The Better Swimmer

Posted: September 29, 2014 by writingsprint in Fantasy
Tags: , , , , ,

shark teeth

Erica watched the tiger shark’s shadow on the far side of the pillars. It was sticking around, back and forth. This guy was certain he had a nice meal waiting for him. Erica tried to remember the shark attacks on smaller fish that she’d seen on her dives. Which ones had lived?

She said, “We know he’s coming. So we go after him. It might scare him off.”

Aaron gulped. “All right.”

“Not you.”

“What do you mean, not me? I’m the merman, remember?”

“You gulped. Whoever does this can’t blink.”

“There’s no way I’m letting you go in alone.”

“We can’t leave Jory. If it gets past me—and it won’t—you need to protect him.”

Jory shook. The blood cloud was gathering around his waist while they sat here talking about it. “I feel cold,” Jory said.

Erica said, “That’s shock. We’re out of time.”

Aaron held her face close to his. “I love you. I’m doing this.”

She kissed him. “Love you too. Sorry.” Then she shoved him back at Jory and kicked toward the edge of the coral forest as hard as she could.

Aaron swore. Erica didn’t want to tangle with a tiger shark, either. She was the only choice that made sense. She could swim faster than he could with legs, and from what she’d seen already she could swim faster with fins, too.

The shark had been circling left. She came right at it. It darted away to the right, then went up and backed off from the edge of the forest. That brought it right into Erica’s path. Erica swam at it and punched its gills as she went by. The shark shook its head roughly. She heard its jaws chomping water behind her. The ripple from the first chomp washed her fin. Erica snapped her legs—her tail—like a whip and had another half body length by the time the shark chomped again.

Jory and Aaron had cleared the edge of the forest. They were making their way up. Aaron kept one hand on Jory and his eyes on Erica.

The shark started after Erica. She kept kicking. She gained distance. Then it turned. It moved its head from side to side. Erica could hear it breathing. It headed toward Jory and Aaron.

Erica tucked her legs, did a flip turn and charged the shark. She remembered how fast he turned the first time.

The shark approached them in a circle, checking them out first. Jory kept climbing. Aaron stayed with him, but turned to watch the shark. It breathed faster. Jory’s blood must have been filling him with hunger. Erica had seen curious sharks before. This one had the impetuous need of one heading for an easy snack.

It darted for Jory. Aaron started towards it but Erica met it halfway. She tucked her head and rammed it in the midsection with her shoulder. If sharks could cough, that was the sound this one made.

Photo credit: “shark teeth” by Scott at Flickr
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

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