Mystia: Chapter Two


All it took was the walk home and the sinking feeling in her stomach to convince her.

She was not going to apply.

Alina stepped from the 13th floor of the library out onto the ledge path to the Jagged Step Lane, a length of steps spiraling down to the main paved side walk. She avoided the flight paths, large cloud-formed wind tunnels with walking pathways at the bottom, as at the end of the day they were gummed up with everyone flying and walking home.

Twenty minutes later, her thoughts still spinning, Alina left the paved walkway just outside the city and jumped the last half a dozen feet or so to the bright green grass and dirt path below landing in a squat.

She rose from her landing and shook out her trembling fingers, and taking a deep breath, Alina walked on.

The worries rose with each step. Leaving the library, leaving Avaglade, it was just too much. She would fail. She’d be too slow. Or she wouldn’t be able to understand what the people from down below were saying and…

She walked to the next rocky ledge and jumped out into the air grabbing the support pole for the sky path above and let her momentum spin her around and down until she landed on the small bit of grass knoll then jumped again to the next bit of land as a rolling mist rose from the clouds.

The physical challenge drew her worries out of her, made her deal with them in a very present way.

Then the next worry came… that it would all be just too new, too different. Not even the idea of the large salary was tempting anymore. Alina made her way though trees until she stood at the edge then she dashed across and down the path and up the knoll to her tree grown home.

It was decided. She wouldn’t go to the interviews tomorrow. She was content. She was comfortable. And that was alright.

Slowly, the knot unclenched in her stomach. No change was fine. No change was good. Everything would stay the same. The words hugged her, comforted her. It would all be alright.

She threw out her arms and spun as a lightness took hold of her. She even laughed a little when a cloud sprinkled her with a spot of rain.

And then she arrived home. It was quiet. “Gran’ma?” she called from the wooden door.

Silence echoed in the home.

Mystia: Chapter One


Alina pushed her cart of books around the 39 foot high shelf to the next isle. It was a reasonable risk she estimated. The job kept her secluded from dealing with the public face-to-face. No one asked her opinion, no one made her do anything that she didn’t want to do.

Alina hated nothing more than being forced to do what she didn’t want. And she loved risking life and limb the way she wanted; she would not have it any other way.

Then came the day the world fell apart. The day her perfect seclusion became an impossibility, and she wouldn’t realize it until too late.

It all started on a Monday, the most inconspicuous of days. She was at dewey decimal 790.81 when Rory, the city manager, cleared his throat at the bottom of the ladder.

She looked down. “Do you need a book?” It was shameful, but as Alina didn’t follow the politics closely, she didn’t recognize him in that moment. He worked in the building next door and rarely interacted with the daily public she reasoned later.

His mouth dimpled as he smiled in amusement. Her heart fluttered and she put her hand on her chest, blood rushing to her cheeks. Too much coffee, must be.

Rory responded to her question that she’d already forgotten, “No. You are Alina, correct?” he asked.

She nodded. He gave an encouraging smile. “Would you join me below?” Strange men at the bottom of ladders gave her pause. He saw her hesitation. “I’m Rory, the city manager. I just have a proposition for you, if you have a moment.”

Redder in the face now, she nodded mutely and awkwardly made her way down as he waited.

He motioned her to follow which she did, down the isle of the towering bookcases with sconces every few feet or so to light the way. Must be bad news if he couldn’t tell her except in private. Had she done something wrong?

Twisting her fingers she tried to remember anything she might have done to offend a patron or staff member, anyone in the city… Nothing. There was nothing she could have done.

He led her to Lacey’s office, the head clerk. They both sat down.

He steepled his hands and leaned forward, “It has come to my attention that you jumped the bookshelves to save a book from dropping on a patron.” Statement, not a question.

Yet, this couldn’t be the reason she was here. She had been doing such acrobatics since she’d been hired last year. She waited for the real reason.

He broke the silence then, “You have been known for this since you came, in fact last week you saved Demetri from the stacks when he became stuck in the law section and saved him from dropping to his death.”

Really, you may be wondering as a reader by now why Avaglade kept such a dangerous library, but that really isn’t important right now. Alina waited for the point. Climbing shelves was part of the job description.

“And it was your idea for the reorganization for different areas around the library which has increased user rates significantly.” Rory continued, “Really some of this is what we expect of our library pages, but Agnes seems to think there is more to you than the others. So much so, that she has recommended we offer you the assistant position at City Hall.”

The city manager’s chocolate dark curls fell onto his forehead as he set his chin in his hand as he looked at her, considered her, pondered her. “To be honest, I am still considering whether or not to offer you this opportunity.”

She said nothing. She didn’t know what city assistants did nor why they thought she’d be good at the job.

“I explained to Agnes that we have a rubric and test that you must past just like all the other candidates. They all have the degrees and schooling to be here. In fact, they have the degrees to be full-fledged workers in the special development of our city.”

Why he was considering her at all if that was the case?

“We are an unusual city, the only city where heights and flight for daily travel are the norm. We hold the jewels of the earth in our floating rock that keeps us among the stars.”

Alina was unimpressed. She grew up here.

He saw her unimpressed state and tilted his head, considering that maybe Agnes had a point for wanting her. “Agnes wants you for this particular assistant position as you will be working with her. That is why I’m considering you. Agnes works with the Elven Folk. In their realms as it were, the dangers are real. Many think that libraries are bound by these walls, but if that were so, we would be living in the Dark Ages like monks.”

She waited.

