When Shark came across his boyfriend, it wasn’t in the safety of the other room, or even on the second floor.
Instead, Sinbad stood at the entrance of the train center. He was staring intently outside, towards the gradually rising water levels. The redhead seemed entranced by some invisible force that originated out in the unforgiving torrent.
“What is it?” Shark asked the question quietly, but Sinbad still jumped. His frightened expression dissolved into relief. He looked at the brunet’s teddy bear, held in a way reminiscent of a child.
The redhead shook his head, and looked back outside. “I thought I saw somebody out there.”
Now it was Shark’s turn to look surprised. “Someone bothered to go out in that? Willingly?”
“Most likely.” Before Sinbad could go on, a loud and powerful shaking nearly took them off their feet. Then followed the loud distorted wailing Shark recalled hearing earlier.
“Should we go back out and look for them?”
The older man turned to give him an incredulous look. “You seriously want to go back out in that shit? And after we found shelter?”
“But Sinbad, that person could be in trouble! Besides, it isn’t like I want to go out on my own. If that’s all right with you.”
Shortly after, both men were back out in the watery catastrophe that was becoming their town.
“I seriously can’t believe you actually brought that along,” Sinbad muttered. The bear that Shark had been holding so tightly now sat in the front of his raincoat.
“Um, well, what was it you said earlier? That if I died, I should do so with this next to me?”
Realizing he did in fact say that, Sinbad took on a look of recognition. “Yeah, you’re right. I probably should have worded it better, or something.”
The sky was beginning to grow brighter, if only by a small amount. It was still difficult to see much of anything. There was yet to be a sign of the potential mystery person Sinbad caught a glimpse of.
“Maybe they took shelter already?”
“That could be.” Both were hopeful that whoever it was, they didn’t get swept away by the weather or the climbing level of the lake and rivers.
When they reached the dam, it thankfully hadn’t deteriorated much further. If nothing else, there could still be time to fix it when the time came.
Their relief was short-lived, though, when the distorted cries continued. Shark frantically looked in every direction possible, but he couldn’t find the source. He did see something worth pointing out.
“Hey Sinbad,” he said craning his neck towards the top of the dam, “that person you were looking for…What did they look like?”
“Uh, I couldn’t tell. It was dark, and it looked like they had a black raincoat on-”
Shark pointed upward. “So like that?” His boyfriend strained to make out the figure situated up at the top.
“Yeah.” The mysterious person didn’t seem to notice them. Instead, they stood motionless, as though waiting for something to strike.
And strike it did. Before Shark or Sinbad could call out to them, the nearby lake began to tremble. Both men waited in shocked silence for whatever it was that was about to rise up.
Despite the obvious motions that likely could be felt by the entire town, the unknown person remained still. They did so even as the head of the creature broke through the surface.
“What the hell is that?!” Sinbad’s question went unanswered. Not that it would matter in a few seconds.
Almost mechanically, the unknown person pulled out a large harpoon seemingly from nowhere. For all the two of them knew, they’d pulled it directly out of their ass. With an immense amount of precision, said harpoon was quickly flung toward the rising sea creature.
As fast as it had come, the monster fell back into the water, howling in what was presumably a swan song for itself. The splash from its falling was enough to knock them back.
Instinctively, Sinbad and Shark threw their arms around each other, and held on tight. Both kept each other close until their raft hit the nearest tree, and stopped.
When Sinbad dared to look to see what just happened, Shark looked back over at the dam. The monster’s destroyer had vanished, seemingly without a trace.
“I repeat,” Sinbad called out in the fresh silence, “what the hell was that?”
Shortly thereafter, morning had come. The dam managed to hold, even after the ordeal it had gone through during the night. The lake creature that had met its end still had its head visible above water.
“This was in the lake this whole time?” Shark was stunned and afraid of whatever the hell this thing was supposed to be.
“I guess.” Sinbad attempted to survey the damage. “It looks like some kind of mutated alligator or something.”
Whatever it was, it was most certainly dead now. Shark and Sinbad were still cautious, in the event that it managed to survive being stabbed in the head.
After some reluctant consideration, the two carefully stepped onto the head. Shark made sure he didn’t fall off into the lake, by taking hold of Sinbad’s arm.
“Yeah, be careful.” Deciding now was probably a good a time as any, the redhead started. “Hey, listen…About last night…”
Shark gave Sinbad his undivided attention. “You don’t have to apologize for that. I did something stupid, and you were right to be mad, and…”
Sinbad waved his hand to try to forget that. “I was just worried, you know? I mean, hell, if this thing found you, then I don’t know…”
The redhead scratched the back of his head. “Maybe I don’t want to think that someone I love was gonna potentially wind up being fish food.”
Staring down at the enormous creature, Shark decided that his boyfriend was right in being afraid. “That’s true. I didn’t really know what was out here, but…”
“Yeah, well, neither did I. It’s just that when you were gone, I mean…That is to say I was…” Sinbad grit his teeth and took hold of his red hair in frustration. “Fuck, why is this so hard?!”
“Take your time,” Shark whispered, placing a hand on his shoulder to help calm him down. Sinbad took a deep breath, then continued.
“Look, there’s a lot of things I still want to do with you before I die. And if something were to happen to you, well…Well, it wouldn’t have been a possibility, I’ll say that.”
Here the redhead sighed. “I was kind of hoping to wait until the holidays or another better time to do this. But I guess maybe last night made me decide I waited long enough.”
“Long enough for what, Sinbad?”
Sinbad pointed at the bear still poking out of Shark’s coat. “Mind handing me that for a second?” Shark complied. As soon as the bear was in Sinbad’s hands, he began digging into the pockets of its overalls.
“I would’ve just gone with the box, but I thought this was more meaningful. But that’s just me, so…”
The brunet tried to see what his boyfriend was looking for. He couldn’t, though, considering Sinbad turned away to hide what he was doing.
Then Sinbad turned back to face him again. “I wasn’t expecting to do this on the head of some dead fish thing, but…”
He thrust the teddy bear back out towards Shark. The only difference he could see was that now it had something placed around its wrist.
“Sinbad, is that…” Leaning closer, Shark’s eyes widened when he realized the bear’s new bracelet was actually an engagement ring.
“Yeah, it is. Actions speak louder than words, I love you for eternity, light of my life, something something, I think you get what I’m trying to say to you.”
Taking the bear from him, Shark’s eyes appeared to be shining. “Oh, Sinbad…”
But he wasn’t done with his speech. “Yeah, so…If I were to ask you outright, I’d probably piss myself from nervousness or some shit like that. So can you just, you know, give me your answer?”
Quietly, Shark took the ring off of his bear, and took a closer look at it. He then directed his sight back to Sinbad, and smiled.
“I think you know what my answer is.”
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