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In These Waters the Predator Can Easily Become the Prey! Captain Jake Taylor is a man haunted by the past and the monster that swims there. He and his father are unable to move past the tragedy that tore their family apart. The only thing they have left is revenge. But when party goers on a Yacht get caught up in the path of a deadly storm. They end up smack in the middle of the Taylor’s hunt for this apex predator and it will take everything they have to make it out alive. Can they survive and put an end to this man-eater once and for all or will they just drop another notch on the food chain? If you liked Jaws then this suspense-packed ocean thrill ride will keep you glued to every page!
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Copyright © 2016 Jacob Peyton
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Sleeping Possum Press
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JAKE TAYLOR AND HIS brother Max knew they had gone too far out. They had decided it would be fun to take their little rowboat all the way to the buoy: being 12 year old the twin boys, they had thought it was a great idea. That was until it became too hard to row back. Their father had often warned them about tide. The boys were tired and the sun was quickly sinking behind the small waves in the bay. They were in trouble when their father got home and found out what they had done. That would be all she wrote.
"Well, at least we made it all the way to the buoy." Max said trying to cheer up his brother. They both knew the beating that lay in store for them when their dad got home and found both the boys and the boat gone. They wouldn't be able to sit down for a week. If they were lucky.
Jake was afraid of having to spend the night on the water. He was also afraid of being pulled farther out. Growing up on the water, he had always been taught to respect the bay, and was beginning to think Max and he had gotten overconfident. He knew the bay spilled into the ocean, what if they got pulled all the way out? He thought beginning to panic.
The boat rocked back and forth. They had tied it to the buoy so that the tide wouldn't carry them any farther out. The boys had left a note for their mother so she would know where they were at and now it looked liked it would instead probably be used to find them. They both hoped they could catch the tide in before it came to that. As upbeat as Max was, even he didn't want to face their father's wrath. And if Captain Taylor had to put his boat back out after he already came back in for the day, they would be facing his wrath no doubt about it. Add worrying their mother to that list and it looked like they wouldn't be sitting down comfortably for a month.
"At least we will have a story to tell." Max said suddenly, his easy smile returning.
"What do you mean?" Jake asked, looking up from staring at the bottom of the boat. He had been convinced that he could see water pooling in the bottom of the boat. Just his imagination after all, him and his brother and father had put this rowboat together a couple summers back. She was as sturdy as rowboat could be.
His brother smiled wider. "Well, the way I see it, we are the only two kids in school that have stayed in bay at night by themselves."
Jake shrugged, not understanding what Max was getting at.
"Think about it. We can make up stories like old times sailors used to. Ghosts, mermaids, sea monsters...anything we can think of." Max said as if it were obvious.
"We're tied to a buoy faced with the very real possibility that we will spending the night out here and the only thing you can think of is what kind of stories we're going to tell when get back to school?" Jake asked him incredulously. It took all his willpower not to jump up in the boat as he said it, but the last thing either of them needed was to go overboard. Now that he thought about it he really didn't want to have to spend the night out here in the first place. Something about being on the water after dark always kind of freaked him out.
Max just laughed, "Look, we have hours before the tide goes back in, so this way we've got something to do to pass the time." There it was. That look his brother made that somehow got Jake and the others to go along with even the stupidest of his ideas. Like the time they all took turns shooting that hornets nest with their BB guns. Jake couldn't remember ever seeing his father laugh so hard in his life.
Even Jake couldn't argue the logic in that though, they did have hours until the tide turned. The boat rocked as it came into contact with something. "What was that?" Jake asked, his anxiety about being out here by themselves swiftly returned.
Max just shrugged. "I don't know; we didn't bump the buoy though." He said perplexed. He looked over his side of the rowboat just to make sure. Then shrugged again.
There was another bump, this time harder. The force of it rocked the boat violently. The boys looked at each other in shock as third bump came. This one was so hard that it threw both boys out of their small wooden seats and into the floor of the rowboat.
"What's going on?" Jake asked, close to tears.
"I don't know," Max said, his smile from earlier now completely gone. He now looked just as scared as Jake.
The water was still; the rowboat came back to the regular rhythmic rocking of the water.
"Is it over?" Max wondered aloud. No sooner had he said it when the rowboat took another hit. This one came from directly beneath them, sending the rowboat up and over. In less time then they could scream they went toppling out of the small overturned boat.
The boys hit the cold water and came up thrashing, gasping for breath as the salt water stung their eyes. The boat capsized and there was no way they could flip it. With the salt water in their eyes it was hard to see. The only thing that stood out clearly was the soft green glow of the buoy light.
"Jake!" He heard Max yell.
"I'm fine! Swim to the buoy!" He yelled back, unable to see his brother in the water. He couldn't see anything in the water. He heard the splashing that meant his brother was headed that way. Jake was closer to the buoy and swam for all he was worth. The buoy was slippery and it took some effort to pull himself onto it, after a few seconds of struggling he managed to pull himself over the side of it. It wasn't large but there was enough room for him to lay on the side, gasping as he tried to catch his breath as the buoy rocked in the waves.
