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?”

“What?”

“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

EXTRA SENSES

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.

Closer.

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.

“Miss.” 

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

KRAKENS, SQUIDS, AND MONSTERS, OH MY

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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Sea Siren: Chapter Eight

LAST MESSAGES

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. 

Julian, 

If this finds you, …

Clara 

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

TO BELIEVE OR NOT TO BELIEVE

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. 

Nothing.

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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Sea Siren: Chapter Six

BEASTIES

Water dripped on her arms and head from the hatch as Alice climbed out. A surreal golden glow filled the area. Where was the light coming from? She heaved herself up and out, feet searching for a hold. Her foot found the first sawtooth rung embedded in the side of the hull. Under her hands the metal of the submarine was cold to the touch, and the cool air outside the sub woke her.  

This was real. 

The murmuring of the pilots reached her from below around her sub. Then at the clack of Captain Merna’s step approaching they snapped to attention.  Alice would snap to attention too.  

Captain Merna towered over all the men, her muscular frame carrying her with ease through the crowd, hard eyes taking in the battered submarine. Alice noted the new addition of a black patch over her right eye. 

She felt the urge to stay high and keep the advantage, to keep distance between her and reality but it was a false advantage.  

Captain Merna spoke without turning to her second in command. “Get Cretan on these repairs. It looks like one of those mind-speaking Krakens again. Have the men check the border of the trench for it. And I want this sub to be sea worthy, so that we can get it back to the research vessel. Then put out a warning to the coast guard – No civilians are to be in the area.” 

Alice froze from putting her foot down to the next foothold. So they not only knew about the Kraken but had encountered them before. They spoke as if it was common to bring back vehicles in this condition. How did they know it was a Kraken from the damage?  

Alice looked closer at her sub as she went down to the next foothold. Etchings almost like burned, molten marks seared the sides. Her heart went cold. If it had touched her… 

Merna herself traced the marks as she spoke up to Alice, “Looks like you encountered quite the beastie.” Merna met Alice’s gaze after she dropped the last foot to the metal floor. 

 Not one easily surprised, her one eye widened in that moment, “Clara..” she whispered.  

Then Merna spoke to her lieutenant in a softer, yet still brisk tone. “Lieutenant, I’m taking her to my office for questioning. Get Nivens, the medic, for me.” Then she was back to her brusque self and turned about face. 

Saluted by the men, Merna walked away long legs covering ground faster than Alice’s legs ever would. Alice jogged to catch up, her heart racing from the exertion or more likely from hearing her mom’s name on the Captain’s lips. What did Merna know? 

Last year, Captain Merna had visited when Alice was at school. Alice had seen her leaving. No one could forget a person like the Captain. But why had they chosen her to inform their family about the end of the search? That mom was officially left for missing? 

And then…Merna must have known her mom. Being the mirror image of her mom easily confused people. 

How had the two known each other? 

They passed from one hallway into another when the left wall ended. A vision of massive blue coils glowed in the middle of a drop that had to go down for a mile. It also extended to the ceiling with what felt like an infinite height. 

Alice slowed, mouth parting in surprise. “Wha-What is this?” She stepped closer to the railing and let her eyes drop. 

It was like a dream. People milling on other floors could be seen in all levels down to a small point that could barely be seen below. Magical, how it glowed. 

Merna slowed looking back at Alice. A grin took over her solemn face. She stepped to the edge too, and looked down at the glowing blue coils. “Magnificent, isn’t it? We have Clara to thank for this.”  

On all levels everyone seemed to be working relentlessly. There was a gentle hum to the noise of people communicating and operating machinery. 

Alice stood there staring down as Merna continued, “Because of her discovery of ancient artifacts and technology our scientists were able to decipher, reverse engineer and build upon the technology to bring this ship into existence. There was so much more down here that she would have been so excited to be uncovering-” 

Alice interrupted, “Do you think mom is still alive?” Mom wouldn’t have liked her interrupting but she wanted to, no, she needed to know. 

Merna’s face shuttered. She spoke with the care of one choosing words delicately, “Alice, we weren’t able to reveal our findings in the last year due to confidentiality surrounding our current state of affairs but your mom didn’t disappear. She is gone.” 

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Sea Siren: Chapter Five

FLYING IN THE DARK

Darkness. Inky black. Ash. No name seemed to fit the death color that surrounded her sub. Nothing should be able to live down here, and yet, her heart still beat with hope mixed with excitement. It had to. Otherwise, it would stop. For who could live without hope? 

Sometimes she felt like she was missing something. A piece. It made her feel like a ghost of the real Alice. Something broke in her the day they’d stopped searching for mom, and Alice knew it needed fixed, yet no one knew how to help. 

