Shark Attack

You’re sailing in the ocean with friends when a shark attacks your boat, knocking off your friend who is driving the boat. There are two others on the vessel with you and you have to work with them to quickly save the driver from the water (and being eaten by the shark). Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.


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209 thoughts on “Shark Attack

  1. john.rowell

    BTW i am ten and not that good so can i get some feedback? *** I struggled against the raging current as I tread the water of the Atlantic. I swiftly swerved around in every direction to find anything that i could grab. A large chunk of wood from the wreck of the ship crashed towards me. With great effort I lunged toward the large board and started to pull myself up. It was harder than you would think. I jumped out of the water and threw my hands over the wood, only to find them slipping off as I plunged back into the murky, cold water. I continuously attempted to yank myself up on the board as I felt something brush up against my leg. I knew immediately what it was. A slimy figure swiftly cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. It was the shark that had destroyed their boat just minutes before. The fear itself from the shark was enough for me to use every muscle in my body to hoist myself up onto the plank. I then surveyed my surroundings. The main frame of the boat was still intact, yet most of the right hand side was torn off and floating around. I was standing on a piece of what was probably that side. On the boat sat the two other passengers aboard the boat. They seemed to be extremely cold ad shaken up but at least they were alive. I also noticed that part of the nose of the boat was detached. The part where the driver sat. Terror flooded my head. I whipped my head around in the swirling wind to find where it was. I saw about 45 feet away sat the nose of the boat. Over the waves, I couldn’t tell if the driver was still in there trapped under the pile of debris. I couldn’t take any chances. I violently splash-paddled through the water until i was close enough to tell if there was a survivor in there. There sure was. Our driver was trapped under a huge metal beam that fell on his arm. It was a gruesome sight. Bits of flesh and muscle lay all over the wreck. His face was covered with cuts and wounds. His face and clothes caked with a layer of blood. But, on top of all of that, he was sinking. The way that the nose was flipped, it acted like some sort of raft for the driver. But, the cheap metal couldn’t last forever. It started to cave in. The driver looked up at me and, too weak to talk, pled silently to get him out of there. I knew what I had to do. I paddled my board all the way to the little raft and then stopped abruptly. I had seen it again. This time, it was close enough that his fin cut out of the water. I froze in terror. I shook my head and snapped out of it. As I approached the nose, the first thing that I did was I tried to pick up the beam. It wouldn’t budge. I saw that a sharp piece of metal lay in the water. I picked it up and started to try and cut away the beam. Once again, nothing. I knew what I had to do. And the driver did too. He closed his eyes and turned his head away. I used the blunt metal to slowly cut his arm at the elbow. He howled with pain. I could barely look myself. After the job was done I pulled him onto my raft and I headed back to the main ship. We waited there for at least an hour before help came. Still today, I am still frightened of the ocean and anytime I see a shark I remember that fearful day…

  2. transaltlantic

    (Hello all. I know I’m a bit rusty, but I’m trying to get back into writing, as I used to all the time, but life got in my way a bit, and now I’m out of practice. Additionally, I have QUITE a bit to say about negative portrayal of sharks in the media, but I didn’t get to say all I wanted to, as I am over word limit already. All of that said, here goes!)

    “It was the summer of 2016,” I would later begin the story.

    Hotter than blue blazes on the Florida coast, but the clear skies and calm water drew us out of our summer slum and onto boats, jet skis, you name it.

    Summer semester brought time for me to work on my independent research project, and I was incredibly excited to have some close friends helping me out. The project was on Gulf Flounder, and we wanted to get in the water to observe them in their natural habitats. However, today was simply a day for catching, taking measurements, and releasing.

    An hour on the water proved to be fruitful. Our team of four had already caught thirteen flounder using dead mullet as bait. Yet, as we chatted and waited for number fourteen, I grew a bit uneasy. It seemed strange to me that it had been so long even since our last nibble on the bait. Curious, I stood up and walked around the boat’s perimeter. About thirty yards off, I saw a dark shape in the water.

    “Hey guys, looks like we’ve got a visitor,” I joked. As my friends stood up to get a better look, I cautioned them to reel their lines in slowly. Our dead fish had likely attracted this magnificent beast, and I didn’t fancy unhooking it from the end of one of our lines.

    “You think he wants a snack?” Youssef, whose father owned the boat, stood near the side holding our bucket of bait in the air with a grin on his face. I knew he wouldn’t really do it– I’d long since taught my friends how to handle shark situations, and purposely baiting the water was not ideal if we wanted to finish up our project for the day. I simply rolled my eyes and continued to reel in my line. I knew trouble was afoot when I felt the boat lurch. With a quiet yelp, Youssef tumbled into the water, bait bucket and all.

    With my other friends on my heels, I scrambled over to where he had fallen in. He was bobbing around in a flurry of dead fish, with a shark quick approaching. Following my instincts, I leaned over as far as my body would allow and stretched out my arm. I glanced to my right to see another arm doing the same.

    All of a sudden, another shark breached just yards away from my struggling friend, where a seabird had been picking at our lost bait. Youssef disappeared under for a second and I could feel my heart ready to explode from my chest. He came back up gasping and frantically reaching for our outstretched hands. With a few powerful kicks, we were finally able to get a hold and haul him aboard as a fin cut through the water where he had been moments before.

    We all collapsed on the boat floor, gasping. After a second, one of the other guys who hauled Youssef up let out a laugh. Soon enough we had all joined in, and decided to call it a day on the water. After a chorus of “dumbass” directed at Youssef, he had put up his hands up in surrender and taken us back to land, safe and sound.

  3. Bushkill

    Shark Attack 7-2-17
    (It’s been a while since I posted and this one struck me since I just got back from a multi day fishing trip at sea. I hope to be a more regular writer here again shortly. Enjoy! … Also: trying out the blog thing of my own and would be happy to answer any questions about the story here–> )


    That’s the word uppity types used to describe my current situation. A July afternoon on the water had started easily enough. Four friends piled into another’s sailboat and set off for a jaunt to the blue water and back.

    Except none of us were nautical, and the blue water off of NYC didn’t really start until somewhere in the neighborhood of the Hudson Canyon. And that was a bloody long way by sail.

    By sunrise, the coastline disappeared and we had a brilliant conversation to hand about sunrise colors, the dolphins we could see cruising beside us, just in front of the bow and playing in the wake, and the way the wind pulled at us, and by extension our tiny ship on the vast ocean.

    And then it was gone.

    The wind puttered and petered out, the sail fell limp, and the sun climbed to its zenith, mocking us. That visceral orb of fire, baked down on our well-screened skins and its reflection doggedly beat back against us from the strangely silent sea. For miles in every direction flat calm assailed our senses. No waves. No wind upon the water as the Psalmist wrote. No movement in the deep that we could discern.

    The absolute solitude is difficult to describe. The vastness of unhindered view in all directions with naught for the eye to settle on but a barely undulating mass of water, tears at one’s soul.

    Here we sat, silently staring at a sheet well surrendered to the lack of breath in the air, suffocating in the heat and glare. No sound but our voices, grown tired in the telling of good times on the way out, and the soft slap of water on the hull; that sickening sound of non-motion.

    A bird circled, also alone, like we four, but soaring aloft with wings unfurled and buoyant on what we couldn’t see. We chastised it, chortling curses, confident in ourselves and our ability to weather our non-weather predicament.

    The hull bump surprised us. We had seen no sign, and yet Peter went over the rail anyway, the sound of his splash, sweet music to our ears for the sameness of our becalming tore at us.

    We even started to laugh, until the sight, the horror, really, of that lone, dorsal fin circling back toward our friend flayed our sun-tortured minds from their distilled atrophy.

    “Throw him a line.” Said Mary

    “Reach him with an oar.” Said I.

    But it was John that put action to our words, reaching outward as the owner of that towering, water-splitting triangle, closed in on Peter. The creature, certainly God’s answer to our lack of prayer, bumped Peter in the back and Peter cried out, but no billows of red enrobed him and he grabbed John’s hand, scampering aboard like a crab moving across the sand.

    Below us circled the shark, its length easily two-thirds that of our boat.

    Above, a second bird joined the first to mirror the watery denizen’s path.

  4. T.A. Dieringer

    Tom knew three things about this trip.
    One, the Atlantic Waters off of Virginia, can get cold. Fifty-six-degrees or less can send your body into hypothermic shock in less than ten-minutes.
    Two, Sharks love the water when it is Sixty-degrees or less.
    This was two strikes for his friend Andy, who just fell over the starboard side of his brand new thirty-foot-Skiff. To Andy it felt more of a shove, than a jolt of a wave, but non the less he was in the water.
    “Man over board! Man overboard, starboard-bow, shit, Andy went over”! Jeff grabbed the line, and thrust the jib to the side, as he yelled for Tom to duck.
    Tom was new to sailing as well, he heard Jib, and Port, and Sail, and Sail was the only damned word he understood. He bent down just in time to miss being hit by the wooden beam on a swivel jutting out of the main-mast…The skiff ran 20 knots at a right angle tilt, into the three-foot-waves.
    A voice screamed out on the port side of the skiff, now in complete chaos at the loss of their Captain, and now;
    “Shark, oh my god a shark! on the port side, its huge! Andy, look out, shark in the water”!
    Jeff and Tom made their way to the port side of the boat, looking into the churning blue-green-ocean, at a nineteen-foot-Bull-Shark…Now swimming towards Andy. They looked at Sarah, who was now franticly clawing for the life line and donut. Tom grabbed one end of the line, as Sarah shouted for him to; “tie the end to the cleat on the edging”!
    Tom, held the end of the rope loosely in his hand, with a look of confusion while Jeff leaned over, grabbed the line, and tied it to the silver-cleat in a clean and fast figure-eight. Tom felt useless, and clumsy. Tom grabbed onto the ropes lining the sides of the Sail-boat. The boat now tilting a bit less, as it turned into the waves.
    Andy had been in the water for a full five-minutes now, and his clock was ticking. He felt numb throughout his body, he needed to make it to the boat before he was shark-food. The cold now pinched the nerve in his spine, a sudden jolt of pain surged through his spine, and through his brain, Andy was dying.
    Andy swam, watching the Bull-Shark slam into the sail boat, it hit the port side at full speed, sending Tom flying head long into the mass, smashing his face, and killing him instantly. His now lifeless body floating in the Atlantic. Sarah flew into the air, grasping for ropes, but only managing to cut herself in several places, before landing a foot in front the Bull-Shark. The splash scared the shark, and it turned and swam away, Andy made his way to the Skiff.
    Tom was left hanging on, caught up in the ropes. The shark, now smelling blood, got over its fear, and began to swim back.
    Andy clung to the port side of the boat, his fingers barely able to hold onto his friend Tom.
    “Andy, I never wanted to come on this trip. I told you that. Remember, I said there are three things I know.”
    Andy wanted his friend to stop talking and pull him up, before he froze , or the sharks got him. But he was so called, all he could manage to do was chatter his teeth, and hold on. He watched as his friends were now being eaten by more sharks. Black-tips, White-Tips and Bull sharks.
    Tom grabbed Andy’s arm and squeezed it.
    “I love you Andy, but I had to do this. I took out an Insurance Policy on you three-years-back. With a million-dollar accident clause. And double-indemnity for a boat-accident. Two-million-dollars was just too hard to pass up.
    I pushed you in, the rest was just luck.
    There are three things I know, Andy.
    One; the Atlantic is Cold this time of the year.
    Two; Sharks love the cold. And Three; I know Insurance.”
    Tom let Andy’s arm go.
    Andy could not think, talk, or move, he just floated away.
    Tom knew just enough about boats to get him back to shore, as he turned the sails towards home.

  5. Turkey Girl

    The wind blew lightly, turning our sailboat on the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. I was sitting in a boat with my boyfriend Carl, and his best friend Floyd. We weren’t really trying to get anywhere, we were just chilling and sailing around. We could still see the shoreline, with dotted with people sitting under umbrellas, or lying flat on the ground sunbathing. The sailboat was pointed away from the shore at the moment, but we never let the beach disappear from our line of sight.

    “Shouldn’t we start heading back?” Floyd asked, glancing quickly at the sky. “It’s almost three o’ clock, and I still have to clean up my garage.”

    Carl ran a hand through his dark hair. “We’ve only been out here two hours. What do you think, Ellie?”

    I shrugged. I wanted to stay out there for another few hours. “Another thirty minutes?” I suggested.

