I, the great explorer Benjamin Weird, have discovered a new species! (Or I believe I have. I am not all that learned in biology. They did give me a manual of all discovered flora and fauna, but even on this long voyage I have been to lazy to do more than skim. The book is nearly too heavy to lift anyway.) Let me begin to describe this species. The first quality of interest is that this species seems to have no bones, much like an octopus. When we first pulled it out of the sea I thought we had run into a bad patch of seaweed, it was so entangled around the lobster crates. Out of water it flops around the deck like a wet blanket. It is doing so as I write. Of size, it is quite large. Nearly the size of one of the dinghies. It is a glossy pink colour. Almost overtly vibrant. Like a flamingo, but more offensive. At present it is pushing itself along the deck in a wiggling motion, like that of a wave. I have not gotten a clear view of its undersides yet, but from the scratches it is leaving on the wood panels of the deck I believe it to have some form of suction or spines, else it must be propelled along by teeth alone. Though we pulled it from the depths when hoisting up our lobster crates it seems to be surviving just fine in air, although it must be a little surprised at being amphibious as it is making strange mewling sounds. Like a kitten crossed with a turkey. My first mate Zenda Higgins insists that its sounds resemble more closely the shriek of metal on metal and have a darker undertone. If they do, I cannot hear it. She would very much like me to order the thing off my ship, but I have desisted: I need to make a scientific sketch after all, and drawing from a reference is so much more reliable. (Besides, I am a little afraid to approach this creature. I don't know how it will respond to a bunch of sailors trying to prod it off the ship, if it will respond at all. None of us have touched it since the we pulled it from the deep. Our lobster crates must be crushed beneath it by now.) The skin of the creature has a rubbery sheen to it. Its edges lose colour so that they become almost transparent. I can see no eyes, though it is covered in many crystal-like protrusions that perhaps are sensitive to wave currents. Or perhaps these protrusions act as an armour, or change colour to attract a mate. I can't make out a mouth either. (In the name of scientific discovery I should probably skewer it and turn it over and dissect it. Can't say I've really been a fan of that method though. Especially when the creature looks more likely to strangle me than I am to kill it.) The creature is now attempting to wrap itself around the main mast. I am not sure why. Perhaps the mast is similar to underwater rock formations, or perhaps a parental appendage. Though the creature is so gooey that I doubt it contains any such appendage. Zenda is quite frightened that it will uproot our mast. Perhaps she is right. This creature is beginning to make me uneasy. I wish I had discovered a new type of shrew instead. But, I must be valiant. I am captain, and as captain I must lead this charge.

Two crew members down, unfortunately. We shall all greatly miss them. I will forever be haunted by that beast's roars. Yes, it is a beast! Though a very strange one. Most beasts at least have the courtesy to show they are beasts by being covered by mangy fur, or by drooling. I gave the order to prod the creature off our ship. The crew all grabbed their swords and circled the creature, which paid us little head. I poked it first. My sword tip pressed in like a knife on gelatin before finally piercing the beast's hide. It let out an agonizing shriek and began to flail, leaking as it did a horrible pink blood all over the deck. It was quite a voracious bleeder. It reared away from the mast and began to thrash outward. Its underside was a dark moist red and covered with thin white spines that I have little doubt were teeth. (It must eat by wrapping its prey, like a carnivorous plant. I am curious as to how it expels waste, though I am sure the answer would repulse me.) Johanana was closest to the beast, and it caught her as it swung around. Seeing how its sharp teeth had destroyed the deck it was little surprise when Johanana's soft skin was easily shredded. I hope her death was quick. Mnidi screamed when Johanana was hit. He rushed the creature in a feat of dumb bravery that unfortunately cost him his life: he was crushed underneath the creature as it swarmed toward the railing and hauled itself over. It sunk below the waves quickly and disappeared from view surprisingly fast for something of that colour. Our mast is still intact, and we will honor our dead tonight. The gloss of the deck is quite ruined. We have managed to scrub away most of the pink blood and what remained of our crushed lobsters and crates. As far as I can tell, this beast is a danger to all that encounter it. To warn other sailors of this beast's existence I have drawn its image on my map. We are in the south sea, so it is there at our latitude and longitude I drew the image. I tried as best I could to capture it's rippling form, but my drawing looks like an uprooted and slightly squashed heart shape turned upside-down with a flattish top. I have never been the best at small drawings, so unfortunately my drawing on the map looks like a small land mass. I hope that by labelling this creature other captains will not sail into this sea looking for land. I shall name this creature after the famed pirate who sunk many a sad sailing ship, Australi Auralis. (My grandmother was on a ship attacked by Australi Auralis. It was the last time she sailed as an honorable sailor.) I shall call this beast The Australia.

May 12, 2020 00:55

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