My Second Incident
School was out. Today had been the last day. Even though I’d only been there for a few weeks, I was glad to get it over with. I’d expected my dreams to be sweet, relaxing. They were supposed to be about summer. But they weren’t. In some ways they were helpful. But in other ways they made me sad. Suddenly, I knew so many things.
I found myself running across the white tiled floor of a hospital. My long hair was tied up into a French braid. I wore a blue t-shirt with Nike shorts and flip flops. Sliding across the floor, I found the door to room 203. My right hand slowly opened the door. Inside there was a woman holding a baby along with another woman in green hospital clothes writing on a clipboard.
“Mother,” I said calmly. I’d never called her anything different.
“Yes?” she asked sweetly. The woman had blonde curly hair and baby blue eyes like mine. She was absolutely beautiful. Although she looked a bit young to be a teenager’s mother. In fact, she could even pass as a teenager. The woman looked up at me, smiling.
“One of the twins needs you. She said it’s urgent.”
“I couldn’t tell the difference. We were talking over the phone.”
“Alright, I’ll be there in a second. Oh, and your father needs you. He’s in his office.” I nodded and ran off in the direction off my dad’s office.
Stepping into the large, white room, I saw a man at his desk. When I came in, he looked up with a gentle smile. His dirty blond hair was ruffled. Even though he didn’t work here much, he wore a white lab coat. “Hello, Anna. Take a seat.” I nodded, sitting down nervously. He cleared his throat, looking at me and shoving his work aside. “Your mother and I wanted you to start working at the hospital. Well mainly your mother, I don’t really work here that much as you know. Nothing major. Just be like your sisters, helping out when you can and stuff. You are only a teenager after all. I don’t expect you to perform a surgery.”
“No.” I replied, shaking my head.
“Excuse me? This is a great opportunity for you! Your mother and I both think that you should do this! You’re our eldest daughter, after all!”
“What does that matter? You don’t even really work at this hospital! It’s just for you to pass the time for when you’re not on some stupid mission! Why should I do something I really don’t want to? You won’t even pay me!”
He sighed, looking away as he realized that he wouldn’t buy me over. “You’re incredibly gifted in medical issues...Why don’t you want to work at the hospital?”
I looked down at the ground, not answering for a long moment. Taking in a deep breath, I finally replied. “I just don’t think I’d be able to do it...If someone...died, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. Dealing with all of those dead people would be something I couldn’t handle...Please don’t make me do this. You know I don’t want to be like mom and become a doctor. I’m into marine biology and things with action in them. This may be for my sisters, but not for me. You let my brother join the army! You didn’t even pressure him into working at the hospital. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I have to do what all the girls in our family have done. I don’t care if it’s tradition.”
“Alright...You can go now. The chauffeur will drive you home.” my father said when he realized that I couldn’t be convinced to join the hospital. I didn’t see what was wrong with me not wanting to be a doctor. Why couldn’t they realize what I wanted to do with my life? It was my life after all.
The dream shifted. I was looking at my mother, crying. My father had his arms wrapped around her, trying to make her stop crying. They were sitting on the couch in a house. On another couch, the twins were sitting next to each other with gloomy faces. The doorbell rang. One of the girls went and opened it.
“Hello...” was all she could muter to the man.
He nodded and stepped in, shutting the door. “Have you found her?” my mother asked, looking up with a hopeful smile on her face.
“I’m sorry. We can’t find anything relating to Anna. There was a girl found in Cape Cod in the middle of the ocean. But there’s no way she could get from France to the U.S. by herself in such a short amount of time. Technically, she’s labeled ‘missing’ for now. If we can’t find her in seven years, she’ll be legally named dead. But we really think she’s dead. There was a big storm in the ocean right after she went missing. There’s only a slim chance that she would be able to survive. You don’t remember anything odd happening on the boat?”
Everyone pondered over their memories, trying to think if anything unusual did happen. “Anything. Even just a strange boat passing by that day.”
My father suddenly spoke for the first time spoke. “Actually now that you mention it, I remember something strange. There was a black boat that passed by. Everyone on the ship was wearing fancy clothes as if they were going to a formal party. I even remember the boat’s name. Falcon. They looked dangerous.” He gave the man a look as if he knew something more.