Her silence was refreshing from all the candidates he’d seen. Her very present silence compelled him to talk. A very good trait for an assistant. “Your tasks would take you beyond these walls and into the libraries of the other creatures of the realms below and above. You would be a vital part of extending the reach of the library and preserving new additions to our ancient library of the clouds. Of course, your tasks extend to whatever we would need of Agnes to do or perform as well.”

She still said nothing.

“Well, are you wanting to apply and accept the challenge of such a job?”

Alina sat before him. The job sounded exciting in a new way, and to be honest, her job wasn’t as exciting as when she first started. It wasn’t like she was at death’s edge every day. Not that the option was a present need in her life or anybody else’s. But still…with all those candidates, it was likely she wouldn’t get the job.

It was decided. For a bit of fun, she would try out for the job.

Her green eyes for the first time rose from the spot on his chest that she kept her eyes at and met his cerulean blue ones. “How do I apply?”

That dimpled grin rose again. Alina pressed her hand to her chest. No more coffee for her.


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Sea Siren: Chapter Eleven

Nivens, The Reluctant Deserter

As they walked the towering walkways to the loading dock, the floor rocked underfoot. Nivens muttered something about the gravity assists being offline as he followed.

Alice looked at him, “Gravity assists are for gaining momentum for space flight not for anything under water. What are you talking about?” But he just shook his head.

As they approached the hangar, men were jumping into the sub planes, some were already rolling down the runway that went straight into the water. 

Alice poked Niven’s side saying,“Nivens, which plane is yours.” 

Nivens jumped at her touch then glared at her and brushed off his side,“Ma’am, I am a medic.”

“I see.” Alice began walking to the nearest subplane.

Nivens blustered as he realized what she was doing. “I must protest. You don’t know how to operate a Glyder.” He actually sounded concerned for her.

“Is that what they’re called?” She kept walking and at the Glyder she stepped up on the wing and jumped into the cockpit.

The sight of the cockpit confounded her. There were some of the usual things like guidance and a handle for diving but the rest was completely alien to her.

Alice decided to ignore the alien elements for now and looked around. There was an extra seat behind her. As she settled in, she pondered a moment looking at Nivens, and then waved him up.

“No.” Fear evident in his face if not his voice.

“WhooOoooOoo!” A new alarm started. Nivens face paled.

Alice felt a grin tug at the corners of her mouth.”Let me guess, that’s the evacuation alarm.” His silence was a thousand words.

“Well, Nivens, it has been nice knowing you. Hope you find a way off this vessel.” She started pushing buttons to seal the glass like dome around her.

His face paled even more if that was possible. He cursed,”I knew I shouldn’t trust Merna. Stupid Goliath is just like the titanic. Say it’s unsinkable and the universe is against you!” He jumped and crawled up into the seat behind her just as the top began to rise up and over.

He whispered, “You know what you’re doing, right?”

She finished lowering the top and revved the engine and with a surge of confidence in her voice she said, “There hasn’t been a machine I couldn’t figure out…after a while.”

He moaned as she turned them to the runway and toward the water. Moments later they were hurtling down the column of water to the outside of the glowing blue vessel. 

Water rushed by bubbling over the glass. Except it couldn’t be glass because at these depths and this thin it would crack. They would implode.

She sure had a lot of questions. Including everything in the box. About her mom and this ancient civilization. Merna talking about cities made more sense now. The people weren’t still alive, right? They would have found them centuries ago. There weren’t any secrets left on Earth that big, right? 

The foreign tech in this glider said otherwise.

Ahead she saw the dark depths coming closer at the end of the tunnel. Then they were out.

A vast plain that reminded her of a chateau stretched out at length around them. The waving sea of glittering blue plants below gave a glow to the sea besides Goliath above them.

The majestic coral reefs she had seen almost didn’t compare the beauty before her. It mesmerized her – the flow, the vibrant glow.

Fingers entered her view and snapped, startling her. Nivens had leaned forward,”Stare too long and we’ll get nowhere. Get us out of here.”

“Nivens,” she pondered aloud, “my mom, Clara, her site was near here wasn’t it?” He nodded still up next to her and waved generally to the right.

“Now hurry, get me out of here!”

As they began to pick up speed, blue and purple with orange and green crackles exploded to light below them in the darkness.

The great lights sizzled on revealing a large plateau and the glowing blue Goliath still above them began to come down.

Men in tight diving suits were now crawling all over Goliath and looking to anchoring the monster to the plateau.

Far below on the plateau, men were drilling metal loops into the ground.

“How did they do that?”


“How did they get out of their subs, glyders, whatever and they’re wearing underwater gear?” Alice could see the open glyders feet away from the busy men.

Nivens smiled. His first real smile. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

She rolled her eyes. “I thought you said we were leaving? Why are they latching Goliath to the Chateau?”

Nivens was silent.

The men continued their work below and that was when Alice saw the small scattered holes in craggy spots across the plateau. Why were suited men were pouring out of them?

Then she repeated her earlier question to the apparently dumbstruck Nivens. “Why would they be evacuating Goliath if they’re latching it down?”

He was silent. Then simply said,”They wouldn’t. Take me back.”

Sea Siren: Chapter Ten


Alice sensed nothing before the whole room jolted. What in the world? Were they being attacked? Out of instinct she looked toward the large curved window.

Water swirled with hints of marine snow aptly named in the way the organic matter drifted to the bottom of the ocean. Feeding thousands of mysterious and strange creatures below. But now she was below. Deep below.

And something was out there. Hiding in the shadows.

She could feel it’s presence.

What was it? What did it want?

Ever since her encounter with the Kraken, she felt…off. Like she had an extra sense that had been turned on that she never knew about. Had the others felt this way? 

