Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Killing Daze

Our man opens his eyes to a blinding sun. He first feels thirst then his taught sunburned skin. Several human silhouettes take shape around him as the deep-drug haze begins to lift. A man with a familiar flattop haircut straps an orange life-jacket on our man as other men rummage through nearby cargo bags. One finds a hunting knife and drags it along each of our man's exposed forearms in two lateral cuts drawing blood. The man with the flattop leans in close and slaps our man.

“Wake up,” he says. “Now's no time for napping.” He splashes some sea water into his face and then hands over a bottle of drinking water. The thirsty man takes a large gulp and coughs. Then the bottle is taken away. Next, all the men grab a part of his body and together heave him off the boat.

All of a sudden salt water chokes his lungs and stings the fresh cuts. His blood disperses through the ocean water like high-altitude clouds on a clear day. He fruitlessly tries to contain the diffusing blood by splashing the water back towards his body.

“Don't worry. That's not going to help you for long,” Flattop shouts from the boat only a few meters away. Realizing the boat is so near, he tries to swim back but one laughing goon uses a pole to push him away from its safety.

Now he is fully alert. Determined he tries again towards the boat but notices a silver mass streak underwater and he stops. He dunks his head below the surface and opens his eyes to see a swarm of more than twenty scalloped hammerhead sharks in orbit around him. The school keeps inching closer as his blood continues to leak from the slices on his forearms.

One shark tries to make a sneak attack. He thrusts out a forceful punch into the surprisingly firm wing-shaped head, and the shark retreats as another darts in for his lower body. He kicks out but scrapes his calf against its razor teeth. Stratus clouds of blood appear in the tropical water and obscure his view of the silver devils.

He starts to strike out frantically. He connects his fist with one shark's head but still receives two quick bites on his back side from others. Without warning a shark bites down to the bone of his foot like an agitated pitbull. The momentum of the shark pulls his body through the water, and he skims the surface bouncing along on the orange life-jacket. Splotches of white from lightheadedness start to pollute his vision.

A large female scalloped hammerhead bites deep into his lower right abdomen. The unbearable pain of shark teeth grinding against his pelvis causes him to white out into unconsciousness. No sounds come from the boat as the men watch the orange life-jacket disappear into the red clouds.

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