No one believes her. But what about the blood in the pool? And the horrible injuries to her leg? How could something like that have happened?

No one believed me about what happened in the swimming pool, of course. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t believe it if any of them said it either. Maybe I’d pretend to believe it if Raul told the story – but only because I want him to like me, or even just to know I exist.

I suppose everyone knows I exist now. I saw all the chats on my phone before they took it away. Jackie and Anya are saying I had my period, but that’s really stupid. There was far too much blood for that. Obviously – well, it’s obvious if you forget about the laws of physics and space and time – obviously, there was only one way my blood got in the water. There was a shark in there with me.

How else did I get these bite marks on my right leg? Like I said, I don’t blame them for not believing me, but I’m not going in a pool ever again. I never go in the sea anyway, so that’s not a new decision just because of what happened yesterday. That’s just sensible.

I heard Mum and Dad telling the doctors they feel responsible because they let me watch all those old ‘Jaws’ films. But, I’m glad they let me watch and learn because things could be much worse. It was a good thing it happened in a pool and not the sea with no other people around to hear me scream. I wouldn’t be lying here now. And Raul would for a hundred per cent sure never know I exist.

I’ve imagined a shark attack a million times. What it would feel like, what the shark’s eyes would look like close up. But I wasn’t prepared for how hard the impact is, even though I’ve seen great whites attack seals on YouTube. It was like being thrown against a wall. I was swimming on my back when I felt it touch me. When I put my head up it was swimming right towards me. Its eyes were just like everyone says – dead, dead, dead inside. And the teeth were like great big kitchen knives.

When the doctors asked me if I ever have nightmares about sharks, I told them the truth. I’ve had nightmares since I started watching those films, I said. My bedroom floor turns into water and the shark is there, swimming in circles.

They were impressed by all my knowledge about sharks. They didn’t know most swimmers get attacked by sharks in water that’s only about two metres deep. To be fair, most people don’t know that. Just because they’re doctors doesn’t mean they can be experts at everything. They seemed to think it was pretty important that I was attacked in about that depth of water because they wrote that down in their notes. I don’t think that’s important, though, because the pool wasn’t big or deep like the ocean. Obviously, a shark in a swimming pool has to attack in less than two metres of water. Anyway, they were also really interested in the pictures on my phone of people after they were attacked by sharks. It’s a big collection, so I’m not surprised they borrowed my phone to have more time to look.

I liked showing how much I know, but the whole conversation was kind of stupid because everyone is missing the point. The point is how did the shark end up in the pool? They didn’t ask me that. It’s a pity, because I could explain that sharks can swim in seawater and fresh water. Some sharks swim up rivers. Not many people know that. They asked me about school instead and if I was having any problems. I mean, I am now, I said. Or, I will be when I go back to school and everyone’s still talking about me.

You’d think they’d want to know how I made that shark appear out of nowhere. How did I open the door in the ocean where the shark was swimming so it could swim right into the pool for lunch? 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 expect.’ But now I know the truth. ‘Fear makes bad things happen.’

Nicola Prentis

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Discussion

What do you think really happened in the pool?