The new film 2

The new film 2

Another collaboration by Carolyn and Riwa

 

Dan gave some thought as to whether or not he wanted to do a second film. The first one had worked pretty well. But now he was considering something where there were no knife wounds to affect her ability to hold her breath before she drowned.

He got a mental image of the three remaining girls high on his list. He tried to picture what scene best fit each one. When he settled on something he liked he started making some calls.

He tried Jaime first but she was not at home. He decided it was not critical staying with her as he had two other options as his understudies. So he tried again.

Tonya told him she was readily available. But she was not as easy as she had been during auditions. She was more interested in how much she would earn, what kind of scene it would be and whether or not it would further her career. He sensed this might be an issue with her so he told her he would get back to her. Then he moved her to the back of the list.

The last call he placed was to Betty. She was the most attractive, although had been a bit difficult at following directions. He had an idea for her as he placed the call. The first hurdle was cleared the moment she answered the phone.

“Hello,” Betty said when she answered the phone.  One of the things that Dan had liked about her was her accent.  He couldn’t pin it down but it sounded like she was from the south, but not the Deep South.  His second guess would have been the Midwest.  “This is Betty.”

“Hello Betty,” Dan said. “This is Dan.  I’m the cameraman and in charge of casting for the movie that you auditioned for the other day.  We’ve talked about it and think that you’d make an excellent addition to our cast.”  He smiled to himself at the “we” part, indicating a large company.

Without a moments hesitation Betty spoke up loudly into the phone.  “That’s great!” she exclaimed.  “What do I need to do next?”

“Well I’d like to meet you first to make a few arrangements.  Do you know that small diner on Main Street?”

Betty said that she did and they agreed to meet there in an hour.

She was already there when Dan arrived.  She gave him a huge smile and a wave as he sat down.  “Thanks for meeting me here, Betty.  I’ll be honest with you.  I thought you were the best actress for the part. But I had to fight with my boss about it.  I wanted to talk here, off the record.”

The smile dropped off of Betty’s face.  “Is there a problem?”

“Not a big one,” Dan replied while he took in her looks.  Braided blonde hair on a tall frame, at least 5’11” by his guess.  She had a healthy looking body, the type of girl who puts more emphasis on diet than exercise.  He wondered how that would affect her endurance.

“The thing is,” he continued, “Is that you were supposed to come to the call back in a bikini and you showed up in a one piece.  We all thought you were very attractive but it caused a small problem.  People were wondering if you have a problem with directions…do you follow them or improvise as you go based on what you think is right?”

Betty’s voice dropped a bit.  “I caught that when I was almost there for the callback.  It was so stupid but I wanted to be on time and if I went back to change I’d have missed the callback by 45 minutes.  I promise that it won’t happen again.”

Dan nodded, happy at her desire to work and that she was the type who was punctual.  That assuaged his concerns.

“On a related note, not that it will affect anything, but how would you rate yourself as a swimmer.  As you might have guessed, a lot of your scenes will be in, and under, the water.”

Betty smiled.  “I was co-captain of my swim team in High School.  My height gave me an edge.   I won the short and medium events but I’ll admit that my endurance usually wasn’t enough to win in the long distance races.  Still, if there’s oxygen and others around that shouldn’t be a problem, will it?”

Dan smiled.  “No, it won’t be a problem at all.  Be here on Monday, 8 A.M.  Just bring your swimsuit in a bag but make sure it’s a blue bikini because we want it to contrast with your hair color.”

Betty smiled and thanked him.  After she was gone Dan ordered a donut and made some mental notes.  He liked Betty. But for now it was back to the marina.

He got the boat and the items he needed and went out. He picked a location a short distance from where he’d left Lisa, the previous girl he’d filmed. Then he went to work.

The task was not that difficult and he was finished in less than twenty minutes. Then he was back in his scuba gear and over the side, double-checking the location and the camera angles he wanted. The water was not that deep here as he wanted Betty to be able to swim down to it.

He made sure everything was ready and in place. Then he headed back to shore, leaving the object he wanted to film at the bottom of the lake.

He docked, got out of the boat and took his scuba gear with him. He had to make sure it was filled for the upcoming shoot. He was able to have it filled at the shop before taking it back to the boat and stowing it away. Then he went home.

