Goutham desperately tried to open his eyes. He knew he did not have enough time. It was now or never. With the last bit of energy he had, he opened his eyes. It strained a lot. But he did not care. His arms and legs ached so much, but he knew he had to make it. The stroke that he was once so comfortable with suddenly felt hard. He tried to calm down. He needed as much air as possible, and he could not waste it in anxiety. He moved his arms and legs much similar to the breast stroke in perfect co-ordination. He felt something prick his leg but he did not turn to look back. He reached the surface in a few strokes. He saw someone watching the other side of the sea, shouting his name. He wanted to shout he was here. But no voice escaped his mouth. Suddenly someone pulled him from behind. He got scared and tried to resist, but the force was too much for him. He tried hard, but only for a few seconds. He finally gave in and went unconscious.
“Goutham...Goutham...Wake up da”
“I think he drank water. Someone do CPR”
Tilak applied pressure on his chest and exhaled air inside his mouth alternatively. The others were all shell shocked to speak anything. Jessi could not control her tears and started crying. Mona was trying to console her. Riyaz for once had a serious expression on his face. After few tries, Goutham gasped for breath spitting out some water.
Tilak said “Let us leave him for sometime. Once he becomes normal, we will ask him what happened”
But Goutham was too quick. He started shouting at Tilak
“You liar, you betrayed us. You son of a *****. How could you do this to us?”
“Calm down Goutham. What happened?”
“You want me to calm down?? You just got killed us all. You…..”
Tilak told in a calm yet bold voice. The message was clear. Goutham understood and lowered his voice.
“We were all down and you were the only one sitting here in a boat. So please tell us what happened”
Goutham closed his eyes and started telling. It was like he was re-living the incident.
“I was watching your video feeds. Suddenly something hit our boat so hard. I peeped into the sea to check what it was. I thought I saw something move under our boat. I got scared and thought of warning you. But the boat started vibrating and was pulled down. I quickly dumped some of our equipments into the next boat and tried to get in it. But some force started pulling me away into the sea. This is all I remember. Next when I woke up, I was inside the ocean far away from you. I heard your voices calling for me. So I started swimming in the direction from which your voices came”
“Something pulled you and the boat into the sea?” Jessi’s voice was trembling with fear.
“Yes, and this guy, supposedly our leader, did not warn us. He said there was no dangerous animal here” Goutham stared angrily at Tilak.
“Do you believe I would jeopardize our lives? You people do not have faith in me?”
Tilak looked at Goutham with an accusing look.
“Stop it both of you. This is not going to help us. We need each other” Mona tried to pacify the situation.
“Fine, I agree. So what is our leader going to decide? Stay or go back?”
“Stop the sarcasm Goutham. I said we need each other now. Please understand” Mona pleaded.
Goutham turned away, leaving the others to stare at him.
Tilak spoke after a few minutes of silence,
“Look, I understand I lost your trust. But believe me; this is not as dangerous as it looks. We have a boat, and we all know it is enough for the five of us. We will stay for another 2 hours and get back before sun set. Is it clear?”
“But Tilak, what about the thing which attacked our boat?”
“It was probably some pissed of whale” Riyaz laughed at his own joke. Jessi gave him a cold stare that shut him up.
“I am worried Tilak, what if it comes back again?” questioned Mona.
“It wont” Tilak replied and started searching for something in his bag.
Mona stared at Tilak for sometime. She could not understand the sudden behavior change in Tilak.
Tilak got what he was searching for – the wax tablet.
“You brought it here?”
Yes Mona, I feel there is something fishy in this, but I just don’t know what”
Meanwhile Jessi went near Goutham and started a conversation, just to make him feel better.
“How do you feel now?”
“I…I don’t know”
“I just don’t have a good feeling about this”
He looked at Tilak and continued in a low voice.
“I know about Tilak very well. I think he is hiding something from us. He is behaving very indifferently. It feels like he is not the old Tilak any more. I don’t understand what happened to him. I…Jessi, are you listening to me?”
“Hey…..are you here with me?” Goutham shook her with both his hands. But Jessi pointed at the sea and said
“Someone is watching”
“Yes Goutham. Just look there exactly where my hands are pointing. Don’t you see someone is watching us from there?”
Goutham followed her line of sight, but could not find anything. Meanwhile Riyaz who was overhearing this conversation interrupted
“Yeah, I know what it is.”
Goutham and Jessi eagerly looked at him.
“One of the genetically altered sharks from the movie Deep blue sea escaped and found refuge here. How is it?” Riyaz smiled sheepishly.
Goutham was ready to pounce on him, when Riyaz suddenly shouted,
All turned around, but found nothing in the sea.
“Did you see it?”
“If it is one of your stupid jokes, I will kill you” shouted Jessi.
Meanwhile Tilak and Mona too joined the conversation.
“What did you see Riyaz?” asked Tilak.
“Don’t tell me none of you saw it”
“What is that ‘it’?” asked Mona.
“Great. So I am only one who witnessed it. How wonderful? Watch me guys”
Having said that, Riyaz who was still wearing the diver’s suit, dived into the sea, against the protest from the rest.