Hippo 8

Link.


As dawn broke, the sun cast bright and vibrant hues of red and orange over a calm sea. Only the tips of Denver's skyscrapers still protruded above the water: glass tombstones for citizens that were washed away years ago.

Out of these two sentences, the second sentence is much more interesting/engaging (starting with a sunrise is pretty cliche). I highly recommend starting with the second, just slightly modified to contain the same information:

Only the tips of Denver's skyscrapers protruded above the morning sea: glass tombstones for the citizens that were washed away years before.


The young man turned his head. Behind him stood a middle-aged woman dressed in the remains of a kind of tactical gear labeled with a faded emblem of a fist superimposed on a sunburst. Her hands were folded behind her back as she approached and joined him in looking out over the water.

Behind him stood a middle-aged woman dressed in faded tactical gear labeled with an emblem of a fist superimposed on a sunburst. Her hands were folded behind her back. She approached, and joined him to look out over the water.


Both shared a chuckle before Quine gestured towards the stairs with a gloved hand.

They both shared a chuckle. Quine gestured to the stairs with her gloved hand.


In what was once a conference room, Devon and Captain Quine joined the rest of the crew.

Devon and Captain Quine joined the rest of the crew in what was once a conference room.


"Alright, folks, one last briefing and we can be on our way," said Quine as she moved to the front of the room, to a whiteboard. As she drew some figures, Devon took a look around the table.

"Alright, folks, one last briefing and we can be on our way." Quine moved to the whiteboard. As she drew some figures, Devon took a look around the table.


To his right sat a one-armed teenage boy named Max, who twirled a pen between the fingers on his good hand effortlessly.

To his right sat a one-armed teenage boy named Max. He twirled a pen between his fingers effortlessly.


Next to Max was an older lady they called June, who kept opening and examining a toolbox in front of her.

Next to Max was an older woman they called June. She kept opening the toolbox in front of her, examining its contents.


"Any of them escape yet, June?" an old man in a mechanic's jumpsuit named Roger asked from the end of the table, chuckling at his own joke. As he sat, he gently ran his fingers over a wedding band he wore on a pendant around his neck.

"Any of them escape yet, June?" The old man in the mechanic's jumpsuit was Roger. He chuckled at his own joke, thoughtlessly tracing his fingertips along the wedding band that dangled from his throat.


Next to Roger sat a young woman named Layla, who stared off into space as Captain Quine finished her diagram. By her side was a worn harpoon gun, a quiver of makeshift ammunition dangling from her hip. She blinked as the captain cleared her throat, her focus returning from the ether.

Next to Roger sat a young woman named Layla, who stared off into space as Captain Quine finished her diagram. By her side was a worn harpoon gun; a quiver of makeshift ammunition dangled from her hip. She blinked as the captain cleared her throat, her focus returning from the ether.


"Alright, here we are at Republic Plaza," Quine explained. "According to the last radio message Salvation Fifteen sent out, they should be anchored about thirty miles south of us, near the mountains. That makes this is the final leg of the trip. We'll navigate out of the city, and should be able to catch them before too long. Once there, we'll be safe from the selachians. Unfortunately, this will put us in open water for a good chunk of the trip. That means I'll need everyone on guard. June, did you get the SONAR fixed?"

Recommending this change because it lets you delay the reveal of the nature of the threat a little longer. The reader is probably going to guess this from some of your references, but it's nice to throw some readers off the trail until the reveal.


"Very well."

The captain's expression became solemn.

"It's been a long road, friends. No shortage of sacrifice from all of us to get here. I know we each lost a lot along the way."

"Very well." The captain's expression became solemn. "It's been a long road, friends. No shortage of sacrifice from all of us to get here. I know we each lost a lot along the way."


"What I mean to say is, you have all been more than I could have ever asked for in a crew. Thank you."

Quine placed the cap back on her marker and smiled at her crew.

"You have all been more than I could have ever asked for in a crew. Thank you."

Quine placed the cap back on her marker and smiled at them.

Changing to avoid the repetition of 'crew'. Alternatively could use 'her family'.


That morning had proven to be a quiet one. Their small barge made its way out of the waterlogged skyline of Denver and headed due south. The sun grew hot and high in the sky, and eventually, a cruise liner appeared on the horizon. Individual smiles crept upon the crew at the spectacle. Those smiles soon vanished, however, as the sound of the "JAWS" theme emanated from the pilot house.

The morning was quiet. Their small barge made its way out of the waterlogged skylone of Denver and headed due south. The sun grew high and hot in the sky; eventually, a cruise liner appeared on the horizon. Most of the crew smiled at the spectacle. Those smiles soon vanished, however, when the "JAWS" theme came from the pilot house.


"June?" Captain Quine asked, heading over to the SONAR station where the old tinkerer stood.

"June?" Captain Quine headed over to the SONAR station where the old tinkerer stood.


"I… thought it might be funny?" she mumbled stepping aside. "Looks like we have company."

"I… thought it might be funny?" she mumbled, stepping aside. "Looks like we have company."


"Fucking hell, Max?" Quine called out to the teenager as she and June grabbed the nearby shotguns.

"Fucking hell." Quine and June grabbed the nearby shotguns. "Max?"


"Think you'll actually hit something?" Layla snickered, as she flipped off the safety and took aim.

"Who knows, maybe they'll be kind enough to hold still for me," Devon replied, and took aim as well.

"Think you'll actually hit something?" Layla flipped off the safety.

"Who knows? Maybe they'll be nice enough to hold still for me." Devon took aim.


