You squint your eyes against the bright summer sun. This is going be a great day, you smile to yourself as you think about the lifechanging day ahead of you. You feel something squeezing your hand tightly. As you look down, you see Claire’s delicate hand holding yours. You get drawn to her big, brown eyes which look deeply into yours. Claire is smiling, so wide that you can clearly see her white, perfect teeth. You smile back, thinking that this is really going to be one of the best days of your life and hopefully, for Claire as well. That is, if she actually says yes to your proposal. You feel your stomach clench as you weigh the possibility of Claire saying no to you. You shake your head free of the nervous thoughts. Claire’s parents were very positive when you asked for their permission, to take their daughter’s hand in marriage. You and Claire have also been together for almost four years. Even your own parents have started asking questions, about when they are going to be grandparents.
All things considered, you think that you have done your best, involving both your families in your marriage proposal and planning the day. You have filled a big basket, with all the things Claire loves the most. Champagne, fruit dipped in chocolate and a lot of other goodies. You even called one of your friends to get up early and bring the basket out on your parent's motorboat this morning. What on earth could possibly go wrong?
As you walk down towards the docks, small talking with Claire about the problems of one of her girlfriends, you notice some clouds gathering on the far horizon. You don’t think that it is going to be a problem. The weather forecast said, it is going to be amazing sailing and diving weather the entire day. You are a semiprofessional free diver and the docks and surrounding sea is like a second home to you.
As you cross the road down towards the docks, you have to choose whether you want to go the usual way, down the crowded boardwalk or take the shortcut behind the old, abandoned fish factory. The boardwalk is definitely the more cumbersome way, with all the alluring shops. These versatile distractions always catch Claire and a wide group of tourists in their net. The road behind the abandoned fish factory is much faster though. You think you can save at least an hour or two going that way. In the end it comes down to, whether you prefer spending more time with Claire on the boardwalk or later on the boat.
You tell Claire that you think you should take the shortcut down behind the old abandoned fish factory.
“Why are we in such a hurry babe?” asks Claire.
“We have to get to the boat before the tide changes.” You hate to lie to Claire, but a little white lie is all right in a situation like this.
“You have never talked about the tide before?”
You roll your eyes grabbing her shoulders gently. “Claire, I tell you about the tide every time we go down the boardwalk. But you are always too caught up in your shopping.”
Claire laughs, which is the most beautiful sound in the world. “I bet you are right on that one, but...”
“Great!” You grab Claire’s hand and gently guide her away from the boardwalk. You quickly walk down one of the back alleys behind the old fish factory complex. You know the way very well as you used to play here a lot with your friends when you were a child.
The sounds from the tourists and vendors on the boardwalk slowly fade away to be replaced by complete silence, which is only broken by your footsteps and an occasional seagull crying out.
“I don’t like this place,” Claire looks at you, a scared expression on her beautiful face.
You do your best to calm her down, telling her that everything is going to be all right. It kind of works as Claire slowly follows you, clinging to your arm. As you look around, you can understand why Claire is a little frightened. The place does not look like you remember it, at all. Trash is littered everywhere between the rusted oil barrels and broken wooden boxes. Most of the graffiti sprayed walls, also look like they need some thorough repairs.
“Ewww,” Claire pinches her delicate fingers to her nose. “It really smells of fish around here.”
You think it smells of something worse, like a stranded whale, but no point in telling Claire that. It would only upset her more. You are halfway down towards the pier when you suddenly hear a scuffling sound just around the corner. Claire stops dead in her track yanking her hand out of yours. “What’s that sound?!”
You have no idea, but there is something unnatural about it. The sound is coming from around the corner of one of the old fish factory's buildings. You have to cross the alley where the sound is coming from to get to the pier no matter what. The choice is whether you want to check it out on your way or hurry past the weird sound.
1: Check it out
2: Ignore it
You slowly walk around the corner in a wide arc and look down the small alley. The alley itself is pressed in tightly between what looks like one of the factories' storing units and a deserted boathouse. The stench from the alley slaps you right in the face like a rotten salmon. The smell is so appalling that it makes you gag. You have to close your mouth hard, as not to throw up.
“What is it Sweety?” Claire slowly moves up behind you. “Oh my god, what is that smell?” She quickly takes both of her hands up to cover her mouth and nose.
“I have no idea.” You feel your eyes watering as you look down the alley, trying to make out where the scuffling sound is coming from. You have a sinking feeling, that the sound and the horrible smell is somewhat linked together.
You notice a pile of rubbish further down the alley. A mix of soggy cardboard boxes, various other trash, some half rotten, half eaten fish and to your horror, something that looks like gnawed bones! You notice with a sickening feeling that it isn’t fish bones but bones from some kind of mammal. This discovery, you decide not to tell Claire either.
“What is it?” Claire is still standing behind you, both hands cupped over her mouth and nose, still pressed against your back.
You never get to reply as the pile of rubbish starts to quiver!
A hideous face suddenly appears, squirming out from beyond its nest of filth. You take an involuntary step back, bumping into Claire. The creature keeps on writhing itself free. One of its eyes is sickly yellow, set in a hairy face, caked with dirt and grime. The creature suddenly stands up on its four legs, snarling at you.
“It’s a dog!” exclaims Claire with a mix of fright and relief.
You nod at the obvious. It is a dog. Maybe part labrador. You can clearly see its ribs through the stretched skin. The dog looks starved. It leans forward, its entire body tense. You look at its unblinking eyes and puckered mouth. The dog is looking directly at you but is standing completely still. A low growl escapes its mouth. You notice an old rusty pipe at your feet.
You have to decide, whether you want to attack the dog with the pipe or try and back away with Claire. You are not sure whether the dog is about to attack you, or if you're willing to take the chance.
“Get behind me woman!” You scream a little louder than you intended and push Claire away with too much force. Claire utters some kind of profanity as she stumbles back. The dog responds to your sudden move. You have little time to respond, as the ugly mutt charges you in a furious rage, barking and snarling. You quickly lean down and grab the pipe as the dog jumps for your throat, its muzzle pulled back, showing its black and filthy teeth.
You feel the unbearable stink from its breath, just before you smash the pipe into the dog’s muzzle. The dog crashes to the ground with a pitiful yelp. Claire is screaming at the top of her lungs but slowly stops as she recognize that the dog is barely moving. Only one of its hindlegs is twitching in spastic convulsions. You try to stop your heart from racing and slowly calm yourself down. The dog is whimpering and whining, looking at you with almost begging eyes. Blood is pouring down its face, making it look even more pitiful than when it attacked you.
“We have to call the police or some kind of animal rescue,” says Claire as she walks a bit closer but still keeping her distance to the dog.
“Call them then.” You keep your eyes firmly locked on the dog, knuckles white from grabbing the pipe. You are not taking any chances.
“My phone is turned off,” says Claire. “I think the battery is dead.”
You sigh. “I forgot mine in the car.”
“Then we have to go get someone who can take care of it!”
