The Most Frightening Animal on Earth

book chapter from Closer To Shore by Michael Capuzzo

Fortunately for everything else that swam, the great white grew slowly. Its body stiffened along three parallel muscles that ran from snout to tail. With the new bulk came a decline in speed, and the shark’s narrow teeth, once ideal for snaring fish, broadened out so that catching small fish grew almost impossible. Adaptation was not difficult. The shark’s size and strength were enormous advantages now, and its speed still remarkable for its size.

Like an infant child, the shark’s head had rapidly achieved adult size, expanding massively. Twenty-six teeth bristled along its top jaw, twenty-four along the bottom jaw. Behind these functional teeth, under the gum, lay successive rows of additional teeth, baby teeth that were softer but quickly grew and calcified. Every two weeks or so, the entire double row of fifty functional teeth simply rolled over the jaw and fell out, and a completely new set of fifty rose in its place. White and new, strong and serrated. Broken or worn teeth were not an issue of the apex predator. Continue reading “The Most Frightening Animal on Earth”

Excerpt from A Tale of Two Cities

Excerpt from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens:

The spectators saw in the two figures, a young lady of little more of little more than twenty, an a gentleman who was evidently her father; a man of a very remarkable appearance in respect of the absolute whiteness of his hair, and a certain indescribably intensity of face: not of an active kind, but pondering and self-communing. When this expression was upon him, he looked as if he were old; but when it was stirred and broken up–as it was now, in a moment, on his speaking to his daughter–he became a handsome man, not past the prime of his life.

His daughter had one of her hands drawn through his arm, as she sat by him, and the other pressed upon it. She had drawn close to him, in her dread of the scene, and in her pity for the prisoner. Her forehead had been strikingly expressive of an engrossing terror and compassion that saw nothing but the peril of the accused. This had been so very noticeable, so very powerfully and naturally shown, that starers who had had no pity for him were touched by her; and the whisper went about: “Who are they?”

Continue reading “Excerpt from A Tale of Two Cities”