The jar of Kraken’s ink on the shelf appears slightly more transparent than the empty space that surrounds it. The glass itself seems to have no thickness, and along some parts of its surface, appears to not even exist at all. This is because unlike other species of squid whose ink absorbs light, the Kraken’s ink rejects light altogether, and spits it out slightly faster than the speed at which it entered.

When the ink is allowed to cling to an opaque substance, its effects are more readily apparent. Rather than obscuring color, it instead corrupts it; the wavelength of reflected light becomes wildly unstable, resulting in a glittering pointillism more complex than the human visual cortex can process. To gaze into this chaotic rainbow for more than a few seconds can result in significant brain trauma.

This plays a key role in the tactics used by the Kraken to attack ocean-bound vessels. Before wrapping its tentacles around the hull, it allows itself to drift just beneath the water’s surface in parallel with the ship’s path. Then, once in range, its ink-jets spray across the starboard side diagonally, painting the masts with a thousand maddening colors. Those above deck are forced to close their eyes or lose their minds; those below can choose to either join them, or wait to be devoured.

How such a singular creature came to exist is not immediately clear; with no natural predators and only seafarers as its prey, it seems as though it could have only come into existence after the emergence of mankind. This hypothesis is further evidenced by the organic weaponry stored inside its body, which seems specialized to exploit the anatomy of creatures with complex brains that live in the path of direct sunlight. Perhaps most compellingly, human bodies provide far too little biomass to sustain such a colossal monster’s diet; as such, its metabolism seems instead to be reliant on the slow digestion of timber.

This evidence has led to the superstition that mankind brought the Kraken to life through storytelling and artwork. A more realistic hypothesis, though perhaps just as far-reaching, is that this lonely beast is the only remaining survivor of a lost era, when monsters like it were plentiful, and adapted specifically to hunting our kind.

Strange as the Kraken's ink may be, cuttlefish ink is even stranger.

Though her age is incalculable, Charybdis may also be a survivor of this era.