You curse silently. There is no time for this. You have to get Claire out on that damn boat as soon as possible. It makes no sense asking for her hand in marriage anywhere else than on that boat!
“I think the dog would be dead before help arrived, Claire.”
Claire looks at you with tears in her eyes. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, that I should put it out of its misery.” You look at Claire in a way, that makes her know that you are serious.
"What are you going to do? Are you going to kill the poor dog?”
“There is no way around it Claire! Look at it!”
"I think it's already dead," says Claire looking past you.
You turn around and notice, that the dog is lying completely still. Its eyes are still open, staring at nothing. You can also see, that its scrawny chest isn't moving anymore. It seems like the dog is truly dead. You slowly walk closer, grabbing the pipe tighter and tighter. When you are almost close enough to touch it, you slowly poke at it with the tip of the pipe. No movement. You poke it some more just to be sure.
You turn around and look at Claire. "It's dead."
Claire starts crying. "You killed the poor dog!"
You throw out your arms. "It was going to attack us!" I saved us from it!"
"It was not going to attack us and you know it. You damn sadist!"
Claire keeps on sobbing, wanting to go home. It takes all of your effort to persuade her, that you really thought it was going to attack you. Finally, she agrees to just take a quick boat ride before you call it a day. You would also have preferred to just go home, but you know that you have gone too far to turn back now. Both you and Claire's parents are waiting for you to come back from the boat ride to hear what Claire's reply was. You wrap your arm around Claire's shoulder, gently leading her the rest of the way, behind the fish factory and out unto the boardwalk, not far from the pier.
“We don’t have time for that, Claire!” You notice that your voice is a little bit shaky. You quickly grab Claire’s hand almost running with her to the other side of the alley. As you pass the alley, you notice a big pile of trash, which oddly enough, looks like it is moving. You turn your attention back on the road in front of you, forcing the disturbing image out of your mind. You are very surprised about the way, the weird sound got under your skin.
After you have gained a safe distance from the alley, Claire snatches her hand from yours, crossing her arms with a pouting expression on her face. You try to comment on the weather and even make a pretty good joke, but there is no response from her at all. She must be mad about something. It must have something to do with that scary sound, which you chickened out on.
“What’s wrong baby?”
“Nothing,” is her frosty reply.
“Come on. It must be something?”
“Can’t you make it out for yourself? Are you that ignorant? Apparently you don’t know me at all?"
Before you can even reply, Claire is speaking again. “Well I just didn’t know that you were such a pussy!”
“Claire I’m not a pus…”
“Yes you are! Running and whining like a little girl!”
“Come on Claire. That’s not fair. I was sneezing.”
“No. You were whining like a little girl and you know it!”
You make a deep sigh. This day is just getting better and better. Claire is staring daggers at you, probably because she heard you sighing just now. She is just about to open her mouth but you beat her to it.
“Please Claire. I’m sorry I panicked. Would it make you feel any better, if I told you, that I have a surprise for you on the boat?”
You stifle a smile the moment it appears on your lips. It's amazing that Claire has already forgotten that she was mad at you. “Yes and it’s a big one!”
Claire quickly grabs your hand in hers, pressing her body close to yours. As you walk the final distance to the pier, you notice that Claire is already her normal, happy self again.
You slowly back away from the dog, taking your eyes away from it, so you don't look directly at it. You are also making sure, that you are not making any sudden movements.
Claire is whispering. ”What are you doing?”
“Just be quiet and walk away, nice and easy. Don’t look at it.”
The dog takes a couple of steps forward, growling low in its throat. Thick, foamy froth is gushing out between its sharp but half missing black teeth.
To your surprise it does not advance on you as you back away to a safe distance around the corner. Both of you sigh as relief washes over you. It was probably more scared than you were and was only trying to defend itself from danger.
“That was close,” says Claire. “Maybe we should call some kind of vet to take care of the dog, so no one else runs into it or does something stupid like attacking it.”
You nod.“ That sounds like a good idea but I forgot my phone in the car.”
Claire sighs looking at her phone. “I think my battery is dead."
As you walk down the last stretch behind the fish factory, you both agree that you will contact the police when you get back from the boat ride. You casually persuade Claire that the boat ride is very important and that you have a surprise for her. As always with Claire, she quickly forgets everything else, when there is a surprise on the horizon.
You take a deep breath as you steel yourself for Claire’s oncoming shopping spree. You almost know the shops as well as she does, as she has dragged you through them more times than you care to remember. Your mind automatically goes on autopilot saying “yes” and “no” at just the right moments. It is amazing how skilled at the charade you have become. Each time Claire drags you through stores, you get a little better at faking interest. It was not easy in the beginning. You remember countless times when Claire has busted you in your daydreaming. These mistakes often took the rest of the day and countless more visits to shops to elevate Claire’s mood.
This day however, is different. You know that you have to give Claire some line, to satiate her inner shopping-beast. But there is no way that you can spend even half the amount of hours you usually do. Your plan is, to let her browse through two stores, interrupt her with complaints about wanting to go to the boat, to spend some romantic alone time. Then settle, for letting her browse two or three more stores. You know that she will not budge, when she has only visited two stores on her beloved boardwalk.
You stand in one of the crammed souvenir shops, thinking about the day so far. Your plan goes smoothly. You have already been in two shops. Then you decided to complain to Claire, wanting to go to the boat for some romance. You made the agreement, that you will visit one more shop before going to the motorboat. As you leave the shop and make your way to the last one, you suddenly hear an all too familiar voice behind you. It's the voice of the devil.
“Oh hi Claire is that you?” Says a deep, alluring voice. The voice is dripping with a south European accent and sleaziness. Lots of sleaziness. It's an accent you have hated ever since you met Eduardo, Claire’s ex boyfriend from back in high school.
Eduardo, you think to yourself, you slimy son of a bitch!
Eduardo tilts his head down a bit, looking at you with his sparkling green eyes, from above his dark sunglasses. His hair is long and jet black, collected in an oily, braided ponytail. Everything about him annoys you, from his thin, plucked eyebrows to the immaculate beard under his lower lip.
You wrinkle your nose as Eduardo plants a wet kiss on each of Claire’s cheeks, hugging her a bit too long for your taste. It gets even worse as he does the same to you.
You finally wrestle yourself free of his strong hug wiping spittle from your cheeks. Your mind is racing to find an excuse for leaving as quick as possible.
“How are you my sweet Claire? You look just as amazing as you did back in high school. Still so young.” Eduardo looks like his mind is full of fond memories. You think that it is probably late night memories with Claire he is reminiscing.
You feel you are clenching your right hand into a fist, as you notice Eduardo’s leering face on your wife to be.
Claire also notices your clenched fist and your somewhat angry face. She makes an all too fake laugh patting you on the back like a good dog, while answering the slick Eduardo. “Oh Eduardo I am very good thank you… We were just about t….”
“Everything is also good for me, sweet Claire. I have just gotten back to modelling.” Eduardo gives you a quick, arrogant smile. “Fitness modelling…”
“Ahem yes very nice Eduardo,” mumbles Claire.