    The boys agreed, although looking back, I wished they hadn’t. I looked around from my position in the front of the boat, surprised by how clear the sky was. Letting the wind play with my blond hair, I glanced back at the boys. Floyd was sitting on a chair, checking his watch every thirty seconds. His father had told him to clean up the garage, but he hadn’t done it yet. Knowing his dad, I wasn’t surprised he was scared. Carl was sitting on the floor of the boat, his tanned arms holding onto the sides of the boat. He was supposed to be steering, but the boat was pointed towards the shore and didn’t need direction.

    I turned back towards the sea just in time to see a ripple of water. Something was moving towards the boat. I took a closer look. About ten feet away, I saw a black fin peek out above the water. My mouth opened in surprise and I turned around again.

    “Carl, there’s a shark heading for the boat!”

    Carl scrambled to his feet and stepped into the front next to me. After he saw the fin heading right for our boat, he headed back for the steering wheel. Curious, his pal Floyd got up and walked into the front. He leaned precariously over the side of the boat.

    I saw the boat start to tip. “Floyd, watch out! Get away from the edge!”

    Disregarding my warning, Floyd continued to peer over. The boat listed slightly and with a scream, he fell in. I yelled again. “Carl, Floyd’s in the water!”

    Carl stopped what he was doing and dashed to the front of the boat. Floyd had bobbed back up to the surface and was grabbing at the sleek sides of the boat. The fin was less than a foot away. Suddenly, it broke the surface of the water. The figure wasn’t a shark. It was much worse. My lethal, mentally unstable enemy from college, Valerie, was wearing a shark suit. There was some blood on her hands. Hatred gleamed from her eyes.

    “Are you all right, Valerie?” I called to her. “What are you doing here?”

    She smiled, her crazy smile unsettling me. “I’m here to watch you die.”

    Floyd laughed. “Fake sharks don’t kill.”

    She nodded, still grinning. “This one does.”

    Valerie was suddenly pulled under the water. The ocean around her suddenly colored red. Floyd started frantically trying to get out of the water. We could all see the shape of a great white shark approaching the boat. It grabbed Floyd’s leg and pulled him away from the boat. The rest of him soon followed. The water turned a deeper shade of red. Crying, I fell back into the boat. The shark burst out from the surface of the water, grabbing Carl’s hand which was still outstretched to help his friend. Carl screamed and tried to pull away. Grabbing him from behind, I yanked him back into the boat, then turned on the motor, which we hadn’t planned on using.

    Finally, we made it to the shore, a trail of bloody water following the boat. The sun sank red over the sea that night but Carl and I didn’t leave the beach. Somewhere out there, we knew Floyd was waiting for us to come back.

  6. MoiraiTQ

    My story needed to continue.
    Shark Attack pt 2

    The car accident was horrific. The burnt bodies were unrecognizable. This was an ugly investigation. The police believe the occupants were three women based upon the three purses that were in the car. The other car was equally as burnt, but the police knew who the driver was. He was a known drag racer, who had caused other accidents, but none as bad as this one. The driver he was racing fled the scene, but will have nightmares for a very long time. The east side of The Strip will be closed for hours while the investigation continues.


    Frank’s memorial had come and gone two weeks ago. As there wasn’t a body, there wasn’t a funeral. The four wives, all close friends, had huddled together to comfort Frank’s widow, Jill. This went on all afternoon. Right around 4 pm, Jill screamed, “Get out you little whore!”

    The whole room went silent and everyone turned to the four women. One very red face and three ashen faces stared back at everyone else. Jake’s wife, Sandy, burst into tears and ran from the house. Heidi and Judy were frozen in place, unsure what to do next. Heidi was married to Jeff and Judy married to Joey. Guilt was starting to creep across their features. Jill stared at the two of them and shouted at them to leave.

    Jill stood up and addressed the rest of her and Frank’s friends. “Thank you all for coming in my time of need. I think I need some time to myself. Please see yourselves out.” With that, she walked gracefully out of the room and up the stairs.

    Later that same night, the husbands had confronted their wives about their infidelities. The wives had admitted it and blamed Frank’s charismatic personality. The husbands moved into the spare bedrooms. Home life was a bit stressful for all three couples. Luckily, no one had children, so no little lives were impacted.


    The day was hot and the air was cool under the awning that covered part of the patio. Jake had a classic rock station playing in the background. Before that very embarrassing and unexpected outburst, the three men had individually tossed around thoughts about what to do with their marriages and wives. Jeff and Joey then discussed things together, but knew they had to bring Jake into it and agree. Frank was easy, three women, not so much. Jill more or less threw a monkey wrench into their burgeoning plans. All four would now become prime suspects if something happened to the women.

    The three wives had gotten together and decided to take a girls weekend to Vegas. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Sandy rented a Ford Mustang convertible for the three of them. Heidi and Judy reserved a suite so that all three of them could be together. They spent the first evening sitting in the casino bar, eating, drinking, and laughing, and trying to see things in a more positive light. They knew their marriages were over and they needed this before they had to be serious and get on with their lives. At the end of their first evening in the bar, they went upstairs to their room. Feeling no pain and dropping into bed for the night, their dreams were sloshy and agitated.

    The next morning, they woke up with red eyes, headaches, and churning stomachs. Taking turns in the bathroom, they finally made it to the restaurant for breakfast around 10:30. Eating their pancakes and drinking their coffee, they made plans to hang out at the pool during the day, have dinner around 7 pm, and spend some time at the blackjack table. Finally, they’re going to end the night taking in the sights of The Strip.

  7. ReathaThomasOakley

    Shark Attack

    Bobby waited for WC to respond as he knew he would, watched the flying scales gleam like shooting stars in the light from down the pier. The bulb over the cleaning station was broken.

    “Mistake? What was a mistake?” WC stopped scaling the fish, used the tip of the fillet knife to scratch at his left bicep where the red and purple welt seemed to sag on the flaccid skin.

    “What we thought,” Bobby answered, “about the shark.” He moved closer to the other man to get a better look at his arm. “Who did that?” He pointed at the streaky inflamed area.

    “Some gal at Sonny’s, said she was a tattoo ‘artiste’. Ha!” WC stopped scratching. “It ain’t healing right, think I should see a doc?” He went back to cleaning the fish. “Now, what you mean about a mistake?”

    “Sharks don’t eat people, it wouldn’t have eaten you, mighta bit, don’t like how people taste.” Especially you, Bobby thought.

    WC came at him, knife raised, fish guts dripping from the blade.

    “What you know ’bout what coulda happened? You wasn’t in the water, I was, you and Bubba laughing your fool butts off in the boat.”

    “You gonna ruin that good knife you stick me with it.” WC lowered the knife. “I read up on sharks, figured they’re all round here, I should read up on ’em.” Bobby moved away from the man who’d once been like a brother to him.

    “I even heard you been bringing tourists down here, in the night, to go shark fishing.” Bobby watched the other man. “That right?”

    “Yeah,” WC laughed. “Charge ’em a hundred bucks, promise a fight. Tide ain’t right tonight if you was wantin’ some action, plus, ain’t got no chum. These fish is for eatin’.”

    “No, no.” Bobby sighed. “Just wanted to tell you about Sue and little Wiley. She’s heading out Friday, thought if you wanted to see them, but I guess not.” Bobby went to the railing.

    “So, no sharks under the pier tonight?” He stared into the black water. “My mistake,” he whispered, then turned back to WC.

    “Guess I’ll be going,” Bobby said. “And, WC, don’t worry about that tattoo, doctor’ll just cost you money, it don’t look that bad.”

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        I hoped the final sentence was the kicker. That infected tattoo is going to get worse and WC will most likely die. Bobby had a different plan, but when he saw the arm. . .

        Maybe the next prompt will be better (for me).

  8. Witt.Stanton

    His arm was floating in the water nearby, bobbing in the dark waves. I stood frozen on deck, my bloodless hands clenching the railing and my mind numb from the cold. In the wheelhouse above me, the end of the captain’s cigarette glowed in the night air.

    The helmsman stopped screaming few hours ago, according to the clock bolted onto the paneling, but I could still feel the inhuman sound reverberating in my bones. Next to me, the the captain’s wife shivered. I looked over at her.

    “I need to get off this boat,” she whispered. “I can’t take it anymore.”

    I could feel the captain’s eyes on me. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw his form outlined in the darkness, cigarette smoke wreathing his head. With both engines off, the silence was deafening.

    I leaned my head closer towards hers. She smelled oddly nice, her perfume a mixture of roses and sandalwood. The stench of blood reeked everywhere else. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow pass under the boat. The sharks were circling.

    “Just hold on,” I told her. The knowledge that we were 1300 nautical miles from either coastline hung over us like a thunderhead threatening to burst. I gave her one last glance before heading up to the wheelhouse, a cabin of wood paneling and a wide bank of three windows.

    The captain greeted me with a nod, his hands steadying the wheel. “Got more bait for you,” he said. “Freshly caught and gutted. Let’s catch that sonuvabitch fish.” I grunted in approval. The chum buckets were shoved under the counter. I shook the water off my yellow jacket then pulled them out.

    “I lost my best mate today,” I said, my voice unsteady. “I couldn’t save him.” The captain reached over and put an arm across the doorway, barring my exit.

    “He didn’t have much of a chance,” he replied, catching my eye. “Not in this weather. You know that. The moment he hit the water, he was done for.” I sighed, breathing in the icy air, and shook my head.

    “Here,” the captain muttered, turning towards the windows. I watched him wedge his foot under the paneling alongside the wheel and jimmy it open, revealing the hidden apartment beneath. He crouched down and pulled out his old whaling gun.

    “I thought you’d sold that.”

    The captain smiled grimly and tossed it to me. I caught the heavy metal with both hands. “Shoot straight, my boy.”

    1. Rene Paul

      Hey Witt.Stanton, inquisitive minds need to know… what happened before this scene and what happens after? Good middle scene but I’m going crazy trying to figure it out. How did he fall over, was there a love triangle, even though your MC says he was his best friend, did he or the smell good woman have something to do with him going over? Nice story.

  9. Rene Paul

    “Boy, oh, boy, this is the life!” Good fortune is shining on me. Sailing out of the Dana Point Harbor in my friend’s new Beneteau, Oceanis 35.1 model, sailing boat. Black and white, and gorgeous.

    “Why don’t you buy one, Paul?” My best friend Jake asked as he maneuvered us past the rock jetty and out into the open sea.

    “We,” I pointed toward Mike and Kenny, my other two friends aboard, “couldn’t afford the docking fee, let alone the boat, even if we pooled our incomes.”

    Jake said, “I told you losers to buy into my company at the initial public offering, but you declined. As I remember it, you guys said your wives didn’t understand the computer industry and weren’t comfortable investing in it, right? And where are those wives now? Every one of you divorced and remarried. Should’ve bought the stock, would’ve had a boat!”

    We hung our heads.

    “Look on the bright side,” Jake said, “you guys enjoy the vessel as much as I do without the expense of ownership. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, the day I bought my boat was the best day of my life, and the day I sold my boat was the second-best day.”

    Jake laughed. The rest of us, we waddled our collective heads, raised our hands and smirked.

    “Have you guys read the news about the shark attacks this summer? Most sighted right here in these waters.” Mike, stared at Kenny in disbelieve. “Grow up, Ken,” he said, jabbing at his knee, mimicking a shark attack.

    “Not funny, Mike, I’m being serious. Doesn’t that concern you guys?”
    And, “No,” came the replies.

    The clash ended when Jake decided to teach us some basic seamanship, such as safety and rudimentary sailing techniques. When he finished, he popped open four ice-cold beers. Here we were, lifelong friends drinking beers and telling stories of loves gained and lost.

    We were having fun, but that was about to change.

    The first sign of trouble started after Jake brought out the tequila, well ok, more like after we each downed 3… maybe 4 shots, followed by beer chasers.

    “We’re a bunch of drunken sharks,” said Mike.

    “Hammered Heads!” Said Ken.

    Our fun- in-the-sun day was drawing to its conclusion. The daylight orb hung above Catalina causing sunlight to glimmer off the water as it fell behind the island.

    “What was that?” Jake asked. The three newbies confessed ignorance. “Something hit the boat near the tiller,” he said. That’s when he stepped over the stern rail, place a hand above his eyes, peered into the water, and fell overboard.

    Mike was the first to react, “Did you guys see that?”