As far as he knew everything was ready. He was already picturing in his mind what he wanted from Betty. Now it was only a matter of picking her up at the diner and bringing her to the boat. He hoped she would bring a blue bikini because he wanted to make sure to catch the color contrast with her hair on film down at the bottom of the lake.

Once he was alone at home Dan went home to relax.  After fetching a diet coke from the fridge he went to his tv and pulled out a dvd.  It was The Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock.  That’s what was on the cover anyway.  Inside was the dvd he had made from the footage of Lisa.  Although he sometimes wondered if it would be better in blue-ray, it never failed to get him hard.

There was one part that he hadn’t been able to catch on film and just thinking about it always aroused him.  The innocent and excited look Lisa had on her face, and the way that her hair was blowing in the wind just before he came up from behind her and cut off her air with the chloroform.  He remembered her surprised and muffled scream and the way she had try to fight back.  Dan had expected more from her but the chloroform worked faster than he had thought it would and it took less than thirty seconds for her to collapse in his arms.

Dan also thought about how he had taken the air tank from its spot on the boat, turned it on, and tossed it overboard as well.  There was no footage of him dragging down Lisa’s unconscious body and securing the regulator over mouth and waiting to see if she would start to breathe on her own.

Still, watching the footage of her trying to keep her body up with only her arms was what got him off the most…the look of hope that she had before he’d cut her and her surrender.  Despite how many times he watched it, it never failed to get him off.

Dan paused the dvd on the part where Lisa passed out and went over things in his mind.  He had made a few errors in judgement with Lisa and he figured that going over the whole filming would refine his technique.  For one thing, he had never asked Lisa about her family, which would have told him how quickly she would be missed.

His other big mistake, looking back, was not checking to see how private the area had been.  Dan had to admit that he’d been lucky on both counts.  No other boats had been around and if Lisa had lots of people looking for her he didn’t know about it.  He’d kept a close eye on the local news and there had never been any segment about her disappearing, or being found.

Dan intended to find out more about Betty and check the area this time.  He was glad, however, that he’d had the foresight to ask her about her abilities and was glad to know that, though well experienced in the water, she was much better with strength than endurance.

Still drinking his soda, Dan put the dvd back to where Lisa was floating on the bottom, just before she regained consciousness, and watched it all again…

Dan arrived at the diner 10 minutes early only to find Betty was already there waiting for him in a colorful blouse and skirt. She had a little bag in his hand he assumed contained the requested bikini. She seemed eager to get the “part” he’d laid out to her.

“Bad news,” he told her as she got into his car. “The director isn’t sure of your qualifications despite your audition tape.”

Disappointment filled her features. Betty lost her cheerful demeanor as she sagged unhappily. “You mean he doesn’t want me?”

“I told him I think you’re just right for the part. But he’s concerned about you being able to handle being underwater breathing off a regulator while not wearing a dive mask.”

“I can do those things,” she told him. “You just have to give me a chance.”

“That’s what I told him,” he said as he drove them to the marina. “I said you could probably handle it and that I could give you a quick refresher course with the reg if necessary. He’s still not convinced. But I told him to give me a chance to take some video of you underwater in the scene he wants to shoot.”

“You went to bat for me?”

“He was not as impressed with your audition as I was. Maybe it was the one-piece, although that should not have been an issue. Anyway I told him I’d get him some video of you so he can judge for himself.”

“Thanks! I really appreciate that!”

“You don’t have to thank me,” Dan said with a smile. “Just remember me some day when you get to be a big movie star. I wouldn’t mind being included in a little video shoot in one of your movies.”

“I won’t forget, Dan; I really appreciate this!” She was happy again to think he had gone to the mat for her. Dan just smiled inwardly at having convinced her to give her all for what he was planning.

They drove on for a little bit.  The diner wasn’t on top of the dock.  Still, traffic was light and they were soon in the parking lot.  Becky trailed behind him, bag in hand, as Dan went to his own boat.  While he went he tried to look over the boats and to see how many were out there. But there was just too many other things blocking his vision.

They got to the boat and Dan told her to sit down and be comfortable while he untied it.  In a matter of minutes they were on their way.

“This will take about 15 minutes so why don’t you change downstairs.”

