The Krakken (also kraken and cracken) is a mythological beast said to terrorize sailors and destroy ships. While this giant cephalopod may be mythological, there’s a decent amount of evidence to suggest it could be a giant squid. We’ve only just started finding these massive beasts in the deep oceans in the past decades. What if the Krakken is actually a real monster and not just myth?
“A Simulation and a Proposition”
By AJ Skelly
I hated Krakken class.
But my mom made me take it anyway. We came from a long line of Krakken Hunters, she said. I had to learn what I was meant to do, she said.
The trouble was, I didn’t want to be in the family business. I didn’t want to grow up and become a Krakken Slayer.
Honestly, I was kind of taken with the little beasties.
I sighed down at the tiny pool at my feet. Magik Prep Academy had one of the best Krakken courses available. We learned everything there was to know about them. I swished my finger in the pool and a baby tentacle wrapped around my finger.
I pried it loose with a gentle tug.
I thought maybe they could be useful. They had hidden talents. Possibly. Maybe they weren’t just mindless killing machines once they reached adulthood.
I sighed again as I went to the simulation studio. It was my turn in the sim today. Everyone in the class had to take turns in the simulations. It was a major part of our training. Today I was bait and Kyle “Krakken Killer” (because everyone needs an alliterated nick name) was the slayer. We nodded to each other.
It didn’t matter that it was all a simulation. My heart pounded every time. The locations and entrapment situations changed with each sim. The magic flicked and I found myself wedged underneath the fallen beams of a ship. My legs were stuck. I couldn’t even wiggle my toes.
“And START!” someone shouted. Magic shimmered again and I was suddenly surrounded by seawater, smoke, and there was a rubbery tentacle flying towards me. I bit back a scream and ducked my head under the fallen mast as the Krakken tentacle missed me by inches, shattering the deck and sending splinters shooting into my hair and embedding a few in my arm.
Gritting my teeth, I looked through the haze, my heart in my throat. Where was Kyle? The wood groaned beneath me and water flooded over my feet. Panic seized me and I desperately tried to kick my feet loose. Even though it was all a magic-induced sim, I would still feel the pain of drowning, or being eaten, or any other number of horrible Krakken-related disasters the sims produced.
The water rode up over my hips.
“Kyle!” I hollered.
A yelp pierced through the smoke and the Krakken shrieked.
Heavily suctioned and swinging with vengeance, a tentacle wrapped around my waist and hauled me skyward, far above the ship.
I cried out as my legs were wrenched from underneath the heavy beams and grunted as one boot came off and nearly took a toe with it.
“Hang on, Eiryn! I’m coming!” Kyle’s call was far below and lost in the frothing sea and columns of smoke.
The Krakken screeched and the rubbery mass around my waist tightened painfully. Barely able to reach my foot, I gripped the little dagger still sheathed in my remaining boot. Yanking it out, I plunged the tiny weapon into the flesh surrounding my middle as it began cutting off my air supply. The blade didn’t do much damage, but the creature loosened its hold enough that I could draw a full breath.
“Kyle!” I shouted again.
I hated being the bait.
But I hated killing the sim Krakkens, too. I wondered if the beasts were inherently evil because all we ever saw them do was take down ships and eat sailors—or did they do that because we blundered into their territory and sailors were tasty?
A scream tore from my lips as the tentacle suddenly released me and I went plummeting.
“Kill it before I hit the water, will you?” I screamed as I plunged through the air. The water raced to meet me, and it was going to hurt like nobody’s business if I smacked into the surface. It might even kill me in the sim, which would mean Kyle would lose his points, too. It would be bad for both of us.
The water was inches from my face, and I covered my head with my arms.
Just as I should have been obliterated on the surface of the sea, I fell heavily onto the rubber mats covering the sim room floor.
My chest was heaving and the stench of burning ash still clung to me.
Kyle was bent over, his hands braced on his knees, breathing hard.
“Sorry, Eiryn. I was right in his beak when the sim opened.” He swiped a hand through his black hair.
“It’s alright.” My voice was weary.
He glanced at me, his eyes blue like deep water.
“You hate the sims, don’t you?” he whispered.
It wasn’t a secret that I didn’t like them, but it wasn’t something I broadcast around. Didn’t want the family name to be sullied with my dislike.
He looked at me, really looked at me.
“Have lunch with me today. I want to talk to you.”
“Alright,” I agreed, curiosity piqued.
I slid my tray next to Kyle’s and swished the purple threads of magic off my chair before sitting.
“So. What did you want to talk to me about?” I asked him as I cracked the seal on my Ambrosia juice.
He finished his bite of kelp salad sandwich and pierced me with a look.
“I want to recruit you.”
My eyebrows shot up my forehead. “Recruit me for what?”
“It’s an experimental thing. There are several of us here on campus and a few professors who have been doing more research into the Krakken as a species. We want to set up a breeding program and breed Krakkens that exhibit certain traits.”
“To what end?”
“To see if we can’t train them to help in rescue missions—retrieve sailors and ships that are in trouble instead of causing the catastrophes. Train them to retrieve artifacts, to go places we can’t with our limitations.”
I was hooked.
“Why do you want me?”
“I’ve seen the way you look in sims when you’re the slayer, the way you handle the baby ones. I think you’re sympathetic, even though your grandfather was the most famous slayer ever to graduate the Academy.”
“Count me in.”
Thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing this with your friends or telling someone about it this week. Let me know in the comments if you want to read more mythologically inspired short stories!
Creative Writing Prompt:
Do you think the Krakken is a real creature, or purely a mythological creature?
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