Middleton spoke into the microphone: “Something is going on, ladies and gentlemen, but we don’t know exactly what. All we know for sure is that Jim Prescott went swimming, and then suddenly a man on a boat out there saw something. Now Police Chief Brody is trying to get the boy to come ashore as fast as possible. It could be the shark, but we just don’t know.”
Hooper put the boat in reverse, to back away from the waves. As he looked off the stern, he saw a silver streak moving in the gray-blue water. It seemed part of the wave-motion, but it moved independently. For a second, Hooper did not realize what he was seeing. And even when the realization struck, he did not see the fish clearly. He cried, “Look out!”
“What is it?” yelled Brody.
“The fish! Get the kid out! Quick!”
The boy heard Hooper, and he tried to run. But in the chest-deep water his movements were slow and labored. A swell knocked him sideways. He stumbled, then stood and leaned forward.
Brody ran into the water and reached out. A wave hit him in the knees and pushed him back.
Middleton said into the microphone, “The man on the boat just said something about a fish. I just don’t know if he means a shark.”
“Is it the shark?” said the man from Queens, standing next to Middleton. “I don’t see it.”
Middleton said, “Who are you?”
“Name’s Lester Kraslow. You want to interview me?”
The boy was moving faster now, pushing through the water with his chest and arms. He did not see the fin rise behind him, a sharp blade of brownish gray that hovered in the water.
“There it is!” said Kraslow. “See it, Benny? Davey? It’s right there.”
“I don’t see nothin’,” said one of his sons.
“There it is, Walter!” said Middleton. “See it?”
“I’m zooming,” said the cameraman. “Yeah, I’ve got it.”
“Hurry!” said Brody. He reached for the boy. The boy’s eyes were wide and panicked. His nostrils flared, bubbling mucus and water. Brody’s hand touched the boy’s, and he pulled. He grabbed the boy around the chest, and together they staggered out of the water.
The fin dropped beneath the surface, and following the slope of the ocean floor, the fish moved into the deep.
Brody stood in the sand with his arm around the boy. “Are you okay?” he said.
“I want to go home.” The boy shivered.