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The Niberian men stopped rowing and drifted into the canal. They awaited Nammu’s command. Marc observed Nammu speaking with one of the Niberian men whom then relayed the orders to the seven other men that were previously rowing. Four out of the eight men began to row slowly as the other four held their oars still within the water to keep the boat steady. The ocean water was still unsettled and a little choppy due to the sudden rising of the islands the previous night. It had disrupted its normal flow. Slowly the boat crept into the open canal of the outer island. Geno’s eyes practically popped out of his head while they entered the first island ring. The outer ring of the island was populated with pointy jagged cliffs that were probably, once upon a time, hills of lush green grass and beautiful flowering trees. Over several thousands of years, the saltwater had eroded them until all that was left were these jagged, pointy cliffs. Marc shuddered as he stared out at the cliffs. They had a foreboding feeling to them. And the dark clouds that were slowly rolling in from the distance didn’t help any. Geno was now gripping the side of the boat. He was eagerly waiting with anticipation on reaching the center island. He was hoping to make some brilliant discoveries and findings there. Not to mention, he was going to plan a tragic, yet accidental death for Nammu. He smiled his devishly handsome smile at the thought. Soon he’d be ruler of Atlantis. He’d take over Niberia and then use his discoveries and powers to take over Earth. Chills of suspense coursed through his veins. He could feel the unleashed power of victory in his bones. He could almost grasp his fame. He was so close to success. Marc turned and glanced in Geno’s direction. He caught a glimpse of his smile. There was something sinister about his expression, Marc thought to himself. Something wasn’t right. He tried not to stare. He didn’t want to bring attention to his observation. He’d just have to watch Geno more closely. Something was going on, he just knew it. Suddenly Marc was conscious of the heaviness of his gun in its holster. He could feel the gun pressing against him as he kneeled in the front of the boat. The presence of his gun was a nice reminder. It reassured him of his safety. But still he’d keep his eyes and ears open. He knew something was amiss. “BUMP! SPLASH!” Unexpectedly the front end of the boat suddenly lifted up in the air and then crashed down into the water. Water splashed over the side, drenching the front half of the boat. “God damn it!” Geno swore at the top of his lungs. “What was that?” Marc frantically searched the water. “I don’t care!” Geno yelled. “Look at my God damn shoes! They’re Italian leather!” Water had pooled around Geno’s feet on the floor of the boat. “That’s just fantastic!” he griped sarcastically. “Do you have any freakin’ idea how much these cost? Someone’s going to pay for this!” Nammu yelled something to her men in Niberian. They continued to row forward; steadily and cautiously. She slung her silk bag over her shoulder and walked up the middle of the boat toward the front. “Rocks?” Marc called to her. “Did we hit a rock?” He looked back behind them where they once were. He didn’t see any rocks breaking the water’s surface. “I don’t see anything? Did you feel a scrape back there?”
Nammu didn’t answer Marc’s questions. She leaned over the center of the boat, staring at the water below. Then she pointed and yelled angrily in Niberian at her men. “Do you see something?” Marc called to her. When she didn’t answer he began stumbling in her direction. “I can’t believe this!” He could hear Geno still whining over his shoes. Suddenly the back end of the boat lifted in the air. “WHOMP! SPLASH!” The boat hit the water again. “Aaaahhhhhh!” one of Nammu’s men hollered at the top of his lungs. He quickly jumped up, oar in hand and began frantically using it to stab at the water. Several of the other men followed his lead, getting to their feet and jabbing the end of their oars into the water. Because of the commotion, the boat began to rock back and forth, unbalanced by the fearful men. Nammu began yelling at her servants, pointing and giving orders. But Marc had no idea what was happening. He couldn’t see anything in the water. Just then something in the jagged cliffs, of the outside island ring, caught his eye. He saw something move. Something or someone was watching them from up there. Then it was gone. No, he told himself, nothing is up there. Then he saw something move again. But this time it was farther away. He trained his eyes on the spot where he thought he saw movement. Nothing was there. Then something else moved just outside his line of vision. He quickly turned to look. Still he saw nothing. “Did you see that? I thought I saw something,” he turned to ask Geno. Geno ignored him. “Hey,” Marc tried again. “Do you even have a clue what’s going on? understand them?” Can you
“Who gives a damn?” Geno pointed at his ruined shoes and grunted. He rolled his eyes in disgust. “One of the workers says he saw something in the water. The man is a freakin’ idiot! We hit rocks! Now he’s got everyone all riled up!” Geno snorted. “Nammu’s working on settling them down. Will you believe this?” he nodded toward his shoes. He pulled one off and emptied the water over the side of the boat. Marc put his hand on Nammu’s shoulder to get her attention. She turned and glared at him. “You do not have permission to touch me!” she spat. Shocked by her response, Marc quickly removed his hand. The boat suddenly tilted and one of the Niberian men screamed out in terror while tumbling over the side into the water. Nammu shouted something in Niberian to the men. Horror filled their eyes. They sat down and began to row. The man in the water scrambled toward the boat trying to lift himself up the side. The entire boat tilted with his weight as he struggled. Two of the other Niberian men leaned over the side with their arms outstretched trying to help him aboard. Nammu snapped at them giving the men orders. Hastily they pulled their arms back into the boat and took rowing positions. Nammu grabbed an oar from one of the rowers.
