Chapter One: The Boy Who Cried Shark
That's the first thing I hear. There's many of them, approaching and receding nearby. A strong scent of salt overwhelms my nostrils and as I open my eyes to a fiercely glaring light, the memories come suddenly crashing back- those men, the boat in the middle of nowhere surrounded by an entire shoal of sharks!
I bolt upright, clutching the gritty sand beneath me as my chest heaves up and down.
"Hey, you're finally awake!"
I spin around almost defensively at the sound of the unfamiliar voice and come literally nose to nose with a dark blue eyed boy with unruly dark hair. I can smell the salt off his body as he studies me.
"Sorry," I mumble as I turn away, too embarrassed to look at him, only too feel his hand working its way up my pants leg.
The smack I give him echoes around the otherwise deserted beach.
"Hey!" he exclaims in shock.
I stare at him in disgust, shock, and frustration all at once, but safely from some feet away, hugging my knees protectively. Seriously? I think. What does he have to be shocked about? I'm the one who had just been violated.
"Come on," he says as he crawls toward me and I back away, "I just wanna-"
I give a squeal of shock and pain as he pulls my right leg toward him like it's the last slice of pizza, which, I bet, he'd finish off in two seconds flat.
"Hey, watch it!" I glare as he frowns down at my leg.
But for some reason, I think that I can trust him. If he wanted to harm me, he would've done so while I was sleeping. Unless he's some sick kid who would rather slow torture to quick death, I warn myself.
Nevertheless, I let him frown over my leg, keeping a cautious eye on him. He looks young. I mean, around my age, and tough. Not tough tough. Just a fierce 'I'm a survivor' tough.
Then I see it. I gasp, because, if I didn't know better, I'd probably say that sharp edged thing on his back is a fin, as in a fish.
I look at him again. Who is he anyway? And why am I just lying here under the care of this weirdo who violated me? I know he wasn't on the boat with the guys who kidnapped me. If he was, I'm sure I would've noticed his umm, fin.
There's a ripping sound and I freeze.
"Just as I thought…" he's saying.
With a breath, I force myself to look downwards with an already clenched fist to see my torn jeans, revealing a ghastly looking gash.
I immediately avert my eyes, a nauseous sensation already evading me.
"It doesn't seem too deep. Does it hurt?" he asks looking up again, and I see them.
His canines are oddly long. Too long even.
"Uh…" I falter and I feel a liquid sting my wound and drip off my foot. "Ow!" I immediately yelp, yanking my leg away from him. "What was that?"
"Sea water," he shrugs. Shrugs! I may have a weakness when it comes to these things, but I'm smart enough to know that when it hurt likes hell your body is sending a clear message. So I stare at him as if he'd grown a tail to match his fin.
"Are you crazy?" I say, desperately blowing the wound to get the stinging salt off. Well, that's what you get for trusting some weirdo you just met! I scold myself.
"No, I'm trying to help. And you should be more grateful after what we went through to save you," he states in annoyance as he gets to his feet.
I look at him now softening the death glare I had been directing at him, loosening the grip on my now neutral leg. "Wait, you… saved me?"
"Yeah, we were after those other guys and since you seemed so well, helpless, we helped ya' out."
I raise a brow, "We?" Let me guess, his imaginary friends? Because so far we're the only two persons on this island and I doubt after saving me any sane person would leave me with him.
"Yeah," he nods like if this is common knowledge, "But apparently one of us got the memo too late." He gives no other explanation as he walks closer to the coast.
I practically feel my eyebrow meeting in my confusion and so I ignore the wound and follow him. He stops near the coast and begins making this low throaty sound, almost like he is moaning.
"What are you doing?"
Instead of answering, he points to the ocean where the fierce top dorsal fins of what are unmistakably sharks swim closer.
I impulsively clutch his arm in fright as I whisper, "Sharks!"
He remains as calm as ever. In fact, he begins making that sound again and the sharks unanimously respond.
"No way!" I shake my head as I back away, uncomprehending. And he has the audacity to laugh right to my face. "What's so funny?" I mean to sound fierce, but my voice is so shaky it just makes him laugh harder.
