CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN
For a moment Brian just stared in horror and shock. Just when he had thought he might survive all of this, things get worse. A small cry of fear escaped him and the bubbles of air rippled out of his mouth. He kicked the shark and began to swim away as fast as he possibly could. This could not be happening… he could not be about to die!
The shark seemed confused for a moment at the prospect of a prey that fought back, then it began to glide towards him, looking slick and terrifying in the gloom. It could smell the fresh blood all over his body.
Terrified, Brian pushed himself onwards. Despite being exhausted, he was unwilling just to give everything up, he had too much to live for, Sammy for one.
The shark was gaining on him. He could sense it behind him. He did not want to look around, did not want to see the teeth ready to bite him, but he found his head tuning anyway. It was less than a meter behind him and he could not move any faster. He desperately tried to kick it on the nose again.
An arm suddenly grabbed him tight about the neck and another arm attempted to seize his kicking legs. Pete was beside him. He was stopping Brian from escaping. Brian struggled and cried out, letting more precious oxygen out into the water. He felt dizzy with fear, his whole body was shaking. Pete struggled with him, refusing to let him wriggle free.
The shark turned it’s fishy head and opened its mouth. Brian caught another glimpse of the sharp teeth that lurked inside its cavernous mouth. He closed his eyes.
‘Don’t let it hurt, please God. Let me die quickly,’ he prayed.
He braced himself for feeling the awful ripping pain as the teeth teared into flesh… but it never came. There was a distorted scream of agony and the iron gripping hands were gone from about him. He opened his eyes and saw Pete screaming and writhing in pain. The shark had seized his leg, not Brian’s, and was twisting it mercilessly. The awful sight sent a chill to Brian’s soul. He could not just watch while the shark tore Pete apart… that would not be human. Pete may have been willing to stand by and watch someone die but Brian knew that he wasn’t.
Brian turned and kicked the shark on the nose. It let go of Pete and snapped its teeth angrily. Brian grabbed Pete’s arm and began to swim to the surface. He gasped and choked on sea water as he emerged from the waves, dragging Pete with him. There was a deafening roar surrounding them. Brian looked up weakly and saw a blurry helicopter just above them. He smiled. Saved…
Pete suddenly hit Brian around the face again and then dragged him back under the water. Brian could not breathe… he had had no time to take a deep breath. He screamed soundlessly as the water gurgled down his throat. He was dimly aware of Pete dragging him further down. Brian felt the sickening sensation as his body tried to take in oxygen that was not there. A convulsion shook his body and Pete released him.
He heard Pete scream again. The shark had his other leg this time. Brian tried to swim away but Pete grabbed his arm and held him firmly. Fearfully, Brian tried to pull away. He had saved Pete’s life! Why was the man obsessed with killing him? They could have been safe on the helicopter!
Blood was everywhere now and Brian felt a blackness beginning to close about him. He wanted to escape this nightmare and now it looked as if his only option was death. Pete finally surrendered to his own demise and let go of Brian as the shark pulled him away, but Brian knew he would never make it to the surface… he would never get back to Sammy and the guys. The fear was dissipating from him as a calmness began to fall upon him. Maybe dying was not so bad… It didn’t hurt anymore… he couldn’t feel anything…
Then the strong arms grabbed him and began to pull him upwards. Brian wanted to resist whoever it was and tell them that it was okay because it was so calm but he couldn’t speak. He felt himself dragged up towards the surface and then the calm sensation vanished as he felt himself choking and vomiting water. He could breathe… He moaned slightly as the pain returned all over his body. His lungs and throat were burning and he could feel every bruise and cut screaming with pain. He coughed and choked, trying to breathe again. He wanted that breath… He wanted his life.
“I’ve got you, Brian, I’ve got you,” something said.
There was a strong wind about him and he shivered in his rescuers arms. Someone was trying to pull him up onto solid ground. There were shouts all around him. Voices… He felt himself gasp as he lay upon a solid surface. He moaned and then rolled onto his back. Hands were touching him and placing something strange over his mouth. One terrified voice cut through them all…
Brian reached out his arms and tried to find the owner of the voice who he loved so dearly. A little hand clasped his and then the darkness took everyone away.
Sammy was still sobbing as he was carried into the helicopter. He refused to let any of the doctors come near him and stared through the window. Brian had disappeared from view and Sammy cried inconsolably while he was wrapped in a fluffy towel.
Quickly, they were carried over the waves while Sammy, Nick and the others desperately tried to spot Brian.
“Slow down!” Kevin called. “This was about where we last saw him!”
The pilot did so and Sammy wiped his eyes as he waited for the appearance of his daddy. He did not think that he was ever going to come but then he emerged spluttering and holding Pete. Sammy gave a slight cry if joy but it was cut short as Pete grabbed Brian and yanked him back down into the sea.
“Daddy!” Sammy yelled again, while pushing away from the doctor that tried to make him sit down.
“Open the doors and I’ll get him,” Kevin said.
“We can’t let you do that, sir!” the pilot said. “There’s sharks in this part!”
“And my cousin is down there! Now open the doors!” Kevin yelled.
The pilot gulped but did so. Sammy watched as Kevin jumped out and splashed into the sea. Nick held him closely as they waited for him to return.
‘Let him come, let him come,’ Sammy begged silently.
Then Kevin emerged and Sammy smiled as he saw Brian in his arms, but the smile soon faded when he saw Brian’s paper white face and the red blood that covered him. Nick tightened his arm around him. Sammy could not move. He could not speak. He could not cry.
As Brian was pulled into the safety of the helicopter, Sammy saw the true damage that had been done. Brian’s ashen face was covered in ugly bruises and blood covered his soaking and trembling body. Sammy began to scream as he recognised the scene. It was just like his nightmare – Brian helpless and covered in blood – and he screamed at the awful reality of it.
He tried to run forward as Brian coughed and choked upon the deck but a doctor stopped him.
“He needs room!”
Sammy sobbed. Now he was alone. He struggled and cried and Nick held him tightly. Sammy could feel the man’s body trembling as he cried as well.
“He’s lost a lot of blood but I think he’ll live. We have to get him to the hospital quickly, though!” a woman said, reaching for bandages.
Sammy was trembling and his stomach felt heavy from the fear that sat inside of him. Brian was alive. The thought was pure sweetness to Sammy.
He was alive. He was alive… just.
Brian gasped horribly on the floor and moaned. Sammy cried as he stared about him with wide, confused eyes while an oxygen mask was placed over his frightened face.
“Daddy! Daddy!” he sobbed.
Brian turned his head towards him and held out his hand. Sammy leapt away from Nick and clasped the bloody hand in his own. Then Brian’s eyes closed and his hand went limp in Sammy’s. Sammy squeezed it once more and then was gently pulled away by Kevin.
“Let them help him,” he said.
Sammy nodded and sat and watched for his daddy to wake up again.