Below is the first chapter of a book I am now querying to agents. Let me know what you think
By Rex Hurst
The beaches off of Scalp Island, South Carolina were not known for being dangerous, but they soon would be.
Granted every summer there was always at least one idiot who would get drunk and run over a swimmer with their speedboat. Or some overconfident tourist would swim out too far, cramp up, and be sucked out to sea.
But shark attacks? Ones that resulted in so many bodies. It was unheard of.
They weren’t supposed to be at that beach. The boys all knew that. It was private property, part of the estate of some billionaire who contended only he had the right to wiggle his toes in that patch of sand. There had been an incident with the old man earlier and the police were called in to smack the boys around.
That strung their pride. No way could they let the old fart get away with disrespecting them. These were the cool boys in the school, the jocks, the tough guys, the bullies. Ones who ruled the hallways and pushed around anyone weaker. Anyone who looked different was labeled a “freak”. Anyone who they could beat up was nicknamed “pussy”. Anyone who could read was called a “fag”. They felt they had a God-given right to do whatever they wanted.
Some kind of revenge against the billionaire was in order. So, they rounded up a gaggle of girls, stole liquor from their parents, and went to the beach to show this rich bastard nothing would ever slow them down.
The girls who flocked around them maintained their position by spreading their legs for the top dogs and spreading lies about any girl whom they thought might be prettier. Most of them hated each other, but were afraid to leave the pack, knowing they would become the target for evil rumors if they strayed.
After the bonfire was lit, the alcohol kicked in. Inhibitions were tossed away with the empty bottles. A few began daring each other to jump through the bonfire. One was drunk enough to do so and fell just short of the edge, burning his foot. He hopped into the water to soothe himself. Hoots and jibes followed him.
Some of the other boys caught a Kemps Ridley sea turtle, a critically endangered species, laying a clutch of eggs. Laughing with stupid glee, two played hot potato with the animal before whipping it across the ocean’s surface to see if it would skip like a stone. They finished by throwing the eggs at each other.
Then Mike Scratch, the group’s alpha and the cause of this party, ripped the bikini top off a girl and ran into the ocean, yelling,
Everyone followed the leader. Swimsuits flew all about the beach. The teens crashed into the ocean, the shock of the cold causing the girls to squeal and the boy’s manhoods to shrivel. They swam around each other, kicking their legs excitedly in an aquatic mating ritual. The boys strutted like peacocks. The girls tittered and pretended not to notice.
Mike was out the farthest, holding the pilfered bikini top aloft like he was playing capture the flag. The girl it belonged to chugged along after him, unsuccessfully pretending to be angry. She was actually very excited and couldn’t keep a stupidly happy grin off her face. He moved deeper and deeper into the ocean, then stopped so she could catch up.
“Come on,” the girl giggled. “Give it to me.”
He pulled her close. His hand slid under her skimpy bathing suit and cupped the curve of her buttock.
“I’ll give you something.”
But he never had a chance to do so, for his “something” had just detached from this body.
Mike blinked stupidly for a few seconds, unable to connect the cold sensations claiming him with literally being sheared in half. His legs bobbed up beside him and, no longer having the proper ballast, the boy capsized. He understood in his last few seconds of life what had happened. His mouth wobbled, trying to speak, trying to warn the others, but nothing came out. His last conscious act was to let go of the bikini top. It drifted out to sea, crested on waves of the boy’s blood.
The girl was yanked under the water before she could scream. Teeth, tentacles, and razor-sharp bone slicers tore her into a hundred pieces. Most of her was ingested. What was left would later have to be identified by DNA swabs. The creature burped out the top part of her skull, meat and hair still clinging to it.
The creature rested for a moment, digesting the teens and enjoying the momentary bliss of a full stomach, but contentment soon abandoned the beast. Hunger pains wracked its insides, pushing the monster on to kill and consume.
The other teens still frolicked, ignorant of what was closing in on them, unaware that death was about to claim them. No famous last words were uttered. No magnificent acts of heroism performed. their last happy moments were filled with drunken laughter and half-assed adolescent foreplay.
“Hey, it got warm all of a sudden,” one of the boys commented, not realizing he was soaking in his friend’s blood. “Who peed in the ocean?”
The beast struck. It burst into the pack of teens, running wild in a killing frenzy. Slicers chopped through limbs, groins, heads, and spines. Tentacles gripped victims, its suckers holding them underwater to be drowned and then eaten. Teeth and jaws extended, tearing tender flesh into digestible chunks.
One by one they fell, pain ripping through their bodies. One boy became caught on the creature’s bone slicers. His spine stubbornly held together despite the traumatic damage. He was dragged behind the beast, watching his intestines spool out in the water like giant strings of spaghetti.
Soon, there was no one left but a single naked female, shrieking as she waded through the shallows. The sand pulled her back, slowed her down, agonizingly so. Covered in a friend’s blood and with gore gumming up her hair, she clawed forward, frantic and near demented from fear until her feet hit solid land.
Safe, she thought. I’m safe. It can’t follow me here. A hysterical giggle forced its way from her lips.
But she was wrong.
The beast shrieked. A sound high pitched and alien. One that could shatter glass and set ears bleeding. The girl turned and saw the monster lunge from the water. Her eyes couldn’t quite take it all in, but its shadow chilled her. The creature had a rough shark outline, but was decidedly something else altogether.
Its mouth opened and severed the girl’s head, sending it down into the beast’s bottomless stomach. The creature landed on the beach, sending up a cloud of sand. Sickly purple tentacles latched onto her decapitated body. The monster rolled back into the ocean, dragging its kill with it.
The next half hour was an orgy of feeding. The creature sucked in everything it could. It would stop every now and then, briefly satisfied, but the feeling never lasted and the gorging began again. Suddenly a ping rattled its brain, an irresistible summons over which it had no power. The creature immediately abandoned its feeding and shot off into the Atlantic.
Stillness claimed the land. Bits and pieces of those butchered bobbed along the crimson stained beach. A hand here. Half a face there. A severed breast collided with a butchered thigh. The once roaring fire burnt out.