Asghar belonged to the coastal town of Archipelago. His tanned skin revealed exposure to the sun. Archipelago was famous for its pearls, and Asghar was a diver, a diver for pearls. One morning, while leaving for work, he said to his wife, “I’ll get some fish on the way. 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 crowd lay a dead body. When he asked what had happened, a man standing next to him replied saying, “I really don’t know.” As he made his way through the horde, he was able to see the dead body much clearly. It was of a fellow diver. The pearl divers from this town knew each other really well. They were all given a license and were paid to search for pearls. “Oh my God!” he exclaimed, as he saw strange marks on the man’s neck. People from the press, the police as well as the dead man’s family members were amongst all the people who had gathered around. Asghar’s wife would be waiting for the fish at home, but he could not help it. ‘The waters are safe. It’s just my imagination playing with me,’ he assured himself, as he remembered that his wife’s prayers were with him. His eyes scanned the area. Then finally, 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 only be a matter of a few minutes before he was dead, in such a case The police said that the marks seemed like those from an octopus. But 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 apparent ‘mysterious beast’. He went home to tell his wife about all that had happened. “Darling do not worry. Just pray for my safe return.” He loved her very much. After reaching about a 100 feet underwater, it started to get dark. Though Asghar knew how deep he had come, the darkness sent chills down his spine. There was murky water accompanied by a hissing sound, like that of a snake hissing. Three dead fish passed by him, and the sound seemed to be getting closer. His cage would protect him, but he wondered what would happen if the creature was small enough to enter through the bars. “The waters are safe. It’s just my imagination playing with me,” he assured himself, as he remembered that his wife’s prayers were with him. His eyes scanned the area. Then finally, 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 only be a matter of a few minutes before he was dead, in such a case. As he made his way through the horde, he was able to see the body much clearly. It was a fellow diver. The pearl divers from this town knew one another really well. They were all given a licence and were paid to search for pearls. ‘Oh my God!’ he exclaimed, as he saw strange marks on the man’s neck. People from the press, the police as well as the dead man’s family members were gathered there His income depended on going underwater. If, whatever this was, was not finished, how was anybody to invade the waters, ever again? They led a comfortable life thanks to the pearls. He was able to get for his wife whatever she desired. Even then, he had enough money on him to buy himself underwater equipment and make a good saving. It was due to these savings that he had been able to purchase this harpoon gun that he was carrying. The advertisement said that it could also prove to be helpful in killing small whales. Lost in his thoughts, he felt the creeps from the darkness once again and his cage shake. He lifted his gun and pointed it in the direction of the noise. He happened to see 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!” It was all that Asghar could think of at this point. He quivered at the grotesque sight of this horrible huge beast. He was brave, alright, but what he saw was enough to make him want to retreat. However, that was not possible right now. The creature hurled himself at him again. Asghar picked up his harpoon and aimed it in just the right direction. He pierced its centre, again and again. After what seemed like ages, Asghar succeeded in injuring the creature and eventually killing him. Blinded with pain, it moved away. Asghar’s joy knew no bounds. He had succeeded. After he was through with his task, he surfaced to a hero’s welcome. The writer is the author of ‘Short Stories for Children’. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, February 2nd 2018.