He glanced at the overcast sky, Good fishing weather thought the old man. Stepping up the pace a little for fear of losing his favorite fishing spot. With his left hand twisted with arthritis, the old man stopped to regain his hold on his large white bucket. It was hard to get a grip on the bucket when wet, or full of salmon trout as sometimes is the case, but today is a good day. The long Breakwater was almost void of people save a couple of young girls getting ready for a swim. The old man smiled to himself, it was always good to get this spot, from here he could cast out and land in the gully only a few knew of, and keeping to themselves for fear of the local fishing market crowd, of whom were known to net anywhere for anything.
Rubbing his hands to get some feeling into his left hand. He glanced
up to the spot he last saw the girls with their long brightly colored bathing towels. He could hear the girls moving around down there, down there being a 6 foot climb down a rusty old fisherman’s access ladder, were all the rowboats were kept for the fisherman to use to reach their rather larger fishing boats, and the ladders being placed a few yards apart, all the way along the breakwater for that vary purpose. May as well keep an eye out for their belongings for them thought the old fisherman.
The first he knew of real trouble, was the blood freezing scream coming from down were the two girls had gone swimming. Grabbing his fishing knife, for no other reason than it was all he had in case the need to cut to free the entangled kids as was often the case among the boat moorings, though he wondered at the extreme volume of that scream. Shaking a little more than he would like, the old man turned around and started climbing down hand over unsteady hand, no were else to but it he had the knife between his teeth. “Please hurry, help my sister, please mister”. This was a hell of a predicament to be in, thought the old fisherman, left hand almost useless and with most of my weight on the other, I cant turn around, dare not try to talk, the large black plastic handled knife might do either one of them harm if I drop it. The old man froze in fear, a fear he hated, hated the fear and himself for feeling it whenever it occurred. Ever since he can remember, he
had a fear of sharks. Breathing in small gasps the old man climbed lower, one rung at a time till he could see one of the girls. Shaking with cold and fear, she was sitting in one of the old clinkers tied to the ladder he was on, her large brown eyes glistening with tears, and staring intently at the deep green water. If it was calm to a mild swell you could see the sandy bottom. Falling heavily, between the end seat and rudder arm, the old man gowned in pain, this shook the girl out of her trance like state. Ripping off his woolen shirt and revealing a mass of gray curly hair, and milk white skin which had not been exposed to the sun in all his sixty eight years he struggled to keep the clinker from being swamped.
No sexual thoughts entered his mind as he put his shirt around the girls sholders, her swim ware was so small it was almost nonexistent.
Everything went silent, no seagulls squawking over every morsel of food scavenged from leftover packets of cockles, sometimes called pippies, left behind by earlier fisherman. There were no waves only large swells, the silence was total?. Fear gripped the old man, it put an invisible vice around his chest, crushing his heart, and threatening kill him. The sea swirling around the breakwater raising and falling as it
dose, seemed to as if ordered became deathly still. A huge white object burst out of
the sea, after the stubbed nose front end emerged, came the massive mouth, and the width of the whole thing was to much for an old man to take in, but he was so close he could smell the rotting stink that was its breath as rows of teeth filled his entire view, unsteadily the old man rose to his feet staring as this huge white thing kept rising as if in frame by frame motion on an old super eight film, out of the green depths. “Voomp!”, huge rolls of spare skin under the mouth shook in unison as the monstrous mouth of the devil slammed shut. As the huge white devil slipped back into the water, none to quietly, a strange urge began to creep into the old mans vary existence. Steady now!, he heard his inner mind plead, he felt rather than saw his arm swing down and retrieve the long black handled knife. Nothing from the girl, she sat motionless except for the raising and lowering of the old Clinker they shared.
then without a sound, a word!, a whimper, this aged man stepped out into space.
No one saw as the old man put his boot on the water as though he were going to walk, as a man did sentry’s earlier. The old one with the fear in his eyes, sucked in a huge lung full of air, then felt the water slap him in the face, upon his entry in to the green swell, as though trying to wake him up from this false reality, and he was awake, wide awake!, with all his senses working overtime.
The old man looked around trying to get his bearings with salt water stinging his eyes, making that task impossible, he began swimming to were he hoped would be the surface. Water and space have one thing in common, there are times when you cannot distinguish up from down, knowing this, the old man stopped floundering about getting no ware , and strained to feel movement in the fifteen foot of water, give or take in inch he found himself in. A strange thing happened, the sea started slowly
bubbling and the water began to feel like it was getting heavy, pushing against his chest, his lungs were hurting, burning, but the surface with all that fresh air, still eluded him. A massive white shape cut through the water moving slowly past the old man, large bubbles streaming out of the sharks mouth popped around his face. Angry at himself, hurting all over, and not much breath left, he lashed out with both legs, which did nothing but cause him more pain. The knife in his right hand, which he had also lashed out with, was nearly ripped out of his hand, but he hung on to the handle while the pain in his shoulder was excruciation. The arm with the knife was dislocated from his shoulder only to pop back in again when he let go!.
A short time later found a battered but alive old man floating on the surface. Half swimming half paddling the old man headed towards the boat with the unmoved girl with his shirt around her shoulders. He didn’t make it?. There was no pain, yet!, all was dark, pitch black, then light, a cavern, …tunnel, then more light, making it easer to see, and to realize, noooooo.
A portable radio on the bench of a local kiosk crackled into life. An attendant excepted the change handed to him, for the two ice cones he had just sold “and now the latest news on the hour every hour”. “A shark attack today left a young teenager the sole surviver, her twin sister’s remains were put in a child size coffin to be transferred with her surviving sister, to their home state”. "An old pensioner and local fisherman, is believed to be the other victim. Nothing could be found of the old mans remains. This is your local news service, on the hour, every hour.
WRITTEN BY terry morris