No one believes her. But what about the blood in the swimming pool? And what happened to her leg? 

No one believes me about what happened in the swimming pool. I’m not surprised because it’s a crazy story.

Everyone at school is talking about it. Jackie and Anya are saying I had my period, but that’s really stupid. There was too much blood for that. There is only one way my blood got in the water. There was a shark in the pool with me.

How else did I get these bite marks on my right leg? Like I said, they don’t believe me and I’m not surprised, but I’m not going in a pool ever again. I never go in the sea anyway, so that won’t change. I don’t know why people like swimming in the sea.

Mum and Dad feel bad because I’ve watched all those old ‘Jaws’ films. I’ve imagined a shark attack a million times. I imagined the way the teeth feel and the way the shark’s eyes look close up. I’ve seen great whites on YouTube, but I wasn’t prepared. It was like it threw me against a wall. I was swimming on my back when I felt it. I put my head up and I saw it coming. Its eyes were dead inside. And its teeth were like great big kitchen knives.

The doctors asked me, ‘Do you dream about sharks?’

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘My bedroom floor turns into water and the shark is swimming in circles around my bed.’

They didn’t know all the things I know about sharks. They didn’t know most shark attacks happen in water that’s only about two metres deep. To be fair, most people don’t know that. They wrote that down in their notes. But I don’t think that’s important, because the pool wasn’t big or deep like the sea. Of course a shark in a swimming pool will attack in two metres of water! Anyway, they were also really interested in the pictures on my phone of people after they were attacked by sharks. I’ve got a lot of pictures, so they borrowed my phone to have more time to look.

It was kind of stupid because they didn’t ask me the most important question. How did the shark get into the pool?

They asked me, ‘Are you having any problems at school?’

‘I am now,’ I said. ‘Or, I will be when I go back to school and everyone’s talking about me.’

Why didn’t they ask me how that shark got into the pool? I think I know. It’s the fear that did it, I’m sure. My teacher says the only thing to fear is fear itself. I always thought that meant ‘Don’t be afraid, because bad things are never as bad as you think they will be.’ But now I know it means ‘Fear makes bad things happen.’

Nicola Prentis

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Discussion

What do you think really happened in the swimming pool?