This extra sense extended out. And she knew. Something was out there and it was watching her. Waiting for her. She stood and walked to the glass and pressed her palm against it. 

She felt it coming closer.



Then behind her the doors swooshed open. Heart pounding, Alice spun to the person emerging.

A soldier, his uniform all black with this vessel’s emblem in red. Reedy and thin, he gave her an odd look, “You’re injured?”

 Alice spun back to the ocean but only the dark ocean depths stared back at her. The feeling was gone,“Um…” Maybe she’d hit her head harder than she thought?

At that moment, sirens pierced the air, “Weee Ooo Eee Ooo!” and red lights flashed. 

The blond young man looked only mildly annoyed at the blaring sirens.

“I’m guessing there’s an emergency,” she stated. “Do we need to be worried?” He indicated for her to sit on the chair she had just vacated earlier as he unstraped his medic kit and pulled out rubbing alcohol and cotton balls. She guessed not.

Reluctantly, she sat.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Nevins,” he answered. 

He sighed as he finally answered her earlier question, probably hoping she’d be quiet, “A storm, possible hurricane, is coming. But we are already on our way to safety. Too bad for anyone above. Hopefully your team made it back to shore by now. The winds are getting nasty.”

Her heart skipped. “What? But the weather was forecasted to be clear and-” He raised his brow at her as she pushed his hand aside. She started for the door.


She barely glanced back, “I need to know if they’re alright. If they’re still up there…then it’s my fault.”

He sighed, “Miss, it’s too late.” Alice paused at the door. He continued, “We’re bound for Mount Doom.” At her look, he added, “Not my word choice.”

Alice asked, “Is my submarine repaired?”

He walked over to her with the cotton balls, getting in her space, and started cleaning her head wound. Pain zinged to the tip of her nose in the most bizarre fashion as he poked at her head. 

“I’ll tell you if you promise to stay still until I’m done.”

All at once, she heard the large sub moan. A moment later under their feet, the sub swayed as the power was ramped up as the swarming waters pushed against its heading. The sea even at this depth in a storm was not a peaceful place. 

Leland, Zira, and the others were still at sea because of her and they would need help. Alice pushed his hands away, “With or without your help, I will find my way back to the docking area.” And she left the room. Quietly behind her, she heard Nivens follow after an annoyed sigh.

Disclaimer: I will be modifying this as I write. So nothing is cannon. Thank you for reading!

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Sea Siren: Chapter Nine


Present Day: London, England

 Julian began to scratch out notes on the board for his guest lecture at the Royal Institute when he felt a presence looming in the back. Finishing his note, he turned his head. Nothing. He turned back to the board. 

At the end of class people streamed out up the stairs. Julian straightened up the room and packed up. He began to follow everyone out when a man stepped out of the shadows. More like he creaked out of the shadows, the man was ancient. 

“Professor Julian Blackthorne? I’m Professor Alfred Butler,” he said.  

Julian tried to edge through the door. He had a flight to catch. He gave a small, polite smile, “Hello.” 

Professor Butler’s large eyes looked owlishly at him from behind large round glasses. His face had a comical absentminded-professor look. And he blinked at Professor Blackthorne before he continued on. “It is good to finally meet Clara’s husband. I was her professor, before the, well, the-” 

Julian’s smile disappeared. “What do you want?” 

The old man, surprised at the abruptness, said, “I wanted to inquire after Alice. I thought that after her internship off the coast of Australia at the Great Barrier Reef that she might like to apply to join my research team that will…” 

Julian didn’t hear the rest as those words echoed in his ears. Alice was at sea. He interrupted, “Did you say Alice is at sea? The Great Barrier Reef?” 

Again startled, Professor Butler said, “Why, didn’t you know?” He took off his glasses and pulled out his hanky. “I was so proud to hear that Clara’s daughter is following in her mother’s footsteps and has such a wonderful internship even though she has yet to graduate.” He looked down and began to polish his glasses. “Imagine! Exploring the Great Barrier Reef!” The old man’s eyes sparkled as he put his glasses back on. 

But the old man had been speaking to no one. Julian had left him there. 

Julian strode through the history filled rooms of The Royal Institution and out onto the busy streets of London.  He quickly found out where Alice’s college offices were located. Fortune was with him. They were one street over. He cut across to Dover Street. 

He shivered, cold from having been caught in the mist earlier. Julian used to pride himself on his readiness for life. Of late however, his mind’s focus had not been what it used to be with the worry stewing there. Now, Julian’s mind rarely registered minor details in life, except maybe to routinely check his app for the weather.  

However, today was not a day of readiness. He found Professor Leland’s office building, and he stood outside in the cold. It was, of course, locked. A mist began leading into a trickle and what would become a torrential downpour. He rested his head against the door and let out a breath. 

“Why Alice?” He breathed. 

“Professor Blackthorne?” 

Julian froze. Heat spread across his cheeks, and he turned. There stood the ancient professor’s head tilted with a small sad smile and an umbrella. One wondered how an old man got around so fast. 

Sensing his question, Butler replied, “All kinds of shortcuts in this rambling old town if you look.”  

He paused then stepped closer and held the umbrella over them both. “I’m guessing Alice didn’t tell you about the trip.”  

Actually she had told him about the internship, just not that it was at the Great Barrier Reef. 

“And why would she?” Butler continued. The old man walked over to the office door and pulled out a key. “She probably thought you wouldn’t let her go, I’m assuming. If I know anything about students, they all want to get away from home for the most part. Sneaky buggers,” he chuckled. 