“You don’t think they would’ve taken her, do you? I remember the boat now too...They did look dangerous. But they didn’t look like they’d do anything to a teenage girl.” She asked him, trying not to cry.
The man shrugged.
“We do have one theory about what could’ve happened though...” the man said with a look the other way. “Although it involves Operation Falcon.” He told him seriously. Operation Falcon?
Looking up with worry, his face suddenly turned serious as well. The woman had a lost look on her face. This had to be something that she knew nothing about. Kat and Emeline exchanged a curious look. “Girls,” he started, looking at each of them. “Please leave us alone. This is very important.”
The twins opened their mouths to speak. She simply nodded and stood up. She seemed to understand a bit, but yet still seemed at a bit of a loss. “Girls, just leave it.” The girls rolled their eyes but followed my mother.
Once everyone else was out of sight, he looked up at the other man. “He took her...I knew this would happen. When I suddenly turn my back, Falcon does this...It’s all my fault! She was never supposed to be mixed up in any of this!”
“She was supposed to be involved with Falcon! She’s the only one strong enough to defeat him!
“No! Anna has nothing do with this!”
“Yes she does! And once you get some sense knocked into you, come back to headquarters so we can start hunting her down!” Lewis rolled his eyes and marched out of the house.
The first day of summer was beautiful. School was finally over for the year. The sun shone down on the beach that was crowded with people. Everyone seemed to be celebrating the sunny day. The skies were clear with no chance of rain. Kids running out on boogie boards. They were pretending to surf since the waves weren’t big enough here. I could only imagine what it’d be like to really get on a board. No memories came to mind when I thought of surfing.
Nathan was holding Elizabeth’s hand tightly, prancing towards the water. Jamie was walking alongside Travis. Tom had already found a perfect beach chair that he lay on with a book up to his face. Connor was next to Elizabeth and I was with Travis and Jamie.
“Anna! Will you come swim with me?” Nathan asked as he ran up to me.
“Sure!” I replied. Today I was wearing the blue bikini I’d been found in.
We set our things down on the sand by a few beach chairs. The first thing I knew, we were running into the water. Nathan grabbed my hand as we ran. Once we were in what was ‘deep’ for him, we were jumping up as the waves came by. He was laughing but after a moment, our fun was paraded. Into the water, Jamie and Travis came running in fiercely. I had to pick up Nathan and move him out of the boys’ way. The two teenagers plunged into the water, racing.
“Hey! I can beat both of you!” I called out, setting Nathan down on the ground before jumping in the water and taking off towards them. I was a strong, fast swimmer and was soon beating both of them. It felt so good to be in the ocean. Like it had when I’d been stranded. But this was better. Of course then I’d been starving in the middle of nowhere. So having some fun with my friends had the odds in being able to have more fun.
I ducked under the water, swimming my way through the waves. It took me only a minute to reach the dock, our target. “Haha!” I called out to Jamie and Travis as they lost against me.
“Whatever...You weren’t even in the race! So that doesn’t count!” Travis told me as he slapped the dock.
“Of course it does!” I insisted.
Jamie didn’t say anything when he caught up to us. We were all too out of breath to say anything. After a moment, Jamie spoke. “Wanna see who can go out the farthest?” he asked.
“Sure,” Travis said. I simply nodded. “Alright! On three!” We all prepared to head off towards the middle of the ocean. But we wouldn’t go too far out. This was a test of bravery though. “One...Two...Three!”
All three of were soon going as fast as we could towards the unknown. Of course, I was the fastest. But this wasn’t about who could get there the fastest. This was about who could go the farthest without chickening out. I still think the odds lied with me though. I’d experienced the depths of the unknown. They hadn’t. The beach faded away from view. Yet we were all still going.
I ducked my head underwater, pushing my arms and legs sideways to keep going. Just to see if there was anything familiar, I opened my eyes. The salt water stung, but I could see fairly clear. I didn’t see anything exciting. Just a few fish and a dolphin. I assumed that Jamie and Travis were still far behind me. They didn’t stand a chance. Especially Jamie. Lifting my head up above the water, I sucked in a large breath of air. Turning around to see where they were, I could see the two quickly approaching me. They were even, their heads lining up next to each other. “Slowpokes!” I called out to them, sticking my tongue out. I took notice of a fishing boat to my left. The man was lifting up a net. He was staring at me, his eyes wouldn’t leave where I was. Looking back towards the direction of the beach, the only thing I could see was Jamie and Travis heading towards me. The beach was out of view by now.