    Ken and I staggered to our feet, “Yeah,” we replied. Mike grabbed a life preserver and tossed it into the Pacific, unfortunately, nowhere near the spot where Jake performed his swan-dive. At once, a dozen dorsal fins burst out of the water. Jake didn’t.

    The deafening sound of 357 Magnum blasted into my ears.

    “Mike,” I said, “are you crazy? You just shot a Dolphin!”

    “What? I thought it was a shark.”

    Kenny, intimidated by Mike’s action, asked, “Why did you bring a gun on board?”

    “I’m a cop, you moron. I always carry a gun in my backpack. I guess wimpy accountants don’t.”

    “You’re calling me a moron… you’re the moron! You shot a Dolphin. Now there’s fresh blood in the water and that adds up to danger.”

    “Hey, guys, I hate to interrupt your lover’s spat, but Jake just came to the surface and a real shark is circling him. We need to turn this boat around, pronto.”

    The Ken and Mike squabble ended with the realization that none of us know how to sail the boat. Jake gave us the basics but putting that knowledge to practical use, well, easier said than done. One thing I knew, the longer we waited, the further away from Jake we sailed.

    “Lower the sails,” I barked. “Start the trolling motor.” The effects of the booze still lingered but diminished somewhat as stress and anxiety added into the mix. Ken sat at the console and pushed buttons until the sails moved in the right direction. Mike started and lowered the motor into the water. I kept my eyes on the lurking shark. Jake had reached the life saver and hung on with one hand while frantically waving the other.

    Fear invaded his voice as he screamed, “He bumped me! He’ll attack me next time around, hurry.” The fin protruding the water gave the shark’s location, twenty feet, and closing.

    We sped through the water as fast as a 30hp motor can move a 35-foot sailing boat. An eternity passed before we approached Jake’s position. We pulled alongside our desperate friend. Six hands extended toward him, he grabbed one of mine and one of Ken’s, the shark was two feet from Jake’s thrashing legs as we hauled him aboard. I swear, I could see the shark’s black eyes rolling back and his jaw opening.

    Another shot rang out.

    We all made it back to the marina in one piece. Thanks to the quick action of Mike and his 357 Magnum revolver.

    Today we’re celebrating the 3-year anniversary, tied to the dock floating in Jake’s slip. Kicking back in his new, unnamed, 50-foot power cruiser, having drinks and reminiscing about that fateful day. Jake stands, as best he can, with a slight lean to his starboard side, and raises a drink, “Gentlemen,” he slurs, “I’ve come up with a name for our new boat, we’ll call her… Shark Tales.”

      1. Rene Paul

        Staying true to the prompt can be difficult when you don’t feel the story, with this one, the basic story was pretty easy to write. I live 2 miles from the Dana Point Marina. The hard part was editing! Two days until I was satisfied. Thanks for reading, MoiraiTQ.

      1. Rene Paul

        Funny you should comment that way, my original ending, after he disclosed the name of the boat, was… “4 best friends sharing ownership of a boat, what could possible go wrong!” Thanks for reading.

      2. Rene Paul

        My mistake, I put your reply under Kerry’s comment. See below.This one is for Kerry: Thanks for the comment on the flow of the story. It took a lot of editing and rewrites. Thanks again for all that have read my post.

  10. jhowe

    The streetlights swayed in the summer breeze on the upper west side as Maria sat near the open window and brushed her long dark hair. Feeling as pretty as ever, she smiled as Tony rounded the corner and swung around a pole, his arms outstretched. He leapt from stoop to stoop, delighting two twittering young girls that walked on the sidewalk. Tony’s voice, smooth and strong echoed through the cityscape as his serenade reached its crescendo and he beckoned for Maria to come down from high.

    Marie laughed and mockingly shook her head, causing another melodic flurry from her suiter. She stood, arms akimbo, a sly smile on her face and prepared to descend. She saw movement in the alley behind Tony and froze in fear. At least five Sharks lurked, light reflecting off their switchblades. Bernardo emerged and glared at Maria when she screamed.

    Tony swung around as a Shark lunged and managed to avoid the attack just in time. He jumped over a tandem of garbage cans and kicked them in the path of the attackers before bounding over the alley fence. He ran like a cheetah, his young legs pumping. He heard footsteps as the Sharks pursued but Tony’s speed was too great.

    “Stay away from my sister, scumbag!” Bernardo yelled as the Sharks gave up the chase.

    Tony looked at his feet as Riff and the other Jets fumed and plotted. “This has to end,” Riff said. “One way or another.”

    “It’s rumble time,” a Jet said.

    Tony’s heart ached, both for Maria and the persistent thought that Bernardo would not stop until one of them was dead. He didn’t want to die, but he didn’t want to kill either. Either scenario would devastate Maria and that was not acceptable.

    Riff looked at Tony with smoldering eyes. “Either you’re with us, or against us. There’s no other way.”

    “Nobody has to die.”

    “As long as there are Sharks, people will die.” Riff put his hand on Tony’s shoulder. “Can I count on you?”

    “Of course,” Tony said quietly. He put his hand in his pockets and felt the heft of the switchblade. He followed the group of Jets as they marched down the street. He hoped Maria could someday forgive him. Somebody was going to die.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        “Maria, Maria, I just met a girl named Maria”. Perfect response to the prompt. The genius of Leonard Bernsten and West Side Story will live forever. You must have the musical memorized.

    1. pven

      For the number of folks dusting off their DVDs to verify how true to the action this scene is (I’m one of them), it’s a testament to the realism of the writing. Good job, and a great take on the prompt.

  11. Paula St. Paul

    I understood what had just happened: the hallucinations had kicked in. I wasn’t sailing anywhere but I was experiencing 4D. It’s what happens when you’re too high. I was comfortably numb and watching Jaws from my big plasma screen.

    “You wanna piece of me?” I asked the great white. “Let’s dance, bro!”

    And the shark joined me. I jumped on his back and it was like an ocean rodeo. Man, this world is fantastic! My friends in the water ‒ Dreyfuss, and Scheider ‒ clapped their hands and I and the great white rode off into the sunset.

    I woke up drooling on the carpet.

  12. Jennifer Park

    The moment I saw the human’s face, my heart stopped. He was the one. He was the one who had dredged up my brothers and sisters on a gill net, chopped off their fins, and mercilessly dumped their carcasses back into the sea. Even before I could think about what to do, my body had bounded out of the water, leapt over the ship, and dragged the butcher’s face underwater.

    Only then did I realize I had snagged the wrong human. It was the one who had been standing next to my intended victim. I shook my head in disgust. That taste. The taste of human flesh. The humans, they had so many species’ blood on their hands, that their flesh tasted like death. Rotting, amoral flesh of depravity. I hated it so much, and to have that distaste linger in my mouth after I’ve taken down the wrong human…

    I did not dare make another leap. The humans, they were probably readying their hands of death for my next attack. I just watched as the dead human–not by any means innocent, but hereby wrongly punished–bob in the water, its white fabric skin staining with blood.

    As luck would have it, another human fell into the water. The one. The angel of death, clad in black rubber, brandishing a spear gun, going after its friend.

    It was my chance. I made a mad dash toward it.

    But, the spear gun, it got me.

    I didn’t care. Vengeance was mine. I took its head off with a bite, and got as far away as I could before letting it go.

    And here I am, dying.

    My friends, as you feast on my flesh, remember, that the ones who call us cold-blooded killers are themselves to blame for deaths too numerous to reckon, including their own kind.


      1. Kerry Charlton

        Definately from the shark’s side. Dolphin come in two species, mammel and fish maji maji. I caught a four foot off Miami. It shimmered in beauty as we pulled it in the boat, but when it died, all color and beauty died. We did eat it that evening but it has haunted me that I kiiled beauty like that. Never again did I fish.

    1. pven

      I appreciate the take from the shark’s point of view. Never did understand the appeal of shark fin soup, so I’m in his camp. Also does a good job illustrating how vengeance begets vengeance.

  13. dustymayjane

    Tommy kept a fierce grip on the wheel of the boat, imagining that the wind in his hair was that of an ocean breeze off the pacific and the sun in his eyes was resting on the ocean horizon to which he was headed.

    He had to save his friend who’d been knocked overboard. He raced to where he floundered in the water, shouting for help and splashing around. The shark only inches away, was far longer than their small vessel. Betty and Sandy sat in the back of the boat, their hair blowing in the breeze, enjoying the vistas of the open sea.

    Tommy stood on his seat and threw the life saver over the rails to where his friend was waiting. Just in the nick of time, Tommy pulled his friend Sam in from the depths of the ocean blue. The shark closed his toothy jaw, narrowly missing Sam’s booted foot. Had Tommy not been the best life saver thrower on the water, Sam would surely have met his demise.

    Sandy and Betty swooned at Tommy’s heroism and Tommy was all “Awe shucks, Ladies.”

    The air smelled of cotton candy and fried corn dogs. The lights of the carnival rides began flickering on against the setting sun. The boat ride came to a slow stop and Tommy wished it wasn’t over so soon.

    “Can I ride again Mom? Please?” Tommy begged.

    “Come on Tommy, come on Betty. Let’s go ride the Merry-Go-Round. You can be cowboys and cowgirls.”

    Tommy’s eyes sparkled as he climbed onto the shiny black stallion, ready to ride the range and fight the gunslingers of the old west.

    1. jhowe

      At first, I was thinking, how could they be enjoying the vistas of the open sea when their friend was in the water with a shark. Then you started to slowly reveal the truth. Good story, Dusty.

      1. Rene Paul

        I too was a bit confused about the girls having fun in the sun while their friend was saving a life. Then the tide turned and the imagery changed with it. Liked the twist and the story.

    2. pven

      “Had Tommy not been the best life saver thrower on the water…” The heroes of our stories must always excel at a particular skill, and watching my own boys hone their skills of particularly ordinary actions into feats of excellence, I had a chuckle at that.

      1. pven

        I often wonder what my boys think of when they go on those short and simple amusement rides that are little more than a differently dressed-up merry-go-round. This tale may provide some answers.

  14. ShamelessHack

    “You pushed him!” Stan screamed. He stared in horror as his friend Kyle was sucked under the water.
    “Did not,” Eric looked about as innocent as the shark that was swimming in tighter and tighter circles around the boat.
    Kenny moved to the rail and stared in shocked silence as Kyle’s head broke the surface. Kenny’s eyes were angry and he mumbled his outrage.
    “Help!” Kyle yelled. His green ski hat had fallen off in the water and he watched horrified as the shark broke the surface close by, tooth-lined jaws flashed, and the hat disappeared down the fish’s gullet.
    “You did, Eric,” Butters piped up nervously. “You did push him and, oh hamburgers, he’s going to be eaten!” The boy rubbed his hands together and hopped from foot to foot.
    “Are you crazy, Eric?” Stan grabbed Eric by the collar. “Why did you do it?”
    Eric sniffed. “He wasn’t respecting my authoritah.”
    While Stan, Eric and Butters were busy arguing, Kenny climbed over the rail, jumped in and swam out to the floundering Kyle. He got an arm around Kyle and the two quickly swam toward the boat.
    The shark made a wide circle and zeroed in.
    On deck, Stan and Butters reached over the rail as far as they could, grabbed Kyle’s outstretched hand and pulled their sodden friend up to the deck.
    It was then that the shark leaped out of the water and came down jaws wide on top of Kenny. A few seconds later Kenny’s red jacket floated to the surface.
    Kyle, dripping wet, his fists clenched, looked at the floating jacket and said, “You killed Kenny.” He turned to Eric. “You bastard.”
    Eric Cartman backed up a pace and said, “Call me Ishmael. Jew.”
    As the rest of the boys jumped on Eric, Butters stood apart and wrung his hands.
    “Oh, hamburgers.”

  15. MoiraiTQ

    The four men have been friends for at least a decade. All are in their early 40s and are upper middle class. Frank is about 6’, tanned and blonde. Jeff and Joey are identical twins and might as well be the same man. There is no telling these men apart, both physically and personality-wise. They are 5’10” and have brown hair. Jake is 6’2”, athletic with salt and pepper hair. All of them are laughing and joking as they tool around the cove, intentionally staying away from the swim beaches.

    Jake wants to go faster and closer to the open ocean. Frank heads closer to the ocean. While Frank’s boat is not ocean-rated, it is sturdy and has a powerful engine. Frank turns the boat easterly, guns the engine, and looks in the same direction as the boat is headed. The other three are still laughing and looking back into the cove.

