“The grell is a beast most foul,” the Captain spat. “Its body measures in at 30, 40, sometimes 50 feet, and it is as black as a moonless midnight. They travel in packs of 10s and 20s. I’ve seen up to a hundred together before. The body is one massive muscle. The jaws wide enough to swallow a man whole. The teeth are the size of butcher’s blades, two rows on the top and two rows on the bottom. They’re serrated so that whatever goes in can never come out. And the horrible breath will knock you out in one sniff. But the most deadly part is the long sharp beak it uses to spear its prey. I’ve seen many a boat torn to pieces by the flailing of that nasty beak,” the Captain sighed grimly.
“Then there was the time we was attacked by an angry male,” the Captain said quietly, looking around as if he were afraid a grell might suddenly appear. “Twas a giant known as Long Snout for his unusually large beak. Legend has it he ran that beak through ten men in one blow just to taste the flow of their blood down his monstrous throat. Anyways, we was hunting the smaller ones in the shallows near Kelder’s Bay when the waters began to churn like an angry soup on the fire. The watchman called his warning, but it was too late. Long Snout breached just off the starboard side sending a wall of water crashing into the side of the ship nearly capsizing us. Half the men scrambled below deck. The other half plunged into the deep. Then Long S made his second pass bounding out of the water to land on the bow, snapping a chunk from it with the force of his huge body. Sadly the crew in drink were never seen again. The Captain, a dower old codger, ordered the sails furled. It was a windy day, and the threat of death spurned us on like lighting. We caught the wind quickly, but not before Long S made a third pass.” The Captain’s voice voice sank for a moment, and he cleared his throat. It was clear the memory was causing him distress.
“The next pass was his worse,” he said widened eyes. “His abnormally large nose passed through the side of the boat like toothpick through warm butter. It stuck for a few long moments as he thrashed about sending a handful of men into the water. Then the real damage began. As he torn himself lose, he left a gash halfway down the haul. The saving grace was a self-inflicted wound to his head. A broken board ripped open his thick hide mercifully taking the fight out of him.”
The Captain was quiet for a time. Then he cleared his throat and spat again.
“Twas the day I vowed never to hunt another grell in all me days. I’ve been a lowly but happy bunyie runner ever since. No one never heard of a bunyie taking down a crawler before. Mostly cuz a bunyie’s about the size of a man’s peter.” The Captain laughed at his own joke looking a little more like his old self. “Difficult nights when the memory comes back, to be sure. And the seas have never felt the same since…”