I swam towards the surface. Arms aching, heart thudding in my chest as my lungs threatened to burst. Closer… closer… My hands broke the surface of the water. My head followed and I struggled to breathe in between the gulps of air I was taking in.
Quickly orienting myself I began to swim towards the shore. The waves buffeted me from side to side while the rocks ahead looked jagged and uninviting. Fear drove me forward. My arms felt numb from cold and heavy from exhaustion but safety was almost within reach. My fingers scraped painfully against the rough surface of the rocks as I tried to brace myself against the power of the waves.
I could barely feel the teeth piercing the skin of my leg in the cold water. I felt myself sinking abruptly. I had just enough time to gulp for breath before my head plunged back into the sea, water surging up my nostrils. I flailed desperately as I sank. The water rushing past my ears. My heart labored and panic overwhelmed me.
Then I was floating free again. Kicking my legs I headed for the surface as fast as I could. When I reached air, scanned the horizon and headed for the shore again. Whatever had caught ahold of me had dragged me some distance before letting go. By the time I approached the rocks my arms were barely able to move. I wondered how much blood I was losing, but did not dare stop to find out.
I didn’t get even half way to shore before the teeth bit into my foot and I was swung round in the water. No time for air. Eyes squeezed shut,head spinning as I lost all sense of direction. I barely made it to the surface this time, gasping for air and getting a mouth half full of water. Wiping my thumb with my hand I whirled round. For a brief, panicked, moment I could not find the shore. But there it was, still within reach… just.
My right leg wasn’t working right and I had to rely more on my already exhausted arms to propel me through the water. The waves buffeted me repeatedly and I tried not to think about the thing that was toying with me or when it might strike next. I spat out another mouthful of water and grimaced at the taste of salt in my mouth.
My brain was almost as numb as my leg at this point. Working mechanically to try to get me to safety. Part of my mind was screaming that there was no way I could make it. That I was tired, bleeding to death and about to drown. But I kept moving forward. Closer, slowly closer. Maybe I could still make it.
I didn’t feel it grab me this time. Salt water filled my mouth as it jerked me below the surface yet again. I choked and coughed, as the water grew darker and darker around me. I could feel the pressure squeezing at me as the creature continued to dive.
It was tired of playing with its food.