Betty said ok and disappeared below.  While she was out of sight Dan took a quick look around the boat.  Everything that should be there and visible was there and safely tied down.  Those items that should not have been there and would ruin everything if Betty discovered them weren’t visible and she’d only find them if she decided to take the boat apart.  So far so good.

In short order Betty returned.  She was wearing the blue bikini that he was hoping for and he felt a tiny bit of arousal.  Still, he was able to make it go away by directing his mind to the business at hand.

Betty had tied her blonde hair into a ponytail.  In the bikini Dan noticed her breasts, while firm, were borderline between the B and C cups.  That was fine too because he wanted another video that seemed real and some fake woman with DDD breasts would ruin the whole thing.

The only incongruous item of clothing that she was wearing were some well used white sneakers.  He decided to let it go.  They were on a boat and they’d be off her feet long before anyone was wet.

“As long as we have some time, why don’t you tell me about yourself,” Dan asked.  “Married?”

Betty shook her head.  “I was engaged about 6 months ago but we broke it off.  He had doubts and we just decided to walk away friends.”

Dan just listened and let her talk.

“That’s really nonsense you know…being friends.  Once he’s gone, he’s gone.”

“So what else?”

“Well,” Betty continued, “I’m not seeing anyone now.  I’m trying to regroup as far as men go.  Maybe if this picture is a hit then the guys will find me.”  Betty dropped her head a bit and showed a shy smile as she said it.

“So it’s just you?” Dan asked, hoping that his probing would just be dismissed as casual conversation.

“Just me and my roomie.” Betty answered.  “My parents retired and went out west and I see them about once a year.  It was always just the three of us.”

That last sentence gave Dan all the information he needed.  “Well just relax.  We should be there soon.”

Dan couldn’t help but steal a look at Betty as she sat down on the bench and bent her neck back, stretching herself and facing the sun, eyes closed.  She was nice to look at and would work just fine.

Engrossed in her hopes of upcoming stardom, Betty didn’t notice as Dan powered down the boat slightly.  He was looking for other boats and there was only one, a sailboat a quarter of a mile away.  As the boat slowed he kept an eye on it and was satisfied as it got smaller and smaller until it was almost out of view.

Betty came back to herself and Dan when she heard the engine shut off.  As the boat bobbed there she just looked at Dan and waited for him to do whatever tasks that were required.  She decided to stay quiet and remain out of his way.

Dan went over to a cabinet and retrieved a scuba tank. “Have you ever breathed off a regulator before, Betty?” She smiled as she told him, “Yes I have.” But her smile faded as she seemed embarrassed about something.

He finished preparing the scuba gear as he told her, “That’s good. You’ll need to be comfortable taking air off the reg when you are down below. If you can’t stay on the bottom more than a handful of seconds then this isn’t going to work. Eventually you’ll need to shed your dive mask for the scene I’m shooting.”

She looked at him… started to say something and then bit her lip. He went over to his camera gear and began checking settings. He paused to smile over at her as he told her, “I really do think that bikini contrasts nicely with your hair. I’m counting on this shoot to change the director’s mind about using you.”

“Uh, Dan? I, uh… I have a confession to make.”

“Oh?”

“I, uh… I’ve never really, uh… used a regulator before.”

He looked at her with amusement. “Is that so? Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“I wanted the part.” Then she came over to him, appearing as though she was going to fall to her knees to plead.

“I’m willing to learn; honest I am. You can show me, can’t you?”

“Well, I’ll have to take a few minutes in the water to get used to taking breaths off the regulator both with and without a dive mask, Betty. Let’s see how it works out, ok?”

“Dan, I promise you won’t be sorry. I’m a quick learner; really I am.”

“You’re liable to get water up your nose, Betty. Some folks find that quite uncomfortable.”

“As a swimmer I’m used to water up my nose.”

“That’s a plus, Betty. Ok, let’s get over the side and spend a few minutes near the surface getting you used to holding your breath and then me feeding you the reg, shall we?”

Her lack of skills didn’t bother Dan at all. On the contrary, he believed her inexperience would translate well to the scene he wanted to shoot.

Betty sat down on bench in the back of the boat and waiting while Dan disappeared into the boat. Then he came out with what was obviously a scuba tank.  Sitting down next to her he handed the regulator to her.

