Chapter no 37 – Gray Sharks

Where the Crawdads Sing


Just days before Christmas and earlier in the morning than usual, Kya motored slowly and quietly toward Jumpin’s. Ever

since the sheriff or his deputy had been sneaking out to her place, trying to catch her at home—failed efforts she’d observed from the palmettos—she’d bought her gas and supplies before first light, when only fishermen were about. Now, low clouds scudded just above a sloshing sea, and to the east, a squall—twisted tightly like a whip—threatened from the horizon. She’d have to finish at Jumpin’s quickly and get home before it hit. From a quarter of a mile out, she saw his wharf billowed in with fog. She slowed even more and looked around for other boats in the soggy quiet.

Finally, at about forty yards out, she could see Jumpin’s form in the old chair leaning against the wall. She waved. He did not. He did not stand. He shook his head slightly, just a whisper. She let go of the throttle.

She waved again. Jumpin’ stared at her, but did not move.

Jerking the stick, she turned abruptly back toward the sea. But coming in from the fog was a large boat, the sheriff at the helm.

Another couple of boats, flanking. And just behind them, the squall.



Gunning her engine, she threaded the needle between the oncoming rigs, her boat banging whitecaps as she raced for the open sea. She wanted to cut back toward the marsh, but the sheriff was too close; he’d catch her before she got there.

The sea no longer swelled in symmetrical waves but tossed in confusion. The water grew meaner as the edge of the storm

engulfed her. In seconds it released a torrent. She was soaked through, long strands of hair stringing across her face. She turned into the wind to keep from capsizing, but the sea pushed over the bow.

Knowing their boats were faster, she hunched forward into the ragged wind. Maybe she could lose them in this soup or dive into the sea and make a swim for it. Her mind raced through the details of jumping in, which seemed her best chance. This close to shore, there’d be a backwash or rip, which would zip her along underwater, much faster than they’d think she could swim.

Popping up to breathe now and then, she could get to land and sneak out on a brushy shore.

Behind her their motors raced louder than the storm. Getting closer. How could she simply stop? She’d never given up. She had to jump now. But suddenly, like gray sharks they massed around her, pulling close. One of the boats whipped in front of her, and she rammed its side. Thrown back against the outboard, her neck jerked. The sheriff reached out and grabbed her gunwale, all of them wallowing in the churning wakes. Two men swung into her boat as the deputy said, “Miss Catherine Clark, you’re under arrest for the murder of Mr. Chase Andrews. Ya have the right to remain silent . . .”

She didn’t hear the rest of it. No one hears the rest of it.

You'll Also Like