“You should have followed in my footsteps. Using your gorgeous face..” Eduardo lets his wet tongue slide over his lower lip. “And body. To make some dinerooos.”
This is almost too much for you to handle! You have to quickly decide whether you want to let Eduardo's behavior pass and walk away, or take up the fight and teach Eduardo a verbal lesson.
2: Walk Away
You have met Eduardo randomly more times than you like to recount and he has always been like this. No point really in fighting or arguing with him. You look at Eduardo. Seeing his mouth moving but not caring to really listen to what he is saying. You nod from time to time, just letting the moment pass. You think about the boat ride, how much you love Claire and how that Claire's ex-boyfriend is really the biggest problem in your life. Putting your mind at ease, that isn't really that big of a problem. You actually feel yourself smile and even fake a half-hearted laugh at one of Eduardo's idiotic self-glorifying jokes.
It takes some time but Eduardo is finally done talking. You try to force your body to relax as he enthusiastically embraces you and plants even wetter kisses on both your cheeks. You wave goodbye as Eduardo prances on through the crowd of tourists and is soon out of sight.
"I'm so proud of you honey." Claire takes your hand and leans in close for a kiss. "I know how you can't stand that man."
"Yeah well, I manage." You lean down and give Claire a kiss.
The rest of the way down the boardwalk unfolds without any further event and you are certain that the worst of the day is long gone.
You take a deep breath, moving in between Eduardo and Claire. You jab a finger right in Eduardo’s puffed up chest. “I have had more than enough of your sleazy arrogance!”
Eduardo suddenly jumps back slapping your finger with his outstretched hand, yelling “Bastardo! You dare put a finger in Eduardo?!”
"Eduardo I'm not putting a finger in y..."
Eduardo is about to slap your face with his other outstretched hand but you quickly duck under his attack. You ready yourself for a physical fight with Eduardo but Claire steps in between you just in time.
“Both of you stop this madness!”
All the fight in you seeps away in an instant. You look around at the gawking tourists feeling very ashamed. You hope that none of the regulars in the area saw your outburst. You are pretty sure that they would tell on you to your parents in a heartbeat, as your parents have brought you here since you were a child.
Your attention gets drawn back to Eduardo and Claire who are discussing loudly. None of them noticing the crowd who has slowly been gathering around you.
“My deepest apologies Claire,” says Eduardo eyes cast down. “It just pains me to see you… With such a bitchy puto!” Eduardo looks you right in the eye, all his arrogance back in full force. “Yes, duel me Cabron!”
You feel all the anger rushing back through your veins! You really want to punch Eduardo in his handsome face. He was also the one who tried to slap you, moments ago. But reason also tells you that starting a fight, can get you in a lot of trouble. You have to decide whether to punch him or walk away.
1: Punch Eduardo
2: Walk away
You punch the unprepared Eduardo with such force that he flies backwards, landing right on the ground. The whole crowd gasps in excitement. A group of Chinese tourists start taking pictures. It is very rare that a duel over a woman breaks out and especially in broad daylight. You notice a few worried expressions from the gawkers as poor Eduardo is not moving.
“Serves him right!” yells an old fisherman who you know is a friend of your father.
Claire checks Eduardo’s pulse, reassuring everybody, that he is ok. You and Claire decides that it is about time to get going. You hurry through the press of onlookers. No one is trying to stop you and no one seems to be calling the cops either. You blow out a sigh of relief, hoping that the rest of the day will be uneventful.
Claire is equally excited that you defended her honor and scared that Eduardo or somebody else might call the police. You calm her down, convincing her that Eduardo is too proud to tell the authorities that he was knocked out with a single punch. That seems to convince Claire. You think to yourself that this is going to be some story to tell your children and grandchildren someday. The day Claire said yes to be married to you.
You look up at the blue sky shaking your head slowly. “I am not an idiot like you Eduardo. I’m going to take this beautiful woman and go for a nice boat ride out on the open sea. Then you can go play model, for all I care.”
Eduardo puffs his chest and tilts his head slightly back. His eyes are barely open as he glowers at you, this time from below the dark sunglasses “You are not a man! You cannot begin the fighting and then.. Just stop the fighting!”
"I can do whatever I want to." You take your arm around Claire’s waist as you slowly make your way through the crowd of gawking and somewhat disappointed tourists.
Claire keeps on looking at you smiling, as you walk further down the boardwalk.
"What is it honey?"
"It was just so manly of you. Being able to fight but still have the self-control to just walk away." Claire sighs. "I remember back in high school, when me and Eduardo were together. We couldn't even walk down the street without him yelling ey Cabron this is my woman when some random guy crossed our paths. I actually think I liked it a bit back then."
"At least you got older and smarter." You say it in a teasing tone. To let her know you aren't that serious.
"At least I did," says Claire.
You finally reach the end of the crowded boardwalk, where the wooden pier has been built. There are some boats docked, but as you look beyond the pier to the vast ocean, you see many more out on the open water. The sun is still high in the sky and you feel its warm rays caressing your skin. You notice that the dark gathering of clouds you saw earlier, has more or less dissipated. The sky is clear blue with a lonely white cloud here and there. Claire is smiling broadly in anticipation for the boat ride. You are extremely thankful that her mood hasn’t been clouded from your action packed adventure down through the docks.
You quickly find your parent’s old motorboat. The boat is around seven meters long and two and a half meters wide, with a cockpit enclosure, so you can sit inside if it starts raining. You jump up on the boat and stretch your hand out to Claire, helping her up on the boat. She is quickly taking her clothes off, revealing her bikini body to both your appreciation and some old geezers fishing from the pier.
“I’ll be back in a second!” You quickly take your eyes away from Claire as you run into the cockpit, grabbing the basket containing all the goodies. You hurry back. “Tadaa!” You hold the basket in one hand while raising the other high in the sky.
Claire opens her eyes wide. “Oh my God! What a lovely surprise. “What is it?”
You give her your best smile. “Open it up and see for yourself.” You quickly walk around the motorboat making everything ready to leave the pier.
You sail for a good fifteen minutes before you are out on open water. As you look back, you are unable to see land anymore. You listen to the muffled sound from the engine and Claire’s praise of you and the things you brought in the basket.
“Oh my,” laughs Claire. This just keeps on getting better and better,” as she pulls out a nice bottle of champagne from the basket.
You smile and look out over the crystal clear ocean, trying to remember where the old shipwreck is lying. The place is very unique to you and Claire. Being a free diver yourself and spending a lot of time on the ocean with your father, you thought it was a good idea taking Claire for some snorkeling on one of your first dates. The date had gone extremely well and you even managed to get your first kiss, when you got back on the boat. That is why you are taking her back to that same spot today. There is also something romantic about leaving land “just” as boyfriend and girlfriend and going back to the shore as an engaged couple. You feel a quick flash of insecurity. At least you hope Claire agrees and feels the same romance as you do.