    Suddenly, Frank draws in his breath and utters a curse word. With beers in hand, the three men whip their heads around at Frank. Right at that moment, the boat violently hits something and Frank flies into the water. Jeff and Joey yell for him to hang on. Jake jumps up, takes the wheel, and steers the boat around to see Frank. All three men are looking into the direction of where he landed in the water.

    Immediately they glimpse the gray dorsal fin rapidly approaching Frank. The shark’s open mouth appears above the water line and clamps onto Frank’s floundering body. Calmly, Jake sets the engine to idle. All three men are standing in the boat watching the churning, bloody water. The look on Frank’s face is frozen in horror and pain as the shark attack drains the life out of him. After several minutes, there isn’t much left of Frank.

    “It looks like the chum worked.”

    “Yes. It was a good idea, wasn’t it. I don’t think Frank will be borking our wives anymore.”

    “Time to head to shore and report the shark attack.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Well, after reading this story, I am surprised I made to my 30th birthday. Thank God Dallas doesn’t have any water ariound deep enough to foster a shark. Seriously the story is btutal, to the point, fascinating to read. It is amazing you had the words to describe all the characters, run the story line, the action with the shark and then add the killer line at the ending. My hat is off to you, fine job. ;

  16. pven


    Sarpedon Sharks are not sharks in the Terran sense of the word, but their behaviours and aggressiveness are reminiscent of the classic shark movies of yore. Twice as long as the great white and five times as enigmatic, these denizens of the icy Europan depths may have more in common with the Pliosaurus funkei than elasmobranchii. But with the imagination of the masses more connected to Jaws or Sharknado, the “shark” moniker remains a thorn in the scientific community’s designs to classify this ferocious beast.

    Naming the creature is, of course, the least of our challenges. Finding an effective means to study the fellow at all has proven elusive. Living close to the ocean floor near Europa’s hydrothermal vents, the Sarpedon Shark exists in a realm far beyond the reach of surface probes and cameras. Those probes sturdy enough to reach the Jovian moon’s turbulent core have proven not responsive and, therefore, not maneuverable enough to avoid being swiftly devoured by this ravenous beast, relinquishing blurred shadowy images and perhaps a few partial bite impressions.

    With no budget to waste on “scientific lunacy,” NASA’s Europan Commission has pulled back on its studies of the Sarpedon Shark for more fruitious endeavors, such as establishing a second colony to delve into the Jovian moon’s North Pole. It’s up to us.

    With the historic Deepsea Explorer Two as our inspiration, Marc has repurposed a non-functional shuttlecraft into a submersible capable of withstanding both the Europan depths and its tidal flexing. Captained by our lucky Lucas Moquin, and manned by the irascible Iskander Alexeyeva, we’ve put our best deep sea explorers at the investigative helm that will expose the Secrets of the Sardenon.

    Viewers: be warned. Neither the Jovian moons nor her denizens give up their secrets readily. This trip will be marked by both triumph and tragedy. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

    1. pven


      Lucas and Iskander have boarded the Minos, our Europan deepwater submersible, and are taking it down to the Jovian moon’s core in search of the elusive Sarpedon Shark.

      They’re smiles and jokes now, but they’ll be all business once our cryobot cuts through the moon’s icy mantle. A veteran of countless dives, Lucas has learned never to underestimate the Europan tidal forces, and Iskander knows that, should they come upon a shark, he has to be prepared for the beast’s malevolent attack on their vessel.

      To repel such an attack, we’ve equipped the Minos with two repulsor charges, one near each end of the submersible. Should the Minos attract the attention of the Sarpedon Shark, these discs would release an electric charge that would shock the creature into thinking otherwise about attacking our vessel.

      A more important defense is enhanced maneuverability. So Marc has equipped the Minos with two horizontal and two vertical thrusters which instantly respond to their helmsman’s commands. Iskander manipulates those thrusters with the reflexes of a pro-league gamer, testing their functionality by making the Minos appear to dance in the first hundred feet below the ice.

      From there, it will be a straight drop to the bottom.

      Lucas captains the Minos from within a thick Oroglas sphere heavily layered with an insular cerakote that protects him from the sub zero Celsius Europan waters. It’s positioned at the base of the submersible, providing him with a near 360 degree view of the surrounding ocean. Iskander’s navigation room is situated closer to the top, his windows an array of sensor readouts, dashboards, and video monitors from the cameras that stud the submersible’s outer shell. Between them is an emergency bulkhead designed to neatly separate the two rooms should one suffer a significant failure. For now, it remains open, the two preferring to communicate what each sees to the other simply by shouting up or down the tube.

      And what they see is fantastic.

      Contrary to popular belief, the European waters are teeming with life. Not near the surface, where the crystalline turquoise waters can reach temperatures of -180 Celsius, but miles lower, where the ocean waters paradoxically get warmer as we drop further out of sight of the sun.

      The first of the crystalline jellyfish appear approximately 15 miles below the ice, dancing in jerky ovals as the tidal forces push them up, then down. This rhythmic dance propels them into clouds of countless microscopic denizens upon which they feed.

      As the sun dissipates and the water warms, the Minos falls through a flotilla of small bioluminescent creatures that paddle frantically away from our vessel. Whilst their decorative lighting helps attract the minuscule brine shrimp that also populate these waters, these creatures are completely blind, having developed no eyes to struggle with this cimmerian realm.

      And then: a darkness that rivals the farthest reaches of space.

    2. pven


      The Minos has landed on the Europan core in a field of hydrothermal vents, a prime location for the Sarpedon Shark. The nebulous light in these environs is cast by the glowing volcanic edifice surrounding our craft — just enough to project a myriad of shadows within shadows surrounding the violently bubbling flumes to our left and right.

      Lucas and Iskander are keeping their eyes peeled for any other movement.

      I suggest that Iskander keep the Minos aloft, so to speak, well above the core’s surface for better maneuverability. Lucas’s concern is how much fuel that will consume, and suggests that such movement may alarm the shark. It’s that very bobbing movement that may have doomed the unmanned probes that went before them. Motionless, they’re more likely to capture the critical footage of this mysterious creature.

      As I wonder why we hadn’t considered setting stationary unmanned probes on the Europan core, Iskander points out movement.

      It’s majestic. And terrifying.

      Approximately 13 meters in length, the Sarpedon Shark appears evenly divided between tail, body, and snout. A lengthy protrusion extends a good five feet from its gaping maw, which appears to be hinged a further five feet back to allow it to scoop vast quantities of its prey into its gaping maw. The uneven serration of its sharp teeth, pointing every which way, would be an orthodontist’s dream.

      Two translucent white eyes dot each side of the beast’s head, indicating that it is most likely swimming blind.

      The shark’s body is mottled black, with a darker underside. Lucas wonders if that’s due to the shark’s proximity to the hydrothermal vents and the gushes of dark toxic smoke they release. Perhaps, but the shark appears to be avoiding swimming directly over the vents, its long snout triggering proximity to a flume and causing the beast to shift course well before it glides over the roiling waters.

      Lucas and Iskander have switched to headsets and are talking to each other in hushed whispers, for fear that the beast might pick up on the sound waves generated by their discussions and come investigate.

      A lengthy pointed caudal fin propels the creature as it swings gracefully side to side. The lower tips of the fin skim the top of the Minos, setting off several sensors in Iskander’s pod. He rushes to silence them as the Sarpedon Shark reacts and turns around. Whether it was alerted of our presence by the sensor’s alarms or the glissando of its fin against our submersible’s shell, we don’t know.

    3. pven


      **This program contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.**

      The Sarpedon Shark has sensed the presence of the Minos, and is coming back to investigate. Lucas and Iskander remain very still, silencing their very breath lest the creature sense anything out of place in this alien world. It glides over the submersible, large pelvic fins pushing great amounts of water, rocking the Minos in its wake.

      Yet it appears to have missed the explorers. Lucas and Iskander each breathe a sigh of relief from their respective posts. It’s time to go.

      Further study will have to be done, but not today. This brush with what appears to be Europa’s apex predator was too close for comfort.

      We’re almost out of the hydrothermic field when Iskander notices movement heading their way, rapidly.

      The shark is coming back.

      Iskander initiates evasive action, thrusting left and up, but the shark’s reaction time belies a creature of that size. With a quick thrust of its massive tail, the Sarpedon Shark dekes to intercept the Minos. Iskander tries again, this time diving, and again the Shark swerves, glancing off the side of the submersible with its elongated nose.

      It appears that we’d dodged a literal bullet, but we’re not out of danger yet. Iskander’s lost control of the horizontal thrusters, severely limiting his maneuverability.
      “Up! Up!” Lucas shouts seconds after Iskander has activated his remaining thrusters, but we can see the shark has turned around and is making another run for the submersible.

      Dear Lord! The Sarpedon Shark has struck the Minos head on! Lucas’ cameras have gone out, we can only see from Iskander’s angle…

      It looks as though the Minos has been broken in two! Floating down below we can see the bubble from which Lucas was captaining the ship.

      He’s waving at Iskander to go up. There’s nothing our helmsman can do… the emergency bulkhead doors have sealed shut, locking the Europan waters out, and Iskander in. There’s a short hiccup in Iskander’s ascent as he weighs his options. But with limited mobility and Lucas’ half of the Minos now jouncing along the ocean floor, the chances of Iskander catching up to his captain, let alone rescue him, are slim.

      And the Sarpedon Shark has returned with a vengeance, chasing the bouncing lower half of the Minos. Lucas sets off the repulsor charge attached to his pod. It shocks the beast and appears to give it pause, but the hunter instinct is too strong to resist. It shakes off the effects of the repulsor and resumes the chase, catching the wreckage in its massive jaws.

      Lucas’ pod is too big to destroy in one bite, so the Sarpedon Shark begins to thresh back and forth, its remarkably sharp teeth tearing the pod’s shell even further, sundering the Captain’s sphere from its protective housing. Our receding cameras catch the final moments before the monster devours the shattered remains of the pod in three swift bites.

      Iskander shoots the submersible up through the Europan waters, hoping that the monster below will contain itself within the hydrothermic waters. But below we can see a gray form coalescing into the broad shape of the Sarpedon Shark, once more giving chase to anything that moves within its realm.

      It rams the bottom of what remains of the Minos. The emergency bulkhead shudders. Water is beginning to leak through. The attack has given the Minos some much-needed acceleration, but the shark has regrouped, and we now realize it’s much faster than the speeds our meager thrusters can produce.

      We shout at Iskander to use his repulsor charge. He’s shaking his head: there’s a definite risk that it will knock a bigger dent in the bulkhead below, perhaps compromising the submersible. But there’s really little choice: take a chance with the detonation, or certain annihilation from the beast pursuing him.

      Iskander finally elects to release the charge, and with a gamer’s accuracy, detonates it just above the head of the beast. This attack is too much for the Sarpedon Shark; it veers to the left and returns to its home in the murky depths.

      But Iskander’s other fear also comes true. The pulse from the charge has impacted the Minos, and it’s taking on water even faster. With thrusters labouring at full, the Minos might not make it to the surface in time.

    4. pven


      The Sarpedon’s secrets have come at too high a cost.

      Our intrepid crew, Lucas and Iskander, have captured detailed and definitive footage of the elusive Sarpedon Shark. It’s a terrifying beast, roughly the size of a small humpback whale with the menace of a chimaera. But this invaluable scientific breakthrough has come at too high a price — the lives of both our explorers. There’s no doubt that Lucas fell victim to the shark’s vicious attack on the Minos. And Iskander perished shortly after making it to the surface, contracting a severe case of decompression sickness, commonly known as the bends. Vivid reminders of the frailty of the human condition, here at the far reaches of colonized space, where so much is still unknown.

      1. Beebles

        I really really enjoyed that pven. The documentary style worked really well and the world building effortlessly real. Really good stuff. And I’m going to say really one more time for the hell of it. Really I am.

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Fantastic story, fantastic story! But, forgive me for seeing Sharknado and then anticipating Minos would become Minnow. Different sea voyage.

      1. rlk67

        Your entire novel above is majestic and terrifying. Sounds like one of those information reels we watched in science class many years back. They didn’t always have happy endings, either. Yours was much, much more fun, though.

  17. writer_sk

    Shark Week” blared on the television in the living room of the small cottage the guys shared at the beach. A year after college graduation the whole arrangement this time around felt forced rather than nostalgic. They drank the rest of the beer from yesterday’s keg. It was so “college-y”.
”Bro, come in here, Michael Phelps is going to race this shark.”
 “Uh, huh.” Evan peered at the tiny lit screen, trying to see if he could sense any subtext in the message he got from his fiancée, Lara.

