Biologist Kent Fordham scanned the skies from a boat three miles off-shore. Numbers of Red-billed Seagulls were dropping precipitously. Looking through his binoculars, he hoped to see if their migrations routes had changed. He had learned that his colleagues, Pettigrew and Hicks, were conducting similar searches. Curiously, he hadn’t heard from them in weeks.
On his third day of searching, Fordham spotted something unusual. He saw a disturbance in the water, as though some herring had become trapped near the surface by dolphins. Steering towards the disturbance, he realized it wasn’t herring, but two large creatures thirty feet across. They vaguely resembled jellyfish with their mass of tendrils. At the end of each tendril was a fish-shaped lure which the creatures wiggled enticingly.
Predictably, seagulls arrived in droves to feed. As one swooped low over the water, a far thicker tendril erupted from a creature. It encased the the hapless seagull in an instant and pulled the squawking bird into a toothy cavity.
Fordham observed this in shock. This was a creature completely unknown to science! Excitement mounting, he started the boat’s engine and steered directly for the creatures. In his mind he’d already named the creatures, “Fordham’s Hydra.” He leaned over the boat, staring at the complex form of the beasts. A tendril shot out suddenly and enveloped his head. Effortlessly, it heaved him off the boat and into a waiting maw.
The creature turned to its companion and said, “See? Eat enough seagulls and a nice, juicy biologist will arrive shortly!”
Written for Matthew Wright’s weekly Mega Short-Story writing challenge. Look here for the original prompt: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/this-weeks-short-story-challenge-11/