So Alice persisted. She took the internship. She traveled in this sub to the trench.

Now for the first time, she was beginning to feel alive. Her curiosity sparked and her excitement of the unknown urged her on to follow this strange man further into the trench of the Coral sea. 

Finally the fuzziness she’d been feeling began to disappear and life began to sharpen into focus, to have purpose. She was beginning to feel alive again. That’s what it was. Having a near death experience really prioritized life. Above the sea before, it was like she was just doing life because that is what you were supposed to do. 

But now. 

She was here. A place where she might begin to understand, to accept, to grieve. This was the hope of purpose she was looking for. A hope to live and have life.

It was time, Alice thought. Time to understand what happened to mom so that she could accept it. Accept it so her heart would be at peace to live again. And maybe that was what Dr. Leland had seen in her, and wanted for her.

Before her, the sea began to lighten.  Alice let the sub level out. Before her the ghostly figure continued to propel himself by the power of his trident. He put the head down and the spears whirled pushing him faster, deeper. His waves thundered against her own submarine, and she pushed on the throttle to keep steady through the onslaught. Her legs trembled as she tried to hold her body steady, to hold her hope steady. Her hands trembled. Hopefully the shell shock of earlier would wear off.

Where was this guy going? 

In a swirl of bubbling water, he disappeared from the reach of her lights. Fading into the darkness that ate everything. Darkness that devoured hope, devoured dreams. Now, her heart trembled along with her hands as she pressed into that darkness. Hope still lurked on the precipice of her soul. Likely it would be what killed her. 

As the water rushed against her sub, Alice realized that it wasn’t the man who was creating the current. Something else had. Something large. 

And then, there it was. 

It was huge. Such a small word to describe a massive vessel that was so large that even leaning into her dome window, she couldn’t see the sides, top or bottom. They faded into the black depths of the sea.  

The mass of it weighed into her soul, her hands stilled, and her breath steadied. Such a curious effect. Realizing one’s own smallness tends to affect one in a myriad of ways. If there were such large things in this world, it felt like her problems were more manageable. Though if she tried to explain what was going on in her body at the moment, she would have no words. 

The whirring of massive engines echoed and vibrated the sea around her, glowing a dim blue. She couldn’t figure out how it glowed. 

Staring up at it, Alice was unaware of the oncoming mini subs. One moment she was drifting alone and the next she was surrounded by them. They looked for all the world like airplanes with the exception that they were underwater. The one closest to her had a blond man with a military haircut. He pointed at her, then himself, then toward the ship.  

He wanted her to follow him. 

In the background, the alarm for the air recycler failing went off. What choice did she have, really? She nodded. 

They zoomed down toward the underbelly of the massive sea vessel. It took awhile. And she followed him down. They made their way to an opening in the bottom that curved in and then up the metal column inside. 

They were going up and up. The metal glowing a faint metallic blue like the outside. 

It felt like they would never reach the top, when pop! The surface of the water hit fast. 

She popped high on the inside hanger before plopping back into the water. Above her arched a ceiling, and it felt blimp-like in structure. The circle of water splashed against the metal sides. All around her were runways which ran in all directions.

How was such a structure possible? All down the sides of the runways were submarines and…planes? There was no technology to have such a large vessel this deep. Yet, here it was. 

What was this place?  

A line of uniformed men jogged toward the opening that she and the other mini-subs were floating in. Alice’s eyes narrowed. The Navy? But wait, the emblem was different. It looked like a mix between the Navy and the Air force. Were they making a new program? She knew next to nothing about the government’s defense programs and the members in it, but she was pretty sure these guys shouldn’t exist. 

In that moment, her sub shook as something clamped down on it from above. Alice leaned forward looking up. A large crane had latched on. Yep, she was totally about to be boarded or rather deboarded. She sat back into her chair. All the other little airplane-like subs were being hauled out as well. 

Alice was already practicing her story. She had just been collecting samples when she’d been attacked by an impossible, mystical creature that should never have existed. Then she followed one of their men to their ships before they brought her aboard. 

As they were settling her sub onto a hold, Alice saw a woman approaching. She stopped practicing her story. It was the woman who had told her family that her mother had disappeared at sea. 

Next: Sea Siren: Chapter Six

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Sea Siren: Chapter Four

MAD AS A HATTER

Kalin knew Alice was crazy. But this was bordering along the lines of Kamikaze.

Though the line connection had failed, they had a new shortwave transmitter installed last minute by him that sent small bits of information, just enough that they knew that she had turned off everything in the ship and then began to slowly sink deeper into the sea. That is – that seemed her direction before that signal had been cut as well.

Kalin squatted and stretched on the long deck of the research boat, getting his wetsuit situated. No one took notice of him. Everyone’s focus was on the fact that they had lost contact with Alice.

