Fight to the Finish

The next morning it rained. Brody met Quint at the boat.

‘Is it only me and you this time?’ said Brody.

‘Yes,’ said Quint. ‘You know the fish as well as any man. Nobody can help us now.’

Quint turned the boat out to sea. After ten minutes he slowed it down. Brody looked back towards the shore. ‘We’re not out as far today,’ he said. ‘We can’t be more than three kilometres from the shore.’

‘That’s right.’

‘So why are you stopping?’

Quint pointed to the shore. ‘I don’t think he’ll go out for today,’ he said. ‘I think he’ll be somewhere between here and Amity.’

Quint stopped the boat and Brody began dropping meat into the sea. Quint threw a line overboard. Then he put a barrel on a harpoon line.

‘OK,’ said Quint. Now we wait.’

An hour went by. Nothing happened. Brody stood up and looked overboard. Suddenly he saw the head of the shark, with its black eyes and open jaws. It was less than two metres away! ‘Oh no!’ Brody said. ‘He’s here!’

Quint jumped up. The shark’s head dropped back into the water. A minute later, it hit the boat. The boat moved up and down. Then the shark went under again and the boat stopped moving.

‘He waited for us!’ cried Brody. ‘How did he…?’

‘I don’t know,’ said Quint. ‘We’ve got him now.’

‘We’ve got him’? Did you see what he did to the boat? He’s got us, I say!’

The line moved, and there were noises from under the boat.

Quint stood and picked up a harpoon gun. ‘He’ll be back soon.’

The boat moved again.

Quint put his head overboard, and cried, ‘Come out from under there!’

‘What’s he doing?’ Brody asked.

‘He’s making a hole in the boat. Look, the water’s coming in… Come out and I’ll kill you!’

The shark came to the surface, and began to move towards the boat.

‘Come to me,’ said Quint. ‘Come to me.’ He stood and watched the shark. When it was a metre from the boat, he used the gun.

The harpoon hit the shark. And then the shark hit the boat, hard. Quint fell back and his head hit a chair. He jumped to his feet again and cried, ‘I got you!»

The harpoon line went overboard. It pulled the barrel into the water with it.

‘He took it down with him!’ said Brody.

‘Not for long,’ said Quint. ‘He’ll be back! When he comes, we’ll throw harpoons at him again and again and again. And then we’ll have him!’

Quint watched the water. ‘Get another barrel,’ he said. ‘Bring it back here.’

Brody ran to the front of the boat and got a barrel. He carried it over to Quint.

‘Here he comes!’ said Quint. He pointed down to the left. The barrel came to the surface and moved in the water. Quint picked up a harpoon. ‘He’s coming up!’

The shark jumped out of the water. It was less than three metres from the boat.

‘I’ll get you!’ cried Quint, and he threw the second harpoon. The harpoon hit the shark and it fell back into the sea. Water came over the boat.

The second line went overboard. ‘We’ve got him!’ said Quint.

The boat moved once and then again. They heard the sound of something breaking.

‘Do you want to attack again?’ said Quint. ‘You won’t take any man with you!’

Quint started the boat, and they began moving away.

‘Is the boat OK?’ said Brody.

‘He made a hole under us,’ said Quint. ‘But we’ll be OK.’

‘That’s it then,’ Brody said happily. ‘The fish is dead.’

‘No,’ said Quint. ‘Look.’

Brody looked back and saw the two red barrels in the sea behind them.

‘Why is he coming after us? Does he think we’re food?’

‘No. He wants to fight us.’

For the first time, Quint was afraid.

‘Do sharks usually do this?’

‘No,’ said Quint. ‘They sometimes attack the boat. But they stop after you hit them with a harpoon. But this one wants to fight. So we’ll fight him!’

Quint drove the boat faster. The barrels came after them. He slowed the boat and picked up a third harpoon. ‘OK!’ he called. ‘Come and get it!’

The barrels came through the water. They were forty metres away, then thirty, then twenty. Brody saw the shark swim past the boat below the water. It was two metres from the surface. ‘He’s here!’ he cried.

The shark swam past the boat. After forty metres it turned. Its head came out of the water, and then dropped back in. ‘Here he comes!’ said Quint.

The shark hit the boat and Quint threw his harpoon. It hit the shark in the head, over the right eye. The line went slowly overboard.

‘I got him in the head!’ said Quint.

But the barrels moved on across the surface of the water. Then they went under.

‘What’s he doing?’ said Quint. ‘No fish can attack with three harpoons in him! But he can’t live for much longer. And we can wait!’

For three hours they waited. They watched the barrels move slowly across the surface of the sea.

At eleven o’clock the rain stopped. Then for nearly an hour the barrels did not move.

‘What do you think?’ said Brody. ‘Is he dead?’

‘I don’t think so. But perhaps we can pull him in with a strong line.’

They began to pull him in. The shark was very heavy. The barrels did not move.

Then suddenly the line started coming at them fast.

‘Did the line break?’ said Brody.

‘No!’ said Quint. Brody saw he was afraid. ‘He’s coming up.’

Quint started the boat. But it was too late.

The shark came up above the surface. Brody watched it jump, and cried out.

The shark dropped down on to the back of the boat, and pushed it below the surface. The water came up their legs.

The shark was now only a metre from Brody’s head. He looked into its big black eye and thought, ‘I’m going to die…’

‘Look what you did to my boat!’ cried Quint. He picked up a harpoon and pushed it hard into the shark’s head.

The boat started going down. The shark fell back into the sea, but the line from the harpoon began pulling Quint into the water.

Brody tried to help him, but it was too late. The big fisherman went slowly down, under the dark water.

For a short time there was no sound. The water was up to Brody’s mouth now. Twenty metres away the shark came back up above the surface. ‘Go away!’ cried Brody.

The big fish came nearer and nearer. Brody cried out. Then he closed his eyes and waited.

Nothing happened. When Brody opened his eyes he saw the shark there next to him. For a short time it did not move. Then it slowly fell back below the surface of the water, down and down, out of the light. It pulled Quint’s body behind it.

Brody watched the dead shark fall down and down into the sea. Then he began to swim towards the shore.


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