The current shifted. Even from where I was drifting, his smirk was visible. Did he know something? He had too. The current shifted again. Something was there. The dolphin! It was the only thing I’d seen that was big enough to change the waves like that. But the man’s smirk was still in my head. What could be wrong? That was when that theme song started playing in my head. But I doubted that it would be a shark. It had to be the dolphin.
The small tips of a fin were suddenly in view. It looked like something out of Jaws. But it had to be the dolphin. Maybe it was one of the ones that had helped me when I was stranded. For some reason I felt a connection with the animals in the water. It was almost like I was one of them. Reaching my hand out to the fin, I was hoping to get a ride. But when what was like the head of the animal was in view, I was disappointed. It wasn’t the dolphin. The animal before me happened to be a shark.
Black eyes. Sharp teeth. The mouth seemed to smile at me. I had a strange feeling it was after me. Not just any random person. I was too scared to scream. All I could do was move my hand away from the fin in case I’d made it angry. The figure descended into the water. I continued to spin around, looking for it. Most likely I should’ve swam away. But the shock was too much.
That was when I felt it. Something was in my leg. My right leg suddenly felt numb. I couldn’t feel anything. My body was surged underwater. I closed my eyes through fear of what I’d see.
When I looked down, the water was stained blood red. The shark was swimming away, as if nothing had happened. Swimming towards the fishing boat. The man in the boat seemed to toss something out towards where the shark was. He looked towards me and waved. He obviously knew that I was suspicious of him. And like there hadn’t just been a shark attack, the boat quickly drove away. “Wait! Help!” I yelled towards him. But with that, the boat suddenly turned away from me out of view.
I took notice of the boat’s name before it sped away. Falcon.
My leg was no longer numb. It was suddenly overcome by a sharp, pinched feeling. I did the only thing there was left to do. I screamed. The whole beach could probably hear me. When I looked, I could see Jamie and Travis coming towards me. “Get outta here!” I shouted, even though I knew that the shark had already left.
“No! I won’t leave you!” Travis insisted. The boys reached me. I was nearly fainted, much to weak to swim. Too much blood. Suddenly, the life guard whistle blew. Everyone left the water. Travis and Jamie both helped me get to the shore. When we reached there, I was gently set down on the ground and surrounded by people. Screams escaped my mouth. They wouldn’t stop.
A familiar face ran toward me with a first aid kit in hand. Sam. The lifeguard. “Someone call 911!” he yelled above my screams. He knelt down next to me, looking at the wound with a lost face. Everyone else was gathered around me. My hand reached down to feel my leg. At least my leg was there. But part of it was...not there. It was if there was a gap in my leg. “What am I supposed to do...? We were never trained for this!”
“What happened? Who is it?” a young voice that I quickly recognized was asking.
“I don’t know!”
“Why’s everyone--” Stepping out from the crowd, I could see Nathan. Elizabeth walked out behind him. They both froze when they saw me. Connor followed them out with Tom alongside his father. I screamed again, clutching my leg. “Anna! What happened!” Nathan cried out to me. He was crying, hiding his head in Elizabeth’s leg. She covered his eyes, not wanting him to see my hideous leg. I couldn’t answer him. I was too shocked.
My dream from last night came into mind. Falcon. Shark. What did they mean? All of this tied up together. Somehow. But how? I sighed, trying to think of a way to explain this to myself. This had something to do with my father. My mother and sisters knew nothing about all of this. Being bitten by a shark was not random. It wasn’t because I looked like a seal. It was after me.
I knew a lot about sharks. They weren’t even really that dangerous. I loved sharks. Anything involving marine animals fascinated me. If anyone else had been swimming around, the odds are that the animal wouldn’t have attacked anyone. But the fact that it was me who was swimming and not someone else made all the difference. This definitely had something to do with my dream and being found stranded in the water.
My head fell back onto the sand. The last thing I saw was heads above me. Eyes staring at me wide and open with shock. I knew that they would pretend to be horrified, upset that this had happened to me. They’d probably be a bit sad underneath, if they didn’t know me. But in the truth they’d be excited, glad to have something to talk about. The beach would be closed. I didn’t want it to. But how was I supposed to explain to the lifeguard that the shark was after me when I had no solid prof of this. Plus, I’d just look completely crazy in front of everyone!
