“You.” Gun pointed back to her. “Time to go for a swim. We’re wasting time.”
“That’s not happening.” She shook her head, gaze focused on the gun.
“What are you going to do, sweetheart? Kill me?” He stepped over Larry and grabbed a fistful of the sweatshirt. “I can see by the look in your eyes that you want to kill me. Did you like it before? When you killed that stalker? Did you like the way it felt?”
“You are an evil son-of-a-bitch,” she said before reaching for the gun.
Feet slid against the pitching deck. They fell over Larry in a tangled mass of limbs. Her face fell against the red swirl of blood mixing with rain. The gun fell free from David’s hands. She reached for it but it slipped further down the deck. He grabbed her by the back of her hair and pulled her to her feet. Ignoring the pain, she twisted to look at him and bit his hand.
They both fell against the railing. Another flash of lightening showed the undulating dark water only feet from her head.
She kicked him anywhere and everywhere she could and her clawed his arms and face.
She fell in a free fall over the edge. Backward. Head first into darkness. The water enveloped her like a cold fist.
Up. Down. The swirl of black confused her. She kicked. Clothes felt like anchors on her limbs. Another splash showed her the way to the surface. Another flash of lightening pierced the darkness. She gasped for air.
Larry’s lifeless body floated next to her, face to the sky. She grabbed onto him and looked up toward the Angelfish. David was nowhere to be seen. She focused on the rope connecting the dingy that bobbed ten feet away.
Spitting salt water from her mouth, she swam toward the rope and pulled Larry with her. It took all of her strength to fight against the raging ocean. Lungs constricted with the need for oxygen. Muscles screamed in protest. Heartbeat thudded in her head.
The engines of the Angelfish roared to life as she snagged the rope with one hand. Larry moaned and stirred in her arms. Thank God.
“Larry, you need to snap out of it. Please.” She looked over her shoulder toward the dingy. “He’s going to leave us here to die. We need to get inside the dingy. C’mon.”
“Leave me,” he muttered. “Go.”
She pulled the dingy, her legs fighting the pull of the ocean beneath them. “Work with me, Larry. I need you to work with me.”
Kick. Swim. The side of the dingy was within reach. Almost. She concentrated on it. Salt stung her eyes.
Letting go of Larry, she dove beneath the surface, grabbed his hips, pushed him upward and kicked against the sucking of the deep water. When his body disappeared, she surfaced and spit water from her mouth. One arm over the edge of the raft, she saw Larry sprawled onto the bottom.
The Angelfish surged forward and jerked the raft with it. With the last ounce of her strength, she clung to the side as the wake poured over her.
Larry’s hand grabbed her arm. “Don’t let go,” he yelled.
Like that was an option. If she weren’t so exhausted, she would have laughed.
Against the force of the water and the movement of the Angelfish, she didn’t have a chance. Seawater assaulted her. Eyes and mouth closed, she struggled to get a leg over the edge of the raft, but the water pushed her backward along the slippery surface.
She couldn’t breathe.
“Do not let go,” Larry said again.
Every scene from every scary movie regarding sharks flashed in her mind as she dragged in the water knowing the blood that had trailed from Larry’s wounds. Although she couldn’t see him, she felt both of his hands on her. Pulling. Yanking. Heard his voice pleading with her to hold on.
One leg over the edge, she opened her eyes against the wake. Larry’s face was only inches from hers. He looked as terrified as she felt. With another heave, he pulled her into the rest of the way into the dingy.
They fell against the bottom. Oxygen burned her lungs. She clawed at the wet sweatshirt as if it were a vice squeezing her chest.
“Cut the rope,” Larry rasped against the side of her face. “There’s a knife in the seat below the outboard motor. Cut the rope.”
She blinked at the sky trying to get her bearings after nearly drowning. “Cut the rope?”
“If David finds us in this dingy, he’ll finish us. Guaranteed. Cut the rope, Lauren.”
She peeled off the clinging sweatshirt as she sat up. Chest heaving with the effort of breathing, she scrubbed her hands over her face. She must have swallowed a gallon of seawater. She crawled over his legs toward the outboard motor. Hands shook as she lifted the seat to find the knife.
“We’ll be adrift,” she said. “Wouldn’t we stand a better chance of laying low here, possibly taking over the Angelfish again?”
“Taking over the Angelfish? Look at me, Lauren.” Larry pushed himself to sitting.
She looked at him through the darkness. Shot twice and dragged through the ocean, he looked like a ghost from Davey Jones’ Locker. Hair dangled around his face and neck. Skin gray. Eyes hollow. Blood soaked shirt. Blood oozed down his leg. It was a mystery how he'd been able to help her into the boat.
She crawled to the bow. With a last glance at the Angelfish, she slashed the rope of the dingy. With a stifled sob, she pressed her hand against her forehead. For a woman who hated deep water and fish with big teeth, she knew she was surrounded by both and there was nothing she could do about it.