Then the man continued,”Now, Professor Leland asked me to watch his office, but he never mentioned not going inside,” he wagged his bushy brows toward Julian and held out the key. Julian hesitated then reached for it. 

Alfred pulled back. “A moment, what exactly are you going to do? Run after her? Doesn’t seem you two are very close if she hasn’t confided in you about the trip.” 

Julian gave him a deadpan stare then turned and walked away. 

Alfred Butler was bemused, some students never grew up. “Blackthorne!” he shouted as the man’s long stride had already carried him down most of the street. Julian glanced back, face impassive. Alfred smothered a chuckle. 

“Have a care man, I cannot just open any professor’s door without understanding the reason.” He gave Julian a beseeching look. 

Julian nodded with an arched brow and walked back to the old professor and then gave him an evaluating look. “About a month ago I received a package.” Not an impressive start to any story. “From my dead wife.” Now that was a turn. 

At Alfred’s attentive gaze, Julian continued in his deadpan voice, “Receiving a package from the dead should be a gift, but for me… I thought my wife died at sea, and now, I’m not so sure.” 

Alfred’s brows drew together and created more wrinkles than any one person should have, “What exactly are you saying, Blackthorne?” 

Julian’s haunted eyes spoke of sleepless nights, “I received pictures. Pictures of creatures and pictures of the things they found near the Great Barrier Reef in the northern part of the Coral Sea. And a note. From my wife. She asked me to look into a few people and a business. So far it looks like they never existed. ” 

Julian started rubbing a thumb over his other hand massaging it. “I also haven’t heard anything about her research being posted so I started looking into that too.” At this he stared into the professor’s eyes seeking understanding. “Professor Alfred, I am finding that the government has classified everything. And now I learn that Alice may be near the area my wife was last alive and possibly where she died. I just want to make sure they aren’t anywhere near that area and nowhere near the creatures I’ve seen in those pictures.” 

Without a word, Alfred opened the door. 

Julian stepped across the threshold. The room had a preserved classic 19th century look. Along most of the wall were built in bookshelves. That part of the room broke the mood. Crammed books and papers were in every nook and cranny. Books covering topics on the ocean, seas, and other paraphernalia. But besides the current spines popping out here and there, the room was well preserved. 

An Oriental rug was orderly placed to cover most of the wood flooring. A massive wood desk was the center of the room with a large towering window behind it. To set it off nicely was a mother-in-law tongue plant next to it. 

Butler saw what he was eying and said,”I told him it was all I could do to take care of it and that the rest needed babysitters or I’d kill them.” 

Julian continued into the office. Walking around the desk, he stood there looking at the neat stacks of paperwork, not much else was there. 

Butler watched him,”What exactly do you think you were going to find here?” 

Julian’s hard blue eyes glanced up at him as he began to open drawers. “I am going to find their routes they’re planning, why they are going and what they are researching.” 

Alfred Butler’s wrinkles became deeper wrinkles as he frowned. “I’m afraid, my boy, that it won’t be there.” He came up to the desk. “What do you really think is out there, Blackthorne?” He waited until Julian looked up at him. 

Julian hadn’t planned on telling anyone, but he vaguely recalled Clara talking about working the field with Butler in the past, and he needed to talk to someone about his suspicions about Clara’s research at the Coral Sea. Suspicions about the government trying to clean up after some mistake. 

He had been quiet long enough that Alfred spoke up again, “Listen, Clara was like family to me.” He paused. “That means I’m willing to help you. I trust Clara would choose a good man.” He then walked over to an alcove with built-in bookshelves. He pulled on a book and the shelf opened. Behind was a simpler study room with one towering window, but that is not what grabbed their attention. 

Across the entire wall were pictures of sea creatures that were ancient and extinct, newspaper clippings, and pictures with strings connecting to different parts and areas. But what caught Julian’s eye was the newspaper clipping about Clara’s accident. “Wha-why would he…?” Julian trailed off. He started following the lines. 

Clara’s clipping was connected to… 

A spot in the middle of a sea map. “I thought you said they were exploring the Great Barrier Reef?” 

“What?” The old man seemed as baffled by the grand unfolding of connections on the wall as him. Julian had started to think he was in the know about everything, but Butler looked quite surprised. He replied, “Oh yes, that is what he told the school…?” His eyes followed to where Julian was staring. “Well. Almost right.” 

As their eyes started following all the strings and their connections, their analytical minds dissecting what was being implied, Julian pushed down his growing alarm. “Butler, Clara’s research has recently been classified, but all this here adds new dimensions to what I’ve learned from her notes-” 

“Blackthorne, look here’” Alfred pointed at something near the end. Julian walked over. The wall was covered in documents, most of them with government seals on them. Further down, however, was a picture of Alice. A string tied back to her mother’s accident. It didn’t make sense. Besides their relation, what did Alice have to do with anything? 

Julian looked at Professor Alfred. 

 “Professor Alfred, do you know any way to get us to the Coral Sea’s northern trench?” 

The old professor turned a grim face to Julian, “We can leave within the hour.” 

Disclaimer: I will be modifying this as I write. So nothing is cannon. Thank you for reading!

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Swift by R.J. Anderson:

Book Review by Julia Welker

Looking for a romp in the countryside with a dash of the ole magic thrown in? What if we add a piskey, a mysterious faery, and the possibility of other haberdashery? While this story didn’t stretch me emotionally or mentally, it did lead me on an adventure in a more traditional sense.

This is more of a thrilling read for all ages than a character driven story. If you are looking for a deep, emotionally moving story, this isn’t it, but if you want to experience the likes of Narnia and tales of old, this tale will be of the same thread. Adventure is in the air and the piskeys’ have stories to share, will you sit in to listen?

