The Louisa-May

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Derek's just a chew toy to the monster lurking in the water.

Submitted: July 22, 2013

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Submitted: July 22, 2013

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The Louisa-May bobbed gently on the water. Its sleek new coat of glossy white glimmering under the hot midday sun. It was a small boat, not particularly impressive, but it was well maintained and well loved. Named after Derek’s mother, the boat had become both his home, and only companion, for the last 5 years.  Dark blue water spanned it for miles in all directions. It was clear and clean, the darkness signifying the depth rather than the murky dirt of other oceans. There was a patch, maybe a few miles from the boat, well in sight, which was not quite the same colour. A rusting brown which, had Derek been paying more attention, might have tempted him to sail Louisa May in the opposite direction. It bubbled ominously just before the horizon, the rust colour slowly diffusing, and spreading, through the water, growing with a worrying ferocity.  Meanwhile, the glistening blue waters lapped gently at the Louisa-May, enjoying the love affair between boat and water that existed whenever the weather was calm.

Today the weather was more than calm. It was scorching; a real day for the history books. The sun caressed Derek’s skin as he lay on the deck. He’d admitted defeat hours ago and folded his t-shirt beneath his balding head to nap. It was too hot for clothes and who would see him out here in the middle of the sea? His tough old skin was tanned from many beautiful days on the ocean so far that summer, though his nose, and rarely exposed chest, were pinking rapidly as the day progressed. Sweat was dripping off him and his shorts soon went the way of the t-shirt.

It was no use. Time for a dip. Forcing himself into motion he lowered Louisa-May’s rickety old steps into the water and, kicking off his final item of clothing, dived into the cool depths with a surprising agility considering his age. Years of living alone on the water had kept him in reasonable shape, despite his thickening midriff.

The Louisa-May was now firmly masking that rusting patch of water from Derek’s line of sight. If he could have seen it however, he would have noticed the ripples on the surface rolling out in his direction. The rusted water was diffusing fast, but that was not something we should be grateful for. It was being whipped up in a frenzy of movement not too far below the surface. If Derek had been able to see that rusted patch behind the Louisa-May, he would have seen that one thing which makes all swimmers’ hearts rise to their throats and stop. A fin.

Now, dear readers. I would like to clear up a misunderstanding with you here. When a sleek grey fin comes rushing through the water, the first thought is always “great white”. It cannot be denied that a great white shark attacks far more humans than its other family members. Who wouldn’t be afraid of this giant sea monster? The largest great white ever captured, on the shores of Australia, was no less than 36ft long. And he didn’t earn that nickname Jaws for nothing. The Great White has 5 rows of ferocious, serrated pearly whites which sink into the victim ripping and tearing chunks of meaty flesh out. He can smell a drop of blood in 25 gallons of water and speeds to devour his prey at 15 miles per hour. Who could out swim Jaws? Perhaps most scarily, it is not just blood which attracts sharks. Swimmers have had it long engrained into them never to swim with an open cut. But how many swimmers know that the great white is attracted to the glistening of jewellery of water, the human equivalent to fish scales? Or that a great white will attack a child on a boogy board, embedding those 300 white knives into the young flesh and shaking violently, because the outline on the water resembles a seal? Most obscure, how many people know that our friendly Jaws is as attracted to urine as he is to blood? Yes a drop of urine in the water caused one surfer to be bitten and mutilated by Great Whites on 7 different occasions, costing him his left arm, and a large chunk of flesh, but luckily not his life.  

But, dear reader, you see, here is the misunderstanding. Although great white shark attacks are the most common, they should be pretty low on the fear-dar. For they are rarely fatal. Jaws will bite you to investigate, the razor rows will tear through you, but more often than not, when he realises you are a mere mortal, he will release you from his iron grip and leave. There is therefore a far more deadly family member of Jaws which should be firmly at the top of your mind when considering a cool dip on a hot summers day.

Unfortunately for Derek, it was this creature, and not a Great White, which was now speeding towards him.

Blissfully unaware of the deadly predator targeting him, Derek lay back on the cool water and floated. Perhaps this ignorance of his impending death is the most frightening part of the sorry tale. It is, after all, the unknowns of death which most scare us. One might be sleeping comfortably in bed, dreaming of the day to come, blissfully unaware that a Brazilian wandering spider is scurrying down its web to make a meal out of you, sinking its fangs into your soft skin ensuring that this is one sleep you won’t wake up from. Or one might board a plane, excited for the holiday awaiting you on the other side, unaware that the engine is faulty and, somewhere other the Mediterranean ocean, will explode consuming you in a ball of hot angry fire.  Yes the part of this story which should strike fear into your heart is surprisingly not the terrible, violent gore we know is approaching. It is rather the all too real conclusion that, even at this moment, as you sit calmly reading Derek’s tale, death might be looking over your shoulder. Death might be hunting you skilfully from behind your own Louisa-May, just out of your line of sight.

