Monday, January 31, 2011
Story-A-Day #81: Jaws Breaker
The bubbles cascaded around him, a slow blast of air that tumbled towards the surface as he slowly rose with them. When he reached the surface, he blasted the salty water from his snorkel and lazily kicked his way through the warm Caribbean waters, relishing the heat of the sun.
He skimmed along the surface, then dove back down, his flippers propelling him speedily towards the conch he had spotted. He reached out and pulled it from the white sand of the ocean floor, releasing a cloud of dust that quickly filled with small, curious fish.
A large shadow darted quickly past and he rolled over to skim the surface. There was nothing there.
He dropped the shell, and kicked off the ocean floor towards the surface, and a fresh lungful of air. He had never felt so relaxed and at peace. He continued circling and diving like that for another hour, before deciding to head in towards shore. He scanned the beach through his mask and spotted his resort. Reoriented, he was about to set forth, when he spotted something that froze the very blood in his veins. A large grey fin had broken through the surface and was headed straight towards him.
Oh God, what was the rule? Play dead? Fight back?
He ducked beneath the surface and his fears were realized. A monster shark was headed right towards him, its jaws gaping in a hungry, sinister grimace. It was only a handful of metres away and closing fast. It had locked on to him, without a doubt. Ten feet. Five feet. He braced himself for the impact of those cold shredding teeth, then remembered something he had seen in a movie once.
The shark was just inches away, its dead black eyes scanning him the way the fat tourists at the resort scanned the dinner buffet.
He lashed out with his fists, a quick right hook, followed by two short left jabs. The shark stopped dead in its pursuit and for a moment, he thought he could see a look of conflict pass over its primeval face.
It hovered motionless before him, then turned and disappeared, a sleek grey missile in the tropical waters. He had won.
“Honey?” He looked up from the shelf of aquarium décor and found his wife surveying him with a playful smile on her face. “What are you punching?” she asked.
“Nothing,” he replied, “I was just thinking we’re about due for a vacation – maybe somewhere sunny?”
“That would be nice.”
It would be, and if he happened to see a shark? He’d show it who was boss.