No Time to Cry
The next few days were hot, and summer visitors from New York began arriving in Amity.
Sunday was the twentieth of June. By twelve in the afternoon there were many people on Old Mill Beach. Children played near the water.
A boy of six walked up the beach. He sat down next to his mother.
‘Can I go swimming?’ he asked.
His mother turned to look at him. ‘No. It’s too cold.’
‘Can I go out on my boat? I won’t go far. And I won’t go swimming. I’ll just sit on my boat.’
His mother sat up. She looked up and down the beach. Fifty metres away a man stood in the water. He had a child on his back.
‘Yes. But don’t go too far out. And don’t swim.’
‘OK,’ he said. He pulled the little boat out into the water and climbed on to it.
The shark swam under the water. It was sixty metres from the shore.
The boy sat on his boat and looked back towards the beach. His mother was about fifty metres away. He put his feet into the water and kicked towards the shore.
The shark saw nothing, but it felt the sea move. It knew there was something near, and began to swim up towards the surface. It moved slowly first, then faster.
The boy stopped, and the shark swam below him. Then it turned again.
The shark swam up fast. Its mouth opened.
The boy could not cry out — he had no time. The shark’s head hit the boat and pushed it out of the water. Nearly half of the fish — with the boy and most of the boat in its mouth — came above the surface. Its jaws closed together and cut off the boy’s legs. They dropped slowly down into the water.
On the beach the man with the child turned to his son and pointed at the sea. ‘Did you see that?’
‘What, Daddy?’ His child looked up at him.
‘Out there! A shark or something! Something very big!’ The boy’s mother opened her eyes. She looked over at the man, and saw him point at the water. People were running away from the sea.
She sat up. Suddenly she remembered. ‘Alex,’ she said.
The phone rang. Brody got up from his lunch and answered it. When he came back he looked afraid and angry.
‘What is it?’ asked Ellen.
‘A shark attack. On a child.’
‘Oh no! And you didn’t close the beaches…’ She stopped.
‘Yes, I know,’ he said. ‘I didn’t do my job.’
Twenty minutes later Brody arrived at the police station. The boy’s mother was in the office.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Brody.
The woman began to cry.
Suddenly the door opened and Hendricks ran into the room. ‘Shark attack!’ he cried.
‘We know, Leonard,’ said Brody. ‘This is the boy’s mother.’
‘Boy?’ said Hendricks. ‘What boy? This was a man, an old man. Five minutes ago.’
On Monday morning, Brody arrived at the police station soon after seven. He went into his office and found a newspaper on his desk. On the front of the newspaper it said, SHARK ATTACK KILLS TWO IN AMITY.
Brody sat down and began to read the story.
‘Is that from New York?’
Brody looked up and saw Meadows at the door. ‘Yes. Did you write about it, too?’
‘I did,’ said Meadows. ‘And I spoke to Matt Hooper last night.’
‘Does he think that one fish is doing all this?’
‘He doesn’t know, but he thinks it is. He thinks it’s a Great White.’
‘I do, too. I don’t know a white shark from a green shark. But I think it’s one fish. Can we do anything…?’
‘Yes, there’s one thing,’ said Meadows. We can put food in the water for the shark. That’ll bring him to us.’
‘But then what do we do?’
‘We catch him. With a harpoon.’
‘Harry, I don’t have a police boat! And I don’t have harpoons.’
‘There are fishermen here. They have…’ A noise outside the office stopped Meadows.
Suddenly the door opened, and a woman ran into the room with a newspaper in her hand. It was the mother of Alex Kintner.
Hendricks came up behind her and said, ‘I’m sorry, Mr Brody, I tried to stop her.’
‘That’s OK, Leonard,’ said Brody. ‘Come in, Mrs Kintner.’
She walked up to Brody.
‘What can I do…?’
The woman hit him in the face with the newspaper. Brody jumped back. The newspaper fell to the floor. You knew it was dangerous!’ she cried. ‘You knew that the shark killed somebody on Thursday. But you didn’t do anything.’
Brody did not answer for a second. Then he said, ‘Yes, it’s true, but it’s — Mrs Kintner…’
The woman looked into Brody’s eyes and began to cry. ‘You killed Alex!’ she said. ‘Why?’
‘It’s…’ Brody did not have the words. ‘It’s a long story,’ he said.