“Leg Shark,” by Maxwell Shepherd

Apr 20th, 2023 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

A fire cracked in a small cottage amid the trees of a green forest. Chet sat on a sofa reading the novelization of Jaws: The Revenge in front of the fireplace. His roommate, Benjamin, approached.

“Want to go for a stroll down the walking path?” Benjamin asked of Chet.

“A stroll? You dipshit, you know I’m deathly afraid of sharks,” Chet said.

“What? But we’re on land, how could there be a shark?” Benjamin said.

Chet thought about it for a moment before conceding, “Yeah, yeah I guess you’re right. Let’s do it.” He closed his book and hopped off the couch.


Thirty minutes later the two strode abreast down the pleasant, well-traveled path which wound in a loop through the lush woods.

“You know you were totally right,” said Chet. “There was no reason to be afraid of sharks out here. Look around us, not an ounce of water. Not even a drop!”

Benjamin nodded, “Yeah, this drought’s pretty bad. Climate change is like, slowly killing the world.”

Echoing down the path came the distinct pattering of jogging feet. Distant, but growing closer.

“To the side of path, Benjamin, let’s allow the jogger through,” Chet said.

They both cleared some space for the runner to pass by them and looked down the path waiting for them to round a corner of thick forest. But what rounded the corner was no jogger. Or, technically it was, because it was jogging. But it was no human jogger. No, instead it was a 25-foot great white shark. The massive white shark was propelled swiftly down the path on two very toned human legs clad in running shorts and Nike sneakers. Both of their eyes grew wide with terror. Chet’s darkest dreams had come to pass.

“Benjamin! It’s finally happened! The day has come! We must flee!” Chet shouted.

He turned and ran down the path, gripped in a wild horror and screaming a high-pitched scream the whole way. Benjamin ducked into a thicket which the shark’s giant body would be unable to access.

“Chet, no, you’ll never outrun it on land, follow me!” he shouted at his roommate.

Chet couldn’t hear him. Because of the screaming, you see.

The leg shark pursued, feet pattering against the ground at a quicker and quicker pace until it was sprinting—closing in on its prey. Chet looked back in time to see the abyssal maw of the leg shark stretch open and close around his hip and thigh.

“Ahhh fuck!” he screamed. “Aahhh fuck this fucking leg shark aaaahhhhh!” Oh, did he scream.

Blood poured from the bite wound and the leg shark began rearing up and slamming Chet against the ground and swinging him into trees alongside the path. His ribs were reduced to dust and his spine wound up coming out of the top of his head. Brains and bits of skull wound up in the high branches of the trees and were eaten by birds or used to help construct their nests. His limbs snapped in thousands of places. His whole torso rotated 720 degrees launching his organs in a tornado of viscera. Several times he was flung as high as fifty feet into the air and then when he was about to hit the ground the leg shark would swat him with its tail. It approached and kicked Chet’s dead “body” before it ripped off his legs and devoured them.

Benjamin heard the infernal screaming of his friend and the thumping of his body being flung like a ragdoll into hard surfaces again and again. He was also forced to endure the tearing of flesh as the leg shark began feasting upon its fresh kill. He dared not move, all he could do was cover his ears and pray. Pray to whatever God it was that fought leg sharks.


A day later he was found wallowing in his own poops and pees, still cowering in the thick woods. The police had come after an elderly couple on a walk found Chet’s body and called to report it. And then were also killed and eaten by the leg shark.

Benjamin was taken to the hospital where he was visited by Detective Bill Nicholson who looked and spoke exactly like Jack Nicholson but was not related to the thespian by blood nor marriage and in fact the two had never even met. Though they would meet one day when Bill gets wrapped up in a kidnapping plot in which he is enlisted to pretend to be Jack Nicholson on the set of a blockbuster film in order keep up appearances to prevent the studio from torpedoing the movie after the real Jack Nicholson is abducted by white nationalists. It’s quite the story, it really is.

Nicholson stood at Benjamin’s bedside. Benjamin sat looking at his smart phone, apathetic to the presence of the police officer.

“So, can you describe to me exactly what happened?” Nicholson asked.

“We were out for a walk and this fucking…” Benjamin paused, thought for a moment, then shrugged, “shark with legs ran out and killed him.”

“A shark with legs?”

“That’s right, yeah, that’s what I said,” Benjamin nodded.

“What kind of sh—”

“Great white.”

“Oh, well of course. And, uh, how big was it?”

“Twenty-five foot, probably about three tons of him.”

“Uh huh,” Nicholson jotted something down in his notebook, seemingly a note regarding what Benjamin had just said, but actually was a doodle of a turkey with a wiener.

“And the legs, uh, what kind of legs were they? Was it bipedal? Was it quadrupedal? Were they like a crocodile’s legs, a bear’s leg’s, a horse’s legs, a cheetah’s legs, a crab’s legs, a bird’s legs, a penguin’s legs? Were they like a penguin’s legs? People don’t realize they have legs, but they do, lemme tell ya…”

“Just regular human legs. It liked Nikes if that helps,” said Benjamin.

