Shannon smiled, watching her sons laughing and jumping in the waves. “I love you mom,” was written in the sand, beside her. Beach days didn’t happen often, so this was a particular treat for their little family of three. “Watch out!” She called, flinching as a huge wave splashed down right next to the boys.
When the water cleared, she didn’t see them. Normally they would pop right back up. “Scotty? Tony?” She called, becoming concerned. When no answer came and she still didn’t see them bobbing in the water, she got up and ran.
Shannon woke up gasping for air, tears streaming down her cheeks. The nightmare wouldn’t stop coming back. When she finally calmed down, She asked herself, “Am I alive?” She waited. For what, she didn’t know, but it was her routine. Then she said, “No. You’re in hell.”
Shannon closed her eyes again, remembering the smell of the saltwater. The rhythm of the waves was so peaceful. It was a perfect day until the boys went under. She grimaced remembering her frantic search for them.
She rushed out into the water, where they’d been playing. “Scotty! Tony!” She kept trying, thinking maybe they just didn’t hear her. Then she heard the scream. In the distance, she saw hands waving from the water. “I’m coming baby!” Adrenaline shot through her like a lightning bolt. Shannon dove under, swimming as fast as she was able. Fighting the waves slowed her down, but she’d grown up swimming in the ocean and knew a thing or two about getting through them.
She gulped down air. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she felt numb from the cold water. She looked around her, trying to get her bearings. Shannon saw the water turn red, before the pain registered. Then, excruciating agony, like nothing she’d ever felt, ripped through her right leg. Shannon was the one screaming for help now. Fear held her in a vice, but she fought as hard as she could.
The memory haunted her every day of her life; there was nothing she could do to get rid of it. Shannon reached for her wheelchair, beside the bed, and pulled herself into it. It had been a challenge learning to live with no legs. She still struggled daily.
As much as she missed her legs, she would happily give them up all over again, and her arms, too, if it meant the shark would take them and not her sons. But he was a greedy bastard, who took everything.