“What are you doing?” Marc couldn’t believe his eyes. Nammu lifted up the oar and slammed it up the side of the Niberian man’s head that was still trying to climb aboard. She shrieked at him again in Niberian but the man continued to grip the side of the boat. “No!” Marc bellowed. Nammu slammed the man again. Blood trickled down his forehead and dripped into the water. His fingers slipped from the side of the boat. He kicked and screamed and his arms were flailing about. Nammu yelled an order to the rowers. They suddenly began rowing more swiftly. “You can’t just leave him!” Marc clutched Nammu’s shoulders and turned her to face him. “The hell I can!” She glared deep into his eyes, challenging him to go against her orders. “You may join him if you wish!” Suddenly, just as he looked over Nammu’s shoulder, a gigantic fish, the size of a great white shark with long sharp piranha-type teeth, jumped out of the water and speared the drowning Niberian. The man screamed out in agony as the fish ripped him apart. Marc could see the surface of the water turning a deep crimson with blood. “What the hell?” Geno yelled. He stumbled up the boat to get closer to Nammu. “Row!” Nammu screamed at her men in Niberian. “Faster! Unless you wish to die!” Just then several sharp-fanged fish appeared. They splashed in the water while hungrily chomping on the mangled flesh of what was left of the Niberian man. “Thump! Thump! Thump!” A swarm of enormous fish had surrounded the boat. They were now slamming their bodies against the side while trying to tip them over. The boat would sway and tip in one direction and then the other. Suddenly, out of nowhere, one of the fish sprang out of the canal jumping into the air. His mouth was open with large yellow fangs bared. A snarling growl resonated from deep within its chest as it flew over the boat. Its teeth speared one of the Niberian rowers. Blood briefly squirted into the air from the puncture wounds in the man’s chest like a garden hose on full blast. The large piranha took him over the side and into the water. Upon seeing this, Geno quickly got to his knees in the center of the boat. He covered his head protectively and prayed for his safety. He was so close to his dream of being ruler of the two worlds; Niberia and Earth, and this had to happen. It figures, he thought to himself, there is always something that gets in the way of my dreams. Marc tried to steady himself against the wild rocking of the boat. He drew his gun and awaited a clean shot. Suddenly a huge piranha jumped out at Marc who was standing near the side. “Bastard!” he bellowed while rapidly firing at it. He ducked just in time. The now profusely bleeding fish just missed his head and landed back in the water. It flopped about on the surface. Bright green blood oozed from the three bullet holes in its side. Tasting the blood, two other piranhas quickly surfaced. They shredded their fish friend in a frenzy with their sharp teeth.
Nammu’s turquoise eyes were large as she watched more fish surface. She could hear them growl as they poked their heads up out of the water. Frantically she did what she thought was best to save her life. Two of the Niberian men stopped rowing despite her orders and were jabbing the ends of their oars at the fish. Nammu came up behind one of the men and pushed him over the side from behind. He screamed out in terror. The fish were quickly feeding upon his flesh while he kicked and screamed. Hurriedly she crept up behind the other man and pushed him over the side as well. She rubbed her hands together with satisfaction while watching the fish shred him to pieces. Horrified, Marc watched Nammu in action. He couldn’t believe he was watching her sacrifice the Niberian servants to save her own life. He wondered what kind of person could do such a thing. But then again, being in Law Enforcement he had seen so many unbelievable circumstances. When people are pushed to the limit and their lives are at stake, many will do whatever is necessary to survive. Geno also had happened to look up and witness Nammu pushing the Niberian men overboard. He couldn’t help but think what a brilliant idea that was. He wondered why he hadn’t thought of it himself. Sacrifice the lesser people so the more important ones can survive. It made perfect sense to him. Those Niberian servants should be more than proud to die for their superiors. He shakily got to his feet to help her. In his mind, he justified the actions. Geno crept up behind a Niberian man who had stopped rowing and was leaning over the side of the boat to get a better look at the water below. “Good-bye!” Geno cried with laughter. He shoved the unsuspecting man over the side of the small boat. But what Geno didn’t expect was the man to grab hold of Geno’s black T-shirt as he went over. “Let go!” Geno hollered. The man desperately clung to Geno. He now had one hand gripping the back of Geno’s neck. “Get off!” Geno dug his nails into the man’s arm trying to get him to release his grasp. “Die with dignity, damn you!” Just then, a piranha sunk its razor sharp teeth into one of the man’s legs. He screamed an ear-shattering scream. The man continued to grip Geno’s neck. Geno’s face was now only a few inches from the water as the man was trying to pull himself up into the boat. Geno pulled himself back with all his strength. The man’s grip slipped a little but was now clutching Geno’s shoulders. The two of them were eye to eye. Geno could see complete and utter horror haunting the Niberian man’s wide-open, pitch-black eyes. Unexpectedly an oar plunged the Niberian man between the eyes. His hands slipped, letting go of Geno who flew backwards, landing on his rear end. Nammu was standing over him. She reached into one of two small black pouches hanging from her sash. She pulled out an already full needle from a small ceramic vile. Just then, a piranha launched itself at her.
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