He almost could have sworn that as he pulled himself up something big had brushed by him in the water.
"Stop it." He thought aloud. No sense in scaring himself in already out of control situation. From his vantage point on top of the buoy, he could see Max and their boat. The green flashing light on top of the buoy illuminated the darkness; casting everything in a dull green glow.
Max had been thrown farther out and was thrashing in the water he was trying to pull himself up onto the overturned boat. Jake had always been the stronger swimmer and saw how Max was fighting the water, having to stop every few strokes to catch his breath. Something didn't feel right to Jake though. He couldn't see anything in the water that would have caused them to flip like that. Especially since it wasn't even windy enough for white caps on the waves.
"Max, swim to the buoy! I'll pull you up!" Jake shouted. He wanted Max up there with him; something about the water was beginning to feel sinister. Max swam faster and was close to the buoy when he was suddenly jerked three feet to the left. The water churned as the boy was thrown through it. Max was white as sheet as he started swimming to the buoy again.
"Max, what happened?!" Jake shouted more afraid then he had ever been in his short life.
"Something hit me, something in the water!" His brother yelled. Max's voice carried that slight tremble that Jake knew meant he was trying not to cry. "Jake it was something big!" Max shouted again.
He swam then. Harder than he had ever swam before. Jake saw it first and the sight took his breath away, as he lay over the side of the buoy with his arm outstretched towards his brother. There it was a large fin rising up behind his brother cutting through the water like a torpedo, he felt himself go down a notch on the food chain as he relieved himself right then and there on the buoy.. He wanted to shout, but the words wouldn't come.
His brother, only feet from the buoy, saw the look on Jakes face looked behind him and screamed. It was a terrible scream, like a frightened animal. Max looked at his brother and in the green light their eyes locked. Then Jake could only watch as mouth full of razor sharp teeth closed on his brother pushing him the last little bit so Jake could grab his hand.. The green glow reflected in the shark's cold black eyes. His brother was screaming so loud that Jake's ears were ringing. He tried to hold on but as the shark dove he could only watch in horror as his brother was torn apart and was forever pulled out of his grasp. Max didn't even have time to scream on last time as he went under the water.
Even after the water stopped thrashing, Jake found himself staring at the spot, waiting for either the shark or his brother to resurface. Neither one did. When his father found him a several hours later he was still laying their on the side of the buoy staring into the water and waiting for his brother to resurface.
HENRY WAS ONCE AGAIN fielding calls from behind his desk. Oh, how he hated this damn job. Every day was the same thing. Everyone calling him like he could somehow fix all their problems. If he were honest with himself, he would have walked away from this job years ago, but if he up and quit Cheryl would probably leave him. Now that he thought about it, that might not be such a bad thing.
The only reason he had this job in the first place was because Tim had put his neck out for him. And he couldn't return the favor by just walking out on him. Thoughts of Cheryl came rushing back into his mind. These days he couldn't decide which was worse: coming to work or going home. The phone started to ring again cutting off that train of thought. He chucked a pen across his office in retaliation. The sudden violent movement caused him to laugh. Is this how nervous breakdowns start? He wondered.
Look at me throwing things around like a toddler throwing a tantrum. What he really needed was something to shake up his life right at the foundations. If not, he didn't think him and Cheryl were going to last. Hell, he honestly didn't know if he even cared anymore.
That's when he remembered something Tim had talked about earlier in the week. He let the phone go to the answering service as he walked out of his office and headed over to Tim's. He walked boldly across the gaggle of cubicles and bee-lined over to Tim's office, daring any of those other paper pushers to say anything to him. God, I hate my job. Henry thought.
He stopped outside of the door to admire the large brass nameplate that adorned the door to Tim's office: Tim Flannery. In big letters. He was sure that Tim's ego got a kick out of that every time he went in. After all, he was one of the only people in the office to have a brass nameplate, especially one that big. Henry wouldn't be surprised if Tim hadn't bought the damn thing himself.
People on the street could probably see it, he thought with a chuckle, giving the door a complementary knock and a pause in the doorway a moment before walking in. Tim looked up, all smiles as usual. Henry had known him long enough though to know it was part of the act. Part of what made his oldest friend so good at his job.
"Henry, what's up? Is it time for lunch already?" He asked, looking at Henry and then at his watch.
"No, it's not quite time for lunch yet. I wanted to ask you whether or not you were serious about that thing you had mentioned earlier this week?" Henry asked being as vague as possible. He had after all been the one to shoot it down.
"What trying out that new Thai place?" Tim chuckled, "You sure you want to eat something that spicy? It's hotter than Hell out there today."