“Well Christ, Mr. Benjamin… based on what you’ve told me here today I’d have to conclude that what we have on our hands in this fair little burgh of ours is a motherfucking leg shark.”

“A leg shark indeed!” A heretofore unheard voice erupted from the doorway.

Benjamin and Nicholson looked to see the owner of the voice; it was Jane Wackman. Former Olympian and current legless leg shark vigilante.

“Who the fuck are you?” asked Nicholson.

“My name is Jane Wackman, former gold medal winning figure skater. I was the best of the best at figure skating until my legs were bitten off by a leg shark during the 2014 winter Olympics.”

“Oh, I remember that,” Ben said. “I saw it on the news. You were doing pretty good. Until that shark skated over and uh… ripped your… ripped your legs off…”

“I was doing better than good, I was doing fucking rad. Until, as you said, that shark ripped my legs off. And since that day I decided if I couldn’t be the best at skating with legs, I would be the best at killin’ leg sharks without em’.”

“It’s nice to have that out of the way,” Bill said.

“Detective!” Jane continued. “You need to cancel every leg-oriented event in town. Squat competitions, soccer matches, Taekwondo tournaments, the leg juggling classes at the jugglers academy… literally anything involving legs.”

“What?” Bill said, incredulous. “Do you have any idea how much manpower I would need to pull something like that off? This community has one hundred and forty-six taekwondo tournaments scheduled for this week alone.”


Elsewhere that day at the squat competition and expo at the local gym. A competitor with crazy big legs struggled on stage under over a thousand pounds of weight on a barbell he held across his shoulders, shaking, and sweating and groaning like he was deucing a sizable baked potato hot out of the oven. Finally, he stood up all the way; his massive and powerful legs propelled him to victory. Fuck you, gravity. Fuck you… metal bars with metal plates on them. You’re not the boss of me no matter what you say, he thought. He allowed the weight to fall behind him where it crashed to the ground with a loud crashing noise.

“Oranges!” he shouted in triumph; the crowd went wild.

He exited the stage and was replaced by a Master of Squatting Ceremonies whose legs were similarly bulbous and engorged with muscles upon muscles. Each one of his legs was, in fact, as large as his entire upper body. His hair was spiked and had FROSTED TIPS and we wore sunglasses and a skintight tank top – the kind that Jean Claude Van Damme wore in Kickboxer. He spoke to the crowd through a headset microphone while making EMPHATIC hand gestures.

“Alright alright alright, let’s give it up for Leggert McSquatington! Coming up next, we’ve got Big Legs O’Brien but first—what makes a good squat?” The crowd was silent. “Legs,” he said. The crowd all nodded and gave a collective “ahhh” of comprehension. “I know as well as anyone as a six-time power squat world champ—to squat in the world of squatting, if you ain’t got legs, you ain’t got… nothin’. Name me one legless squatting champion? You can’t. Is it because people who don’t have legs are worse than people who do have legs? Yeah. But it also comes down to something else. It also comes down to the muscles in your legs. How many muscles you have and how big they are. You got more leg muscles than the other guy, you got better legs, you got better legs you got better squats, you leg better squat legs you see what I’m say—”

His legs were bitten off by the leg shark. He fell onto his back.

“My legs are gone!” he screamed as the blood shooting out of his leg stumps propelled him across the floor and off the stage.

The leg shark hopped into the throng and began to massacre everyone in sight. It bit off heads, arms, hands, fingers, wrists, and ears. But mostly legs. The leg meat is what sustained it.


Jane, Bill and Benjamin all sat in the latter’s hospital room watching the bloodbath as it was broadcast on local news.

“Called it!” said Jane, pointing at the screen.

The news anchor held her finger to her ear and frenziedly described the scene to a shaking camera. The leg shark ran to and fro, into and out of frame in the background, throwing body parts through the air, swatting people with its tail, ripping and flinging body parts this way and that and gorging on legs.

“Ladies and gentlemen, here at the one hundred and eighty-ninth annual squat competition all hell broke loose when a shark—that’s right, a shark—burst from backstage and began brutally murdering attendees.”

The leg shark grasped Big Legs O’Brien in its jaws and shook him like a dog with a squirrel. A squirrel that had totally jacked legs. O’Brien became an omnidirectional spatter of guts and limbs. Some intestines landed across the anchor’s shoulders. She continued her report unperturbed.

“If you’re asking yourself how a shark is doing this on land, well folks, this shark seems to have what appears to be a pair of small—but quite toned—human like le—”

The anchors entire torso was bitten off by the leg shark. The camera dropped to the ground and continued filming the havoc.

“Saddle up, dick turkeys, it’s time to ride!” Jane shouted before wheeling herself from the room and down the halls of the hospital, screaming, “Vengeance will be mine!”

Bill turned to Benjamin, “You’re just a dude so there’s really no reason for you to come along.”

“No reason?” Benjamin scoffed, “This goddamn thing killed my roommate of six weeks. You think I’m the kind of person who lets that shit slide?”

“Well, I know next to nothing about you, so…”

Benjamin threw off the covers and climbed out of bed, clad only in a hospital gown, he looked Bill dead in the eyes, “I’m… not.”