Dust by Kara Swanson:

Book Review by Julia Welker

The key to the captivation of this unwinding story is the spell of anticipation the author weaves over us that perhaps there is more to Claire than a dusty skin disorder. That maybe this disgusting disease is really something beautiful, that maybe Claire is something beautiful.

In fact we know that there has to be more when the boy of legend is mentioned, Peter Pan. A boy who has his own pixie who sprinkles dust everywhere in a fashion after Claire. And so the anticipation begins, when will Claire figure it out? When and how will she meet the boy of legend?

These are the story questions that captivated me and brought me back when I had thought I would put the book down after a slow beginning had waylaid me, but in the end, I had to know if she figured it all out.

This story is lilted with melancholy and some tough truths, but it lifts the heart and mind like you’re flying with pixie dust.

It’s Just Coffee: Chapter Three

The smell of coffee was baked in to the very walls of the mountaintop café and anyone visiting would be encased in it and for the day would smell of coffee.

Inside, steam like dragon’s breath curled up from the frothing pitcher of the dark haired barista. He carefully watched even though he could have steamed milk by the sound alone. Drinks were his art, his craft, and he lovingly poured, swirled, and created with his medium.

Second to his coffee crafting was his love of the people. He created to connect, to inspire. He lifted the mocha with his left hand and took a mocha bottle with the other and began to draw. He lifted his eyes to old Meelisa, the local grandmother, and grinned. “You’ll never guess what I’ve made for you today, Oba-chan.”

Behind Erik, the baristas were lively and prepping for the day’s work and expected customers. Meelisa’s old eyes twinkled as she sat on the red leather bar stool, “Erik-Chan, you humor an old lady well. I come not just for your wonderful art, but for your charming self.”

Behind Erik across the room, his mother came out, inspecting the baristas’ work. Her eyes narrowed when she caught sight of him at the espresso machine and the handoff bar. His heart sank as he anticipated the lecture and the rest of the day spent in office doing the business expected of the heir of the Lumeria Coffee Roasting Company.

Meelisa piped up after the wordless exchange between mother and son, “Don’t be afraid to stand up against traditions, Erik-chan. Some traditions are not meant to stay.”

He let a dimpled smile grace his face and he turned back to Meelisa, “Ah, but Oba-Chan, it is disrespectful and slightly selfish to ignore your parents, traditions, and the well-being of those under you.”

“Erik-Chan,” she admonished, “I see the love in your eyes for this work and the connection with the people. It would be disrepectful to ignore the gifts you’ve been given!”

Erik sighed, old Meelisa could freely talk, she was old and beyond the expectations of family.

Sensing his discouragement, old Meelisa continued, “Maybe you’re meant to take a different path than those planned out by those around you. I know you’ll find a respectful way to let them know if that is so. And…” she waited until he looked at her, “I know it is so. And you know, it is not disrespectful to at least try. Try for your dream. Ask, pursue!”

Erik slipped into familiarity, “Meelisa-chan, I do enjoy being a barista, but that is no life, as my mother says. A barista earns next to nothing.”

Old Meelisa looked sadly at him, “Our problems often stem not from having strong desires, but stem from our desires being too weak. We fool about with drink, sex, and ambition as C.S. Lewis says. Are you maybe too easily pleased to do as your mother asks? Are you really content with making mud pies and ignoring the opportunity of living a passionate life lived in the way you were created to be?'”

Erik laughed, “Oba-chan, you are over my head with all your reading and quoting.” His laughter died as his mother approached.

His mother gave pleasant smile to old Meelisa while quietly speaking to him, “Erik, we pay the baristas to make the drinks. I need you in the office working.” That was her soft warning. Not wanting a bigger mess on his hands, he nodded, eyes down, and began to wipe down his work station.

As his mother walked away, he looked over at old Meelisa, “You are making too much out of a small thing Oba-chan. I can be content with the path that has been given me. Isn’t that also part of life?”

A small smile on her lips, Meelisa replied, “God doesn’t limit our dreams. Often his dreams for us expand beyond our imaginations. I just hope you are open to what wonderful works he has planned for you.”

Sea Siren: Chapter Eight


It sat there. The worry. It had become a needy pet in Julian’s life, resting there at the back of his mind.  

Be calm, he told it. Be still, he told it. But slowly it began to chip away at his soul.  

There was a verse in the Bible that promised rest saying, ‘Be still and know that I am God’. But, Julian didn’t practice that anymore, didn’t know if he believed anymore, and so the worry sat.  

The worry’s arrival had come in a first class 2-pound package in the mail last month.   

From his dead wife.   

He didn’t know that you could receive mail almost a year after someone’s death. He sat there at their shared desk and house of 25 years.   

And he remembered.  

Nights filled quietly studying beside each other and rubbing each other’s feet and shoulders. Days spent with Clara showing him how to raise their daughter. Clara bringing joy and laughter to Alice in a way he never knew how.   

Gently, he pulled the string opening the package of his last communication from Clara. Letters peeked out. Gently he pulled them out. Her handwriting filled the vanilla page, and his soul weighed heavy in the middle. He could feel her entering the room, and he wrapped the pages in an embrace.   

They even smelled like her. Julian laid down the letters and began to read. He wasn’t aware of how long he sat there, but the sun was beginning to set when he rested his red eyes.  

He wiped both sides of his face before he looked inside the package. Nothing but the copies of all of Clara’s notes and data. Just like he had told her to do. 