Henry realized that he was going to have to be the one to say it. "The charter boat thing you were talking about."
Tim smiled liked some sort of big cat. "Oh, I thought you said that was a stupid idea."
Henry fidgeted and looked away. "Yeah, well, I've been thinking about it... and I don't know, it sounds fun." He was able to get out, his hands gesturing nervously the whole time.
Tim leaned back on his desk and crossed his arms in front of his chest. "It would be good to get out of the city for awhile. Besides, four days on the Chesapeake bay on a party yacht might just be what everyone needs around here."
"It's on the bay?" Henry asked.
"Well, it goes from the bay, out into the Atlantic and back." Tim said, deep in thought. "Besides, the yacht has a hot tub on it so we won't be actually swimming or anything in the bay. And we'll all be so plastered it won't matter what body of water were on."
They both laughed at that.
Henry couldn't wait to tell Cheryl about the trip. She was always complaining about how they never went anywhere anymore. Well, this would show her and, even better, the company would be footing the bill.
Ever since Tim had attended some seminar series on synergy in the workplace he had become obsessed about the company's synergy. He had been going on and on, talking all of the section heads and managers and their respective partners about letting the office go on a getaway. Henry didn't understand how getting everyone together to get plastered and make poor decisions was supposed to improve sales, but Tim did and if he could get use it to get Cheryl off his back and maybe blow off some steam at the same time, hell it was a win-win situation as far as he was concerned.
He was so excited by the prospects that he even let Tim convince him to try that Thai place for lunch. Which he regretted as soon as he walked in and smelled the spices wafting through the restaurant. The only thing Tim loved more than gimmicky self-help seminars was searching out the most authentic restaurants. The last time had been a Mexican place where the food had caused Henry to spend his weekend with his face in the toilet. If he hadn't been so hungry, he probably wouldn't have been able to eat his food now. He had ordered Pad Thai on instinct since he had it at a couple of chain restaurants. This version was so spicy he was pretty sure his tongue might actually be blistering. He really couldn't wait until Tim got on an Italian or French food kick. Or maybe, if he was really lucky, it would be food trucks and greasy burgers. Things his wife hadn't let in the house in years ever since she jumped on the organic food trend.
Henry cared less about farm-to-table then he did about what his neighbors did in their spare time; another topic his wife found endlessly fascinating. The things she found interesting threatened to push him deeper into the bottle. Yeah, a cruise is exactly what they needed.
He knew that she was going to be in one of her moods as soon as he walked through the door. When he saw that the television was off, he knew it was going to be a bad one. She was sitting there, silent, on the couch, the look of scorn that had become so familiar these days had long ago replaced the happy face he'd fallen in love with.
"Well, look who's home late!" Cheryl snapped at him as he sat his briefcase down. Her red wine sloshed in the glass. Great here we go again. He thought miserably.
Henry just sighed. He knew that no matter what he said it would only make her angrier and that was the last thing he wanted. It was better to just let her blow up. She would later calm down and they would both pretend it never happened.
When did this become my life? Henry couldn't help but think as he grabbed the bottle of wine and took a seat into his faded, green recliner and waited for the continuing onslaught of his wife's screaming.
As she called him every bad thing she could think of, he just stared at her, trying to find some hint of the woman he had fallen in love with. Her blonde hair was still there, as were her blue eyes. They had some wrinkles around them now and that hunger for life that had once dominated them was long gone. She was still in there, but it was somewhere deep down. Had they both changed so much over the years?
By the time she finished screaming, he had polished off the remainder of the bottle. As she walked out of the room, he yelled out to her.
"Hey! Tim invited us on a cruise if you're interested." He heard her stop in the hall. "I mean its nothing fancy just a work thing, but I figured you might like it." He knew she was probably startled. The look on her face was probably priceless. They hadn't gone anywhere in while and he knew that was one of the reasons she was so mad. The others weren't something he really wanted to think about...at least not without another bottle of wine.
CAPTAIN JAKE TAYLOR calmly piloted his fishing boat back into the bay. It had been a good haul all and all. Looking ahead at the calm skies, he decided that it would be a good time to let the men have some time off, the season was coming to an end and they had certainly earned it. He had been pushing them hard lately. He always did this time of year...too many bad memories. He supposed he should call his father and get it over with, just to check in with him and make sure that he was alright. Maybe even avoid having to see him in person at all.
Besides, they had been getting extra in the nets the last couple of runs and maybe driving out to see his father wouldn't be the worst thing he could do with his own free time, he knew that no matter what he decided on the matter he would end up regretting it. As they pulled into the marina, he ran his cracked and calloused hand through his sandy blond beard. It really had been too long since he had last seen him. Damn come to think of it, he hadn't been to see him since mom died and that had been just the two of them standing around with a smattering of friends and family, barely saying a word to each other or anyone else. There really hadn't been anything left to say. Not anymore. He just really couldn't believe that it had been that long.
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