"The way he out rated your blood!" Wait what? Was he actually talking about the sharks? "Looks really can be deceiving!" he chuckles harder.
"Are you actually telling me that you talked with a shark, and that's what he told you?" I ask, not sure which felling is greater- bewilderment that possibly my only companion on this island is a loony who claims to communicate with sharks or anger that the stupid shark detested my blood.
"You heard it yourself didn't you?" he asks, adding to my bewilderment.
"Uh, no," I say slowly, majorly having second thoughts about trusting him. "Who talks to sharks?"
"I do," he says without any trace of amusement now in his voice.
My point exactly. Next will come a talking elephant and peacock, and by the time I'm home headlines will read 'Celsiana the island princess is found'
"Right. I'm out of here," I mutter already turning away.
"In case you haven't noticed, we're on a deserted island, and there's no way you can get away from me," he smirks at my leg wound.
He's right. I might not be able to do it in my condition but when it comes to brains I can easily outsmart him.
"Yeah, we'll see about that buddy!" I exclaim with genuine enthusiasm as I take off.
My two second ecstasy is shattered by the stab of pain I feel before I come crashing down into the sand face first. Stupid wound.
I pull myself up and attempt to dash, ignoring all warnings my body sends me to stop. I'm convinced that maybe I have bumped my head too hard or swallowed too much seawater. The weirdo with the fin on his back who claims to talk to animals is also too good a runner. He shows off a speed that can only be classified as superhuman. As he zips around me all I can see is a blur. As for my effort to outsmart him…Well, I never did have a real chance because Sharkboy had an advantage even I didn't consider- superior knowledge of the island.
He's probably been stranded here for a while now and knows every rock and plant, I'm sure. So, even when I manage to break out of his human cage and run for the nearest detour trail, he suddenly resurfaces from another direction. It's like this he manages to corner me next to thick foliage of plants. And so, I pull up my last defense- a fallen branch. I try to convey a message as I swing it around, making it impossible to get close to me without being hit: you don't intimidate me.
"What are you doing?" he chuckles, the opposite of the effect I wanted to get from him.
"Stay back!" I warn, stepping backward as he steps closer. He is anything but intimidated as I try to work in some of the karate moves I'd seen somewhere. "I'm warning you!"
Amusement is all I can see in his eyes until they flash. "Hey watch ou-"
The scream leaves my lips as soon as my left foot finds no place behind of me and I am lurched backwards, over the cliff.
"Help me!" I cry in desperation, shutting my eyes when my shaking hand only meets air. But hands wrap around my waist and pull me upright to safety and land, where I sink weakly down.
Oh, Land! How I never want to be separated from you again! I think as I grovel on my knees, panting. But, he's urging my onto his back.
"What're you…" I begin when he places my hands around his neck.
"You obviously can't walk a few feet without getting hurt," he states, positioning the rest of my body on his back, to the side of his umm, fin. I try not to look at it and my eyes narrow at the back of his head. There I see the small, but definite markings that look almost like gills below his ears. "As for saving you…you welcome," he says and I feel the heat rise to my cheeks. I'm suddenly unable to look at him even though it's only the back of his head.
He saved me twice. Violated me once, yes, but saved me twice. And I was in his debt. The least I could do was put aside my pride and his weirdness.
"Um, thanks," I say almost inaudibly, "For saving me both times."
I immediately scowl, because even from his back I can feel the smirk radiating off him.
"Hold on," he says, "This might be a bumpy ride."
I am not even allowed the opportunity to freak when his hands again grip my legs as horror fills me. It turns out to be the ride of death as he begins running at an unimaginable speed back to the beach. Everything is one big blur but I swear I see the light. When he puts me down what seems like a week of torture later I come out as disoriented as can be. I was so better off walking.
"There," he says in finality after bandaging my leg. I test it by trying to move it a little and smile my approval at my teaching and his fast learning.
"It's good," I tell him as he stretches out on the sand.
We fall into silence as the overhead sun beats down on us quickly evaporating any moisture off my skin succumbing me to the sticky heat. It's about midday which would make it about a day since I've gone missing. The word is so final that it sinks in like a blow. Missing.