“Try using it here first,” he said, handing her the regulator.

Betty shook her head to clear a few stray hairs out of her eyes and took the regulator from Dan.  She put the regulator in her mouth and pinched her nose shut.  Then, closing her eyes, she tried to breath and quickly opened her eyes, pleasantly surprised at how easy it seemed to be.  She thought that she had to draw a bit harder than she was used to but was happy that it obviously worked.  She smiled at Dan and nodded her head.

“Now hop on in,” Dan told her.  Leaving the tank with Dan she went to the stairs and lowered herself into the water.  While she waited for Dan to get wet as well and bring in the tank she let herself slip under the water for a moment to wet her hair and when she came up he was next to her.

“Now try it in the water.”

Betty did the same thing.  She breathed with her nose pinched closed for a minute until Dan told her to go under the water completely. Betty did as she was told while Dan tread water next to her, holding the tank up.

As she had been told, a little water came up with each breathe but after a minute she learned to adjust.  She had to admit that it was a strange feeling, being under for minutes at a time without an issue when she should have drowned by now.  Then, only holding the regulator hose, she swam under the boat and came up on the other side.

Looking down as she went, she thought that she saw something below.  It looked like a cage but, with her still being a bit nervous, wasn’t sure about it.  When she came up on the other side Dan was there next to her.  He had obviously been following her, tank in hand, so that she didn’t go away any farther than the regulator hose’s length.

Betty wanted to check one thing though.  She went under again, holding her breath, and looked down.  Without any mask to protect her eyes, she had to try to keep them open longer than she usually would.  She thought that she saw that object again, and that it did in fact look like a cage that she gauged to be about 30 feet below the surface.

After she came back up she saw that Dan was gone, already on the boat.  “That was perfect Betty.  C’mon up for a bit.” Betty climbed back into the boat.

“I think that you’ll be perfect for this,” Dan said.  He couldn’t help but notice her innocent smile.

Betty took a towel that Dan gave to her and watched as he went below deck again.

“Why don’t you use the towel and let the sun dry you as well.  I’m going to reload the air tank while you catch some rays and rest up.  It’ll take about half an hour.”

Betty sat back and freed her hair and straightened her bikini.  Then she started sunning herself and just waited.

Dan went down below deck and attached the tank to the compressor. He turned it on and listened as the tank began to fill once again. But as he waited he contemplated what he had learned.

Betty was a quick study at using the regulator. That would come in handy when it came time to use the cage down below. He suspected she had seen it but had said nothing to him.

He thought about what he wanted her to do next. He wanted some shots of her swimming some lengths underwater. The idea was to act as though she was being chased by a shark and trying to stay under on one breath. The cage would be something for her to duck into in the hopes of saving herself.

He wonder how well she could swim underwater. He also wondered if she could make it all the way down to the cage in one breath. He suspected it was possible and he definitely wanted video of that. But who knew with these women.

He checked the progress of the filling scuba tank, mentally making final preparations. He would tell her he needed to get footage of her swimming down into the depths and eventually into the cage. Then he would take care of things from there. Maybe he could lure her into locking herself in as a part of the scene, afraid the shark might jar the cage over and pop the cover.

He checked the gauge; he still had a few minutes to go. He spent that time wondering what she was going to look like inside the cage. A few puffs of air to begin with, maybe a couple of swims in and out to get some stock footage. Then he could spring it on her.

When Dan came up from below he was surprised to see that Betty was no longer there.  He stood up high and then he saw her at the bow.  She had slipped in and was in the water taking leisurely strokes around the boat.  As she came by the stern she saw him and stopped.

“I hope you don’t mind”, she said, “but I was getting a bit hot and felt like warming up for any swimming that I might need to do.”

Dan smiled.  “No problem.  I was about to get started.  I need you to put your face in the water.  Down below you’ll see a metal shark cage.”

Betty stuck her face into the water, brushing her blonde hair aside.  After a moment she came up.  “I can’t see it, it’s a bit murky down there.”

“Try to get closer.”

Dan watched as she went under.  She was back in about 10 seconds.  “I can see it, but it would be easier for me if I could protect my eyes.  Will I get goggles or a mask?”

Dan smiled.  “I just need to see if you can make it all the way down on your own.”

