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Public Enemy Number One?

The Shark Arm Murders From Another Perspective

By Emily Marie ConcannonPublished 7 months ago Updated 7 months ago 5 min read
Public Enemy Number One?
Photo by Arun Sahadevan on Unsplash

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Apostle Paul

There was blood strewn all over the walls of the tank. The scene was somewhat nullified by the presence of salt water and fish. But, it was clear something terrifying happened here.

Officer Hanson responded to a message about a human limb coughed up by a massive shark. According to the owner of the aquarium, the shark was acting lethargic lately and just floated along the bottom of the tank.

"I assumed it was just unhappy to be here," he told the officers with a small shrug. Office Hanson eyed the man closely before removing his sunglasses. Whenever he studied a suspect, he wore his glasses so they wouldn't feel his eyes boring through their skin.

The man's skinny arms dangled out of his thin tank top, which was covered in fish guts and blood. The man claimed it was just blood from fish he gutted to feed his pets, but Hanson wasn't so sure.

But if he killed the victim, why would he call the police while wearing a shirt covered in their blood? It's possible he's just an idiot.

"Give me your shirt," he stated firmly.

"What?" the owner exclaimed. "Man, I'm a poor dude. I need my clothes."

"Look, you just called us to report a shark coughing up someone's limb," Hanson started to spell out the truth to the guy. "I get here, and you're wearing a shirt covered in blood. Seems a little ironic."

"C'mon, I ain't that stupid," the guy argued defensively.

"Then give me your shirt and shut up," Hanson ordered and held his hand out impatiently.

Sighing, the man pulled off his shirt and placed it into the officer's gloved hand. With an angry glare, the aquarium owner marched away, ashamed of his exposed, scrawny body.

Hanson then returned to the strange crime scene. The shark was dead on the drained aquarium floor with the victim's arm lying beside it. Hanson stared at the beast with disgust.

Those beasts are some of the worst in the seas. Public enemy number one.

"Sir, I don't believe the shark killed the man," the young coroner, Steven Tratchton, told him. Hanson glanced at the man with disbelief.

"Really?" he asked sarcastically. "So, you don't think an apex predator can kill a guy?"

"No," Steven answered in a shaky voice. "It's just, I don't think it killed this man. Seems like the man was dead before the shark ate him."

"Go on," Hanson answered.

"Seems like his blood clotting on the arm indicated it not flowing when the arm was cut off," Steven continued with more confidence. "This indicated the body which the arm was once attached to was dead."

"So you think someone cut this body up?"

"There's no indication that the arm was cut with a knife," Steven concluded. "I think the body was dumped in the ocean, and this shark found it and did what sharks do."

"Did you read in the papers about the judge's son?" Hanson asked, confusing Steven.

"No, I haven't," Steven answered, confusion creasing the young man's face.

"Tommy, Judge Carlson's ten-year-old son, was attacked by a shark three months ago," Hanson explained. "Ever since, hunters have been having a field day, like our aquarium owner here."


"And, the judge and the whole prosecutor's office won't treat this as a murder," Hanson explained, running his hand through his thinning hair. "This will simply fuel the hatred for sharks in the area."

"Should we call a marine biologist?" Steven asked. "I mean, I'm sure he was dead before hand...."

"How sure are you?"

"I mean-"

"Stop it!" Hanson shouted angrily. "You can't second guess the verdicts you give. If you can't confidently say that this man was murdered, then I'm just gonna rule it a shark attack."

"Okay," Steven stammered timidly. "I don't know for sure."

"Fine, it was a shark attack," Hanson almost spat at the young man. As the officer stormed out of the aquarium, he threw the owner's shirt down on the tank and left.

Steven was left alone in the room with only the curious fish watching him.

"They're blaming the shark?" one of the goldfish asked his companion.

"Yeah, seems like the easiest conclusion," his buddy answered.

"But we saw the feeder," the goldfish told the other. "The feeder dumped the body, giving it to the shark. Why can't the man see it?"

"Because sharks are the easiest ones to blame," the other sighed. "They always find some other monster to blame for their wickedness."

"Do you think humans believe their own lies?"

"I don't think it matters to them," his buddy answered. "I think they only care about how all the other people see them. They just want every other person to see them as a good guy."

"They can't see the truth, just what they want to see," the other fish sighed.

The fish resumed their swimming. Humans were always so strange to them. While sharks were terrifying creatures, humans were the scariest monsters they'd ever seen.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Apostle Paul


Hey everyone! Thank you so much for checking out this story. It came to me as soon as I saw the prompt.

I based it off the Shark arm murders of the early 1900s in Australia. Reportedly, a shark in an aquarium vomited up the arm of a man. There was some hot debate over whether the man was murdered or simply the victim of a shark attack.

Turns out, the man was murdered. He was a member of a local gang. However, before the trial, one of the key witnesses was assassinated. The murderer could never be held on trial.

You can read about the murder here:,a%20murder%20investigation%20and%20trial.

Or, watch the Casual Criminalist's video on YouTube:

This story made me think about how humans can be real monsters to one another and try to pin it on a beast. I also wanted to highlight how something like the corruption of justice and personal vendettas can impact an investigation.

Please leave some love if you enjoyed it :)


About the Creator

Emily Marie Concannon

I am a world nomad with a passion for vegan food, history, coffee, and equality.

You can find my first novel on Kindle Vella here: :) I appreciate all your support and engagement! :)

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (9)

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  • Caroline Jane7 months ago

    Really interesting take on the challenge. I enjoyed this... adored the opening, properly reeled me in!

  • U.Rdiya7 months ago

    Beautiful. well written!!

  • sleepy drafts7 months ago

    I absolutely love the perspective of this story! There are so many layers to explore and enjoy in this. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this piece!

  • Nate Dillon7 months ago

    That was fun thanks!

  • Cathy holmes7 months ago

    great story, really interesting.

  • Heather Hubler7 months ago

    I loved how you switched perspectives and based it off some real life events. So cool! Great story :)

  • Mark Crouch7 months ago

    Loved it and thought the addition of scripture was a beautiful touch.

  • Great tale and as it's new you might hit a top story

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