Her letter had been like a warm blanket from the dryer. Comfort. Her writings weaved a sense of well-being while at the same time not leaving him fully satisfied.  

So then, rubbing at the pain in his chest, he grabbed the USB and opened his laptop and inserted it as he turned it on. In the last few minutes he had become an addict needing more. Her research was a link of sorts to her so the next few hours he dug in, her presence filling the room and his soul. 

However, despite her felt presence, he began to feel ill-at-ease at what he found in the copies of her last emails. Emails indicating danger. Then there was a document with his name on it. He opened it. 


If this finds you, …


And there it ended. That was all. Since that fateful day last month, he’d been searching. Searching, worrying, and finding nothing. 

Disclaimer: I will be modifying this as I write. So nothing is cannon. Thank you for reading!

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Sea Siren: Chapter Seven


Gone? What did that even mean, gone? 

She’d misunderstood. That had to be it. She hadn’t meant gone, gone. Alice waved away the dark thought and lengthened her stride to catch up with Merna. Authority in every step, Merna led her down a wood paneled corridor which widened and arched high above her, shadows encased the ceiling. For being underwater, they sure wasted a lot of space down here.  

Alice saw a sparkle in the distance, shimmering ahead of them was a golden leafed archway. Closer to it, a warm, fresh breeze brushed her cheek. Walking under the golden arch, all the brilliance of the light inside blinded her forcing her to raise a hand to shade her eyes.  The domed balmy area flowed with plants, flowers and fauna twisting and hanging in every place imaginable. An indoor greenhouse?

Water gurgled to her left where a stone wall stood twenty feet high and twisted off along a path leading into an indoor maze. Alice walked over touching it, cool water running over her hand. Was this really a government vessel? Were these people really some new division of the defense program?

Off toward the middle of the area Merna waited on a small bridge over a stream. Waving her to come, Merna led her to a far door matching the golden arch behind them. Down a few more hallways they ended up at the Captain’s office. 

Inside was a luxurious carpeted area with a post modern flare. The dark depths of the sea loomed through a concave window enveloping most of the far side of the room and around the edges there was an ever so faint glimmer of the vessel’s blue outer casing.

Merna indicated for Alice to sit as she herself sat on the matching blue sofa.

Alice settled uncomfortably into her seat. She still wore her white, roll neck sweater with blood spotting and her navy duffle coat, she was beginning to over heat. She shrugged out of the jacket.

Merna leaned forward on her elbows then steepled her fingers waiting as Alice put her jacket aside before saying, “So being Clara’s child, I’m sure you have questions.”

Alice gave a short laugh. She sure did. Alice relaxed and sat back, “So, Captain, you aren’t really connected to a government, are you?”

Merna raised a brow and a hint of a smile appeared, “Now Alice, what brought you to that conclusion?”

Alice looked down at her expensive cushioned seat and the vast window out into the sea then back at Merna, “These furnishings are not allowed in a government budget typically. Even a child,” pause for dramatic effect, “would notice.”

Merna considered her for a moment, “Let’s just say that we are a company with government support while here. And our most important question is how did you find us?” 

Alice leaned forward watching Merna, “I didn’t find you. You led me here.” Merna blinked, no other outside expression made it to the surface.

Merna replied after a small silence, “We did not lead you here. Tell me why you think that.”  

Now that Alice thought about it, the man who led her to them was garbed differently from Merna’s men. Actually, she had only really been able to see his general outline. A lighter black against a darker background. The man had vanished once the mammoth vessel had appeared.

Alice hesitated, unsure of the situation she was in. She spoke after a pause, “Well, in my affected mental state after the Kraken attack, I imagined I saw someone and then followed them down to your ship. The mental beating from the Kraken really shook me.” Not really a lie.

Merna mulled over Alice’s statement for a moment, “Did this person appear to be wearing a diving suit?”

A strange question. “Captain Merna, how could anyone be this deep not be wearing one?”

Merna cleared her throat then changed the topic, “I’m guessing that you are hoping to find out what happened to your mother.” 

Alice’s heart stuttered.

Merna sighed and turned to look out the window as if the truth was too hard to say, too hard to face. “We have recently found something to indicate what happened to her.” She turned back to Alice with a shimmer in her eye. The Captain did have emotions she thought just before the captain shot out, “A kraken got her.” 

Alice’s heart hardened, refusing the words. Merna might have known her mom, but Alice wouldn’t believe it, because she KNEW her mom. Mom was smart and resourceful and extremely cautious.  There had to be a different explanation. 

The Captain leaned forward. Her eyebrows drawn together. “Alice I wished I had a different answer. I wish it wasn’t these beasts. I wish they would go back to where they are from. They shouldn’t even be here, the bloody beasties.” The sudden savageness in her expression brought a coldness to Alice. 

Then a thought came to her and she had to know, “You’ve been hunting the beasts haven’t you? Because of mom, or for another reason?” 

Merna sat back, her gaze empty and cold. “Your mom had been on the team because of me. I would never have invited her if I had known about what we were going to encounter.” Alice’s last question she ignored.

Alice, remembering the beast, whispered, “They aren’t from here, are they?”  

A spark came to Merna’s un-patched eye. “The beastie talked to you, did it?” 

Alice never mentioned that.

Merna lowered her voice, “Those creatures certainly want us to believe that. The Krakens use images and twist their experiences to scare us away. Those beasties want us to believe a whole other world is down there in those depths.” 

She stood and walked up to the window peering into the water world beyond it, “What I know Alice is that we’ve woken the monsters and now we bear the consequences of dealing with them. The technology of these ancient people seems to give us a good idea of how to defend against and even hunt them.” 