Betty nodded and then disappeared into the water below.  Dan didn’t look, but just looked at his watch.  After about 45 seconds she was back.

“No problem, I got there ok.”  Betty smiled at him and Dan noticed that she wasn’t even breathing heavily.  Then he went to the side of the boat and turned on the tank and tossed it overboard.

“I just need you to do one more thing before we start.  That tank is on and full and should have landed near the cage.  I just want you do go down and, once you find it, just stay under for as long as you can’t do it anymore.  Then take a breath from the regulator and come back up.”

Betty nodded, feeling confident in herself, and disappeared.  Dan sat down and looked at the second hand on his watch.

Dan watched as Betty swam down toward the cage and the waiting scuba tank. Bubbles trickled up as she pulled with her arms while kicking with her legs. Despite not having any fins on her feet she seemed to be making good progress.

It did take her a bit to get down there. But she swam with determination as though she wanted the movie part he was referring to. It seemed she reached out and touched the bars to the cage about 20 seconds down.

She saw the tank and picked it up, making him wonder what she was doing with it. She moved it closer so it was adjacent to the shark cage. But still she did not take a breath of air.

35 seconds and she swam a complete loop around the cage. She came back to the tank and paused. He thought he saw her look up at him. Then she finally reached for the regulator and stuffed it into her mouth at about the 48 second mark.

He saw what looked like a couple of exhalations. Then she discarded the regulator and started back up. He watched her in that blue bikini as she kicked herself upward.

She did not use her arms this time. She propelled herself along with those shapely legs of hers. She seemed more comfortable out here than she had for the auditions.

Had she hidden her abilities from him? Or had she simply become more confident and excited at getting the part he was promising? Well he had a part, all right… just not the part she was expecting.

She came back up at around 55 seconds, beaming as though quite pleased with herself. “That was quite good,” he told her admiringly.

“That wasn’t as hard as I thought,” she told him as she tread water. “Once I got used to holding my breath and being down there it wasn’t so bad after all.”

“Excellent,” he told her with a smile as he started to slip the other tank over his shoulders. “Let me get geared up and get my camera and we’ll get started. You’re wet and doing well so there’s no use putting this off.”

“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Director,” she responded with a smile.

Betty moved away from the boat a bit and watched Dan prepare himself.

“I don’t mean to cause trouble,” she said, “but do you think I could get a mask or goggles…something for my eyes?  I don’t want them to start to turn red at the wrong time.”

Dan paused.  He thought about it and then went into a small bin and took out a pair of goggles.  He didn’t have a full mask but when Betty swam over to him and took them she seemed quite relieved.  As Dan put on his fins she tightened them around her eyes, pulling her hair out of the way to make sure she had a good seal.

When he was ready Dan got into the water and swam up to her.  He thought about how easy it would be to finish Betty right there and then…to just surround her and pull her under and away from the air while he breathed easily.  He wondered how it would be to feel her weaken and pass out in his arms, just a few feet from the surface.  He didn’t dwell on the thought for more than a few seconds…after all who would be there to take any footage?

“Ok, same as before.  I want you to go down and stay there for as long as you can and then take a breath or two and come back up.  I’ll be trailing and filming from behind you.” Then he pointed the camera at her and started filming.

He stayed on the surface, letting her put a few feet between them, then followed her down.  He needed some rear shots and her combinations of arm and leg movements was excellent.  Keeping close, he stayed with her and kept filming at the bottom while, as before, she circled the tank.  Then, when she couldn’t hold out any more, she went to the tank, took a deep breath and when he pointed she surfaced again.  Dan waited and then followed her again, getting more footage from behind but this time on an ascending angle.

When they were on the surface he spoke to her.  “Excellent.  Now I want to do the same thing again, but this time I’ll be in front of you, getting facial shots.”

Betty smiled, happy that the camera was going to show her face.  Then they went under again and did just that.

“Excellent work,” Dan told her as Betty pulled her goggles up to clear them. “Now, for our last rehearsal, I want you to into the cage and, after a moment, pull on the bars as if you’re trapped.”

Betty nodded, still too eager to excel in her role.

Down again, and then Betty was inside the cage.  She performed just as she had been directed to.  When it was obvious that she was beginning to weaken Dan pulled the spare tank close to the cage and extended the cord so that Betty could breathe.  He pointed up and then they surfaced.