Then, everything was black. There was nothing. No noise. No image. No nothing. Just a blank page.
When I awoke, it felt like no time had passed as if nothing had happened. But when my eyes opened, there was a hospital bedroom. The windows were blocked by curtains for some reason. No one was in the room. There was a device on my face. Maybe to give me air or something like that.
Lifting the machine off of my mouth, I stood up and walked over to the window. Pushing the curtains to the left and right, the image I saw shocked me. People with cameras, suddenly snapping pictures of me. The noise was blocked out from the glass. The reporters began pointing towards something. Then I realized they wanted to see my leg. But why? I looked down at my leg.
No. No. No. This couldn’t have happened! What had happened exactly? I’d been bitten by a shark. I knew that much. But my leg was...disoriented almost. There was what seemed to be fake muscle on it. My hand traced down to where my calf was. It felt distorted almost. The muscle seemed to be torn in a way. Incomplete. It was hard to describe.
What had happened? My memory of the trip to the beach was becoming a blur. Something like a dream. I wished it was just a bad dream. Something that when you woke up you were scared of, but eventually went away. I tried not to recall what had happened. But it was killing me to not remember.
“Anna?” A familiar, calm voice said.
I spun around and saw Elizabeth by the door. Had she just come in? I hadn’t heard her come in.
Her eyes were reddened. Most likely from crying. They were wide, staring at me with a look of shock on her face. She looked tired. Had she slept at all? It didn’t look like it. She closed the curtains and the reporters suddenly disappeared. Today she was strangely disorganized. This wasn’t like her. Her face looked completely drained of all color. Her hair wasn’t as beautiful as it normally was. The shiny brown locks of hair looked tangled and dry. It almost looked as if she hadn’t showered in a few days. And judging what I remembered, I bet she hadn’t. She was probably too worried about me and trying to make sure that Nathan didn’t get upset about me being in the hospital. Judging by the mortified expression on her face, she’d been terribly worried about me. I hated making people worry about me. Couldn’t they just realize that I was capable of taking care of myself? I’d been able to survive in the ocean for who knows how long. Wasn’t that enough proof that I was strong enough to be on my own? But although I wanted to prove to everyone that I could take care of myself, I would miss the Davidsons a bit too much and end up running back to their house.
There was a long silence for a moment. Elizabeth looked down at my leg. It made her uncomfortable. I wasn’t the same anymore. My right leg wasn’t as strong as the other one. I had to limp a bit with it. After observing my leg, she looked up at me. “Can’t go in the ocean without hurting yourself, can you?”
I smiled a bit and shrugged. “I’m a fish....So...What exactly happened?”
“You were bitten by a shark.” she replied.
“How long have I been asleep?”
Had it really been that long? I barely even remembered anything at this point. What time was it? Everything felt a bit blurred. Not completely missing like when I’d been found by Elizabeth and Connor. It was just a bit hazy. I began running through the names of everyone I’d met here. Taylor, Jamie, Travis, Crystal, Nathan, Tom, Elizabeth, Connor...That seemed like about it. Was that right? I hoped it was.
Sitting myself down on the bed, I looked up at her with a frown on my face. My lips moved apart for a small moment to form a sigh. My head dropped down where my eyes were looking down at the ground. Clutching my hands to form fists, my teeth clenched.
This wasn’t random. It was completely planned. I remembered a dream from a few nights ago. Something about two men talking. They said that there’d probably be a shark attack somewhere around here. Had they set this up? Or did they just know that this had been set up? But then why hadn’t they helped me like any person would and should?
Did my parents know about this? My parents...I had no idea who they were. My mind vaguely remembered something about them in a dream, but it was all a blur. There was nothing there anymore. Who were they?
Elizabeth and I stared at each other for a long moment. It was just one of those moments where two people look at each other forever without any words being said. No words are needed. By just looking into eyes you could feel everything that was unspoken.
“Where’re the boys?” I asked her.
“Home,” she replied.
“What time is it?”
“Why are you still here?”
“‘Cause I was so nervous about you that it was driving Connor crazy and he just told me to come and see if you’d wake up any time soon. He said he needed sleep.”
I laughed a bit.
