It was a life-or-death fight for a Florida boy who found himself in the grips of an alligator, and survived to tell the tale.
Malcolm Locke knows his survival story sounds pretty unbelievable.
"I just dove in the water and all of a sudden I saw this alligator coming," he told CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG.
When he screamed for his grandmother, Linda Schlapper, she didn't believe him at first. He says, "She's, like, don't cry wolf, but I said,'There's an alligator.'"
The 12-year-old was telling the truth: "I've got six staples in my head right now. I've got a big chunk missing from my ear," Malcolm says, his head swathed in bandages.
Malcolm had jumped into Lake Diana, behind his grandmother's house, Wednesday to cool off after some afternoon chores. Within seconds, he came face-to-face with a 7-foot alligator.
He says, "I felt like I was going to get swallowed."
The boy tried to swim back to shore, but the alligator attacked his head and pulled him under. Malcolm says the gator clamped down on his head, wrapped his tail around his stomach and tried to pull him under water. But Malcolm wasn't going down without a fight.
"I punched him," Malcolm says.
Authorities say he did the right thing. After all, alligator are fierce fighters but they prefer prey they can easily overpower.
"It was just a reflex," Malcolm says.
And the alligator let go of its grip. Malcolm walked away from this fight with a few scratches, an amazing story to tell his friends, and proof it all really happened.
"Now I have a newspaper and news to show them," he jokes.
A neighbor drove the boy to Florida Hospital in Orange City, where he was treated for cuts that were not life-threatening.
A trapper was sent to the lake to remove the alligator.