Even though you and Claire have been there plenty of times together, you are not exactly enjoying the same activities, while being at the old wreck. Claire loves to just lie on the surface with her swimming goggles and snorkel, feeling the warm rays of the sun on her back. There is also plenty of animals of the sea swimming around, minding their own business among the amazing ship wreck. But you love to dive down and explore around the old shipwreck, even though you have been there so many times before.
The wreck itself is an old container ship, which sank due to an explosion in the engine room more than ten years ago. The accident sadly killed the entire crew. The lucky ones died in the explosion and the more unfortunate ones drowned.
You suddenly feel something soft poke at your nose. You gasp and jump back, looking wild eyed at Claire who laughs at you with your swimming gear in her hands.
“Thought I lost you, honey. What were you thinking about?”
“Oh nothing really.” No point in telling Claire about helpless seafarers right before you jump into the Big Blue.
"So. I'm going to do a couple of dives down by the wreck." You quickly pull off your T-shirt and sandals, wearing nothing but your swim trunks.
Claire moves a strand of her long hair from her face. "Sounds good. I'm just going to watch you from the top of the surface. Then we can drink some champagne afterwards."
"Can you really wait that long?" You smile teasingly.
"Oh knock it off," laughs Claire as she punches you softly on your broad shoulder. "I don’t drink that much."
You watch as Claire makes a terrible attempt, jumping out from the railing of the boat to make a big splash. You cringe at the sound of her landing hard on the water. Her body was more in a fetal position than an actual canon-ball. She quickly emerges from the water gasping for air.
You try to hide your big smile. "You ok there Splashy?"
Claire looks at you with eyes that could kill. "Ha... Ha... Very funny."
You quickly change the subject and back away. "I'll be right back."
Claire turns around in the water, fitting her goggles so she can look down in the ocean. She is rubbing her belly from her unfortunate jump. You go back to fish out the engagement ring from your wallet, which you left in the cockpit.
You notice something quite large break the surface out on the ocean. You stop walking, covering your forehead with your hand to cover the sun. You can't see anything now. It was probably just your imagination or maybe some trash floating on the water. You walk back into the cockpit and pick out the ring from your wallet. You know it is a little bit risky. The plan is to swim down, to the old wreck with the ring. When you swim back up, you tell Claire that you have found something amazing. When both of you are back on the boat, you drop to one knee as you show her the ring.
The water is really hot as you jump in. You have your waist belt on, with your knife and underwater flashlight attached. Being a free diver, you have never really liked to scuba dive thus you have never gotten into the old ship. It is also very dangerous, if you get stuck or bump your head into something, especially if you go alone. You take a deep breath before swimming down towards the ship, your fins doing most of the work. The ship itself is huge and by sheer coincidence, it sank right down on a reef. The result was, that a part of the ship is only around 15 meters under sea level, making it quite accessible for a free diver like you. You can hold your breath for around two minutes while swimming and have done it plenty of times before, so you are in no way worried.
You are still amazed at how beautiful the old containership wreck is, lying there on the reef in the middle of the vast ocean. Thick rays of sunlight pierce the water and bathe the wreck in an almost angelic light. Fish in all shapes and sizes swim here and there, reflecting the sunrays on their glittering scales. You take it all in. All the sights and also the warm, welcome sensation from the ocean against your skin. It gets slightly colder as you descend further and further down towards the old wreck. You swim down to the side of the ship brushing your hand against the old structure feeling its hard surface, which on the same time is rather soft and slimy due to the growth of algae over the years.
Something suddenly catches your attention from the corner of your eye. Something, which in your mind doesn’t belong down here with you. A sickening feeling crushes you from the inside, as you try to wrap your head around what you are actually seeing. A great shadow suddenly blocks out the rays of the sun above you. You look in horror, as you see a great white shark swimming slowly past you, only a couple of meters above your head! You quickly estimate the shark to be around five meters from head to tail. The bulk of the beast is equally frightening, making you guess that the shark weighs around a ton! You also notice a cluster of long, jagged scars on the side of the shark, it looks like bitemarks from another shark of almost equal magnitude. You notice that Claire is completely unaware of the aquatic predator, which is slowly but surely advancing on her. You guess that Claire is about forty meters from the boat. You are around a hundred meters from it and the shark just about in the middle of the two of you.
You have to decide whether to wait and see what happens, it might not attack Claire. Or choose to start banging your knife against the side of the ship. That way, you might draw the shark’s attention towards you. Either way, you know that the choices you make now, will affect the lives of you and Claire, forever.
1: Wait and see what happens
2: Banging with your knife
As you watch the shark advancing on the woman of your dreams you tell yourself over and over again, that you are not a coward and that you are only waiting for Claire’s sake. The more you try and fight your guilt, the more you know that you are lying to yourself and that you really are a big, fat coward. The realization does nothing to move you physically but emotionally you already feel the shame washing over you like a tidal wave.
You keep your eyes transfixed on the great white shark, as it slowly closes in on Claire. It moves directly for her unprotected back. It seems like the shark is almost curious about, what kind of thing Claire is, as she lies there, floating on the sea. Claire is still oblivious to the lethal danger which she is in. The only ones who know about Claire’s vulnerability is you and the shark. The shark is getting closer and closer, before it suddenly changes its path. Instead of advancing on Claire from a 45 degrees angle, it suddenly swims away from her, down towards the bottom of the sea. You feel your shoulders sag from a mixture of guilt and relief. It seems that the shark has lost interest in Claire. You feel a flicker of hope, that maybe you did the right thing after all!
Then the damn beast suddenly changes course again, filling you to the brim with dread. Now that it is directly under Claire it suddenly charges her at full speed, going for the kill! It seems like the shark is swimming much faster than you can ride a bike! At that moment, by what appears to be pure coincidence Claire turns around getting eye contact with you. For a moment, you think you can see the smile wrinkles on her face as she waves to you. She then notices, by your scared expression that something is completely wrong. She looks down, just in time to see the white shark's jaws engulf both her legs at the same time.
It feels like time stands still for a couple of seconds. Then everything goes tremendously fast. The shark swims with such wicked velocity that it "Jumps" half way out of the ocean and into the fresh air, flinging Claire with it. You thank god that the shark didn’t get a firm hold on Claire. She lands a couple of meters away from where the shark took her. The beast crashes down in an explosion of water, right next to Claire.
Claire has lost both her snorkel and goggles as the shark ripped her out of the ocean. She quickly gets her bearings and breaks the surface for air. You notice that her legs are bleeding from what looks like a hundred cuts. She looks at the shark in disbelief, not really able to comprehend what is going on, then she turns her eyes in your direction. Her expression a mixture of primal fear and helplessness. Your mind is finally absorbing what is really going on.
This is a matter of life and death. You have to choose whether you want to attack the shark and put your life on the line to save the woman of your dreams, or try and save your own life, whatever the cost.