    There had been no sign of the impromptu football game that was now very obviously happening as Julio ran through the narrow doorway and bumped Evan causing his phone to fall into TJ’s full cup of nearby Budweiser.

    “Bro, at least I caught the ball,” said Julio.

    Evan had little patience for any of it and set off on foot. Down on the dunes the beach sand felt soft and cool and he broke into a light jog, going down to that sweet spot where the ocean has touched the hard sand but hasn’t softened it to the point at which one’s foot would sink. He ran faster, the tepid salt air washing over his skin and breathing life into his lungs. Before he knew it he was down in front of the boat launch.
 “Hey buddy, you want some water?” A guy motioned him over from a modest yacht.
 “Ok, thanks, bro.” Evan drank the whole bottle while stepping on board. Five beautiful women stood socializing, one took a glass of champagne from a tray and handed it to Evan.

    “Who are you guys?” He was compelled to ask, sipping from the flute.
 “We’re Cinco, an all Latino Canadian folk-rock act. We just played an album release party and we’re starting our tour.”
 Evan nodded his approval, happy to be included in the elegant gathering.
 “I’m Pedro,” said the band’s singer, handing Evan a CD.

    “My demo, take it, bro.”

    “Thank you.” Evan replied, placing the disc in his jacket pocket

  18. writer_sk

    PART 1
    “Shark Week” blared on the television in the living room of the small cottage the guys shared at the beach. A year after college graduation the whole arrangement this time around felt forced rather than nostalgic. They drank the rest of the beer from yesterday’s keg. It was so “college-y”.
”Bro, come in here, Michael Phelps is going to race this shark.”
 “Uh, huh.” Evan peered at the tiny lit screen, trying to see if he could sense any subtext in the message he got from his fiancée, Lara.

    There had been no sign of the impromptu football game that was now very obviously happening as Julio ran through the narrow doorway and bumped Evan causing his phone to fall into TJ’s full cup of nearby Budweiser.

    “Bro, at least I caught the ball,” said Julio.

    Evan had little patience for any of it and set off on foot. Down on the dunes the beach sand felt soft and cool and he broke into a light jog, going down to that sweet spot where the ocean has touched the hard sand but hasn’t softened it to the point at which one’s foot would sink. He ran faster, the tepid salt air washing over his skin and breathing life into his lungs. Before he knew it he was down in front of the boat launch.
 “Hey buddy, you want some water?”

    Some guys were partying on a modest yacht.
 “Ok, thanks, bro.” Evan drank the whole bottle while stepping on board. Five beautiful women stood socializing. Soon after someone gave Evan a tall, fancy, crystal glass of Long Island Iced Tea.

    “Who are you guys?” He was compelled to ask.
 “We’re Cinco, an all Latino Canadian folk-rock act. We just played an album release party and we’re starting our tour.”
 Evan nodded his approval, sipping the cocktail, the sweet sounds of acoustic Dave Matthews emitting from the boat’s speakers. Elegant hurricane lamps were placed on the bar. It was the kind of chill but mature party he was into and he sunk into the lawn chair while taking a piece of the passed Brie with a wafer.
 “I’m Pedro,” said the band’s singer, handing Evan a CD.

    “My demo, take it, bro.”

    “Thank you.” Evan replied

  19. writer_sk

    PART 2

    The game of poker became louder and the drinks went down easier as the evening wore on. The Cinco CD was incredible and everyone danced while Pedro sang. The Don Julio tequila was so smooth that Evan didn’t say no when Pedro handed him a second shot. The guitarist had taken the wheel and lent the actual driver his Rosewood guitar.

    “Uno, dos, tres, quarto, cinco!” the driver belted out the chorus to the band’s popular tune, simultaneously losing his balance, dropping the Rosewood and toppling overboard.
 Evan only then realized they were out at sea, it was black as night, he had no shoes or phone and he was inebriated. Members of the band dove in to help the driver while the word Evan tried to yell stuck in his throat coming out as a useless whisper: “shark.” The great white tore through the three people and more sharks approached, hungry for human flesh. The boat was speeding now and Evan could see the guitarist slumped over, bleeding from a head gash. He ran to the driver’s seat and as the shark came through the window he pulled out the Cinco CD and stabbed it into its sensitive snout.
 The boat was in shambles and Evan, Vin, the five women and the guitarist reached shore after miraculously out-swimming the creatures.
 The round shape of the sun had just begun to offer the warm, golden rays of a new day as the EMTs looked everyone over and the police took statements.
 Evan returned home to the budget beach house, exhausted but alive and grateful. There he was greeted by a note next to his phone (which was packed in rice) that read: “Dried your phone out bro.”  

    Picking up a red Solo cup, tapping the keg, pouring and sipping some stale beer, Evan never imagined he’d be so happy to be back to the simple dorm-like life at the cottage. 

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This is excellent writing, taking me back to my college days.i loved all the characters, especially Evan
      As realistic as it gets for such an off the wall story

  20. ReathaThomasOakley

    The knock at the stateroom door pulled Lillian back to reality, back to the open suitcase on the unmade bed.

    Not that blasted steward again, she thought, but closed the lid and turned toward the door, barely noticing the no-expense-spared perfection of the suite, every detail whispering elegance, sophistication, quality.

    “I’ll call when–” she started as she opened the door, then stopped. “Yes?” She queried the young woman standing there, a Royal Caribbean shopping bag in hand.

    “Please forgive me,” the woman stammered. “I begged for your cabin number, I just had to–I’m so sorry.” She moved so close to Lillian that she could catch a faint whiff of the girl’s perfume.

    My God, Lillian thought, what nerve. “Come in,” she said, aloud.

    “Thank you, I won’t stay long,” she glanced at the bed, the suitcases, the stacks of clothes. “I never even thought,” she crushed the bag against her chest. “His things, you have to–” her voice caught.

    I cannot believe this is happening, Lillian’s thoughts were verging on the edge of hysteria. So she’s the one, Lillian stared at the now heaving back, the one who ruined everything, who proved Father right. He said Peter was just after my money, that a man like him could ever love me, a desiccated, but wealthy forty-year old.

    Lillian clenched her fists, and replayed the past week, starting with the hurried Courthouse marriage, the flight to Miami, Peter lifting her through the door of this suite, and gently lowering her on to the bed where…

    “Why are you here?” She demanded. “What do you want?”

    “I just, when I heard, when we all heard…” She turned and wiped her eyes.


    “The others, in the duty free shop, where I work,” she stopped. “Please? May I sit? The shock.”

    “Of course, where are my manners,” the young woman didn’t notice the tone of Lillian’s voice.

    “It’s all over the ship, what happened, nothing like that ever before, and you having to watch,” she swallowed a sob. “But, you must be so proud, him going in to rescue the excursion guide while everyone else just hung over the side and yelled. So brave…” The sobs started again.

    So brave, Lillian seethed, so brave coming to our bed with your stink still on him, still on you. Did Peter smell you when he went over the side? Did he smell you when the sharks left the guide for his bloody scalp?

    “I’ve got all this packing to do,” Lillian gestured toward the bed, “so if there’s something you want to tell me…”

    “Oh, yes, sorry. Here.” She thrust the bag into Lillian’s hand. “It was a surprise. He came into the shop, said he was looking for something special, for his new wife, for his Lily.” She laughed. “Told us he was going to change your name, said Lillian was too old, not gentle enough for you, you would be his Lily. We found this for him, one of the most expensive we carry, today, we sprayed it on all of us, as a tribute.”

    Lillian pulled the pale box from the bag, Christian Dior Diorissimo, Lily of the Valley.

    “Don’t want to intrude on your sorrow,” the girl went to the door, “just wanted you to know.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Me thinks Lillian should have pushed the girl over the side to the sharks
      The trouble I hear when you have money you are not able to tell the good from the bad
      They all.say they’re interested in you
      Quite an unusual,gritty story from you. Me thinks you’ve met this type of woman yourself. My own wife has her thoughts, she like very few women herself. The portrait you paint of the girl is Razer sharp. Loved the grit and the smell sentences.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you, Kerry. I almost titled this, Suspicion, for the old Hitchcock movie with a similar scenario, the wealthy woman who can’t believe she’s found love.

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Can’t believe this, my reply didn’t post. I thanked you, then wrote I almost titled this Suspicion for the classic movie from Alfred Hitchc@ck. Too funny.

    2. writer_sk

      Reatha, I liked your story. I liked the detail/ twist of him having sprayed the perfume on everyone to try it for himself. I was glad his reasons weren’t sinister.

      The first leading lines were strong.

      Good way to handle the prompt.

    3. pven

      I’m unclear if it was a misunderstanding, or the cad did indeed cheat on Lillian during their honeymoon. It still sounds like the latter, but the bit at the end indicates its a misunderstanding.

      Once again, you do a great job expressing the internal emotions of your main character. This is a piece where more would be anticipated.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks, perhaps a bit too obscure. As I wrote to Kerry, I was thinking of Suspicion as I wrote this. But, Lillian believed he was a cad when she whacked him. (My husband said he had to read it twice before he got the blood on his head.)

        1. pven

          I’m with your husband. I was scratching my head over the bloody scalp comment, and then conveniently discarded that fact. But NOW that makes a bunch of sense.

  21. JosephFazzone

    Pacing and tripping, and glurping and gulping, the arms flailed and floundered desperately seeking purchase on the flimsiest of surfaces. Water was not to be walked on.

    An act of desperation is different from swimming.

    Kyle is as good as dead.


    My head spun, my cheek stung, I looked up and saw the bristled mane of black hair that crowned Jared’s dark features. The black lion roared.

    Back to the point. Kyle is a dead man.

    Two in the left corner pocket! That’s four in a row.
    I saw stars. Jarred screamed, to be sure, but the waves of that sinking sound overtook all ambient noise.

    We have a shark in the water.

    I mouthed, “EM.”

    Jarred nodded, and like a whip, left.

    Chuck the man, not the myth, walked around the table. His bent and stooped appearance stooped a bit lower as he lined up his cue.

    Chuck Wohler personified clock-like timing, deftness to make dexterity look clumsy built on years of masterful performance after clutch performance. Here stood, or rather stooped, the craftiest, cunningest, most lethal shark that ever came out of Wilmington. The rumor that circulated the attentive listener proclaimed that he had been reared by sharks, in a beer with fifty pool tables and the need of a small boy to fetch any billiard that made their way into the various nooks and crannies around the crooked dilapidated bar he grew up in.

    “Double or nothing.”

    Kyle had been baited, hooked, and now desperately prayed he could swim with two feet tied behind his back. Of course, you won the first one, Idiot. He let you.

    Rumor also tells that he ate the very sharks that reared him.

    I looked for Emily.

    What could we do? What could he?

    It was Chuck’s turn, not he, and that basically pointed at the world turning twice in one day before ole Chuck missed a shot.

    Yeah, Kyle, dead, no question.

    Miracles are funny. What do they really mean? What do they really represent? Hardly of consequence, and yet, Kyle continued to purse his lips and utter every prayer he’d remembered from his Catholic days.

    A proclaimed Atheist praying. I chanced a look up to see if the clouds were gathering to juice up the ole smiting machine.

    Seven in the corner pocket!

    Slammed it home as if reminding the seven that it shouldn’t have been wandering the velvet sea of green in the first place. The shark had taken another victim.

    Kyle sweated profusely, and his praying sounded a bit more like mumbling. Perhaps he had switched to tongues.

    Emily walked up. Bosoms for days, her endowments had lost some of their power on me, probably because I knew her so well, but to the average Joe, or shark, they became the equivalent of a blunderbuss in the face!

    Chuck fidgeted uncomfortably as Emily bent and stretched in that all too, I know what I’m working with, mentality.

    “Can I get you anything, boys?” She asked affecting the sweet seductive Southern belle accent her Georgia upbringing afforded her.

    Chuck swallowed and croaked, “No, thank you.”

    He lined up his shot.

    Miracles happen.

    Chuck choked, Kyle had been saved by a bigger shark.

    Make that two bigger sharks.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Oh Mon, that was good. Never heard them called sharks but for now on when I say “Shark” look for the clevage. Interesting thinking for the MC. Use anything available, even sharks to unfurl the real shark. Joseph, you got any pictures of them sharks in your pocket? Post them please.

