Chapter IX

I looked around and saw a boat. Walking over to it I found that it was a canoe. A canoe. If it was human, and if Garth didn't exist, it would be my worst enemy.  Of the very few talents I had, canoeing wasn't one of them. It wasn't one of those plastic ones, it was a hollowed out tree trunk that was only just sturdy enough to be called a canoe. Still, it was a canoe all the same. The oars were lying innocently next to it. Ha! Innocent indeed. Last time I canoed I dropped one of them and managed to hit myself on the head with the other, gaining a small scar above my left ear. However, despite my misfortune, this was the fastest way to the stone.

I pushed the boat into the river, picked up the oars and carefully climbed in. It was actually quite easy to get going, mostly because the river was pulling me along. All I had to do was row myself into the middle and make myself go faster with the oars. 

After a while, I noticed the canoe was damp. Oh well, nothing I could do about it. A few seconds later, the inside of the canoe was wet. A few seconds later, a shallow pool of water appeared in the bottom. I realized what was happening pretty quickly: the boat was leaking, and slowly sinking. And it was taking me with it. There was nothing to bail the water out with.

I let go of the oars, so I could use my hands, without thinking, and they sank into the water. I began frantically throwing water out of the canoe but it was no use. There was more water coming in than I was managing to get out. I was just slowing the sinking process by a fraction, and a very small fraction at that. The  it happened: the boat stopped leaking and started slowly disappearing into the river. Water poured in all around me. Then I noticed the crocodiles. They slipped into the river. I was rooted to the spot. Well, rooted to the sinking boat. 

The crocodiles crept closer to me. I'll admit it: I was absolutely terrified. I don't know anyone who wouldn't be. The water was now at me knees and I was inking ever faster. If I moved, the crocs would dive for the kill. Their yellow slitty eyes were watching me. My heart was thudding in my chest rapidly. The water reached my waist and I realized I had no hope. I acted on instinct and used the first idea that came into my head. Taking a deep breath, I let my head sink under. At that point, I remembered a true story Gran had once been telling Maiya about crocodiles. Well, no crocodiles: alligators, but they're basically the same. 

It was in a place in Orlando, Florida called 'Gatorland'. This man was doing a hang gliding stunt. he was meant to land somewhere outside the alligator park but the wind had blown him off coarse and he'd landed in one of the main alligator pools. All that was left of him was one of his legs. 
Great thing to remember when you're in a river full of crocodiles. 
The crocodiles in question hadn't moved. I was going further and further under the water. I needed to get to the surface before I ran out of air. The way I saw it, I had two options.

1) Die from lack of oxygen and then get eaten by crocodiles.
2) Attempt at swimming up to the surface and probably get eaten by crocodiles when I got there.

I chose option number two because it gave me more chance of living. I swam up.With every second my lungs protested more. I emerged almost silently near the edge of the river. I gasped for breath that came too quickly.My heavy breathing was the only sound.

I swam gently to the edge and pulled myself out. And there I lay, panting. Feeling like the luckiest person alive. Lucky to even be alive. I was still needing more air than I was getting. The last thing I remember seeing was the crocodiles slowly sinking back into the water.

The End

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