1: Help Claire
2: Stay hidden
You curse your apprehension. Claire is the love of your life! You hate yourself for letting fear take such a hold on you. You quickly remove the knife from its sheath as you advance on the shark. You feel the adrenalin coursing through your veins, preparing you for battle against the raw power of nature itself. The water is slowly getting red around Claire. By the looks of the tiny red mist, Claire’s wounds cannot be that severe, yet. You push the thought to the back of your mind, as the instinct for fighting for love takes over. The shark has swum in a wide angle to come back and attack Claire once again. Claire has her back on the shark as she tries to swim back to safety on the boat.
Fear has taken over Claire, so she can barely coordinate her arms and legs. You dash as fast as your flippers allow you, trying to intercept the shark, so Claire can swim to safety. As you and the beast get closer to Claire, you notice just how terrifying the shark really is, when you see it from its front instead of its belly. The shark opens its massive jaw. Big enough to swallow a whole human. Rows upon rows of shining teeth protrude from the yawning mouth. It takes all of your willpower to keep swimming towards Claire. The shark suddenly turns its massive head slightly to one side, as it fixes its dark beady eye right on you. The eye contact makes you stop dead in your tracks, the shark on the other hand, does not. It nimbly changes direction, turning its massive bulk straight towards you. It is no more than twenty meters away from you now. You can already look far down its throat, having no doubt that this is where you end up if you are not extremely lucky. The shark seems to push itself even faster, moving faster than anything you have seen underwater before.
You quickly draw your knife and thrust out your arm. Fear takes over and as you stab forward you close your eyes! You have no idea whether you hit the shark or not. The shark just runs you over the exact same way it did Claire, but luckily without hitting you with its teeth. You get tossed around in the water, but your goggles are amazingly still on. The shark has already distanced itself from you, and starting to turn around for a second attack. You notice a thin trail of red following the shark. So you did stab it with your knife, but it hasn't slowed the animal down, at all.
Claire is halfway to the boat now, just a little while longer and she will be able to drag herself to safety. You suddenly become aware of another pressing matter. You feel a burning sensation, in your limbs from physical exertion and lack of air. You have to decide whether you want to push your luck a little bit further, so Claire can swim to safety. The only way to do that is to keep fighting the shark. The other possibility is to follow Claire to the surface, to get some air and hope that you can make it back to the boat in one piece.
1: Follow Claire
2: Keep fighting the shark
You know that you can hold your breath for a little while longer. Hopefully enough to get Claire to safety. The shark has completely forgotten about Claire, and is now charging you again. You have mere seconds to act. You stab at it again, just before it can sink its teeth into you, but you miscalculate the distance. You feel a sharp pain in the arm which holds the knife. The sensation is quickly numbed as the shark barrels you over once again, crushing you like an underwater freight train. You feel your goggles being ripped from your face, making you more or less blind in the salty ocean. Fear suddenly erupts from your chest, cascading through your entire being and completely extinguishes your fighting spirit. You are insane, taking on a shark all by yourself. Fighting it to the death. You curse yourself for your stupidity. Your idiotic bravado. You need to do what Claire did and that is swim away as fast as possible!
You try and swim for the surface but your right arm is acting very strange and you are unable to feel anything from it, except pain. The water is hurting your eyes and blurring your vision. But you are able to see that the water is getting red around you, and you are quite sure that it isn't blood from the shark. The lack of oxygen is also not making it any easier to navigate or use your muscles properly. At least you are able to see where the light from the sun is and use that as a focal point. You are starting to feel more and more disoriented due to lack of air as you get closer and closer to the surface. You have no idea where the shark is. The only thing that matters is to be able to breathe.
By some sort of miracle you manage to break the surface, just before you were going to pass out. It is difficult for you to breathe, fear and the near-death experience making it hard for you to control your body. You spot Claire, who has finally reached the boat and is dragging herself over the railing. You let yourself smile a weak smile as you see her crawling to safety. You suddenly freeze as you look down on your mangled right arm. You are amazed that it is still attached to your shoulder. Looking at the arm you suddenly remember the shark! You look down in the water, just in time to see the predator charging you from the depths of the ocean. The shark’s terrifying jaw opens to encompass nearly half of your body. You turn around just in time to get a last glimpse of Claire, before you feel row upon row of teeth sink into your flesh.
You decide that air is of the essence. You swim as fast as possible while still keeping an eye out for the shark. The need for air soon takes over and you force yourself to look ahead of you. It is complete agony, not knowing whether the shark is right behind you, just at the edge of your feet. As you break the surface to get some air, you realize just how much your body craves it. You only allow yourself mere seconds, before you turn around and look under the water to see what the shark is doing. You are completely surprised to see the shark swimming around in circles around twenty meters below you. You can't believe your luck. You feel that you have no energy left for anymore fighting. All you can manage is trying to swim after Claire. There is no need to wait around and see whether the shark decides to attack again.
You turn around and quickly follow the thin red trail, which Claire is leaving behind. You swim up beside her. Claire is slowly losing speed as the blood flows out through her wounded legs. You look into her pale face. “Hold on to me.” You feel her weak arms wrap around your shoulders. Claire is not responding but you know that as long as she holds tight, she is conscious. You pause once in a while to see if the shark by any chance is following you. To your horror it is following you, but weirdly enough it stays deep below you. You pray inwardly to god that there are no other sharks in the area, picking up on the scent of either the shark’s or Claire’s blood. You do your best to stay focused on the motorboat, which slowly gets closer and closer.
You finally reach the boat. As you look down in the water one more time you notice the shark is looking directly at you. Then as if it was struck by lightning, it propels itself forward as fast as possible. You scream in fear and frustration, begging Claire to wake up! You pull yourself over the boat's railing with arms trembling from the fight with the shark and of the swimming with Claire on your back. You quickly reach down for Claire, who seems to have passed out. The dark shadow of the shark is getting bigger and bigger as it gets nearer and nearer. You throw yourself on your knees and thrust your arms down as you try to pull Claire out of the water. The shark is so close now that you can clearly see all the hideous features of its jaws. You pull Claire out of the water just as the shark snaps after her with a sound like a beartrap closing. The impact of the beast against the motorboat threatens to send you over the railing on the other side of the boat. The vessel swings heavily from side to side as the shark is almost as big as the boat itself. Claire flops lifelessly onto the deck. Her face is completely white and the only thing moving on her is her eyelids fluttering weakly. You can’t even see her chest moving. Her wounds look severe enough, but it does not seem like the shark got a proper hold on her. It looks more like puncture wounds than the ghastly pictures of sharks tearing meat from their helpless victims. The wounds are still bleeding profusely so you have to make a quick decision.
You have to decide whether you want to try and find a cellphone to call for help. Maybe you can get the coastguard to come pick Claire up with a helicopter. The other possibility is to run into the cockpit and try to dress up the wound yourself. You know your dad has a first aid kit on the boat. The problem is, that you have never dressed a serious wound before.
1: Run for the medic kit
2: Use Phone
You hurry after the first aid kit, which is stored in the cockpit and quickly return to Claire. You curse as you first now remember, that her legs must be elevated. You quickly prop the basket under her wounded legs. You find two tourniquets, tightening them as much as you dare to stop the blood flow. You try not to focus on the grizzly details of her legs. Still you manage to see bone, shining white between blood and fatty tissue. You quickly proceed to clean both legs and wrap them up with gauze. Then you lift Claire up and gently carry her into the cockpit, where she can hopefully rest. You check her pulse and feel deeply relieved to find that it is still there but very faint.
