Baja believed in Megalodons like she believed in Jesus Christ; after all, one lurked in her pallid, Sapphic waters. She kept her head in the southern waters, a compulsion brought on by fear. The other cities sat, land-locked and said, “My love, you have nothing to worry about.”

Still, she kept her shores clamped shut, her knee-caps locked like a Catholic nun. The monster would not reclaim her to the sea as it had many fisherman and travelers over the years. And the apostate had the nerve to call the demon a legend.

That’s what the spectators and skeptics referred to it as–the Black Demon. Baja had no patience for the doubting Thomases masquerading as allies. She was a disciple of truth, for a peninsula knows her ocean as a prince knows peace; cautiously. Any bout of peace brings war in the morning, and no amount of doubt could wash the blood stains from her sand.

**

The cryptid appeared to Baja one night, a lone flame in her watery briars. Baja did not fear the giant shark as she always suspected she might. The blackness approached her timidly. Up close, its scales shone like obsidian. Her shadow trapped her, but her eyes shone in the moonlight, her teeth, a damaged gate hidden beneath an elusive smile.

Baja trembled against the water, pushing the briny deeps closer to the shark’s mouth. It was not received as a killer wave, but a tall drink of water to which the shark replied, “Fear not. I’ve learned to brave the salt. Alone.”

She approached Baja’s seaboard and nuzzled her like a cat. The black matrix of flesh found home among the diamond colored beach. The shark’s coloration was a gift, a beauty in the eyes of the coast.

“I’ve watched you from a distance,” said the shark. “I’ve wanted to make your acquaintance.”

Baja couldn’t help but ask, “What of the fisherman you’ve hurt?”

The shark looked hurt. “They are men. Men attack those they see as animals first.” She went on to tell Baja how she would never hurt another unprovoked, but she is alone, the last of her species floating among the tides.

“Men cannot handle the sight of me,” said the shark. “I hear what they call me: The Black Demon. They are asleep to the realities of the ocean floor.”

Baja could understand that. “I am land. They see me as something to be claimed.”

The shark laid its fin on Baja’s mounds, a graphite rider tenderly embracing the sand of the steed. “We could be together,” said the shark. “We could be each other’s God.”

The foreland rose above the shallows and fell to only her knees in the ocean. Baja spilled herself into the shark, the onyx beauty. Together, they became the rare faith, a monstrous beauty of love. Baja had no more use for Jesus or fisherman. She took the captain’s wheel and steered herself to her lover. It was in the Megalodon she found the meaning of creed.

Anastasia Jill is a queer poet, fiction writer, and aspiring filmmaker. Her work has been published or is upcoming with Poets.org, Lunch Ticket, FIVE:2:ONE, Ambit Magazine, apt, Into the Void Magazine, 2River, Gertrude Press, and more.

Photo by Syd Sujuaan on Unsplash

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