Grabbing another glow stick Tony stuffed it into his belt. He drew the belt tighter he didn’t need to lose another one and watch it fall into the inky black depths below. He leaned closer to the still form on the only patch of soft sand in the cavern. She was asleep, a troubled one for sure, the pain must be intense. Once more he checked the tightly wrapped strips of what had been his shirt, no new blood since he had checked it ten minutes ago.
Dropping his head in prayer he tried desperately to forgive himself, it had been his idea to make the dive, his idea to show Lindy the wreck he had found, he could not imagine where that monster had come from. He looked down into the dark water. The only thing that had saved them was knowing this cave was here. He closed his eyes tighter reliving the horror of that they had lived through.
When had that monster shark decided this was his private territory? He must be at least ten feet long, hammerheads do not usually prey on larger things, they eat small sharks and fish and octopus, crabs. Tony was bewildered, he had been diving here several times a week in the past two months. Had this shark claimed this wreck as his private domain? He came out of nowhere and circled only once before attacking, Tony knew they were endangered but he also wished he had a diver’s knife instead of that puny pocketknife he had been prying abalone loose with.
When the monster grabbed Lindy’s arm Tony had panicked in horror and sunk the knife into the top of the fish’s horrid looking eye. He probably dislodged it the way he was shaking his evil head, but it let go of Lindy. They had just enough time to make the cave before it circled back. It was like one of those horror shows you watch where the water is filled with blood and the shark is hell bent on getting you and there seemed no reason, except he wanted to devour you.
Tony took another look at the love of his life her long blond hair was drying now, cascading down over her shoulders, her slender face nearly hidden. The blood tainted sand where her arm lay made him shiver. He had been to the mouth of the cave four times and the monster had still been there, likely bent on revenge now. Adjusting his breather, he checked the air there was still half a tank, he slipped the mask down and sank into the darkness.
Cracking the glow stick Tony swam down the twenty feet to the eerie green glow just around the mouth of the cave. He looked out and waited, sure enough the huge shadow slid across the bow of the wreck. The monster was above him he retreated and swam back to Lindy.
She was awake and her soft green eyes questioned him. He shook his head and climbed out of the water. She sighed and then flinched when she slumped back down, her eyes closed in resignation. Tony hurriedly pulled off his gear and went to her, just that little movement had allowed more blood to seep. She had five deep slashes on her upper arm, the terror in her eyes will haunt him forever. He rewrapped one area cringing when she whimpered.
She needs a doctor and he needed to keep her from going into shock, this spot in the sand was holding the sunlight, for now. He looked up, it looked like someone just cut a hole in the top of the cave eighteen feet above their heads. There was no possible way to climb out the hole. No fresh water unless it rained. Tony tried to fight down the panic that was gripping his heart. This was all his fault. He had never in his life wished such a magnificent animal dead, but right now the most important person in his life was suffering and they may both die here in this wretched cave.
Tony was no wimp, he rarely shed a tear, at six two and burnished copper skin down to his skivvies, he loved the sun and water. His Off-Shore fishing charters were his dream job, Lindy had teased him about his long thick ebony mane and flashing grey eyes, the muscles and tattoos, she said he was a real-life Aquaman. He gazed down at her, the bubbly personality reduced in quiet submission to the pain. His heart breaking, he settled beside her wiping the tears from his eyes wanting to be strong for her.
No one could affect him like this woman, she had caught his attention at the lowest point in his life, losing the father that had raised him alone against all odds for thirty years. The Oldman, as Tony called him, was dancing through eternity with the mother he never knew except through stories and photos. The Oldman never loved another after Tony’s mother. Lindy had healed his heart and brought him sunshine every single day.
He was so much larger than her he thought, maybe his body heat could help keep her warm. It took some maneuvering, but he managed to lay next to her with her back against his chest, he felt the warmth and relaxed a bit. Smoothing back a long golden lock he kissed her neck she felt the quiver of his lips. “Its not your fault you know,” she whispered.
“How can it not be?” he answered softly, a lump in his throat.
She turned somehow and gazed into his eyes, she saw the sorrow there and smiled softly. “I have been praying it is not our time.” He kissed her again, gently.
“I think we need all the help we can get right now it is looking very dim.” Tony began to contemplate his place in this world, in the universe. He thought about all the things that Lindy did for others, things he rarely had time for. He smoothed back another lock of hair and tucked her forehead under his chin gently tracing her jawline, all the while keeping a close eye on her injured arm she had resting on his waist.
Tony wondered why he was always too busy to help the ones less fortunate. Sure, he had worked for everything he had, but he had plenty. Lindy had little and shared every chance she got it was in her heart. He wanted to have the chance to be like her, to not just love her but share her passion. That was why they were here now. She had learned to dive to share his passion. The tightness in his gut was overwhelming, was he going to take this beautiful angel from all those others she helps? Was her love for him going to be the end?
Tony looked up and made a promise to whoever was in charge of the universe that he, Anthony Pauli D’Angelo, would change. He softly caressed his angel, Lindy smiled softly.
“I love you.” She whispered. Her biggest regret right now was asking Tony to wait until they were married to come together and make love. If they somehow made it out, she promised herself the quickest wedding in history because this man was her whole world.
Tony could see the light becoming dimmer and knew it was late afternoon, he had removed his dive watch earlier so as not to scrape Lindy with it.
“I have to try once more love.” Tony said. She nodded the tears pooling in her beautiful eyes. Tony knew she was in excruciating pain and his gut kept reminding him it was his fault. After gearing up he kissed her fingertips, laid what was left of his shirt over her then slipped into the water.
The dark passage was dimly lit by Tony’s glowstick, he only had a few more, unlike a flashlight it does not turn off once turned on. At the entrance to the cave Tony waited, canvasing the wreck. There seemed to be no sign of big ugly, but they had not seen him the first time he attacked. Tony eased a little out from the entrance looking everywhere. Nowhere in sight.
Tony floated freely still looking, barely moving his flippers, he felt the rush of the water before the shark was visible, and then it was like a freight train snatching him upside down swimming straight up. The power of the animal took his breath away. The monster breached the surface banking at the same time, and it was at that moment when he was flung free across the surface Tony realized that the monster had grabbed his flipper. Only a couple of yards from the rocks Tony didn’t waste time he reacted and propelled himself to the rocks.
Just as he began to pull himself up, he again sensed the shark as a huge mound of water was forced up around him. The monster again grabbed a flipper and turned twisting Tony’s foot as it pulled on the flipper. Digging his fingers into the rocks the shark’s skin sandpapered the skin on one leg as it pulled on the other, then the flipper popped free, and Tony found himself propelled against the rock wall.
He stared dumbfounded at the water as the fin sailed by and disappeared. It was as though the shark had decided to throw him out of his pond. Wasting no more time, Tony scaled the rocks hindered only slightly by a bruised shoulder and strained ankle. Soon he was at the hole calling down to Lindy. She looked up in surprise and smiled a strained smile.
Within the hour the rescue units were strapping Lindy in a basket and carefully lifting her to safety. This time tears flowed freely, Tony kissed her and promised to say ‘I do’ as soon as she was ready. Life was too short and too precarious to waste it. Just before climbing in the ambulance Tony looked up, “A promise is a promise.” He whispered.