You quickly start the boat and sail as fast as you can, back to the harbor. You try and focus on the single task of sailing but the nagging guilt is giving you no respite. This is all you fault, coward. You cringe at your own dark accusations. There is no chance, that Claire is going to marry you now. You clench your teeth together, wishing that you would have acted sooner. There is still the tiny possibility that Claire did not notice your hesitation. If she did not notice, there is no real reason why you should tell her, is there?
You run for the discarded pile of clothes, where you think Claire left her cellphone. You reach the pile quickly, even though it feels like ages in your mind. As you fumble through the pile, you cast exasperated glances on the love of your life. The pale beauty who is bleeding out on the deck of your father’s boat. You grab the phone and notice that it is turned off. You curse yourself not able to remember, whether it is out of battery or if Claire switched it off before you dived. It feels like it takes forever before the phone finally turns on. Then you notice with horror, that the phone seems unable to find a connection. You curse at the obvious. Of course it is difficult to find connection out on the freaking ocean!
You start pacing around on the boat, holding the phone high in the air to get a better signal. Your heart skips a beat as the phone suddenly shows one bar of connection. You can’t believe your luck!
Your fingers move as fast as they can, punching in the number to the emergency hotline. You immediately get through to a rather nasal, female voice.
“Hello. What is your emergency?”
“My girlfriend is bleeding. She is dying!”
“Please calm down sir. Why is your girlfriend bleeding?”
You really try to lower your voice but fear and frustration makes it impossible. “She got attacked by a fucking shark!”
There is a second or two before the nurse replies. “What is your location?”
You turn around looking at Claire, as you do, it feels like all the blood is running out of your head making you dizzy. Claire is lying in a still growing pool of blood.
“Sir…. Sir… Are you there?”
“Oh my god… She is going to die.”
“Calm down and tell me your location.”
You shake your head and turn away from the bloody mess who was once Claire.
“My location is…”
The background noise from the room where the nurse was sitting suddenly goes quiet. You take the phone away from your ear, looking at it in disbelief. Your phone is dead. You slowly turn around and walk towards Claire. As you reach her, your knees start to shake and you buckle down, collapsing next to her. With shaking fingers you check her pulse.
Claire is dead.
The sharp metallic bang from your knife echoes out through the ocean. For a second, you think that the shark doesn’t register the sound, but then it suddenly turns its massive bulk around and swims straight for you! You are amazed at the speed, in which the shark is able to propel its body forward. The sense of relief is quickly replaced with the sinking feeling of dread. The dread of dying. You see Claire turning around, as she also notices the sound and the shark. Claire stares at you, completely frozen to the spot. You quickly jab a finger towards the boat before you turn your attention back on the shark. The monster has already crossed half the distance towards you, opening its massive mouth in a roar of silence. You feel your heart pounding hard against your chest! But you also feel another, more urgent sensation. The slow need for air. It is not that urgent right now, but soon it will be a matter of life and death. You know you have to make a decision fast, risking your own life to save Claire’s. You have to choose between two options. Going straight to the surface to get some precious air. It might also be enough what you have done, banging your knife against the side of the ship. There is a possibility that the shark will lose interest in you both. On the other hand, it is going straight for you. The shark is also so close to Claire, that it will possibly catch her before she can get to safety on the boat. Another factor is, that if you keep banging on the side of the ship and the shark starts chasing you around, you only have one possible "escape route." That is to swim inside the old shipwreck.
1: Keep banging ￼
2 Go straight up to the surface
You bang your knife against the metallic surface of the ship two more times. The shark is swimming full speed now, snarling at you as it gets closer and closer. You know that it won't take long before it catches up to you. You swim further and further, where you know the opening in the hull of the ship is. You hope, that you will be fast enough to get inside the hole and equally important, that the shark might be too big to follow you inside. You try and soothe yourself by the fact, that Claire has gotten a big head start away from the shark. You just pray to whoever is listening that you will get out alive as well. It is however a consolidation, that Claire is safe. That makes it all worth it. Fighting and dying for love.
You suddenly wake yourself up from all your heroic contemplation. Thoughts alone are not going to save your life. Your muscles have started burning from exertion and lack of air. You turn on your flashlight, holding it in your left hand while holding your knife in the right. You look over your shoulder just in time to look down the shark's throat and into its belly. The beast is a few meters from you! By lightning reflexes you didn’t even know you possessed you duck, just in time to avoid the snapping jaws. You feel the pressure from the water as the shark barely misses you. The shark is continuing its trajectory, but you think it is a matter of time before it turns around, to attack again.
You quickly turn on your flashlight, letting its beam through the hole in the wreck, gliding over what was once the engine room. The engine room is quite large. The main area is filled with different kinds of machinery. As you quickly scan the room, you notice plenty of available hiding places. You can also see a hallway leading further into the ship. There is also a first floor in the room with even more machinery. You also notice, to your horror that the hole is way bigger than you thought, making it somewhat easy for the shark to swim through.
Just as you swim through the hole, you feel the all too familiar sensation of your lungs thirsting for air. You know that the shark is right behind you. It might be a good idea to find a nook in the engine room where you can hide. There might also be a bigger chance of hiding from the shark if you turn off your flashlight. So maybe it is best to hide. You feel a tingling sensation in your hands and feet and know, that it is a serious sign that you are lacking air. You also estimate that you are approximately fifteen meters below the surface and you are already weary from all the physical exertions. So maybe it is better to take your chances and swim for air.
2: Swim out
You decide to swim straight for the surface, lest you suffocate in the gigantic, underwater tomb of the ship. You turn off your flashlight but keep the knife in hand, which hopefully will not come in use. You cast a longing glance towards the sun high above you, where you know that there is plenty of fresh, sweet air. Just before you get all the way through the hole, the shark appears at the far end of the ship, almost as if it was waiting for you! You know that it can’t be true. Sharks are not that smart. It was probably searching for you and when it didn’t find you, it turned back. At least it is around a hundred meters away from you. You pray to god that it has not spotted you yet, but of course it has. As soon as you make eye contact with the beast, it opens its wicked jaws in a silent roar and charges you again.
You know you have to move fast! You can either take your chances and swim to the surface. Even though the shark swims faster, you only have to cover around fifteen meters before you will get fresh air. Claire might also be coming with the boat. On the other hand, if she is not, and the shark keeps advancing, you will be easy prey up there on the surface. It might be better to swim back through the hole a second time and hope you can hold your breath long enough.
