Night Swim

The shark moved through the night water without a sound. It swam towards the shore, with its eyes and mouth open.

Between the sea and the shore was a long beach. Behind that each there was a house, with lights in its windows.

The front door of the house opened, and a man and woman came out. They stood for a short time and looked at the sea. Then they ran down to the beach.

The man sat down and closed his eyes. The woman smiled at him and said, ‘Do you want to go for a swim?’

‘You go on. I’ll wait for you here.’

She began walking out towards the sea. The water came up round her feet. It was a warm June night, but the water felt cold. The woman called back. ‘Come and have a swim with me!’ But there was no answer from the man.

She ran into the sea, and soon the water was up to her head. She began to swim.

The shark was a hundred metres from the beach. It could not see the woman — it could not see anything in the dark water — but it felt the sea move. It turned towards the shore.

The woman swam away from the beach. After about a hundred metres she began to feel tired and stopped for a short time. Then she turned and began swimming back to the shore.

The shark moved closer to the woman. For the first time she felt afraid, but she did not know why. She looked up and saw the lights in the house. She was about seventy metres from the shore. She began to swim faster.

The shark was now above the water, about fifteen metres from the woman. Suddenly it dropped down to the left.

The woman felt something hit her right leg. She put her hand into the water and tried to find her foot. Then she cried out.

The shark turned and then turned again. This time it attacked the woman from below. It swam up fast and pushed her out of the water.

The shark carried the woman away in its mouth. It came up out of the water and then went under again. A short time later it began swimming away from the shore.

The man opened his eyes. It was dark and he felt cold. He stood up and began to dress. It was then he saw the woman’s shoes on the beach. He picked up the shoes and walked back to the house.

The door to the woman’s room was open, and the light was on. But she was not there.

There were two more rooms in the house. The man opened the door of the first bedroom and went across to the bed.


The man in the bed opened his eyes. ‘What?’

‘It’s me. Tom. I think there’s something wrong. Where’s Chrissie?’

‘I thought she was with you.’

‘No, she isn’t. I can’t find her. She’s not in the house and she’s not on the beach.’

Jack sat up and turned on a light. He looked at his watch. It was five in the morning. ‘I’ll phone the police,’ he said.


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