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The Shark Attack                                                                              

By Ava Presnall


I lived by a river. My house was nice, it was large for a one story house. I had everything I could possibly want: a bed, a house, food, water, and a family. Our house looked out onto the river. That’s how I was able to see the sharks. That’s how I became a hero.

It all happened on a cool Saturday morning. I was out on our balcony, with a Sprite can clenched in my hand as I read a Stephen King novel. I could see kayakers paddling down the rapids, laughing as they got splashed. I went back to my book. Ten seconds later, I heard a scream. I jumped, startled. I looked at the river, and saw the two kayakers leap out of their kayak in panic. I saw a big black fin. Bull shark! I ran downstairs and sprinted out the door and down the steps outside  to the river. The kayakers weren’t fast enough to escape the animal. The bull shark was closing in fast. I dove into the rapids, still in my clothes. The shark turned, confused at the loud splash. I whipped my head around to see the shark with killer black eyes come up toward me. Its teeth glistened in the sunlight. It jumped out of the water toward me. I snatched the paddle from the kayaker and swung it at the shark. It hit it square in the nose. The shark roared, and blood poured out of the spot where I hit it. I winced. I wouldn’t like to hurt an animal, but I had to save the poor kayakers.

The shark wasn’t done yet. It went back underwater, and for a second I thought it had given up. But it hadn’t. I felt something like a large blade pressing against my leg, then felt pain. The shark was biting me. I now saw the fin, and brought down the paddle with everything I had. It slammed into the fin and made a gigantic gash. The shark let go of my leg and swam away.

I finally got a good look at the kayakers. One was a man and one was a woman. The girl was about twenty, and her dark brown hair was wet and plastered against her face. She was very pretty. The man had blonde shaggy hair hanging over his face, which was also wet. He looked kind and about twenty five years old. They rushed toward me, knowing I had been bitten by the shark. “Thank you for saving us, boy!”

“Are you OK?”

“Let’s take you to shore!”

All the voices were fading out, but I managed to walk to shore. My leg was bleeding like crazy, so I ripped off my shirt and tore it to shreds. Torn shirts make good bandages. My leg was throbbing like someone had brought a red hot poker across my leg then stabbed it with a knife a couple times over. I collapsed on the sand, but managed to stay conscious. The woman was concerned. “Are you OK, buddy?” She asked again. I nodded. She shook her head. “No, you’re not!” My shirt was soaked with blood. I cringed. The man, however, laughed. “Kid, you saved our lives!” He shouted. I grinned. “How old are you? What is your name? We need to call the news! You’re a savior!” he went on.

My leg was now hurting more than I thought possible. I gasped for breath and answered his questions. “I’m twelve. My name is Jonathan.” The girl laughed. “You really saved us from that shark!” I laughed. “It was nothing.” She frowned. “Nothing? That thing tore your leg to shreds!” I nodded. “Sharks don’t usually attack. You’re safer with a shark than you would be with a mosquito. Sharks don’t like to be near humans. They just think that we’re a seal or something, take a bite, and realize they’re wrong. They’re really harmless toward humans.” The man shrugged. “Even so, we need to get you to a hospital.” I put up my hands. “OK. I give in.” The man and the woman took me home so my parents would see what the shark did to me.

Two weeks later, I was at my house, eating ice cream on the couch with a cast on my leg, watching the news. It still hurt when I tried to move it, and it was pretty much impossible to walk with a cast as big as mine, so they put me in a wheelchair. I wasn’t happy, because wheelchairs are for people who have broken their leg, but apparently my cast was the same size as the ones they use for people that broke a leg. I tuned into the TV.

“Twelve year old Jonathan Chang saved kayaking couple from being terrorized by a bull shark in the American River…” The host went on about me saving those two kayakers even though it meant me getting hurt in the process. I smiled at the TV. It was worth getting hurt. I wouldn’t want to see those poor people get bitten by that bull shark. Truth is, I never blamed that shark for biting me, even twenty years later when I worked as a marine biologist. Sharks only attack you if they think you’re prey, like a seal. The motion of a dog’s paws twirling in the ocean or a river is like a seal, and that could attract a shark. The kayakers didn’t have a dog, though. My theory is that the shark had been nearby and saw me swimming, thought I was a seal, and took a bite. When it realized it made a mistake, and because I hurt it, it swam away.

I told the story over and over to all kids visiting the aquarium I worked part-time at when I wasn’t studying sharks. They all seemed impressed by my courage. And when I finished my story, I always remembered to tell them that sharks are nothing to be afraid of, just in case they ever needed to save someone the way I did.

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