1: Swim to the surface
2: Swim back in to the hull
You swim as fast as you can towards the surface. You cast a quick glance over your shoulder. The shark is quickly gaining on you. There is no point turning back now. The only thing on your mind is getting back to the surface. To get some air and hopefully find the energy and strength to escape the shark. That is the only thing of importance. You get closer and closer to the surface. You feel the desperate need of getting some air. Your heart skips a beat of relief as your right arm breaches the surface and you feel the sensation of the sun’s warm rays greeting your skin. Your head quickly follows and you immediately gulp down big lungs of fresh air. You try and calm your nerves, looking around to see if you can spot Claire or the boat. You can't believe what is happening! Claire has spotted you and is sailing towards you. She is no more than fifteen meters away from you. Claire starts waiving and even laughs with relief, turning the boat in your direction. You laugh and wave back to her, then you remember the shark! You suddenly feel something huge crash against you, throwing you up into the air. You have no time to get your bearing before you are back down under the water. You notice the water is turning red around you. You quickly swim for the surface again. You start screaming as soon as your head breaches the surface. "Oh god! Please help me Claire please! I don’t want to die!"
Claire has stopped the boat around five meters away from you. She quickly runs out to the tip of the boat and stretches her arms out to help you get aboard. "Hurry!" Screams Claire at the top of her lungs. "It's coming back!"
You start swimming the last couple of meters but it seems like your legs aren't working properly. You notice that the water around you is getting redder and redder.
You barely hear Claire anymore. Shock and exhaustion is taking over. You can't feel your legs at all. You suddenly feel Claire's hand around yours.
"I got you!"
Then the shark smashes against you. Crushing you between itself and the side of the boat. It hits with such a force that Claire is thrown out of sight. That is the last thing you see before everything goes dark.
You turn around as fast as possible and swim back through the hole in the ship. You notice the shark gaining momentum, hungry for its prey. You quickly turn your flashlight on, scanning the engine from for something. Anything that might help you survive the horror you’re in. You notice that there is a long corridor leading deeper into the ship. You have no time thinking about whether the size of the corridor is too small for the shark.
You have to act now! Maybe the corridor will lead you to a smaller room where the shark won't be able to follow. Maybe there is another way out or some sort of air pocket. On the other hand, the engine room is quite large. There is a lot of engines and other machinery where it seems to be easy to hide, obstruct the movement of the shark and maybe a way to get around it.
1: The corridor
2: Hide from shark in engine room
You find a spot between two engines, where you are somewhat covered from the shark. You quickly turn off your flashlight as to not draw the attention of the shark. You are also starting to feel very lightheaded. There is not much time before you will pass out and die from drowning. The shark’s dark mass suddenly fills out the hole in the side of the ship, blocking out the sun’s feeble rays. You are completely enveloped in darkness for a couple of seconds before the shark enters the engine room. You keep your wary eyes on its massive bulk. The shark swims closer and closer to you. Scanning. Searching. Sensing. Moving its hulking body around the compact space. Its beady eyes taking in the surroundings. It seems like every second is an eternity. You feel the outside of your vision starting to darken. A throbbing headache pounds so hard in your temples, that you feel your head might burst. The shark swims up above you, searching the first floor of the engine room. It finally gives up and swims back out through the hull.
You barely notice that the impending danger from the shark has gone. It has already been replaced by an equally lethal danger, suffocation. With a tremendous force of will, you are able to make your feeble arms and legs move. You almost have no power left in your body but are also so disorientated that you barely even notice. You let yourself close your eyes for a second. Just as second. Just a tiny break...
You swim as fast as possible down through the corridor of the ship. You keep your flashlight on, as there is no way for the sun to enter this far into the ship. You sweep your flashlight left and right searching for a door, which might lead you to safety. You suddenly hear a dull boom and look over your shoulder. The shark is close behind, not being nimble enough, it crashed headlong into the side of the corridor as it chases you. Shaking its massive body violently for a couple of seconds, it all to soon straightens itself out and reenters the chase. The last thing you see before you turn around and flee, is the shark's massive jaws, opening up like a funnel.
You aim your flashlight left and right, praying for a door. The beam of light suddenly falls on a door to your right. You fling yourself at the handle, grabbing it with a shaky hand. It is locked! You almost start to scream, but think better of it. You release the door and swim on, feeling how your body is slowly losing the ability to move. You have been so transfixed on the shark that you have barely noticed that you are starting to suffocate! You need to find some air, now! You do not dare look over your shoulder but you know that the shark is gaining on you, and that it will only be a matter of seconds before it strikes.
The beam of light suddenly falls upon a half-open iron door at the end of the corridor. You force your will upon your aching body, for one last push. You get to the door, forcing the suffocating darkness at the corner of your eyes away, just for a little while longer. The door is stuck in place by rust and algae. You have to squeeze yourself through the opening. You try and maneuver yourself through. You look down the corridor but it is bathed in darkness.
The flashlight is in the hand which is already through the door. You wouldn’t know if the shark was upon you before you felt it! You press as hard as you can, trying to open the door just a little more so you can get your chest through. Suddenly you feel the door budge just a couple of centimeters and you slide through. The shark hammers its massive body into the door mere seconds after, sealing it completely shut. You look around and notice to your horror that the storage room is a dead end. There is no way out!
You quickly turn off your flashlight trying to hide in the darkness. Each second that passes feels like an eternity, as your lungs slowly scream for air. Suddenly the hole is blocked out by the giant shape of the shark. You feel such a rush of fear, that it feels like your heart is in your throat. To your relief the shark swims on, not even looking through the hole. As soon as it is clear from the hole, you dart from the opening. You do not even dare to look after the shark. Instead you focus purely on getting out of the damn ocean and the sweet relief of fresh air.
You swim as fast as you can but it gets more and more difficult as the lack of oxygen makes it harder and harder to swim. You also notice, that your vision is getting darker and darker around the edges. It seems like the more you swim, the farther away from the surface you are.
Just before you give in to the enveloping darkness of unconsciousness you break the wet, suffocating barrier of the water. The fresh air is almost intoxicating. You make sobs of relief, contemplating on how lucky you are. You get even more exited as you see Claire safe on the motor boat and on top of that, Claire has actually managed to start the damn thing and is steering it closer and closer to you. Then you suddenly remember the shark!
You turn around and look down in the water, just in time to see the great white shark swimming as fast as it can towards you. You watch as it opens its horrifying maw of rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth. Suddenly your instincts take over. You turn around in the water, making your upper body change place with the lower. Just as the shark is about to close its jaws around you, you thrust your knife straight into the tip of its nose!
You feel the soft flesh of the shark tear apart, as you sink the knife into it. The impact of the shark hits you with such a force, that you get thrown out of the water, and slam your shoulder against the boat! You fall back down into the water. Your shoulder hurts like hell, but you are still able to move your arm. The shark is already advancing on you again. It will only be a matter of seconds before it is upon you! You quickly seize the moment and try to grab the railing with your hands. Despair sets in, as you can barely move the arm which hit the boat, it is almost completely numb!
With a tremendous effort of will, you haul yourself up and over the railing, your arms trembling with the effort. Your torso is over the edge, but your legs are still flopping in the water, as fear and exertion makes it difficult for you to move. You see Claire running towards you, holding her arms outstretched to help you out of the water. You reach out for Claire as well. “Please, help me Claire. I don’t want to die!”