        1. JosephFazzone

          haha Kerry! Worked as bartender for years, with many a beautiful girl working beside me, and it was amazing how much power they wield over most with a little smile her, or a way of standing. I became a bit immune to it, but it was still an amazing thing to see.

      1. JosephFazzone

        Hey Beebles! Thanks a lot! When I read the prompts I always try and see how many angles I can tackle it from, and sometimes I go with the prompt, sometimes I go outside but right next to the prompt, and sometimes I’m way out there. This was the middle one. =)

  22. Kerry Charlton



    ‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to die this way,’ Brian thought. He reached for his large knife that was always with him strapped to his right side. But the knife had shifted behind his back so he grabbed it with his left. As he raised his arm to stab the inside jaw that was closest to him, a light appeared through the sea water and was getting larger.

    ‘I’m starting to hallucinate now from lack of oxygen, but for some reason i shouldn’t use the knife,’ he thought, .so he put the blade back and watched the light grow larger and larger. A sight he never imagined he’d ever see. A woman with blue green eyes approached him. Her raven hair wrapped her modesty as she glided toward him. She moved not a muscle as she approached.

    The great white amazingly turned toward her also. She raised her arm as in greeting to the shark and he immediately released Brian from his jaws. However, he did not swim away but rather waited as if he were commanded to. The woman or aberration or whatever she was, stopped in front of Brian. Her eyes were deep as the ocean around her, she smiled and his vision became clouded. He could fell her hands on his face as she drew closer and placed her lips upon his.

    ‘Well that’s it,’ he mused, ‘I am in heaven now.’ But he felt her breath fill his lungs and his vision cleared. She smiled and he became bewitched and startled as she released him and glided to the shark. They seemed to communicate some how and she went to his rifle wounds, touched each one as she stroked his skin.

    She glided back to Brian, breathed more life into his body, ran her hands across his raw punctures from the jaws of the great white. The wounds stopped bleeding and healed instantly, however great scars remained from his waist to his knees.

    The vision of mystery and beauty waved to the shark as it made it’s way off , fully restored. She placed Brian’s arms securely around her waist and this time she breathed and then kissed him gently as the pair raised quickly to the surface. As he broke water, he could see the sloop, in the distance about a mile and a half away, but he was too exhausted to maintain himself so he continued holding on as she plowed through the ocean toward his ship.

    Josie was hanging over the Port side, shouting in delight as her parents joined her. They looked totally mystified as they lowered the lift that Brain used to board large sailfish from the sea. The girl lifted him out of the sea with both arms and gently laid him on his side in the mesh base of the lift. In an instant, she was gone diving down quickly to the depth of the sea.

    Brian was too weakened to talk much as Josie smothered his face with kisses. She said to him,

    “I would never have believed this, had I not seen it. It appears as a dream, however I know it is not so.”

    An ancient mariner once wrote in a daily log,

    “Saturday June i4, 1846.

    . Today marks five hundred and four days at sea. We rounded Cape Agulhas last evening , caught in a violent storm. For a moment we thought the ship lost but then we heard her sing through the wind, The Queen of the Sea, Amphitrite, whose song quieted the raging wind and the waves so we would have a safe journey home. God bless her.”

    . . .

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      I almost read this part first but then I saw that this was the continuation. Had to read the first part then.
      Had me at the edge of my seat (or in my case, bed) the whole ride. Wonderful read Kerry, amazing as always.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Raf it w itas an write for me
        I’m happy it on edge
        Appreciate all your thoughts
        That is one thing that keeps me writing.

      2. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Raf it was an write for me
        I’m happy it on edge
        Appreciate all your thoughts
        That is one thing that keeps me writing.

    2. JosephFazzone

      Wow, this was just an amazing story, Kerry! I always love a happy ending! Being that Brian has now witnessed a miracle through the hands of a Goddess, does he switch religions? I know that’s not the point of this, but the whole idea was intriguing. People finding faith through miracles, well this miracles sort of the demonstrates proof of a polytheistic nature. Interesting ancillary benefit from the encounter, or a whole big wagon load of trouble. Would he stay quiet? Would he talk? Again, just got the mind spinning, and I guess that’s the real point. Your story was so well told, Kerry. Great job!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Joseph for the wonderful critique I .usually write about angel rescues. I think it Time I write about Goddesses. Most are quite beautiful.. So she’s married to Neptune, well most beauties are attached to someone. Maybe he should leave her alone. Remember his girl friend and her parents saw her also , so who’s going to keep them quiet?

  23. ClutteredThoughts

    This whole 500-word limit is too much for me. Here’s another two-parter.

    The dice shuddered on the tabletop under Jackie’s intense stare. It fell one last time, revealing a two.

    “Lowest score, even with the boost, so Jackie falls overboard,” declared Frankie, nudging her icon into the dark-blue sea. Interesting, she thought, giving Frankie a subtle signal to talk in private next round.

    “Sh*t,” Emma muttered. “She’s the best at driving the boat.“

    “I’m good with it, too!” interjected Lark, receiving a glare from Emma. Infighting already? Normally that started at the forest.

    “Guys, hang on. We need to rescue Jackie. What do we have?”

    She spoke up, mind whirring. “Guys, I’m from the shore town. I know how to fend off a shark on my own- just focus on getting me out.” She rifled through her cards to find what she needed for her plan.

    Emma checked her inventory rapidly. “Frankie, I’ve got rope-making supplies, give me two hours and I’ll be able to tow her out. Can she survive that long? Lark, can you help her?”

    Lark shook his head. “I’ve got the next-best maneuverability; I have to make sure the boat doesn’t drift off so we can get her back. And Frankie’s magic can’t influence the ocean.”

    “Shore town gives me an automatic boost by five in all things water-related,” argued Jackie. “Roll the dice to see how long I can survive.”

    Frankie gave her a look of disbelief, but tossed it anyways. A seven. “Total of twelve out of twenty, Jackie can easily survive in the water for the next three hours provided the shark does not attack. And-“ he tossed the dice once more- “A two. Shark comes uncomfortably close but does not attack Jackie this turn. A half-hour passes. Jackie, you wanted to…?”

    She followed him into the next room. “What plan do you have?” he asked.

    “Will you do me a favor and look for supplies this turn? Trust me on this. You’ll find something pretty great, and if I die you’ll want it. If Emma gets it, and she will, she’ll kill you all with a snap of her fingers. Please, search the supplies?” It was actually true, but she was counting more on his clumsiness to unbalance the boat.

    Frankie took a moment, and then nodded. “All right. Not like I can do anything else.”

    1. ClutteredThoughts

      Part two:

      She nodded, heart fluttering, and they went back to the room. “All right, first let’s get progress on the rope…”

      Finally, the game reached Frankie’s action. “I look through our supplies to see if I can find anything useful.” The dice fell, and so did Frankie’s face. “One… Not only do I not find anything, I severely unbalance the boat.” Emma grimaced.

      If she could pull this off, it would be the play of the year for her. She set her cards aside. “I use my ability to take control of the shark. I make it attack the boat once more, kill everyone and ignore me.”
      She set down a card. “Boost by five.”

      Lark slapped down a card angrily. “Negate that boost!”

      “Negate the negation.” She set down an identical card. “Frankie, roll.”

      He frowned at her, adorably confused. Oh, she’d played him well. “Kill everyone? Jackie, you said…”

      “Roll, Frankie. I stand by what I said.” Emma started protesting,

      He didn’t take his eyes off her as he threw the dice. Once more, it shuddered, and Jackie stared hopefully at it. She could practically taste the win.

      “Fourteen, with ten boost, total of twenty-four. The boat is already unbalanced, so it capsizes easily to the shark’s attack. Jackie’s shark kills us three and she gets onto our upended boat. We all scream at her betrayal.” In reality, Lark is shocked, Emma is fuming, and Frankie looks betrayed.

      “And now I can reveal that my secret mission was to kill you three all along and return home. The treasure doesn’t factor in to this mission. Thank you all for playing.”

      Emma raged at her and Lark started applauding; Frankie just shook his head and started setting up a new game. Jackie leaned back and laughed as she pictured herself taking the wheel of a peaceful boat
      and sailing home, leaving her newest friend to what was probably the greatest meal it ever had.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Loved it! I’d like to play. Do you think I could get into the next game? The game’s description fascinated me with it’s complexity.

          1. ClutteredThoughts

            It’s based on a game I played once with my friends called Paranoia. Complexity is too simple a word to describe it- this just borrowed a few elements. But oh man, it’s fun.

  24. Pete

    I smacked the arm of the chair, breathing in the thick cloud of dust particles that danced in the sunlight. Jill gave me a look, but then got back to sorting through Mom’s clothes.

    I wasn’t surprised that Mom had kept my father’s chair, but that it still smelled of tobacco, metal, and desperation. It’s rust colored cushion sagged in defeat, its arms slick and threadbare. No reupholstering would never change that.

    I looked over to Jill. “Did I ever tell you about the sharks?”

    My wife was holding a dress up to her neck. Navy blue, cream lace collar, one I don’t remember Mom wearing. She smiled, shook the hair from her eyes and took in the chair with a smirk. “Sharks?”

    I remember sitting on my father’s lap, equally fascinated and terrified as he poked me with the nub of his left arm. He’d take a sip, then a breath, and tell the story of the sharks that ripped off his hand.

    The weather changed depending on his mood. At times it was overcast, the sky as gray and murky and mysterious as the sea. Other times the sun glittered off the chop, an endless horizon that promised adventure. No matter the sky, my father’s eyes came to life on these rare occasions, and I saw him not as a tired and beaten man in work clothes and boots, but a fisherman who fought off a beast with his bare hands.

    Mom would watch us in passing, a quick smile betraying the tone of her scolding. “Oh Harold stop it.”

    I felt the sea, tasted the salt on my lips and the burn on my nose, rising with the tide of my father’s belly, holding on as his chest hummed and wheezed until his laughs were capsized by a coughing fit.

    But my eyes never left nub of his wrist.

    It happened maybe four or five times, usually Dad got home and fell into the chair. He’d crack a beer, turn on the TV, and Mom would have me come in the kitchen. The chair was where my father died, in between shifts and commercials. And even when he was gone he was in that chair.

    For the longest time I was afraid of sharks. On the rare occasion I found a beach I never put more than a few toes in the water. I’d ball my hands up in fist, roll my wrist, and try to get the image of his nub from my head.

    It wasn’t until I was eight or nine—too big to climb in his lap—when I figured it out. There was no shark. There was no boat. The only fishing my father had ever done was in the river as a boy. It had been the foundry that had mangled his arm and chewed up his lungs. Whenever Mom and I drove past and I’d see the black smoke pluming, I knew that somewhere inside my father was doing whatever he did that left him sagging and coughing in that chair.

    Sure, a shark could rip my father’s limbs off, turn the sea red with clouds of his blood, but that factory took more than his hand. It ground him to bits, left clouds of quiet hopelessness hanging over our house. The nub, that chair, my father, they were my warning.

    I didn’t want twelve our days or metal shavings in my lungs. I didn’t want to be numb and useless to my wife. The foundry, with its pluming smoke and vast parking lot full of trucks and dented cars became my ocean, and I vowed never to set foot in its waters.

    “Sharks?” Jill repeated, snapping me out of my thoughts.

    I ran my hand over that sad, ugly chair one last time, looked at my wife with my mother’s dress and said, “Forget it. Keep that dress, you look lovely.”

    She smiled, as though relieved that chair wasn’t coming in our house. Me too. My father could have it.

    1. writer_sk

      Very vivid descriptions. Well done.

      Satisfying ending. I like how the main character reasons with everything and weighs it against his own goals.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Pete, it’s realistic and heartfelt as a story was meant to be. The son has come of age and the foundrty will descend to rust. Tht’s how the world works. I never smoked in my life, I watched as my sister and brother carved years from their life wit Pall Mall. I watched my Father drain half the bourbon in Florida over the years and it led him to an earlier grave then necessary. My Mother took a nap after lunch each day when she wasn’t playing bridge. Her only vice? Chewing out her bridge partners for gabbing too much and called them old biddies. All ten or fifteen years younger. She brushed close to ninrty and then left quietly.

  25. jhowe

    Yellow and orange swirled in the turquoise waters as the Caribbean sun began to set. The lobster man shook his dreads and frowned.

    “This dude is driving me crazy, mon.”

    Manny eyed the big guy piloting the boat, a 26 foot Boston Whaler. The butt of a pistol jutted over the man’s beltline and wedged into his flabby white belly. “Yeah, a real piece of work he is, but what a sweet boat.”