“Excellent, again.  We’re going to do a real take on that.  One thing though, and it was a bit of a problem, was that you kept your eyes on me.  I need you to face one way, to be as if I’m not there, while I circle the tank and get all sorts of angles.  I’d like them to see the back of your bikini and what’s filling out the bottom of it.”

Betty blushed a bit but didn’t speak.  She just nodded and started taking deep breaths.

Betty indicated she was ready. Dan put the reg back into his mouth to record her descent. At his nod to go ahead she took a deep breath and swam down.

This time he recorded her at an angle to catch her full body in motion. Bubbles trickled out of her nose as she pulled with her arms. She reached the cage, looked all around and then climbed inside.

He moved closer, capturing the view of her as she looked out of the cage. She lost a few bubbles and then went down to the bottom of the cage to retrieve the regulator to the other scuba tank. She breathed from it and then looked at him expectantly.

Dan motioned “cut” with a slash across his neck. Then he motioned… “Head back up.” She opened the lid and exited the cage, bubbles trickling out of her mouth and nose.

He swam over and pulled the spare scuba tank away from the cage. For one thing it was too close and kept getting in the shot. He also didn’t want her able to get any air when the proper time came. Then he headed back up.

She was waiting for him when he came up and pulled the reg out of his mouth. “What was wrong with that?” she wanted to know.

“First you think you’re being chased by a shark, but you’re not acting like it. Second, when you get into the cage you are not looking around to identify the location of the shark. Third, when you “see” it you are not backing away and acting properly frightened. And fourth, the spare tank is in the shot too much.”

“But that’s what I get my air from.”

“Actually you keep getting most of your air from up here. To keep the spare scuba tank out of the frame it should be father away.”

“Then how am I supposed to breathe down there?”

“That’s what this is for,” he told her, hefting his buddy regulator attached to an extra hose on his tank. “In a regular shoot there would be additional safety divers who zip in, give you their buddy hose, and then get back out of the shot. But since the director was not satisfied with you he wouldn’t give me the extra divers I wanted. So I’m taking a chance here and paying for this equipment out of my own pocket.”

“So when I go back down we need to move the scuba tank down there?”

“I moved it before I came back up. This way we can focus solely on the video.”

“Oh; good thinking.”

“I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath. Then we’ll head back down and try it again. This time we really need to work on making it more realistic.”

“I understand. I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here and I’ll work on it, Dan.”

“I know you will,” he replied with a smile.

They paused a moment and then Dan asked, “Ready?”

Betty readjusted her goggles then nodded yes.  She took a deep breath and went back down.  Dan went with her, staying close so that she could grab the buddy hose if necessary.  He wasn’t filming her.  He’d already collected enough footage of her going up and down in the water.

When they reached the bottom Betty couldn’t help but notice that the tank had moved.  It made her a tad uneasy, but she pushed the thought aside.

The two of them reached their destination and she had to go off air in order to enter the cage alone.  As she went inside Dan reached out and took hold of the cage door.  He pulled on it gently to make sure nothing was stuck or jammed.  The hatch only went up an inch or so, but came up easily enough to satisfy him and he left it open.

As he turned around he saw that Betty was already in the cage.  He swam up to her and extended the second regulator and she took it and started to take deep breathes.  Dan watched her as she started to get a tiny bit stronger and lost any hunger for air that she might have had.

He allowed her to keep breathing off of his tank while he bent over and took a final check of his camera before turning it on.  It started filming the sand and a bit of his fins but he didn’t care.  There would be a lot of editing later on.

Turning and putting the camera between them he stuck up his hand, all five fingers up.  She nodded and then he brought them down…5…4..3..2.1.

Dan backed off and started filming her while she started to act.  She actually started to put on a good performance, not showing any weakness.

Dan circled the cage, filming her from all angles, while she did exactly as she had been directed to do.

He sensed that she was starting to feel a pull in her lungs…not desperate, but the need for air was just beginning.

Still filming, he circled around to face her and put up his palm.  Betty stopped acting and grabbed both bars of the cage.  Keeping the camera on them as best he could, Dan came up and extended the buddy hose again.  She took it and refilled her lungs while he gave her a vigorous thumbs up.

