Shark Story

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic



“You can’t help me,” I told her as I hold her hand a little tighter leading her up to the playground. “I just need you to hold my hand as my brain plays its tricks on me.” I stopped walking once we arrived on the colourful rubber tiles that are supposed to break one’s fall but don’t do much if you’re asking me. My girlfriend stood next to me, holding my hand tightly and looking up at me with pity and helplessness in her eyes. I could not blame her, I felt similar when she was struggling to keep her dinner down or felt like she needed to run a marathon because she had half a banana for breakfast. We were never perfect. Yet, up until a month ago, I thought that we were, at least, perfect for each other. We both believe in communication; just plainly telling each other what is wrong has helped us so much. It’s just that this dark cloud in my mind makes it difficult for me to know what is real and what is not. So, naturally, she started to doubt my feelings for her, maybe even her feelings for me. I don’t want to drag her down with me, but I also don’t want to shut her out and lately I’ve been doing the latter too much. 

“Why are we here?” She asked me carefully. I have to say, it’s a bit weird to go to a playground as adults, especially at night. Although, it might be more suspicious if adults go during daytime. 

“I though we need to find our magic back,” I told her and led her up to the pirate ship. “Do you remember our first date?” The smile on her face was the answer that I was hoping for and I felt my shoulders relax a bit. The look in her blue eyes made her appear years younger, it gave her her cheeky and naughty flair back. It was the confident smile that made me not fall in love with her but realise that she was special. The way she could smile that smile, her eyes joining in as if nothing was wrong. She was an actress but one that would let down her guard whenever she felt safe enough. I was the designated person for that, or I used to be. She only smiled her confident smile lately, no longer let me see behind it. But I had a feeling that I did the same, only my smile wasn’t one of confidence; I never managed to let my eyes smile if they weren’t feeling it. I am the open book.

“I am the captain,” she said and she stood up tall, I smiled down on her and kissed her forehead. 

“I thought we make it a little more interesting.” I released her hand momentarily and reached into the pocket of my jeans. I showed her the bag with two pills with smileys on them and she looked at me with wide eyes.

“Relax, it’s okay, I checked with my psychiatrist and she gave me the green light,” I said to ease her worries. Again, her smile appeared; hesitantly.

“I haven’t done this in so long, I can’t believe you remembered.” She grabbed my free hand and started caressing my knuckles with her thumb, a gesture of affection that I could not get enough of. 

“Of course I did, it had a special place in my mind from the moment you told me your ship metaphor and I felt that we needed to take some steps back again.” I released my hand from hers and hugged her tightly, she hugged me even tighter and I noticed how the ball of pressure that has been building up in my chest and stomach for weeks slowly, carefully started to unknot. She let go before me and took a step back. She reached into her back and took out two water bottles which she placed above her head on the deck of the ship. Her bag followed, she just threw it in but from the sound as it reached the wooden planks of the deck, it was empty. We both climbed up the rope ladder and stood on the deck watching over the sea nearby the playground. 

“You ready?” I asked her and she nodded enthusiastically. On one hand, I held out the pills, the other hold some chewing gum. She was holding the water bottles. The twilight gave her white hairs a golden glow and my mind soon saw her losing herself by the touch of my hands and lips right there on the deck of the ship, but I knew that was the easy way out. I needed to feel close to her again, safe again and sex was only a temporary solution. I needed to break down my walls and this pill that tasted horrible will help. I drank almost all of my water bottle immediately before taking a piece of gum. We sat down near the ship’s wheel, our backs against the banister and she started talking about the ship, just like she did on our first date. 

“Do you remember all of the ship’s story?” She asked me as she nuzzled her body against mine, her arms squeezed me a little too tight, but I did not mind at all. 

“I think so, but can you tell me again?” She giggled, it was not that she had not made this sound in a long time, it’s just that I did not notice it. At least not the way I did now as I, too, giggled.

“So, there was this girl—”

“Please, not in third person, we all know it’s you.” 

“Okay, fine. So, there was I looking at a ship passing by. My first girlfriend just left me and I felt terrible. We know this so I’ll just skip it now.” I gave her a kiss on her temple, it calmed her but me even more because that story made me angry every time she only alluded to it. 