“Alright… do you want to put some clothes on first?”

“I… don’t.”


Not long after, Jane wheeled herself across the blood-stained ground, surveying the carnage at what was once the Squat Competition but was now like, the Being Dead with No Legs… competition?

“My God.” she said.

Bill pulled up behind her and got out of his car followed by Benjamin still in his hospital gown.

“Looks like these fellas popped their last squats.” Bill said.

“What? Oh, because they’re all dead. Yeah, I get it,” Benjamin responded.

“I warned you, goddamnit, but you wouldn’t listen to me,” said Jane.

“Well, I’m listening to you now,” said Bill. “What do we have to do to make sure this leg shark doesn’t go on a second killingspr—”

Benjamin interrupted, “I’m seeing on my twitter feed that the leg shark wiped out the high-schools river dancing club. Ninety-two fatalities.”

“What do we have to do to make sure this leg shark doesn’t go on a third—”

“Leg shark just seen murdering a group of elderly speed walkers at the park.”

Bill sighed and shook his head, “A fourth—”

“One hundred and fourteen people dead after the leg shark wiped out the international hacky sack championship at the—”


“You two need to get your shit together and listen to me,” Jane said.

“My shit’s been together, bro,” Benjamin shrugged and went back to his tweetings and Instantgramms.

“I have a plan to stop this thing, but I’m going to need help,” Jane said.

“What do you need me to do?” Bill asked.


A dump truck full of severed legs backed up slowly to the edge of a local outdoor swimming pool resting in the backyard of Mary and James Mansfeld. The loud BEEPs of the trucks back-up alarm echoed rhythmically as Bill signaled to the driver via their side mirror. The Mansfelds watched in slack-jawed horror.

Bill turned to the couple. “I’m sorry we had to commandeer your pool folks, we’ll have this wrapped up soon I promise.” He nodded and smiled. The couple simply stared open mouthed.

Benjamin filmed the scene with his phone then turned it toward himself, “That’s a fucking dump truck full of legs, bro. I have had the weirdest weekend,” he said to the camera.

“What are you doing?” Jane asked from near the pool.

“It’s TikTok.”

“It’s what?!”

“It’s TikTok—”

“Dick. Cock?”

“What, no—”

“Why are you still wearing that gown, your balls have been flapping in the wind all day.”

Benjamin was indeed still wearing the gown. He didn’t know how to respond. He turned back to his phone.

Bill held up his fist and shouted, “Hold it! Hold it!” The truck came to a halt at the edge of the pool. “Alright,” he shrugged, “…dump those fucking legs in there.”

The truck followed his command and poured the massive quantity of bloody corpse legs into the pool until it was filled almost to the top. Bill walked over and joined the other two.

“This plan of yours better work, I’ve got a lot of bereaved family members asking me a lot of questions right now about the whereabouts of their deceased loved one’s body parts.”

“Don’t worry detective,” Jane said. “It may take hours, it may take days, but sooner or later that leg shark is going to—oh shit, oh it’s killing the Mansfelds,” she pointed.

Everyone looked to see that, yes, it was indeed killing the Mansfelds, with Mary already dead and James being held horizontally in the beast’s jaws shouting as it bashed his head against the side of the house repeatedly until his skull just sort of exploded like a big grape.

“Well shit,” Bill said.

It tossed the corpse aside and sniffed at the air, finally homing in on the smell of the sweet, sweet legs. It began jogging toward them.

“Okay, does everyone remember the rest of the plan?” Jane asked.

They both nodded.

“I think so,” Bill said.

“Hold steady, guys,” she said.

The leg shark grew nearer and nearer until it ran right past them and straight toward the pool.

“Yes, it’s working,” Jane said as she watched with anticipation.

The leg shark approached the pool, it looked at the bounty of legs before it, it tentatively sniffed at the legs for a minute and then opened its jaws and began to feast.

“YAAAAH!” Jane screamed as she rolled her wheelchair toward the leg shark, harpoon held aloft, and then hurled the harpoon into the side of the leg shark’s head. “Burn in hellll!!!!!

The leg shark stumbled around for a moment, harpoon jutting from its skull, before it tipped over into the pool and died on its back with its two little (but very toned) legs kicking up toward the air.

“Vengeance is mine!” Jane threw her fists to the skies.

Ben and Bill walked over to her, they both looked down into the pool at the dead ass leg shark. The coroner hopped out of the dump truck and shouted from across the pool, “Can I take these legs back and re-attach them now?”

Bill nodded. “Please do.” He gave the coroner a thumbs up.

A moment passed as they all savored their victory, Benjamin broke the silence, “Sooooo… is anyone looking for a room to rent?”


Some days later, Jane sat reading a book by the fireplace. The head and the legs of the leg shark were mounted and hung over the mantle. Benjamin approached,

“Would you like to go for a stroll down the path?” he asked.

Jane shrugged and set aside her book. “Sounds good,” she said.

She grabbed her leg shark killing harpoon just in case, and the two set off toward the woods. And Ben was still in the hospital gown.


Maxwell Shepherd is a writer of horror and comedy fiction living in California.

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