In mid-2009, writing had taken over my life. I'd begun spending six or more hours a day at the keyboard. Time to do anything else seemed to just fall away. I was obsessed. I was hooked. I should have been committed.
May saw two more publications in print. These are both in the Erotic genre so I won't repost them here. See the bibliography for more details on where you can order them if you really want to.
June saw the posting of my acceptance into the inaugural 52 Stitches anthology put together by Aaron Polson.
Richard braced his foot against the back of the boat, a massive rod bent almost to breaking point in his hands. “Get the bloody chair organised.”
Andrew, his best mate since pre-school, gestured him toward the waiting game fishing chair, but he couldn’t drag the rod backwards. He flipped the lever on the reel and allowed the line to spool freely into the water. The monster on the other end didn’t need a second invitation and took off; nylon zinged from the rig.
Shrugging off the thought of having to wind in all the line now disappearing into the deep blue, Richard settled into the chair and allowed his friend to buckle him in. “What took so long?”
“The pin securing the chair to the deck was bent, but I straightened it out,” Andrew said. “Should be fine now.”
Richard flipped the lever on his new fishing rig to stop the free spool of line and began winding the thick aqua blue nylon back on. The line went taught causing the rod to bend. Leaning forward, Richard reeled in as fast as he could before pulling the rod back, drawing the piscatorial wonder on the other end closer to the boat. “This thing is huge,” he gasped as he leaned forward and wound on again. “We won’t be needing to shop for seafood for some time to come.”
The grin on Andrew’s face matched the excitement Richard felt as the adrenaline coursed through his veins. This was life: the thrill of the hunt, the chase, the kill.
A hundred yards out from the boat and something big broke the surface and Richard’s line went slack. He leaned forward and wound on, squeezing his eyes shut as exhaustion threatened to overwhelm his muscles.
“Jesus,” said Andrew. “Quick, cut the line.”
“What, no,” said Richard, snapping open his eyes to see what was going on.
“We have to,” said Andrew, his face a deathly white, spittle flying from his sun chapped lips. “A Great White is chasing your catch, and it’s too big for this boat to handle. Some times you have to let one get away.”
Richard scanned the ripples and white caps in the boats wake. There, his giant sailfish broke the surface, pulling against the strain he’d setup on the line, almost dislocating his shoulders in the process. As it disappeared back into the water another grey torpedo shaped creature broke the surface.
“No,” yelled Richard as Andrew bent forward, a knife poised to sever the line. “That shark can go to hell before I let it win.” He leaned forward and wound on another length of line, ignoring the screaming muscles in his back.
“You don’t have enough time or strength—,” Andrew stood motionless as the pin holding the chair to the deck gave way. It was only ever meant to be for small game fish.
Richard sucked in a lungful of air as the chair broke free, but it was forced from him as he struck the rail and went over into the water. Instinctively he unclasped the belt around his waist and kicked free of the fast descending chair.
A black shape sped by him. The sailfish was magnificent as it shot through the water. The gleaming hook in the side of its mouth the only blemish. The heavy weighted nylon between the steel barb and the fishing rod still tangled with the chair snapped taught, cleanly severing Richard’s right ear and filling the water with blood.
Another shape sped past him.
Richard struggled to the surface. In the distance the boat was turning, Andrew, at the helm, waved in his direction. He tried to raise an arm in reply but his energy reserves were spent.
He dipped below the surface. Beneath him the darkness resolved into his worst nightmare: a gaping maw full of razor-sharp teeth. Fresh water tears and warm urine mingle with the sea as Richard tried to utter a final expletive.
Intense pain immediately dulled as he was shaken from side to side.
The sailfish streaked by, iridescent scales flashing in the red filtered sunlight.