Dan waited another few moments.  He wanted her to be as strong as possible for the final shooting.

Betty took deep breaths and, totally clear headed, kept thinking about her future.  “This is going to be the beginning of things, great things,” she thought.

Then Dan came up to her quickly, camera up.  As she turned to face him the regulator popped out of her mouth, as she expected it to do.

What she didn’t expect was for Dan to thrust his arm through the bars of the cage and suddenly rip her goggles off.

Betty bubbled in alarm as Dan took a padlock and locked her in. He nodded at her before turning around and swimming away. She was horrified.

She watched in disbelief as he swam off and left her inside the locked cage with no source of air. He had moved the other scuba tank out of range, supposedly to keep it out of the shot. Now she was going to drown.

She watched as he suddenly turned around. Then he started swimming back toward her, the camera in his grasp and apparently recording. What the hell??

She was relieved when she saw him coming closer. Perhaps he wasn’t a homicidal maniac after all. But what the hell was he doing??

He was almost to the cage when he angled upward and swam over the top. But instead of stopping or giving her his buddy reg he just kept on going. What the hell was he doing??

She watched in alarm as he swam off in the opposite direction, her heart beating fast again. Then he turned around and came back at her from another angle. Wait, was he swimming like a…?

She almost did a face-palm as it occurred to her what he was trying to capture. This time as he came closer she backed away to the opposite side of the cage. She let out a bubbly cry as he angled off to the side, swimming slow and casual. Then she cursed herself.

It was part of the shoot; he was taking video from the point of view of the shark. And she had pretty much ruined that first pass by acting like he’d abandoned her. Maybe the second pass had better footage.

She was relieved to see him turn around and swim back to her with the buddy reg in his hand. He came up to the cage and passed it to her through the bars. She sheepishly accepted it from him and nodded, feeling ashamed she had panicked. She wondered if any of that last footage was any good.

He motioned… “Are you all right?” She nodded in reply as she took another hit off the regulator.

He lifted up one finger… “One more?” She nodded again, still feeling sheepish. This time she would put everything she had into reacting as though a great white was coming her way.

He held his empty hand out expectantly, waiting for the reg. She took a last deep breath and nodded before giving it back to him. He nodded as he brought the camera up to his face before swimming off in yet another direction.

She still felt a little anxious, wondering why the hell he’d popped her goggles off. Maybe he wanted her bare-faced in the shot. She also wondered why he’d scared her half to death until something in the back of her mind told her maybe he was trying to get her to act more realistically. She winced inwardly; at least that part had probably looked good on video, although not the way she had anticipated.

She watched as he turned around and began swimming back toward her inside the cage. She watched in wide-eyed horror, grasping the bars as though afraid of what was coming. As he got closer she backed away, shaking her head and swirling her hair all around her face as she backed into the rear of the cage. Then he stopped a few yards away.

It looked like he was fiddling with the lens as though he was zooming in on her. But he was coming no closer. Betty tried to put on a good performance of fear as her lungs began to burn.

Betty tried to do her performance once again, trying to please her director. But she was getting too nervous and she knew it.

He kept shooting and she knew that it wouldn’t be a good take because she could feel herself getting distracted.  There was a tiny pull for air inside of her but she ignored it, trying to focus on her work.  How many actresses before her that were famous had to get dirty and go through a lot of things like makeup during a shoot, after all?

She stopped her acting suddenly, realizing that something wasn’t right.  There was Dan just in front of her, with the camera up.  She saw that he had a tiny smile and thought that he might not be aware of her exactly…too caught up behind the camera.

Betty’s swimming instincts took over and she put her hand up to her neck, indicating that she needed air.  She waited, but Dan just stayed where he was, shooting his footage.  Betty couldn’t wait any longer.

She swam up to the hatch and pushed it open.  To her shock it only went up a tiny bit and she heard the sound of metal against metal.  Dropping down, she let herself go to the bottom and pushed up as hard as she could, hands up.  As before, she hit the hatch but it stayed in place.

Turning, she looked for Dan and made the same symbol with her hand around her own neck.  Then reaching up, she tried to get to the latch with her own fingers.  She was able to float on her back against the top of the cage and find the latch.