“So I imagined myself being the captain of that big ship and I realised that when I am the boss of that ship, I can choose who is on there and who is not. That ship is mine and nobody will be there that I don’t like. I am in control of that ship and no matter what happens to it as long as the water doesn’t get it, the ship won’t sink. I am the captain, but I am the ship too.” She stood up and started steering the wheel, her chest forward and shoulders straight. I looked at her from my downwards position and her body mesmerised me, mine ached for hers, but I could not enjoy gazing at her for long. On the right side of the ship, a fin swam towards us. At first, I did not register it as danger, thinking and maybe hoping that it was a dog with a fin attached to its body like my brother always did with our dog when we went to the beach. But this fin moved too steady to be a dog. This was a real shark. I stood up and walked towards my Captain, our my arms around her waist from behind and kissed her neck softly which I felt much more intense than before. 

“There is a shark attacking us,” I whispered into her ear. The vibrations of my voice caused goosebumps on her skin and a shudder through her body, confirming the reason for the energy and euphoria I already felt; the drugs started working.

“You shark. Me course.” She looked intensely at me, her eyes fixed in mine, her nose touching mine, her lips close enough to kiss. Suddenly she looked away, into the direction we were going. I stepped back, looked on my left but only saw the water violently hitting our boat. On my right, there was even more violence. A huge shark came towards the ship and as it hit us, the whole ship trembled almost causing me to fall down. I could only stare at the shark, my legs seemed like they were not mine anymore. My brain no longer send signals to them. The shark swam away from the boat, its big, fat body seemed to be slow but its tail was so strong and big that it gave the shark some agility. Once it turned around, I could see its face. The rows of teeth were dull, and some teeth were cracked showing not only the many battles this shark must have fought but also that it was victorious each time. There was but one scar on its entire body, at least it must be from one singular attack as the scar consisted of four lines across its snout as if it was scratched by something with a claw or a hand. This made the shark a little more human, or closer to a human and even though I don’t know if that scared me less or more, the thought did make me feel my legs again. The shark has been hurt before, but it persisted so maybe if I hurt it again, it will go away again. I ran downstairs towards the gun deck of the ship and immediately saw where the shark had attacked before as that was the place where it was all wet and wood splinters were scattered across the floor. It was also the only place in this part of the ship were there was an opening as I found myself on water level now. I found a large stick next to the cannon and hold it out. It would not stop the shark but it might hold it back. I sat down next to the cannon in the opening and tried my best. 

“Watch out!” The captain screamed while trying to keep the boat on course. The ship was shaking heavily, partly because of the violent storm, partly because I was not doing a very good job at keeping the shark away. It was massive and kept banging our ship in the hope that one of us would fall off, providing it with a fresh meal. My stick was not long enough, nor strong enough to push the shark away. Luckily, our boat was strong enough to stand against the banging of the shark; so far there was no damage. I immediately felt I needed to knock on some wood after that thought, not wanting to jinx our fate.  

“It’s not working!” I screamed at M, our captain who used her whole body to keep the wheel straight amidst the chaos; she wasn’t tall but the years of sports she did finally were worth it. Neither of us knew where our destination was going to be, but we knew we had to get out of this chaos and straight ahead seemed like the best option. The sky was lighter there, whereas the clouds above our heads only seemed to darken. Meanwhile, I was on the gun deck at the water surface with my stick. It wasn’t much of a defence against the shark but I managed to annoy it a little. One of the cannons of the ship was limiting my movements but it also protected me. I could hide behind it when the shark’s teeth came too close to the opening. And it kept me from being completely soaked whenever a gush of rain or a violent wave decided to enter the ship. While keeping one eye focused on the shark mistrusting its every movement, my other eye scanned my surroundings for some gunpowder so I could get the cannon to work. I knew we had fire, that was one of the few things not being a problem. The rain pouring down on us might be a problem, I was shivering and I could not imagine how cold Captain was. I saw some cloth close-by, that would help in drying the cannon once I found gunpowder. If only Captain could abandon her mission to stay straight ahead to help me search this messy gun deck. The shark attacked again, it blows became less frequent but more powerful as if it was building up its strength in between attacks. The wood splintered, the shark’s teeth scrawled across it, I closed my eyes, hiding behind the cannon. The hairs on my arm stool erect as I heard the sound of teeth scraping on metal and I felt the cannon sliding away under my grip. I fell down on my butt, crawled backwards as fast as I could while my eyes were focused on the shark trying to break the cannon with its teeth. My jaw hurt, I realised it had hurt for a while now and that I could not stop chewing. I felt a wooden beam against my back, there was about 3 metres between me and the shark. I should be safe here but the ship would be soon destroyed if we did not find something soon. I stood up slowly, not making a sound; the shark was focused on its cannon, trying to figure out a way to eat it. I tiptoed as fast as I could to the stairs leading up the deck. I ran as soon as I felt my foot touch the first step, once upstairs I saw the Captain struggling. The wheel shuddering under her grip, trying to move against her wish. She hold one of the pins with both her arms above her head, barricading another with her shoulders and the strength of her whole body but she was quivering.