As she reloaded a bull shark jumped out of the water towards her, catching her with the bolt pulled back. Layla fumbled, her eyes lost in the void of its oncoming maw.

As she reloaded, a bull shark lunged out from the water. The bolt of her rifle wouldn't pull back. Layla fumbled, her eyes lost in the void of its oncoming maw.


Bang

BANG.


The bull shark flew backward, crashing into the water. A new hole had formed leading from its throat and out it the back of its mouth.

The bull shark flew back, slamming into the water. A jagged second mouth had appeared under its throat.

One note to keep in mind: Shotguns actually don't 'knock things back'; they're just high velocity pebbles (they tear through flesh; not enough volume/surface area to legitimately slap anything out of the air). Their portrayal of knockback is a cinematic flair. Of course, I think you'll be forgiven for ignoring that given the nature of this story!


Within moments, a ring of fins could be seen neatly encircling the tiny barge. As forces rammed it from below, the craft shook, knocking off the aim of the two marksmen.

A ring of fins had nearly encircled the tiny barge. Something rammed it from below. The craft shook, knocking Devon and Layla around like bowling pins.


"Can't this junk go any faster?" June shouted at the man at the helm. Her shotgun kicked as the slug tore off an entire dorsal fin.

"Can't this junk go any faster?" June's shotgun kicked as a slug tore off an entire dorsal fin.


"Cover me!" Captain Quine shouted. She closed the distance quickly, removing the gloves from her hands to reveal metallic fists.

"Cover me!" Captain Quine closed the distance quickly, removing her gloves. Her polished metal fists gleamed like fire under the sun.


She let out a low shout and delivered a swift punch. The first shark's snout crumpled inward like a wrecked car, its eyes flying out of its sockets from the sheer force. The second shark attempted to move in and was met by a chop that sliced its head in two.

The punch crumpled the first shark's snout like ared| wrecked car, its eyes flying out of its sockets from the sheer force. The second shark tried to move in; it was met by a chop that cleaved its head in twain.

'twain' is purely a stylistic choice by me; not enough people use 'twain'.


A third shark leapt forward, grabbing Quine's left arm in its mouth as it bit down, but loosened its jaws when Quine's opposite hand smashed the top of its head downward. A fourth sharp attempted to flop back towards the railing, only to be grabbed by the tail and ripped apart.

The third shark lunged and bit Quine's left arm. She smashed the top of its head down and pried it off. The fourth to the railing, only to be seized by its tail and ripped apart.


Captain Quine effortlessly threw the bodies over the side. The water around the vessel turned a deep red as the inches of blood aboard the barge floor seeped over the side.

She threw the bodies overboard. The ocean turned a deep red. Inches of pulped, bloody shark paste seeped over the barge's sides.


A megalodon leaped over the stern railing and engulfed the pilot house within its jaws.

The towering shadow of a megalodon briefly eclipsed the stern before the pilot house vanished into its jaws.

Added the bit about shadow to emphasize the size of this thing.


The barge stalled and more fins surfaced and closed in.

The barge stalled. More fins surfaced and closed in.


Devon and Layla turned their fire onto the megalodon, but soon their rifles were only making useless clicking sounds. Layla pulled the harpoon gun off her shoulder and load it from her quiver.

Devon and Layla emptied their rifles into the megalodon. Layla pulled the harpoon gun off her shoulder and loaded it from her quiver.


"That'll blow the entire back off the barge," he protested.

"That'll blow the entire back off the —"


"The pilothouse is gone! We're going to have to abandon and outrun them on the Jet Skis."

"The pilothouse is gone! We're going to have to outrun them on the jet skis!"


"For fuck sake, just do what she says!" Captain Quine shouted as she dug herself out of the debris, her mechanical arms handily tossing the scraps at the flailing megalodon pulling itself aboard after her.

"For fuck's sake, just do what she says!" Captain Quine dug herself out of the debris. Her mechanical arms hurled scraps at the flailing megalodon as it pulled itself along the deck after her.


Devon nodded, and quickly vanished, returning a moment later with Javelin missile and launcher. He handed it off to Layla, and then went in to free his Captain, Max abandoning his perch for the safety of the bow.

Devon vanished, then returned with a Javelin missile and launcher. He handed it off to Layla, then went to help his Captain. Max abandoned his perch for the safety of the bow.


Upon all crew being cleared, Layla fired. The missile vanished into the megalodon's throat. The beast seeming to grin at the uselessness of the attack and lurched forward.

The crew was clear. Layla fired. The missile vanished into the magalodon's throat; it then lurched forward.


"Take cover!" Quine replied and pushed her crew away.

"Take cover!" Quine pushed her crew away.


An explosion ripped across the surface of the vessel, sending a coating of flesh and blood over everything in its path. Devon blinked, caught in the wave of viscera, his clothes and life jacket now caked in sticky fluids.

The explosion tore across the surface of the vessel. A surge of shark meat and blood crashed across the deck. Devon blinked, caught in the wave of viscera. His clothes and life jacket were now caked in sticky fluid.


"Oh man…" he said, slowly looking at himself then turning his gaze to the remaining half of a megalodon that remained upon the craft. The bleeding hulk slowly fell back into the sea, as the barge took on water.

"Oh, man…" He looked at himself, then turned to the remaining half of the megalodon sticking to the craft. The bleeding hulk slowly slid off and back into the sea. The barge was now taking on water.


Within three minutes the Jet Skis hit the water.

Within three minutes, the jet skis hit the water.


NOTE: //Had to stop here, for now; I'll take a look at the rest of this later and update it!