    “A boat does not a man make. My mama said that, mon.”

    “We should have just forgotten about the money,” Manny said. “Why would we accept a sunset cruise as payment anyway?”

    “It was prime ganja, mon. But, yeah, we should have just walked away.”

    “What do you think he’ll do to us?” All heads turned as a huge shark leapt from the water and arched across the bow of the Whaler. The boat lurched violently and yawed sharply, throwing all three men into the sea. The Jamaicans surfaced and deftly scurried onto the aft swim platform.

    “That shark tried to bite my ass, mon!” the lobster man said.

    The big man screamed as the shark started to circle, nudging him, driving him further out to sea. He drew the revolver and fired a shot into the shark’s side.

    “Don’t do that, mon. You piss him off.” Blood flowed from the great fish and soon other dorsal fins appeared.

    “What should we do?” Manny said.

    “You say the word, we, as if I care, mon.” The lobster man turned the key and the engine roared to life. There was no sign of the man in the water. He throttled down and turned toward Kingston Harbor.

    “Are we keeping the boat?”

    “No, mon. The boat is a good one but we can’t hunt lobsters in this. I know a guy, he pay good money for a boat like this.” He looked straight ahead. “No questions asked.”

    “My ganja got wet,” Manny said.

    The lobster man reached into the pocket of his faded cargo shorts. “You need to get the Ziplocks, mon.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Loved these guys also. Why do I keep hearing Belafonte singing Banana Boat? Practical guys, couldn’t get away with these days that’s why the past is so much fun to write about. Glad to have the boys back Mon.

    1. GrahamLewis

      I like the style and the story, but a couple nitpicky things have been haunting me. I don’t know the back story here, but are there lobsters in Jamaican waters? Or are these guys somewhere else? Also, can a revolver be shot while swimming?

  26. flyaway

    I took a quite a few liberties with the prompt, but I hope it’s still alright.


    I remember the first time you recognized me. You were only a couple of months old, a tiny little ball wrapped up in cotton blankets, perched in the crease of my arm. Your blue eyes focused on me with a set determination, something that hadn’t happened before.
    “Hello, Emily,” I whispered. “That’s right, it’s me. Your dad. You know who I am, don’t you?” I hugged you close, feeling the softness of your hair trace the outline of my neck, and I kissed the top of your head.
    You were so helpless back then. The first few years of your life were dedicated solely to keeping you from harm’s way, sheltering you like a ship on rough water. It wasn’t easy, you know. Little children have this reckless nature, trusting their parents to save them at the last second. At the end of each day, we both felt we had run a marathon, chasing after you. Once we’d finally catch up, swinging you up into our arms, you’d peal in laughter, crinkling those deep blue eyes of yours, thinking this was the most fun game you’d played so far.
    I could spend an hour describing your eyes. I studied them so much, seeing their expression change as you grew. You were born with an ocean, a whole life waiting to be experienced. I knew if I’d dive into the water, there would be deep trenches, extending further than anyone could imagine. If you’d cry, I could hear the thunder of crashing waves, wild and strong.
    As you grew older, your eyes became the sea and you made me the captain. Despite the sharks in the water, you trusted me to save you if you fell overboard. I always had a lifesaver nearby, because I wasn’t ready to see the day when you’d realize that even I had my limits.
    When you began to assert your independence, closing your bedroom door and blasting the most rebellious music you could find, your eyes had taken on the life of a river, cleaving its way past any obstruction. There was no problem too big for you too handle, no person too tough. I began to feel like I was standing on the river bed, watching you flow past. One Christmas Day, I kissed you on your forehead and realized it was the first time I had done so all year.
    Now your eyes are the sky, bright and limitless. When you tell me about your plans, I imagine you spreading wings and soaring boldly towards the sun. Don’t worry if you get too close – I’ll be there, sailing on the sea, ready to catch you if you fall.

    1. jhowe

      This had me on the edge of my seat wondering if something was going to happen to her. But it didn’t and I’m so relieved. Really touching father daughter tribute. Nicely done.

    2. writer_sk

      How lovely and poetic. It’s so awesome to watch a kid grow up. Love the references to the eyes and comparisons to the ocean. I look forward to reading more of your work

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I watched as my five dughters stepped into womanhood. It was the nicest and most amazing thing in my life. Thank you for the memories.

    3. flyaway

      I’m replying to my story because I just want to say a general Thank You to all the nice comments. I’m pleased that it seemed to strike a chord with some of you – I think that’s one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received on my writing. Evoking emotions in the reader is one of the bigger goals I have, when writing.
      So, thank you for reading my story and for sharing your thoughts with me. You made me blush.

  27. RafTriesToWrite

    I’m having a hard time with this prompt. This was the only one I could come up with. I think I may be having writer’s block or something.

    “Oh no! Bobby fell!”

    “What should we do Jack? The shark will get Bobby!” Marissa spoke.

    “CUT!” The director yells with much distempered passion.

    “Marissa!” Everyone turns to Marissa. She was fiddling her fingers as she bowed her head in shame. She knew what she had done.

    “18 times in a row Marissa. 18 TIMES!” Ashton, the director, was rubbing his temples in an attempt to calm himself down. He stomped the set and made his way to the four actors in this scene.

    “How many times do we have to tell you that you need to stick to your line!” Ashton was trying to explain it as calmly as he can, but he was failing miserably at it.

    “I-I’m sorry. W-what’s my line again?” Marissa was terrified, even though she only needed to feel so during taping. She was afraid of being scolded as she was raised that way by her father.

    Ashton groaned in dismay and rubbed his eyebrows, desperately looking for comfort.

    “It’s ‘What should we do? The shark’s gonna kill Bobby’. Comprende? And with more fear in your eyes.”
    Ashton searched Marissa’s eyes in hopes that she would finally remember to say her line correctly. She
    nods her head, crosses her fingers, and hoped that the 19th time is the charm.

    Ashton went back to his seat behind the camera and signalled everyone for taping.

    “Boat shark attack scene 1, take 19” Said the clapperboard guy.

    “Aaaaand. ACTION!”

    “Oh no! Bobby fell”

    “What should we do? The shark’s gonna kill Bobby!”

    “Uhm. Uhh” Martin, the other actor in the boat with Jack and Marissa, was caught off guard.

    “CUUUUUUUUT!” Yells Ashton.

    “I-I’m sorry, I thought Marissa would mess up her line again. I wasn’t prepared” Says Martin. Marissa was bowing her head in hopes that she will not be scolded again.

    “Okay. Fine. Let’s just cut to your line Martin. Okay?”

    “Yeah, sure” He nods.

    “Boat shark attack scene 2, take 2”

    “And, ACTION!”

    “We need to distract the shark while you two pull him in with the rope!” Martin beautifully delivered his line.

    “Okay!” Jack exclaimed.

    “Here she comes” It was Marissa’s turn.

    “CUUUUUUUUUT!” Ashton yelled again. He grabbed his megaphone and turned it on, and on cue, Marissa bows her head again.

    “MARISSA. It’s ‘Here it comes’ not ‘Here she comes’. Got it?”

    Marissa nods. “We’ll start with you again Martin” Martin nods in agreement.

    “Boat shark attack scene 2, take 3”

    “Aaaaaand, ACTION!”

    “We need to distract the shark while you two pull him in with the rope!” Martin spoke his line again.

    “Okay!” Jack nods.

    “Here it comes” Marissa points at the shark charging towards Bobby.

    Jack gave Marissa the life buoy, and Marissa threw it at Bobby. She threw it at just the right angle that Bobby went inside without even trying. Martin grabs two harpoons that they were supposed to use for fishing later.

    “Pull Bobby in, while I try to hit the Shark” Martin stood up on the boat seat to get a good vantage point for the shark.

    Marissa and Jack pulled Bobby in, as the man in the shark costume ran closer to Bobby.

    Martin threw the first harpoon, but it missed. Bobby was climbing up the boat ladder when the shark jumped up in an attempt to eat Bobby, but Martin finally made a hit on the shark’s body. The shark was wounded, fake blood scattered around the water and made a trail going into the sea with the other end of the harpoon still visible above water.

    “Good riddance!” Jack said.

    “Thanks guys. I owe you my life” Said Bobby. They all got together in a group hug.

    “Annnd, CUT! Alright people that’s a wrap for today” Ashton gave a lengthy exhale of relief.

    Everyone left the set and went their separate ways for the day.

    1. rlk67

      No, you must continue! That was so funny! I once watched live the filming of a three-second car chase…it took over two hours! Over and over…How does Marissa feel? Great job.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          You know what I really get out of this is the brainless attitude the directors have today since no one can remember lines. Go watch “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolfe and then make a list of talented actors who could play the parts. Yes. I know!

  28. shafic reved

    Along the ocean deeps greatly appreciating the oceanic current of the Atlantic, imagining all about the sweet times of the breeze. just about the moment my eyes were craving to see dreadful creatures in the ocean is desired by eyes hated by heart, its all nothing but of course the phobia in my inside. shortly i loved the big fish in the distance flapping the water.
    But hey, wait a bit this what i like, really i just cant get my eyes off this!
    did i even want to stare at anything else, even my friends serious attracted to the sight. but no i remember i have idea of what a shark looks like! wondering if my cocktail tequila glass was still in my hand, not because of my amnesia but why scare us?
    my friends terrified more than i was, imagine this could not happen amidst a person with aqua phobia like Elsie
    Elsie ” you scared the hell out of me”, oops its a shark Andy the driver notices but faster Elsie says i held Megan’s hand tightly as Elsie also did. Andy is this likely every time you are here because you frequency at the ocean is not equated? Megan.
    could he even reply, a sharp tough knock that couldn’t keep Andy on the steering but instead a chance to exhibit how he swims perfectly well even with the shark? i wondered whether he did, but instead screaming with his head above the water guys save from this thirsty creature,we were all terrified but its this time we had to gather courage to get Andy the boat driver out of water, Megan threw my scarf at him as he tired the other end at the pole on the edge of the of the as this happened Elsie cut her hand and spilled blood on her simple cotton rob that she threw away on the other side of the boat to destruct the shark to follow the direction of the that it smelt to divert it to save Andy of its terrible anger

  29. Kerry Charlton


    Fifty miles of ocean separated itself from Bimini Island, east south east of Miami, a playground for those who could afford it. Bimini Island, start of the Bahamas, boasted some of the world‘s best fishing areas. . Brian’s schooner was halfway there on a Saturday afternoon. The main sail , small mizzen and fore and aft sails were taut with the breeze, Josephine, Brian’s squeeze was at the wheel of the yawl as she clipped the waters at 22 knots.

    Josie was an old hand with a sailboat, even one this size. Her mother and father were below deck not being used to the four degree rake of the deck and the waves that broke on the bow of the boat, drenching everything in view. .

    Brian smiled as he reminisced upon Josie’s question about the name across the stern,

    “A lover perhaps or a dream you wanted to meet, who is she.?

    “A lover no, a dream woman definitely. Amphitrite is queen of the sea and also Poseidon‘s wife. Sailors on the old whaling ships swore to their grave, she rescued those who were drowning but immediately swam away, not to be seen except to help the men who risked their lives for whaling.”

    “How romantic is that?”

    “Very, it is said the sailors were blinded by her beauty and only recovered their eyesight as she swam away.”

    Josie tended to the sails as Brian walked the ship. Out the corner of his eye, he caught glimpse of a great white, matching the ship’s speed on the port side. As he made his way to the aft section to notify her, he saw the shark turn toward his ship and realized he would be rammed by an awesome power of six thousand pounds of angry shark..

    Too late to reach Josie, he hollered

    “Hold on baby, a great white is going to slam into us.“

    The ship shuttered from the crash and Josie flew off the stern and landed fifty feet behind the ship.

    Brian managed to tack around, threw the sea anchor out and a float to Josie.

    ‘Thank you Lord,’ he thought, ’she has a life jacket on.’

    Meanwhile the shark stayed where he hit the ship, at least stunned for the moment. Jack and Laura, Josie’s parents, came up with rifles in hand to help.

    “I’m going over the side to help her. Watch the shark, don’t fire yet, he may give us some time to get her back on deck.”

    It took only a moment to swim to her and bring her back to the float deck. He watched her climb the ladder as the sound of rifle fire reached his ears. He saw the great white’s jaws open as he stood on the float deck, jumped clear in the water as the shark’s marrive jaws and teeth demolished the deck. Brian saw the wounds the shark was surviving due to his size and he started to swim toward the sea anchor off the bow of the ship.

