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tales of terror // A slip in the sea

I slipped on my sandals to wear through the water so I wouldn't step on nasty sting rays. All of our things were piled up in our plastic air-blown boat. We shuffled our way out to the sandbar with tiny minnows frolicking at our feet.

We unpacked the boat on the sandbar where the sand was softer and better for drip castles, the water was cool, and the waves were bigger. I noticed adults and children swimming through the so-called "rough" current to get to another sandbar. It looked easy, so my dad, youngest sister Emily and I went out to fight the current.

As soon as I stepped into the water, I fell backward, causing a splash. I couldn't even catch my breath before the current started pulling me away from my dad. My hand reached out for his, but our fingers slipped.

I was overcome with fear as I slipped away into the water's darkness. My head felt like a heavy burden, and I couldn't see anything but black surroundings. Everyone who was talking around me faded away. My heart was tap dancing at a fast beat.

I had to use the muscles in my legs and arms to keep from floating into the deeper water where the sharks were. Fish swam around me, and I hoped that the sting rays had all gone away. The current tugged at me again, but by now I had Dad's hand, and I clung to it for dear life.

We were holding hands as my dad yanked me to safety. He dragged me up onto the sand, probably hoping the current wouldn't take me away again. I clasped my hands together and gave God a sincere thank-you for keeping me safe and able to make it through the current boat channel.

When I walked out onto the bleach-white sandbar, I couldn't believe my eyes. There were sand dollars lining the beach like a green-and-white patchwork quilt, and the waves nudged them about like tiny children at play. Here I was standing on a peaceful sandbar with a slight breeze blowing and beauty all around me.

As I thought about my day, I was surprised how different these two experiences were _ one being the good guy and one being the evil. It was confusing, though it all came together in some strange way in nature.

Laura is a student at Safety Harbor Middle School.