Betty got a good hold and opened the hatch, but it only slid a tiny bit in its groove before being stopped by something.

Somehow, even though she was beginning to feel the pull of her lungs with a little more urgency, she managed to keep her cool and went down to the bottom, reaching for the spare air tank.

Betty thrust her arm out of the cage, as far as she could. But it was just a few inches out of reach.  Pulling herself against the bars, she reached again, but just couldn’t make it.

Dan kept filming and, truly beginning to be frightened, Betty put her hand to her neck again, hoping that he’d get her message.  She wanted to be done with this project!

Dan motioned… “You’re supposed to be afraid of the shark.”

Betty bubbled anxiously as she motioned back… “I need air; I can’t hold my breath much longer!” She was amazed the way he continued to film despite her obvious distress.

The agony in her lungs worsened. She could feel her stomach rippling as her body wanted to inhale. She kept trying to fight it off, but it was getting worse.

She saw Dan swim a little closer; was he coming to give her the buddy reg? She reached out toward him with her arm, anxiously waving him closer. He just continued to take video as though this scene was more important than her needing air right now.

Her lungs heaved ominously as she grabbed onto the bars. She gave them a hard shake, causing the metal to rattle as air spewed out of her mouth. Then she reached outward toward Dan, desperately waving him to come closer with the buddy hose.

She looked in desperation at the other scuba tank lying out of reach. She got down on her knees again and stretched for it just as hard as she could. Then a severe convulsion caused her chest to heave.

She coughed up bubbles as she brought a hand up to cover her mouth. Her eyes were wide in terror as she grabbed one of the bars and gave it a shake. But Dan was still well out of range, continuing to take video of her in the cage. Then she coughed up bubbles as her lungs gave out.

Betty took her other hand and covered her mouth but it was too late.  She watched the bubbles fly out of her mouth and go through the bars of the cage, something that she was unable to do.  Realization came into her mind as it dawned on her that she was the star all right, but of a snuff film!

She stopped looking at Dan and pushed off the bottom.  There was still enough strength in her legs to get her to the bars and she grabbed onto them.  She desperately reached out for the latch but Betty had become disoriented.  Her arm went through and she tried grabbing for the latch, but her hands were nowhere near it.  Soon the weight of her legs became too much and they pulled her down to the bottom.

Dan moved closer and caught some excellent shots of her eyes and the realization and terror in them.  Betty kept reaching around in vain while the current swished her blonde hair in all directions.  Through the water, as her movements slowed, Dan heard a final plea for mercy.

Betty’s arms stopped their final flailing and then her body was still.  As her neck bent backwards Dan was able to get a good shot of her body’s surrender, but not a good facial shot.

Dan undid his own tank, being careful to keep it close enough by sticking the regulator through the bars and opened the lock and took his camera into the cage.  He took some excellent footage of her face and even managed a shot of her left breast, which had fallen out of her bikini top.  Then he put the camera down, being sure to turn it off, and took a deep breath from the tank.  With a little effort he was able to pick up Betty and lift her through the cage door and pull her body to the surface.

At the surface he looked around and didn’t see anyone around and was able to bring Betty’s body onto the boat.  Putting her on her back he watched her chest and saw it didn’t rise on its own.  Putting his head against her chest he could still hear her heart beating from within.  As he sat there he reached over and brushed Betty’s hair away from her face.

Her eyes were closed but somehow Dan could still see the shock and terror that had taken her at the end.  He just sat there like that for about ten minutes.

Dan never leaned over to listen for a heartbeat.  He knew that it had stopped and that Betty was finished.

He took her by the arms and pulled her into cabin.  It was doubtful that anyone would come up to him, much less look inside.  Then he went into the water again.  With two air tanks at his disposal, he had no trouble disassembling the cage.

Dan left the parts on the bottom and started the boat.  He drove to a spot several miles away from where the filming had been.  Then he pushed her overboard and left her floating on the water.  She stayed there, facedown, her hair floating around her head, and began to sink.  She might be found sooner or later, or perhaps never.  There was nothing to tie her to Dan and the cage was far away.

Home, showered, and dressed in dry clothes Dan had a nice dinner and when he woke up the next morning began the long task of editing his footage.

© 2016 (written by Carolyn and Riwa Jul 22 ’16)

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