Cara turned over on her back and floated, allowing the current to carry her as she watched the gulls flying above her and she listened to the sound of the water beneath her and the playful frolic of her cousins in the water nearby. They were still racing, trying to prove who was the fastest swimmer. She closed her eyes and just drifted.
She was not aware of how far the tide had carried her or how long she had been out there. Suddenly she realized that she could not hear the boys anymore and she felt her body tense. Cara turned over and looked around her. She saw that she had drifted out and closer to the docks. Her heart skipped a beat and she rotated so that she was facing toward the shore. She saw someone in the distance running up the beach. The person stopped and began waving; waving at her it seemed.
Cara began to swim towards shore. As she got nearer, she recognized that it was Jill waving both her hands frantically. She seemed to be shouting something as well but Cara was still too far out to hear what she was saying.
Sensing Jill’s urgency, Cara began to swim faster to get closer to hear what the message was. As she got nearer, she thought she made out the word, “Shark!”
Now on the alert, Cara quickly looked around her again, searching the waters to see what Jill had seen. She was nearer to the boys now, and in the distance just beyond them in the area of the docks, she saw two blades moving around in the water circling.
Cara’s breath caught in her throat. In one great voice, she shouted to her cousins.
“Tom, James, get out now. Sharks!”
Cara began swimming hard for the shore. She could hear the splash of the boys as well and they soon overtook her heading to the shore. Somewhere above the roar of the water in her ears, she heard Jill’s frightened admonition.
“Hurry Cara, hurry.”
Cara did not dare to stop to look around anymore to see if the creatures were gaining on her or coming after her at all. She swam harder. She was nearer. Then suddenly she felt her arms gripped one on either side and she was being dragged swiftly through the water. A short time later, she felt the impact of the sand beneath her as she and her rescuers crashed to safety on the shore.
Raising on her elbows to look around, Cara noted two young men lying panting heavily on the beach on either side of her. Jill was not far away.
“Now I think we need to go home.”
It was James’ sulky voice. He was sitting further up the shore from them, staring dazed out at the sea. Cara pulled herself up in a sitting position and looked back at the water now too. The large blades of the sharks could still be seen. Beyond the blades, the only thing of them that could be seen was their large, dark shadows beneath the water.
James was right, she thought, it was indeed time to go home.
One of her rescuers spoke up and said to them.
“That was a close call. I am going to report the guys responsible too,” he then added.
“Responsible?” Cara asked in surprise. She thought the sharks were just out there, how could anyone be responsible for that?
“Yes,” the other young man returned. “Some guys out there on the dock fishing threw fish gut and fish blood into the water.”
“They should know that it would bait sharks,” the first young man supplied, “They shouldn't have done it, especially not with kids in the water.”
Cara’s eyes were round with fear as she thought about what could have happened, to her, her cousins, or any of the other kids who had been in the water.
She suddenly realized now also that the beach had become quiet, the chatter and laughter of the other children she had heard earlier had ceased. A look further along the beach revealed why. The children had all cleared out of the water and were quickly disbursing, likely heading home.
Tom, the leader of their group said to the young men, “Thank you for helping my cousin.”
Both young men got to their feet. Cara realized that they were fully dressed in khaki shorts and t-shirts with a logo. They were employees of the nearby resort. From all appearance, they had jumped in just as they were, as their wet clothes now clung to them.
“Yes, thank you so much,” Cara echoed in a shaky voice.
“No problem,” one of the guys said then he paused and looked at Tom. “I know you,” he stated with a sudden grin. “Your grandma and grandpa are good people,” he added. “Take care of yourselves.”
“Ah,” Tom said as they were leaving. “Can you not tell anyone our names please?”
The guys looked a little puzzled so Tom asked “Our grandparents won’t be too happy to know about this.”
The young man who had spoken grinned again and responded, “Will do, but again, be safe when you are in the water. Always keep watch of what people are doing and what is in the water.”
They said goodbye and were gone back up the beach towards the resort.
Without any discussion on what to do, the cousins made their way home. Cara and Jill retrieved their clothes and got dressed and followed after James and Tom.
They walked in silence. The day had not turned out at all the way they had planned it. They had set out looking to have fun and adventure. The adventure they did have yes, but it had not been fun.
At home, they got cleaned up and ate the lunch that Nana had prepared and put away for them, but not a word was spoken about what had happened that day.