“That was about midnight. Nathan’s been worried about you too. I didn’t want to make him scared so I told him that you were just sick and that you’d be fine. It’d be bad for him to be afraid of sharks. Especially when our family runs boat tours.”
There was an awkward silence before I spoke.
“It wasn’t a shark that attacked me.” She just stared at me with a lost look on her face. “Well technically it was a shark that bit me. But before Travis and Jamie got to me there was this man on a boat who just watched the entire time. I screamed to him for help, but he just smirked and waved. Then the boat sped off. I think I was a...target.”
Elizabeth’s eyes were blank. “Anna...” She paused, pondering over my theory that probably sounded crazy. “That might actually make some sense. What’re the possibilities of a girl being found in the middle of the ocean and then being attacked by a shark a few weeks later? But...Why?”
I shrugged and awkwardness seemed to fill the room. None of this seemed to make sense right now. Of course waking up in the middle of the ocean didn’t make much sense either. But there was something odd going on. And I was going to figure it out. There were also the dreams I had that were quite puzzling.
One thing that was nice about Elizabeth was that she believed me no matter what I said. Even if it was something sort of crazy like thinking that I wasn’t just some random victim of a shark attack. Technically speaking I was a victim, but I didn’t think I was a random victim. There was a huge difference in my mind.
We were quiet for a long time.
“Anna...Are you alright?” she asked me, obviously knowing tha there was something wrong.
“No.” I lied.
“Anna...Please just try and calm down. Let’s try and let this go. I don’t want to worry Nathan about all of this. And I know you don’t either. He really looks up to you. He’s never had a sister before. His brothers don’t really pay attention to him that much either. Tom’s too wrapped up in his books to pay attention to anyone else. Jamie’s too afraid to show any emotion to pay that much attention to him. Connor tries too hard to act all manly and tries to teach Tom football and all of that sort of stuff. And I’m his mom and I try to make sure he’s happy but I think he really just needs someone to be like his sibling. You’re the only one he can really look up to.”
It was true. Freaking out a little boy about someone tracking his big sister probably wasn’t a good idea. “Alright. I’d rather not tell this to anyone else either. We’ll just see what happens.”
That was the last we talked about me being chased. We left the hospital two days later and headed back home. Before I knew it, summer was coming to an end. Everything had happened so fast.
It was crazy now. I was all of the news. People from around the world wanted to interview me about all of this. CNN showed me internationally. Everyone from around town wanted to hang around with me. I received letters and ‘get better’ cards from the mayor, governor, people I’d met around town, and kids from school. Environmental groups to save the ocean and sharks sent me letters about why to help save the sharks. I knew enough about the species, so I simply ignored them.
Travis and Jamie even apologized for making me go race against them and how it caused such a problem. But I told them that everything was completely fine, that nothing was their fault. And it wasn’t, was it? I was the one who’d swam all the way out there.
Taylor had been on vacation the entire time but we e-mailed each other a bit to make sure we kept in touch. Crystal and I had spoken a few times over the phone, but we weren’t the best of friends so we didn’t talk that much.
Of course Connor and Elizabeth were still doing their boat tours. And I was even starting to go with them. The tourists were asking questions about the shark attack and if the water was safe. And we told them yes, that it was a freak thing. When people asked those questions, Elizabeth and I sometimes shared some glances because of our conversation in the hospital. Some of them asked me specifically what it was like. And I didn’t really wanna talk about it that much, so they simply said they understood and moved onto a different subject.
National Geographic even went out in search for the shark for shark week. As well, they used my scenario for one of those things where they act out the attack. And they even questioned me on when I was found in the ocean. But since I didn’t remember much of what had happened, they didn’t get someone to act out that. Which I was personally fine with.
Time Magazine had a front page article on me, and whenever I walked into a bookstore or somewhere where the magazine was up, people began to question me. I simply told them to look at the article and some even asked me to sign their copy. Various other magazines questioned me. There had been other shark attacks that hadn’t been given such attention. Some people told me it was because I’d been found in the middle of the ocean, and there’d been many reports with me on that.
Nearly every newspaper in the country, and even some out of the country, had reports on me. And some interviewed me as well. Sometimes my ‘family’ was interviewed. Sometimes there were questions about how I fit in with the family since I’d just been found in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes I felt like a celebrity.