I'm suddenly angry. Why isn't anyone here yet? Why aren't they coming? I stare accusingly at the ocean. It's not I wanted any of this to happen, because trust me, I didn't. What I'd trade now for a soft bed. I decide that the sooner I can leave here the better.
I glance over at the sharkboy. Just how long was he stranded here? Did he even care? Did people actually want him back? Who is he anyway?
"Um, hey," I try to get his attention, "What's your name?"
He looks blankly at me and answers with an unintelligible, "Huh?"
Of course, as I'd suspected earlier, he might've been stranded here for years. Names were the least of his problems.
"Your name?" I repeat, "You know. Like I'm Celsiana…" I try to explain.
He gets it. He stares out into the ocean.
"I uh, the sharks call me…" Then he does that noise again- sharkspeak. When he turns to me again he is greeted with a blank look.
"I didn't understand any of that noise," I sigh. How am I supposed to even call him that? Sharks weren't even supposed to speak! May as well stick to sharkboy.
"That noise' was my name," he says with his own frown.
What was he mad about? His name was the one impossible to pronounce.
"Yeah well," I say, deciding to just give him a name," I'll just call you…" I lean my head thoughtfully to one side although I am already sure on what to call him, "…Scott."
"Yeah well, I didn't get any of your name either!" he shots back and I furrow my brows at him. Seriously?
"What's so hard about saying Celsiana?" I ask in frustration.
My name is unique, yes. My mother adored it. It was the name of the rose my dad gave to her on their engagement. Me though, it took me a while to get used to it. But I'm sure that he's just being difficult now.
"I'll call you CeCe," he says smirking at me.
"Well, I guess it's fair," I reason. Plus, it doesn't sound half bad when he says it, I add mentally. "So Scott," I say carefully as if testing it out. A grin breaks out at the way he jerks in alert on hearing the name before finally turning to me." You said that sound was the name the sharks gave you. What about your parents?"
"The sharks are my parents," he answers loyally.
"No. I mean your real parents. As in human. You are human." I steal a glance at his fin before adding, "Well, mostly."
Scott frowns at this. "If I have human parents I don't know them. I know there was a time I lived normally on the mainland before coming here, but that's where the memories stop," he says.
The mainland? I look thoughtfully at him. Australia! But, he doesn't have that Australian accent. Maybe he grew it out?
"But do you remember where exactly?"He just shrugs so I question. "Then what about your parents? Don't you even remember their names?"
He remains silent and by his expression I can tell this is a hopeless topic, so I decide to drop it.
"What about you?" He asks, catching me off guard with his reformed stoic tone. I don't answer immediately so he stares me down. "Well, what about you?"
I lean my head back and my face slowly relaxes as the memories play out across my mind. "Well, there's a lot to tell," I say and glance at him to make sure that this is really okay. He just stares at me expectantly so I go on. "Well I live-lived" I correct somewhat sadly, "With my family- my mom and dad, my younger brother- Seth," I hesitate before I add, "And my older brother. They loved the ocean. We lived in the city but every summer they'd rent a beach house and any sport involving water they were in it- water skiing, diving, swimming, surfing." I glance again at him and he's staring out into the ocean, his face unreadable. At my pause, he turns to look at me.
"But you hate it," he says and I furrow my brows not understanding. "You hate the ocean," he repeats.
"I don't hate it," I say frowning at the seemingly endless expanse of aqua blue before me. "I just think that if people were meant for water we'd all have gills, fins and a tail," I say. But then, I glance again at him. He found someway to make that possible.
"You're afraid of the ocean?" a teasing grin breaks out across his face as he begins chuckling, "Is that why you didn't want water on your wound?" he asks.
"No!" I frown, feeling suddenly very silly. "The salt water would've irritated it more than you irritate me!"
"You do realize where you are, right CeCe?" he asks still chuckling. "There's only one way to survive, and that's by swimming."
I frown even more because I realize that sharkboy may really be right.
So you've decided to join me on my journey, eh?
I'm going to say this now… Thanks a bunch! Also, feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think.
Peace, love and sanity,