Merna turned around, “I will kill everything down here. We will get all the resources we need from them, and we will dominate as man always has. What matters is what our people need. Their city and world and way of being is dead if it ever existed.” Her patchless eye showed her whole being was set on her cause. 

How could animals have a city? She spoke like the animals were a people group. And what did she mean about ancient people? She had mentioned ancient technology before. What had mom found down here? Alice gripped her hands together and buried her questions. But the questions kept bubbling to the surface. She was her mother’s daughter after all.

Merna continued passion ebbing in her voice into a reassuring tone, “Alice, these creatures will die for what happened to your mom, even if I have to lose another eye to them.”  

Alice’s heart-felt hopes began to waver. The captain truly believed mom had been killed. “Captain Merna, a body has not been found, right? You know mom is resourceful. Maybe she-” 

“No,” Merna was quick to interrupt, “We may have not found a body, but with her scuba gear in the belly of that beast…The stomach acid dissolves organic matter quickly. So the items we found are the only things that could survive.” Merna’s hard eyes took her in, considering Alice. She came to a conclusion. 

“Alice, if you can stomach it, I have what’s left of your mom’s diving gear,” she paused, letting that sink in. Alice’s stomach churned. But she forced her chin out. 

“Bring it then.” Respect rose in Merna’s gaze at Alice’s firm reply and she nodded. 

After Merna crossed the room, the door closing behind her, Alice’s heart felt like it was being pulled to the edge of a dark world where one never plans to be.  It crept. The darkness. Trying to cloud her vision and steal her hope again.

She whispered, “Something’s wrong here.”

It was in a box.  

Merna sat it down on the sofa. “Alice, I’ll give you time. I’ll check on you in a few hours.”  

Yes, Merna was giving her time. Time to accept what Merna had been trying to tell her all along. That Mom was gone. 

And the box sat on Merna’s sofa. 

Alice stood and stared down at the white box. The room was ice cold. She couldn’t even feel her trembling fingers touch the box. She lifted the white lid. 

Like her submarine, the equipment was scarred like it was burned and what little shreds of rubber were left were horribly disfigured. It left nothing to the imagination as to what happened to the human being wearing the equipment. Alice covered her mouth, stomach heaving and crushed the lid down in her other hand. After a breath, she collapsed on the floor by the sofa with eyes closed.  

Breathe in – breathe out. Breathe in – breathe out.  

Just breathe  Just breathe  Just breathe 

The counselor said the panic attacks or this feeling of drowning in her grief were common, were normal. You just needed to breathe through them. Breathe in, breathe out. 

“Breathe,” she whispered, eyes burning. A choked sob and whisper, “It can’t be true.” Yet the cold, hard evidence was literally in her hands. This had actually been what she’d been seeking. Closure. Opening her eyes, she focused on the wall of water telling herself not to cry, just face the truth, accept the truth. 

But this wasn’t right. It was too real, too wrong. 

It’s just a bad dream. Just a bad dream! She would wake up, and she’d be at her summer apartment. Mom would eventually call from her special satellite phone at sea. Dad would have her over for dinner and they would have their routine conversation and the world would be alright. She sank to the floor and buried her head in her arms to hide from the world, to hide from herself, and to hide from reality. 

After a time, Alice raised her aching, swollen head and saw more boxes at the door. She hadn’t heard any one leave them. She crawled over to them. 

Her sticky, wet hair was pasted to her forehead. Using her fingers to brush it from her face, she proceeded to wipe her nose and scoot closer. In black marker across the top was written, Clara’s research.  Merna must have thought this would help bring closure, seeing what her mom had left behind. Opening the box, she gripped the edges as another sob attempted to waylay her. Alice whispered tightly, “It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fiiiine.” Breeeeaathe. 

A heaving breath out and it began to pass, the tightness in her chest.

Then Alice began to look. 

She made herself look. 

The boxes were full. Full of mom’s notes, piles and piles of them and pictures of the underwater dig site. Deep inside of Alice something sparked at pictures of the ancient city that was being revealed. A “something” that she thought was dead. Alice pulled out the next pile. It contained sketches of monsters and blurry pictures of a beast that made her heart skip. It was him, the kraken. Mom had been close enough for pictures? Why had she stayed if she knew? 

Alice began to study the notes. Mom was a master maritime archaeologist but organizing notes required great effort from her. She tended to save doing it until the end. As she waded through all the information, she found notes from dad. His writing she could barely understand. His writing was even worse than mom’s. And Dad liked taking notes on his I-pad by hand. It appeared that Dad had been helping mom translate the language. Apparently it was a relative to Greek and Latin with strangely a script likened to Chinese characters.  

That must have been fun. Alice felt envy peek its head. Why hadn’t they asked her to help them? Knowing dad, he would never have thought to mention it to her. Shrugging it off, she moved on.

Something glinted in the corner of the box, separate from everything else, like it wasn’t meant to be there.  Reaching towards it, Alice realized it was a slim video cam. Flipping the screen open, she turned it on and waited for it to power up. 

Beep Beep Beep.

Immediately a video began to play.

“Julian, Ian?” 

Alice’s breath stopped short. She gave a small cry, “Mom?”

“Hello! Guys, don’t leave me hanging here.”

Smiling through her tears, Alice walked over to curl up on the blue cushioned seat, cradling the video cam in her hands close to her face.


Leaning into the camera, her blonde haired, blue-eyed mom adjusted the tilt and leaned back. 

“Clara, we’re both here,” Julian’s voice cracked softly on the audio.

