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I wake with cold blue all around me. The foam stings my eyes and salt is on my lips. The sky is grey and reminiscent of steel wool. I see land nowhere. It isn’t evident how I got here. The water is cold. There doesn’t seem to be clothing on my body. I feel something rough scrape me as a weight presses by me. Surprise makes me start initially but look toward it as it passes. The fin is big I think. There is nothing here to give it scale other than my fear. It disappears beneath the dark jagged plane as it heads to the horizon. Fear overcomes common sense and I plunge my head underwater to look for it. It is gargantuan. Again perspective maybe off but it looks to be prehistoric. Dread creeps into my heart just from looking at it facing away from me. Eventually it will turn back. Do I even care to look it in the face? It disappears through unlit murk beyond my vision.
I tread water for years or hours or minutes. I see it in the distance watching me. The fin cuts the water like a razor. It sinks back down with stealth yet aggression like it wants to be out of sight but wants you to anticipate its return. Seeing it makes you wish that something would happen. Waiting and waiting for something to happen. I need to know what will happen. I want to face what is consuming me. I look beneath the surface. I see it. My personal demon circling just in line of sight deep below circling around waiting to strike. My eyes hurt from looking through salt water. It sinks down just out of sight. I lose sight for a moment. Now I see its face as it comes straight up. It is moving faster than most creatures could probably as fast as an automobile. Oddly though I see it approach in slow motion. I feel an eternity as it comes up at me. I see its gaping maw open to consume me. I close my eyes and hear my mother’s voice speaking.
I am sitting in her living room. She is cleaning her home. Darting from left to right front to back. I try to ignore the flurry of activity as she circles me meticulously doing this and that. I would speak but she has told me ever since puberty that I am too loud. I would watch TV but she tells me I am not social enough and don’t pay attention to others around me. I would get a snack or a drink but she tells me I weigh too much and she worries. She always starts telling me these things by saying, “I only have one thing to say…”, yet there seems to be an endless supply of these one things. I sit in her living room adrift in my own thoughts afraid to move lest she react. The smell of vacuumed carpet and bleach fills the house. It makes me lightheaded and nauseous. She seems to want me to move so there is a reason to strike out at me. I know I can’t sit still like this forever. Eventually it will come. I sit looking at a section of wall where the sun highlights the dust motes she is disturbing with her frantic yet methodical cleaning. She has had enough of my inaction. She has made her decision to come towards me. I do not even know which fault will be found. I turn to accept my fate and see her mouth open. I close my eyes in anticipation of what is sure to follow.
I open my eyes. I see the prehistoric beast rising out of the dark stygian depths. Row after row of teeth are now visible it is so close. Its eyes are black as void and uncaring. It is upon me. I feel relief flood through me. I will be a good meal.
micheledutcher - The thing I liked about this story was the visceral quality of the shark and the mentally abusive mother. Sharp details build the scene and the relationships. Some will say a 'mother's love' would never allow someone to behave this, but I've seen this kind of twisted love in action, so I'm a believer.
esullivan240 - Yeah Michele! Bravo! My thanks!
micheledutcher - I was able to save the day. Nice to be assistant editor sometimes:)
esullivan240 - Is it just me on Internet Explorer? All the HTML code can be seen, sometimes mid-sentence.
esullivan240 - This version was submitted on a day the submissions form was not working. It is full of loose code. The wrong version was published.
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