the last one that he ever did let out.
“Come on dad! We’re going to be late for the light show!” the little glofish exclaimed.
“Alright, alright, I’m coming.”
They joined their family and friends around the stone clump. The green light drifted from their bottoms as they paid respects to the stoney giant, the friend of Marcus, the lover of all. It’s been a whole year without the sea monster’s grins or his shadow bounding across the sea floor. Marcus learned so much from Seymour. He learned to care for others, no matter how scary or hairy they may be on the outside. He learned to smile more, learned to savor the small moments.
So, next time, when the fireflies glow brightly, and the sea breeze whips your hair wildly, just think of Seymour, the friendly giant under the sea.