Under the surface of the water, hidden below the riverbank, the predator could smell the insects, the vibrations from their struggle to escape. To live.
More signals filtered across his snout. The competition was feeding.
Their sudden lunge swept energy waves across him. Each pulse enticed the chemical release within him.
Caution prevailed over his actions. He had lived to be the strong.
Others fell to the dangers of his world where 360 degrees hid peril. Jeopardy and death held the same meaning here.
Nothing in his world needed anything from him, but his flesh. Caution, knowledge, skill, kept him alive.
But to eat. He needed one thing in his world. The flesh of another.
The insects pulsed their death dance.
One more competitor left the bank. His caution had missed yet another meal. Conflicting thoughts raced back and forth across judgment.
The victim struggled, the signals were clear. It could be killed and its flesh would become his. Still he waited. Death intertwined with opportunity each and every time he left his safe place.
But was he not the strong? He lived and he killed all who had crossed before him. Never had he been wrong, never had he been preyed upon and lost. He had only been victorious.
The chemicals infused his muscles and swelled the flesh, his flesh born from the flesh of weaker things. He wielded the power of a thousand victims, all given alliance unwilling to him, their master now.
A fish broke away toward the sound. He too broke into a frantic struggle to win the flesh of another. To race, to not deviate from the one-mindedness of a single purpose.
The flesh of another before it was taken by his competitor, lost, and thus weakened by the same degree his opponent would strengthen.
To lose is to lose his power. Power keeps him alive. Power, more and more power over others. So he would eat the flesh of others.
Ahead he could see his rival ramping toward the sound of the prey. He burst forward using all his focus and his strength to capture, to overpower his rival.
Wound up like a spring, the rockets fired and he traveled warp speed toward the prey, past his competitor, to take the flesh, to gain in the same sum that his rival would weaken. To win.
The man fired his bow; predator became prey, victim to his pride in the last second of life.