You are sobbing now, begging for your life. Just as Claire reaches you, you feel something pull at your left leg. Horror pierces through your body as the shark pulls you back down under the water. You didn’t even have time to draw air down your lungs. You make a sharp twist with your left leg and to your amazement your foot comes free of the shark's jaw. You break the surface yet again, meeting Claire’s desperate face.
“Help me Claire!” You are screaming now, “please help me.”
Claire reaches out and grabs you in your armpits as you grab the edge of the boat, hauling your body closer to safety. You look over your shoulder and spots what looks like a little fish racing towards you. Then you notice the fish is getting bigger and bigger. It is the shark coming back again! You scream at the top of your lungs but finally you feel your body being pulled out of the water.
Something huge crashes against the motorboat mere seconds after you got out of the foamy water. The shark hits with such a force that Claire loses her balance and falls flat on her back. She quickly regains her composure crawling over to you, doing her best to calm you. But you just lie there in fetal position sobbing like a little baby. You can barely hear Claire's cursing as she looks at your foot. She disappears into the cabin and immediately returns with a first aid kit, then you pass out.
You suddenly wake up, seeing the sun setting on the horizon. You are lying with your head in Claire's lap, while she slowly strokes your hair. You look down at your feet, one of them bandaged tight. The white fabric spotted with several red splotches. You turn your eyes, looking deep into Claire's. The sinking sun is right at Claire’s back, giving her an almost angelic appearance.
You smile at her weakly. “Claire... Will you marry me?”
You have done your part and plenty more for that matter. Claire has gotten a good head start, now it is time to save yourself! You sheathe your knife using both hands and feet to get to the surface. You notice that the shark has completely forgotten about Claire and is now swimming towards you with tremendous speed. You turn your attention back towards your goal of getting to the surface. There is a nagging doubt in the back of your mind. You might have been able to hold your breath for longer. Why the sudden rush to go to the surface? The doubt is suddenly evolving in your head! There is no way that you are going to outswim a freaking shark! You know it is too late to change strategy. What’s done is done. You focus on the surface. You will deal with the shark as soon as you have gotten some air.
You break the surface taking in greedy gulps. You allow yourself only a couple of seconds respite. You are about to look down and see where the shark is, when you suddenly feel something huge crash into you, lifting you straight up into the air. You actually feel like you are flying. You can see Claire, swimming as fast as she can towards the motorboat. Your body turns around, making you see the world upside down. Then you spot the shark. It is halfway through the air with you, but still too big to actually leave the water. It snaps its massive jaws after you a couple of times but unable to find your flesh.
You crash back into the water. Your goggles are ripped from your face when you hit the ocean, making it hard to see in the salty water. You quickly turn your body around, swimming for the surface, yet again. The water around you is foamy from your landing. The foam suddenly dissipates like a curtain being drawn, making you able to see a massive form advancing on you. You try and turn around and flee for your life, but you are still too disoriented from the fall. Your eyes are hurting from the salt water. There is no escape. It is impossible to save your life now and you know it. Still you keep on fighting. Forcing your body to move even though the futility of it all is overwhelming. The last thing you feel is something ripping through the right side of your rip cage sending you flying above the waves, one last time.
You are completely frozen to the spot, next to the hull of the container ship. You keep telling yourself that you can’t move. You know it is a lie. The only reason you don’t move, is because you don't want to take the chance. It is not your body, which is frozen. It is you telling it not to move. You think that your life is more important than Claire’s. You have never thought about it that way. There never has been a reason for thinking it before. This is your first real meeting with death, the first real choice where you and someone else’s life is at stake. You keep looking at Claire as the shark attacks her again and again. As Claire swims and fights for her life, you suddenly get eye contact, locking your eyes with hers. Her brown eyes, pleading for you to take action. It seems that she is so surprised that you do nothing to save her, that she even forgets the pain the shark has inflicted on her. Forgets to even fight the shark. Then she suddenly realizes. Whatever the reason, she suddenly shakes her body violently while screaming. Bubbles start cascading from her mouth. It seems like she is giving up. It seems like your inaction, your cowardice made her forsake her life, just as you did.
The shark is swimming around in a large circle, going back to attack Claire one last time. It might be the perfect time to try and swim for the boat. Maybe the shark will be too preoccupied with Claire that you can escape unscathed. On the other hand, the shark might be too filled with bloodlust so it attacks anything that moves. You also know that you can't be down here forever. Sooner or later you will need to get some air.
1: Swim up￼￼￼￼
2: Keep hiding
The shark doesn’t seem to notice you, at least it doesn’t care. You push the repulsive image of Claire to the back of your mind, thinking only about your own survival. That is the only thing which really matters. You break the surface and quickly gulp in greedy mouthfuls of air. The gruesome flashbacks of you girlfriend’s death keep on flashing before your eyes. With a willpower you didn’t even know you had, you forcefully push the images out of your consciousness. You need to survive this. That was the whole point of sacrificing Claire, making the odds for your own survival higher.
You look down in the water to check on the shark, which is still preoccupied with Claire’s now still body. The last thing you see is the great beast taking a chunk off her before you force yourself to look away. You quickly turn around and start swimming towards the boat. You are an excellent swimmer and it is hardly an effort to swim over to the boat and haul yourself to safety. As you pull yourself over the side of the boat, you lie there for a while, contemplating on what had just happened. What you have just done. You have actually killed your girlfriend. Well not on purpose, but you have idly stood by watching the shark take her life. You try to convince yourself that if you had tried, you would both have died. You keep on telling yourself that, over and over again. After some time, it actually feels like you are starting to believe it.
You decide that it is best to wait, to bide your time. The horrible scenery in front of you, is also doing its part in making you unable to act. You will do anything possible to not get in the same situation as Claire is. You know you are an experienced diver. You can stay, just a little while longer. The seconds tick by and the shark is more or less in the same position feeding on Claire. You curse yourself. Of course it is! Why in god's name should it want to get away from its prey, which it has just killed. You don't know how long you have been down here. You have been completely mesmerized by the sickening display in front of you. You notice the clenching sensation of your lungs in need of precious air.
You turn your gaze back at the shark. It actually looks like it is watching you, moved only by the slow currents of the water itself. It looks like it reads your mind. As if it knows that you will soon be out of air and lose consciousness, unable to defend yourself you will be nothing more than a ripe plum ready to be picked off a branch. You shake your head. Of course the shark isn’t able to read your mind, it’s a damn fish! You blame the lack of oxygen and the shock of seeing Claire getting killed for the sudden imaginative tricks, which your mind is playing on you. As you start ascending higher and higher you really feel the need for air. Panic is suddenly taking over, as you feel the edge of your vision starting to go dark. How long were you actually down here, waiting? Your arms and legs are not doing what you tell them to do. They are not moving anymore, at all. You look over your shoulder, watching as the shark has turned its attention back on Claire. You try and move, but your effort is to no avail. The only movement of your body is from the water itself. Suddenly everything goes dark.