    As he proceeded to climb the chain on the anchor, water surged toward him and he felt a vice lock on both thighs. The shark was weak and barely held him in it‘s jaws as it plunged beneath the sea and Brian headed toward a watery grave.

    [To Be Continued]. .

  30. rlk67

    Our 10th grade class trip to the Carolina coast had finally arrived. Now I could show these guys what I was really made of.
    “…And in boat 6…C’mon, guys, listen up!” Mr. Bogden was getting frustrated with the noise, as usual. “Ok, it’ll be…Groden, Neff, Shaner, McCleary, and Trager.” What luck. I was with the big boys, including the one guy I’ve been trying to impress all year. Bill Shaner was the best in everything, and he expected the best from anyone who ended up on his team. And now, he was finally gonna pay attention to me.
    “All right, men,” announced the class leader in his usual confident self, “I’m the captain…”–as if anyone ever disputed that–“…and we going to outrun every other boat here, OR ELSE!” The others chuckled, and I tried to show that I wasn’t the least bit nervous.
    Bill turned and looked me over. “Max, isn’t it? Well, Max, we’re winners here, and now you’re one of us…not a loser, a winner!” I saluted dramatically. “Yes, Captain!” I shouted. Bill just stared and smirked.
    We got on the boat, and immediately Captain Bill was shouting out orders. “Jake…watch that wind! Grody…man the ropes! Max…”
    “Yessir!” I screamed over the calm waters. Bill stared again. “I don’t know. Just make sure you don’t mess up.” I sighed.
    Bill seemed to forget to shout orders to me, even an hour into the trip. Then the bumping began. “Men, we have some choppy waaaa…..” The boat shaked violently, and Bill fell to the edge. Jake screamed, and Nestor Neff ran to help Bill. “It’s a shark on the left!” someone yelled. “It’s coming again!” Bill regained footing. “Don’t worry, men, I know exactly what to….” Another huge bump, and goodbye Bill. Jake couldn’t scream this time…he was in shock.
    I saw Bill emerge near the front. His look was one of terror, very not consistent with Shaner standards. Neff froze, McCreary was pale, and Groden ran to me and grabbed my shoulders. “Do something, Max! Come on, save him!”
    I quickly grabbed the rope and the preserver, and then it was my turn to bark out orders. Bill was truly in a panic, and by time I finished, we had him hanging by the rope over the horizontal boom. I could tell the others were truly impressed. Before we had a chance to get him down, Bill genuinely smiled at me, and said…

    “Hey, loser! Answer the question already!” What? Hey, where…what happ…
    I was in class. The teacher had asked me…what? Guys were laughing behind me. “Hey, it looks like Maxie was daydreaming again!” laughed Groden.
    “Yeah, what was it this time, loser?” asked Jake. “Trying to break out of a cellar and save the president? Or maybe you met Harry Potter!” Laughter.
    “Nah…”, said McClearly. “He was probably gonna bowl a 300, or write his bucket list!” I turned and saw Bill smirk and shake his head. I had enough. I put my head down to hide my crimson face.

    Bill kept smiling from the pole. I walked over, and helped him down, gave him a stare…then shoved him over the side of the boat. The guys were shocked. Captain Bill appeared briefly gasping, then went under for one last time…he had a date for lunch.
    Oh, well. So sad.

    1. Beebles

      Wow, my heart sank and then rose with a whoop whoop of triumph. Sock it to them maxie. And of course we all here know where he is at. Yep I invested in that alright. Good work.

    2. ClutteredThoughts

      Ouch. Daydreams can be harmful things, but they’re oh so satisfying at times. I’ve met a few Bills in my life, glad to know Max can handle him just fine.

  31. GrahamLewis

    Hand me a Corona, will you babe? Thanks.

    Like I said, I love the shore but hate the ocean. Waves make me seasick. The beach is the closest I get.

    But that day I was out on this little boat. Me, my wife Carly, and her friend, Judy. And the captain makes four. He’s the only one who can drive (or is it steer?) the boat. That’s important later.

    So we’re out there — wife’s birthday and she wanted the boat trip and of course I gave in. We’re drifting along, me dopey with dramamine but at least not sick. I just slouch there, my hat almost over my eyes, hoping the horizon will stop bouncing. Carly and Judy are talking to the captain, who’s playing Ahab and taking digs at me for not being “seaworthy.” But I know not to stand up in a little boat.

    Then I see it. Like the movies, a big fin slicing the water, broadside at first, then it turns toward us. Fast. It hits before I can say anything, and the captain bounces his head against the mast, then flies over the side, away from the shark. Not a pretty dive, I’d give it 3 for style but megapoints for distance.

    The fin disappears, then resurfaces behind the captain and starts to circle the boat. The captain seems stunned then starts to kind of slow crawl toward the boat. I think he’s afraid any splashing will attract the shark. But I think the blood from his cut forehead is doing that already.

    I get a rope and toss it to him. He grabs and I pull. The girls are useless, Carly staring with her mouth agape, Judy covering her eyes with her hands. I get the captain close, but the shark gets closer. I tell at Carly tell to get over here and help me pull. She tries to pull from behind me, but keeps getting underfoot. I tell her to get in front. The shark is so close i can count the teeth.

    I know we’re dead meat (excuse the pun) if he gets the captain. Either we’re the next course, or we drift till we die because we can’t drive the damn boat. The shark moves closer. I need to do something quick. So I put both hands on Carly’s backside and shove hard. She goes over with a big splash, almost onto the shark’s head. The shark grabs Carly and they disappear in a great bloody roll. I pull the captain on board

    Everybody but me figures Carly lost her balance and fell. And I don’t say. Every time I consider it I figure it was the right choice. I had to save the captain. I didn’t think about the life insurance money, but it’s nice. It paid for this beach house..

    So how about a crab feast tonight? And pass me another Corona.

    1. JosephFazzone

      Love the style here, fast and furious! It really adds to the tension. The MC is so callous about the entire incident, he’s definitely not losing sleeping over it. I would be interested to see if this gets out as a fleshed out Karma piece, or if Carly comes back to haunt him. Either way, don’t forget the lime.

    2. RafTriesToWrite

      Loved the fresh style I’m seeing here Graham.
      I can almost see myself at the beach house, sitting on that beach chair, sippin’ an ice cold lemonade (because I don’t drink beer or anything with alcohol).
      I agree with Jhowe, Carly was a real sport for taking one for the team. lol
      I smell a hint of dark humor and I’m loving it.

  32. writer_sk

    Hi JR, Cool twist and creative use of “SHARK” Your story was a blast!

    The “bro”ship of the guys was enjoyable to read, realistic and playful.

    Good work describing the boating terminology and locations in California. It shows when there is attention paid to details like that.

  33. JRSimmang


    Heading out to warmer waters was my shrink’s idea. Not mine. I like the snow. I like the ice floes. I like the dreary grey of perpetual winter. But, a few of my friends thought it would be a good idea to drag me down from Alaska and have a college reunion in Marin County. The Loggers would be logging some time on the ocean, no doubt drinking until we could barely weather the waves.

    I owned a 41-foot yawl I inherited from a sailor named Thurball that I used from time to time to go up and down the coast when I needed something from Ketchikan. No need to rent one, I told them, but they went ahead anyway. Colgate paid for it. Colgate. The same guy who used to come to class with a ring of toothpaste around his mouth. Turned out to be an investment banker and hedge fund manager. That guy. Sometimes I can’t even get over it. I had to think real hard to remember what his real name was. Colfer. Not too far from the mark.

    I sailed down to Eureka, reeking a little of sweat and salt, and found the three others waiting for me on one of the benches in the docks.

    “Holy s-h-i-t,” shouted Miser. “If it ain’t the Golden Kid himself.” He stood up, the two others behind, and grabbed me in a bear hug.

    “Hey, Miser,” I choked. “Colgate. Thumbnail.”

    The others shook my hands and brought me in for hugs.

    “Dude, you smell like death,” said Thumbnail. “Let’s get coffee.”

    We wound our ways to Old Town, ordered our coffees and sat outside.

    “So, we’re going to get a fresh start tomorrow,” started Miser. “And, we’re going to be out there for ten days. This evening, we need to grab some essentials, including alcohol, and crash. You stayin’ with us, Fangs?”

    Fangs. I forgot about that. “Nah. I’m staying on the boat.”

    “Still scared of hotel sheets?”

    We laughed. “You blame me?”

    “Not at all,” chimed in Colgate.

    Miser clenched his jaw, then quickly relaxed. I don’t think anyone else noticed.

    We spent the rest of the afternoon finishing our catching up. We drove up to Humboldt, swung by the theatre, shook hands with Professor Stewards, checked out the local wildlife, then headed to WinCo in Eureka. I headed back to the docks, and the others went on to the Red Lion.

    It felt good to be back in the boat. It was my sanctuary, my refuge. I took off my shoes and settled in with my laptop. I had a deadline to hit, and, when you work for yourself, there’re no vacations. I tapped away until 11:30 when I got a message from Miser.

    You up, I see. Ever the linguist.

    Yeah, I responded.

    I need to know only one thing, Fangs.

    The answer is yes, I typed back.

    Then, that was it. I logged in my hours, my GPS data, and my signature, sent everything to Miser, shot off an email, then sat back and closed my eyes. I wasn’t going to sleep, but I needed to rest.

    The sun rolled up onto the horizon behind the three guys, tossing their shadows across my stern, then darkening my door.

    “All aboard who’s coming aboard!” shouted Thumbnail. “Hey, Fangs, you got one of those whistles?”

    “This is a yawl, not a liner, you dip.” I hadn’t had my coffee yet, and it showed.

    After an hour of breakfast and loading, we opened up a bottle of raki, an inside joke, and backed out to the Pacific. We were going down to Baja, spend a day or two, and then come back. Miser’s ten day assumption was a rough estimate, and he assured us that there is certainly wiggle room for wildness.

    I tucked myself behind the wheel, locked eyes with Miser, and headed west.

    “Okay, boys,” Miser shouted over the winds and sea salt. “Come out on top. I have an announcement!”

    Miser had two bottles of beer in each hand. “Thumbnail, can you cut up some of that bread and cheese?”

    Thumbnail skated past me, then lost his balance with a rolling wave, and caught me with the cheese knife across my upper arm. “Oh, Jesus crepes, Fangs, I am so sorry!” He threw the knife on the deck of the boat and took a hold of my arm.

    “Dude,” I said as I moved my hand to the wound. “Stupid.”

    “Sorry man, you okay?”

    I pried his hand off my arm so I could take a look. “It’s fine,” I replied. “There’s another knife under decks.”

    Miser reached for the railing, Colgate grabbed the jib, Thumbnail disappeared under decks, and I found myself airborne for a fraction of a second, tossed in the air, over the railing, and into the water.

    That’s when I saw it. It’s shadow. The SHAR-K. Submerged Heavy-Armed Rig, K-model. It’s an underwater drone capable of ramming and short range SAM.

    Thumbnail returned topside and joined Miser and Colgate.

    Miser leaned on the railing. “Fangs. Will. Pal. Our contract was up. And, since I can’t leave any loose ends…” He pulled a pistol he had behind his back and shot Thumbnail and Colgate, then rolled them overboard.

    “Okay. Two things. One, if you make it back to shore, all limbs in tact and alive, we can renegotiate. Two, the sharks are going to smell them.”

    He chuckled. Disappeared, and powered up the engine.

    Thumbnail and Colgate floated for a few seconds, then sank.

    Lucky for me, I was on the swim team, and the SHAR-K was mine.

    -JR Simmang

    1. jhowe

      That took quite the turn. Really enjoyable story. Loved the knick names. Clever way to get a cuss word in. Just use dashes. It’s a shame we have to do that. It’s exactly the thing Miser would have said under the circumstances and why should we, as writers, have to tip toe around. But I digress. Great story. Maybe he can ride SHAR-K back to shore.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Amazing, and creative, take on the prompt. Read it twice for all the details, and for clues to the back story. Your MC was well done.

    3. JosephFazzone

      You twisted it at the very end, a very quick and painful pinch and then a twist, actually. I loved it! Ready to hear more about the motives, and the betrayal. I think you got a great story started here. The nicknames are a very nice touch.

    4. Rene Paul

      What’s amazing to me is how fast you posted this wonderful story. Love the imaginative description of the shark, and the plot twist – evil turn of events. EXCELLENT!


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