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Gemma de Mari

The Thrill of the Hunt

By Michele JonesPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 5 min read
3
Gemma de Mari
Photo by Wai Siew on Unsplash

The thrill of the hunt, and her desire to be the best drove her to work harder. She wanted her name out there as the greatest treasure hunter of all time. Working for Jim as a diver paid the bills, but he got all the fame and glory. He did the television interviews, and went to all the parties, while she did the research and made all the back-end plans.

While researching for one of Jim’s dives, Callista stumbled upon the sunken treasure of the Gemma de Mari. By all accounts, it sunk off the coast of Massachusetts, near Nantucket Island. This is what she was looking for—a chance to be the boss, to find the treasure and to be famous.

After months of research, planning, and saving, she was ready. She wasn’t concerned about the shark infested water, Jim prepared her for that. Besides, this would make her famous. She imagined the headlines, radio and television interviews, the social media frenzy, Callista Williams finds the lost treasure of Gemma de Mari.

Callista threw her gear into her car and drove north. She arrived at the dock, ready to make her fortune.

Limited funds meant she needed an affordable boat, and captain. Months of research led her to Captain Pete. After a short phone conversation, she booked him, but when she got there, his boat looked anything but seaworthy. Callista hesitated before boarding, but he assured her it would be fine. They negotiated a little more at the dock before settling on a price and heading out.

Callista gave him the coordinates “You’re planning a dive in shark infested water, missy. Hope you know what you’re doin’.”

“I’ll be fine, don’t worry about me. Just get us to the site.”

They arrived at their destination about an hour later and dropped anchor. Callista was ready to dive for her fortune. Several others tried and failed, but she would be different.

She found nothing on her first several dives. The area was vast, and she had much more ground to cover. Captain Pete would have to take her further down the coast. She surfaced without incident and pulled herself onto his old boat, tired but satisfied with today’s progress.

Daylight faded fast and she needed to rest. They headed to shore and agreed to meet at 6:00 the next day to continue. They dropped anchor and Callista made her first dive before seven. An object buried on the ground confirmed her research. She had found the Gemma de Mari wreckage. She brought up her findings and documented her haul.

Callista tingled with excitement. Her heart pounded as she drew a quick map where she found the first trinkets. It would take some time, but she would keep diving until she brought up all the wreckage.

This dive proved to be different. She didn’t take any precautions. The captain warned her. Why didn’t she listen? Behind her, coming up fast, a giant shark. Her breathing came faster. Callista kicked hard and aimed toward the surface. She fired an SOS flair and kicked harder. It homed in on her in seconds. Oh my God, please don’t let me die. The surface loomed only a few feet away.

She broke the surface of the water and screamed for help. “Shark!” The Captain jumped from his seat and grabbed the harpoon gun. He aimed it at the water, just as the shark surfaced. Callista kicked harder and faster. “Save me. Please.” Her hand reached the swim platform, and she thought she would be safe. ‘Help—” Callista screamed.

“Son of a—”

The Captain aimed the shark, fired, but the shark kept coming. He fired again, but the shark wasn’t deterred, it snapped its jaws down, chomping on Callista’s legs. Her scream, the crunching bone, and the blood gushing out made her stomach churn, and she felt dizzy.

“Get him off me!” she screamed. He shot the harpoon again. He must have hit it because it released her from its large mouth. The Captain reached in and pulled her out of the water. Callista writhed in pain, screamed, and passed out.

###

Callista awoke in the hospital to the sound of beeping and the smell of antiseptic. She tried to move, but every part of her body felt like cement. Her legs ached so bad, she needed more pain killers. Thank God the Captain saved her and got her to the hospital. If he hadn’t helped, she wouldn’t be alive, and she wouldn’t have her legs.

The doctor came in to check on her. “My legs hurt, can you give me something to help with the pain?”

The doctor looked at her with pity in his eyes. “Ms. Smith, I’m very sorry. We couldn’t save your legs. The pain you’re—”

“You’re lying. I can feel them. They are throbbing in pain.”

The doctor took her hand. “What you’re feeling is a phantom limb. We did everything we could, but we couldn’t save your legs. I’m very sorry.”

Tears flowed freely down her face. “Get out! You’re lying. I can feel them. I just need something for the pain. If you can’t help me, get out!”

“I’ll send in the nurse to give you something for your pain.”

She lifted the blanket after he left. Only stumps remained where her legs should be. “Oh my God. This can’t be happening. Please let this be a dream.” She closed her eyes and said a quick prayer, then lifted the covers again. Her legs. Gone. Callista screamed.

###

Plates and glasses couldn't be reached. Stairs couldn't be climbed. Simple tasks proved daunting. Her life had changed, and not for the better. Callista could still feel the pain. It never truly left her.

She hated the chair and everything it represented. Why did she ignore the warnings? It was the thrill of the hunt. Her hard head and desire to be rich and famous caused this. Nothing would ever be the same. Months passed, but she still could feel her legs.

Short Story
3

About the Creator

Michele Jones

Michele Jones is an author whose work explores the darker side of a character's psyche.

When she isn't working, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and doing charity work.

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