The Tiger Shark, the far more fearsome cousin of the Great White, had set its sights on Derek as his splashing dive echoed through the ocean. It had just finished devouring  a hapless sea turtle, a rare but enjoyable treat which touched the sides of his hunger but didn’t quite quell the uncontrollable desire to feed. He moved silently through the water now, sights firmly set on Derek. Derek didn’t know what was coming for him until something brushed against his leg.

“Fuck!” Derek screamed in shock falling from his float into the water clumsily and rubbing his leg as if to prove it was still there. His eyes darted nervously around the water hoping, dear God he was hoping, that it been nothing more harmful than a seaweed, a fish or a dolphin, that had grazed against him and was now swimming cheerfully on its merry way. As he scanned the water, his gaze fell on Louisa-May and her rickety old steps. Steps which he hadn’t realised were quite so far away.  With the desperate push of a dead man walking, Derek began to swim frantically towards the safe haven of Louisa-May. He was a strong swimmer, and had won many a gold medal in his school days. But the Tiger shark can reach speeds of 20 miles per hour, and even Olympic swimmers, whose speed who far outrank Derek’s own ability, can reach a dismal 5 miles per hour in comparison. 

Effortlessly the tiger shark closed its grip on Derek. The Tiger shark has three deadly rows of teeth, and each tooth is the equivalent of having several teeth in one place. The sharp white points curve downwards to tear through the flesh of the prey, serrated edges saw through material even as hard as turtle shells. There is, in fact, nothing a tiger shark cannot eat. Obscure, seemingly inedible items have been found in their bellies, from women’s handbags to car licence plates. This might just be a symbol of the evolutionary simplicity of a Tiger’s shark brain, it will eat anything just to eat regardless of its nutritional value. On the other hand, this might be a deadly evolution that any object, when breaking down in the acid of its stomach, can aid the Tiger shark’s survival.

Derek’s skin, though hardened from years of hard work in the sun, was no match for those serrated blades that clasped down on his leg as he tried to flee.

“Holy crap!” he screamed shaking his leg out behind him in a desperate attempt to shake it off, hurt it, anything to escape it.

His feeble attempts did nothing to shake of the predator. It shook its head backward and forewards in a frenzy, still firmly clasping Derek’s leg, and tossing him about like a rag doll in the water as those serrated edges sawed through his flesh. Pain exploded through his body in a hot rage. His burning limbs begged for the release of unconsciousness, but his survival instinct held on, aware that if he passed out he was no more than chum. His own rust coloured patch was circling around him. His body threatening to gag as he realised it was his own blood which had died the waters red, so much blood. As he thrashed about the horrific thought flashed through his mind that the amount of blood now surrounding him, more sharks must be headed his way.

Suddenly, the shaking stopped and the only movement on him came from his own thrashing arms and legs. For one brief moment he allowed himself to believe that the shark had mirrored its Great White cousins, taken a bite and retreated. Then , before his wide, horrified eyes, the Tiger Shark, rose its evil head out of the water, Derek’s lower leg dangling from its mouth like a dog from a bone. Dangling completely detached from his poor shaken body. He could see his bone forcing its way through the bloody stump as the shark open its mouth and devoured the snack foot first. Derek’s stomach gave way and he heaved into the water, a mixture of blood and those little lumps of carrot which always seemed to be in vomit no matter what you had last eaten.

The shark was attacking again. Its jaws aiming for his waist this time. The leg a mere appetizer on this luscious menu. Derek remembered watching a Discovery program on sharks years ago, the reporter had said that if you were ever attacked by a shark you should aim for the eyes and the snout. Punching a shark in the nose could stun him or even knock him out.  Gathering up all his remaining strength, Derek balled his fist and swung, as violently as he can, towards the sharks nose. But those deadly jaws were too quick for him, changing target swiftly from his midriff to the flying fist.

“Ughh!” Derek cried out in desolution as the shark began sawing at his wrist.

His left arm was not so strong but it was the only option left, balling it, and with far less brute force to muster this time, Derek slammed it into the nose, forcing the teeth further into his wrist as he did so. Blood exploded  from his arm and another wave of nausea hit. But the shark released its bloody grip shaking its head as if to shake away the discomfort of the punch. Derek took his chance and made one final attempt to swim for the steps. It took every ounce of concentration to force himself to just keep swimming, to not look back, to not see how far behind him the deadly monster was.

But Derek didn’t need to look back. Because moments later, the sharks sharp jaws had found his waist and closed.

The Louisa-May bobbed gently on the water. Its sleek new coat of glossy white glimmering under the hot midday sun. .  Dark blue water spanned it for miles in all directions, but one. Clear and clean, the darkness signifying the depth rather than the murky dirt of other oceans. But one side of the boat, the starboard side to be exact, dark red water replaced the blue. A tangy smell of death was in the air. Louisa-May’s rickety old steps bobbed uneasily in the rusty pool. On the bottom rung, a desperate, lone, human hand clung. There was no sign of its owner.  


© Copyright 2019 Annie Wilkes. All rights reserved.

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