Clara’s smile softened, “Hi, honey. I’m so glad we were able to connect. The island’s WiFi isn’t as reliable as I’d like.” The view screen split all at once. Clara, Julian, and Ian were quartered to all be viewable.

“Where’s Dr. Drew?” Ian asked.

Just then the bottom right corner flickered and a nose and large mouth filled the small corner screen.

“Uhh…? Dr. Drew?” Clara leaned forward with a smile. “Dr. Drew, try leaning back.” The large face shrunk to normal size and they saw an older gentleman in button up shirt and bow tie beaming at them.

“Oh my, I’ve figured it out. Alfred Butler take that! I told him it would be easy.” The older gentleman chuckled. His face however was upside down. No one seemed inclined to let him know.

Clara laughed, “Tell Alfred that Clara says hello.” 

The conversation continued like this. They had apparently gathered to help Clara as she was stumped on what she was uncovering at the dig site, and there was a strange lack of pottery that tended to pepper these ancient sites. 

As Alice listened in to the recorded conversation, the group dug further and further into each item with her mom jotting down notes. They were concluding that the strange artifacts were definitely man-made but they weren’t able to make heads or tails of them. It was all too alien. 

“Clara, maybe they are activated by water? This civilization was by the sea most likely. I know, I know, I’m crazy, but just humor me.” Julian’s intent gaze peered at Clara with a small grin. Dad? Being the imaginative one? Alice touched the screen. She missed dad’s smile.

Clara walked away from the screen and came back with a black formed object with something sticking out that looked like a ballerina, like a little mechanical toy.  Clara had been unable to puzzle out how it was supposed to work. But now, she grabbed a cup of water and going against all procedural processes and trusting my dad, she drizzled water over it. 


Clara gave a faint smile, “I’m sure you already thought of this, but it came out of the water.” 

Julian nodded, “Okay, now, press the buttons or whatever you did before.” Clara tilted the delicate dancing girl on it’s side and the screen showed a script of its side. “Wait, Clara, what’s that script say?” 

“Hmm…Dear, I think we will have to decipher this language, because I have no idea.”

The call continued that they’d meet up again after some headway had been made on translation. No doubt that was the key to figuring out how their technology worked, for this particular piece anyway.

Ian and Dr. Drew left, giving mom and dad their time.

“I’m so excited for you, Clara. This is the find of the century for sure.” His tender gaze embraced her mom. Alice’s heart ached. Where had this dad gone?

“Julian, I wish both you and Alice could be here. But it is good for Alice to make friends and break out on her own.” Her dad nodded, but after a moment, Clara narrowed her eyes. “What is it, Julian?” Mom had an uncanny ability to read emotions, and it felt like she could read your thoughts. She was such an empath if such a thing existed.

Julian dropped his gaze. “Alice came over last night.”

Clara waited, “And?”

“I miss her. Having her home.” He wouldn’t look up.

A smile inched across mom’s face.

“Julian, are you pouting?” She started laughing. His face went red. Alice was dumbfounded. “Okay, Julian, I’m sending you a letter with all the activities that I can think up for you to do with Alice. And Julian?”

She waited until he looked up. “Tell her. She won’t know what you are feeling or thinking if you don’t tell her.” He looked like she’d asked him to pull out all his teeth.

“Clara,” was all he said.

Her tender gaze embraced him through the screen. Alice suddenly felt like she had invaded their privacy. She began to move to turn it off when her dad finally broke, “I just think, she’d rather be anywhere else but with me. I think not being there is the best thing for her.”

Alice’s stomach clenched. Is that what he really thought? Why had he never talked to her?

“I’m going to stop you right there. Your daughter loves you. She needs you, even if you don’t see it. Now, mister, you are being assigned to make a movie date with her at home. Make popcorn. You know the fun popcorn with Nacho Cheese that you like, okay?”

He nodded. Then after a few ‘I love yous’ they signed off.

Alice let the memories come. She faintly remembered dad trying to make a movie night together, but something at school had come up. Her heart began to ache. She’d never realized dad was so insecure about how much she needed him.

All of a sudden, the video started up again, all by itself then darked, crackled and sparked. Alice stood up holding it away from her body. A small beep beep… crack. The glass screen shattered.

What? Alice stared blankly at the broken screen. Then it felt like she’d lost something. Something she’d been yearning after for a long time.

She flipped the vidcam over. There was a sticky note. Someone had jotted down with speed. Find the emails. And that was it. Nothing else.

Alice looked around herself. How long had she been here? Would Merna come barging in soon? She must have been in here a while. No doubt Merna would be back any moment. 

She grabbed the box she’d left by the door and set it on the chair.  She slid the broken vidcam into her zippered pocket thinking maybe she could fix it then dug into the box.

Flipping through the papers, Alice found the emails stuffed at the bottom.

The first email seemed okay. It was just an update on findings. The second however her mom was requesting the Navy to be present if they were to continue. The third requested that they end the project until all sonic blasts had ceased within a 1000 mile radius. The fourth demanded action and that she would be closing up the site that week and that if they continued they would be endangering more than just this area. They could possibly be endangering the world.  That was the end of the emails. It was dated the week mom had disappeared. 

Alice knew the government had been the funding behind the project, right? Why hadn’t they taken her seriously? Who would really ignore the head researcher and why? And did Merna put these things in the box? Why would she be so cryptic? She didn’t seem the type. But the most disturbing part, what did mom mean about danger? What danger could there be in the Coral Sea that could possibly impact at a global scale?

Disclaimer: I will be modifying this as I write. So nothing is cannon. Thank you for reading!

NEXT: Sea Siren: Chapter Eight

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