“What are you doing here?” She screamed, trying to top the gushing wind and violent rain pouring down on us. I ran towards her but soon found my feet slipping on the wet deck. I fell down but there was no thud heard of my body dropping against the deck as the shark banged into the ship at the same time as my fall. The whole ship trembled, wood cracked and the Captain gave way to the ship’s steering wheel which immediately started spinning once the strength of her body stopped keeping it in place. The ship steered robustly starboard in the direction of the waves and the wind which caused it to tilt severely. I rolled towards the water, unable to stop myself. The Captain rolled after me, unwillingly. We crashed into each other before crashing into the wooden rail separating us from the water and the shark below us. I held her in my arms as she was trembling heavily, her cheeks were wet but her eyes were dry; only panic resided there. I wondered what my eyes would show. 

“We have to stay quiet,” she told me. Her hand caressed my wrist, I allowed myself to get lost in her touch but it didn’t last long enough as she removed her hand and a wristband appeared. It was the Multi Function Charm Bracelet that Alex, Sam and Clover always wore. 

“Nobody ever said pirates can’t be spies too.” She smiled her cheeky smile, her eyes still in panic but some of the light blue peeked through that reminded me of the rippling of calm water. I smiled courageously, the look that she gave me now was all I needed. I stood up, helped her get up too. The ship was still steering heavily to the right, tilting dangerously and a vortex started building up in the water in which the ship was caught. The shark only increased the speed of the vortex by swimming in its circles, the cannon looked almost ridiculous following it like a lost dog. I put one arm around the captain, felt her arms wrap me tightly; her slow and steady breathing helped my wobbly breathing. I followed the sharks circles in the vortex, understood the pattern and turned my palm upwards, aimed my pinky and index finger at spot in this pattern. The Captain hold my wrist, steadying my arm and pushed the button that shot out a net of rope. The shark was no longer able to move its tail violently, causing it to slow down the vortex. The Captain ran up to the steering wheel and guided the ship out of the vortex. I could just sit down and slide my legs through the banisters and holding them with my hands as if I was looking out from a prison window. I saw the shark as it gave up its fight against the net, the cannon bumped into it and an outcry of pain was heard. A strange feeling build up in my chest, it was not pity. If I could have killed the shark, I would but that was not in my capabilities, I don’t think it would ever leave me. But now that it was gone for now, this feeling putting pressure on my chest might be best described at missing. I missed the shark and the fights we had, I felt empty without it. Who am I without the shark? 

“We made it!” Screamed the captain, I looked up at her and saw her finger pointing at land nearby. I stood up, unclenched my jaw again, and ran up to her. She smiled widely at me, while chewing aggressively on some gum that I gave her over 3 hours ago. 

“We saved our ship, Captain,” I said as I stood close enough to kiss her but as soon as she touched my lower arm with her finger, I forgot every plan or word my mind ever came up with. It was as if my body melted away and only the place where she touched me remained. I wanted more but I also did not want this feeling to go away. Her other hand touched my other arm and I regained that limb while the others only became more distant. My heart was pounding fast, it felt as if thousands and thousands of lines stretched out to her, pulling her closer to me, pulling me closer to her. I stared into her eyes, the panic was gone. Only the light blue, the rippling calm water that surrounded us, remained.

Submitted: March 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Mayra Lynn Assink. All rights reserved.

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