Too Close for Comfort: a (true) short story

Screenshot of video footage taken directly during the happenings of events described in short story. © Cyrille Rio
Screenshot of video footage taken during the events described in short story. Photo courtesy of Cyrille Rio.

By: ELISE RIO
Staff Writer

All was set up for another great day of diving on the Infidel wreck, off the beautiful coast of California. Over the course of two long years of effort, the Southern California scuba diver crew had been successful in removing numerous nets from the majestic wreck lying 150 feet below the surface. The crew’s mission that day was to identify and document new critters that had established homes on the cleaned-up wreck. Unfortunately, the group of divers was confronted with poor visibility in the water. As such, they had no choice but to follow the mooring carefully to the wreck. After 30 minutes of diving in the silt, the divers were disappointed by the lack of good footage and began packing up their cameras, getting ready for the ascent.

Suddenly, there was a high-pitched noise, an underwater scream, something rarely heard in the deep silence of the ocean. As the divers turned around, a massive animal approached them gracefully, slowly circling the small group, approaching a little too close for comfort. To see a great white shark at 150 feet, freely swimming in its natural environment, is every diver’s dream. Expecting to only get a glimpse of the majestic creature before she disappeared, the group bustled with excitement and began capturing the scene with their cameras. Then, the great white began making smaller circles, and her beady eyes became clearer, seemingly peering right through the divers’ souls. Her attitude was still not one of aggression, but the divers’ excitement slowly turned to worry, and worry mutated to a contained panic.

Would she leave? For how long would she stay? For a mere instant, there was a feeling that the divers were not in control of their situation. They began to worry that this so-called ‘dream life-time experience’ would turn into a horror movie. Bouts of paranoia swept through their heads at 100 miles per hour, making them drunk with adrenaline. They heard the JAWS theme song and felt chills on their skin. All those stories in the news of shark attacks suddenly came to mind, as they all thought: this could never happen to me.

And then, as gracefully as she had appeared, the great white left. The moment fleeted away, the emotions died down, and the ocean returned to a still and quiet state. The contracted muscles started to relax. As their hearts began to beat normally once again, an irrational regret welled up inside the divers. Left with nothing but blurry camera footage, the divers sought to relive the terrifying moment.

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