The Last Dive

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Written by: Zeenat Hakimjee

His income depended on going underwater. They led a comfortable life thanks to the pearls. He was able to get for his wife whatever she desired. Ever then he had enough money on him to buy himself underwater equipment and make a good saving.
Asghar belonged to the coastal town of the Archipelago. His tanned skin revealed exposure to the sun. The Archipelago was famous for its pearls and Asghar was a diver… a diver for pearls.
One morning, while leaving for work, he told his wife, “I’ll get some fish. Cook it the same way you did last time.” At the beach he could see a large gathering of people. Upon inquiring he discovered that in the midst of this gathering lay a dead body. “What happened?” he asked. “I really don’t know,” replied the man standing next to him.
As he made his way through the crowd, he was able to see the dead body clearly. It was of a fellow diver. The pearl divers from this town knew each other really well. They all were given a license and were paid to search for pearls. “Oh my God!” he exclaimed as he saw the strange marks on the man's neck. People from the press, the police and the dead man's family members were amongst the people who had gathered all around. Asghar’s wife would be waiting for the fish but he could not help it.
The police said that the marks seemed like those from an octopus yet the waters were known to be safe.
What untoward incident could have killed him? The policeman decided to send Asghar to look into the matter. He had a harpoon and a cage to protect him from the mysterious beast.
He went home to tell his wife about all that had happened. "Do not worry. Just pray for my safe return," he told her. After reaching about 100 feet underwater it started to get dark. Though Asghar knew how deep he had come, the darkness sent chills down his spine. Murky water was accompanied by a sound like that of a snake hissing. Three dead fish passed by him and the sound seemed to be getting closer. The cage would protect him but what if the creature were small enough to enter through the bars? He assured himself, "The waters are safe. It's just my imagination playing up." His wife's prayers were with him. His eyes searched the waters. He heard the sound of a whip lashing on something and breaking it just like a snake would curl around its prey squeezing the life out of him. It would be a matter of only a few minutes to be dead in such a case.
His income depended on going underwater. If, whatever it was, was not finished how was anybody to invade the waters ever again? It was due to his savings that he had been able to purchase a harpoon gun. The advertisement said that it could even be helpful in killing small whales.
Lost in his thoughts he felt the creeps from the darkness once again. He felt his cage shake. He lifted his gun and pointed it in the direction of the noise. He saw a tail and that very moment it dawned upon him that this could be what had caused the marks on his fellow diver's neck. All of a sudden, before he could react, the creature flung itself onto the cage. “Oh God! Is this my last dive? The last dive, God! Please help me God, I don’t want to die,” he prayed fervently. He quivered at the grotesque sight of the horrible huge beast. He was brave, alright, but what he saw was enough to make him want to retreat. But that was not possible. The creature hurled itself at his cage again. Asghar picked up his harpoon and aimed it at it. It pierced its centre again and again. After what seemed like ages, Asghar succeeded in injuring and eventually killing the creature. Blinded with pain it moved away. His joy knew no bounds. He had succeeded!
After he was through with his task he surfaced to a hero's welcome.