Chapter 5 – Perceptions
The shipwreck lay on the sea bed twenty yards below the water surface – deep enough for Ben, who was wearing a diver’s suit for the first time. It had already been quite murky around the ship, but inside it was dark to such an extent that the world outside of the light beam seemed almost extinguished – like an eternal dark nothingness.
A second beam came from behind; Kara must have searched the cabins in the meantime and was probably closing up – he turned around. The walls, densely covered with corals, were encompassed by a twinkling aura that was oscillating between pink, purple and blue. The reverberation of his lamp, he assumed, had trigerred a chemical reaction which now made them phosphoresce. He looked at his compas, which he had attached to a net at his belt, and indeed: It flared up strongly twice or thrice and then went out – Ben had the next colors.
Upwards, he indicated to Kara with a hand gesture. They dove back to the storeroom, where a hole of about a square meter led outside.
Ben and Kara went up to the surface. He then was overcome by a strange feeling – a movement in the corner of his eye, fast and large. The light beam searched the void, and then he saw it: a tiger shark that was heading towards Kara with murderous velocity. He panicked, screaming and waving about his arms, even though this didn’t help. Kara, who was still five yards away from the surface, must have sensed something as well. She looked back and saw the shark just in time to fend off its first attack with her hand while making an evasive move. But the shark only swum past her for a few yards, then turned around and headed towards Kara again. This time he bit her vigorously, two or three times. Ben’s heart stood still when the roaring water turned blood red. He froze. Everything went so quickly, everything was so slow. The blood. The bubbles of air. The undulations of the water, of the fight, which he felt on his own skin. His pulse, which was beating in his head like a hammer. Kara’s belt that was catapulted from the tumult of the fight. Which sunk. Which shimmered. The shark followed the shimmering belt, losing interest in Kara.
Ben grabbed hold of Kara’s shoulder and pushed her upwards. They had to leave the water, quickly.
On the boat he inspected Kara’s arm.
„It’s not that bad‟, she said, „until I get married it will have disappeared, my mother always says.‟
„I’ll bring you to a hospital ‟, Ben said distantly.
„Why? No, we have to find the next color.‟
„We don’t collect colors any longer. I will continue on my own – you’ll stay here.‟
„What? Bullshit! What is that all about?‟
„I have seen your compass. You are a collector as well.‟
„No, nonsense. I am not a –‟
„Don’t lie to me. I have seen it. You have been lying to me all along. I’ll bring you to the hospital and then our ways will part.‟
He took the first aid box and patched her up provisionally – but theere was no affection in his touch, in his eyes, and he no longer talked a single word with her.
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