He pulled on a completely clear helmet made of some type of human material that could withstand the depths below. Little did they know he didn’t need it, but for the sake of staying unnoticed…

Kalin stood hooking on the rest of his gear. He had known by the last bits of info that came through that he’d have to go down for her. She didn’t care to give him the time of day, but now, she wouldn’t have a choice.

A flash out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. There, brewing on the horizon, was one of those rare storms of the centuries.

Just as he jumped off the back of the anchored ship, one of the students called out, “Kalin!”

Clearly not heard, the student turned to a pensive Leland, “See, I told you. There’s a reason his name is Mad Hatter. He really thinks he can bring her back before that storm rolls in.”

Leland grimly turned back to his radio. “Anything that brings her back.” The radio crackled and he began to broadcast their dilemma hoping for anyone that may be able to help.

Kalin drifted down, sensing the ocean farther than any human. He felt her path into the depths so he angled his body and kicked. Already the sea writhed around him in anticipation of the storm. He pulled out a golden rod that extended. He’d had it since he’d been stranded as a young Meridian with the humans. The golden rod grew three prongs at the end before spinning at his feet to propel him faster. He wasn’t afraid of the bends which humans suffered from. The question would be if he’d be able to get Alice back fast enough.

Around him the water shimmered to his eyes. This was home. He understood it and knew that taking Alice deeper may end up being their only solution.

He sighed. If only they had started off on better terms. Maybe she would trust him more.

Ten Minutes or so later…

If he hadn’t had this infernal helmet on, he would have smelled the Kraken before he had been whip lashed by the tentacle. 

The sound reached him milliseconds before his right side was hit by what felt like a bus. He flipped end over end. Somehow he had miraculously kept his grip on his trident (* give it a new name). Darkness edged around sight as he swung the trident around to spin and freeze his rotating momentum. His stomach in his throat as he gained his balance, he narrowed his eyes and focused his hearing, letting his nocturnal side rise. Then he saw it clearly.

Alice in the grip of the Krakatura as his people called it. He whipped his trident up with the triple end pointed at the Krakatura, but as he was about to send it into the guts of the creature. It jerked and writhed in deep pain. Kalin could smell the electric volts from here.

He smiled. Alice, while inexperienced, she sure knew how to make up for it. He could see why Leland put so much faith in her.

Lowering the trident, he swayed watching the Krakatura tumble away and then he saw her sitting there, shell shocked.

By this time the sea above would be too turbulent to take her back. The only option left was to take her down. He only hoped he could use her curiosity against her better judgement. Staying in the shadows, he gestured for her to follow. 

His grin grew when she did.

NEXT: Sea Siren: Chapter Five

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Sea Siren: Chapter Three

Ancient Creatures of the Deep

It didn’t work. 

Alice should have popped to the surface like a cork. She flipped the switch again. Then again and again. Nothing.

Still in the grip of the monstrosity outside, her head numbed by its shrieking, Alice grabbed her controls and yanked. The submarine engine revved and then abruptly jerked to a stop. The screeching stopped.

She was firmly in its grip.

Head pounding, Alice yanked again at the controls. Getting away had just become more important than preserving the submarine and its instruments.

Wait. The instruments. She looked to her right. There lay a board of controls used to gather samples. One of them was an underwater torch. The question was would it turn on with only the battery backup power?

Alice leaned over and slowly turned the dial at the right edge of the panel. The switchboard lights blinkered and flickered. Alice turned the dial the rest of the way and the lights settled. She sighed. It worked.

Alice pressed a sweaty hand to her boiling hot forehead and rubbed a knuckle into the aching sinus, closing her eyes. Now if only her idea would work.

Cracking an eye open, Alice focused on recalling the uses for the hundred or so switches. Her fingertip came to a rest about the middle of the board. Found it. Cla-chink!

Alice heard the wheels and cogs turning, grinding and whining from the edge of the dome. Then she listened with a heavy heart as it squealed to a higher pitch and whine before all activity and sound died. 

Red and yellow lights pulsed failure to her bleary eyed gaze. Alice resisted the urge to pound the control board. “It’s a proven fact, Alice, beating the equipment doesn’t work,” she reminded herself.

Just then the creature cried out, vibrating the air around her. Her hands shot to her head again as lightning pain streaked through her head. Muscles tightened in her neck nausea hovering at the back of her throat. Had her mom gone through a similar experience? Her sub had vanished with no clues as to what happened. Would she simply disappear too? 

As the creature’s shriek subsided, color returned to her vision and her eyes were able to focus. What Alice saw was the depth meter increasing. Not Good. “More like Not Alive and soon,” she muttered.

In her mind’s eye, she imagined Zira and the others shaking their heads knowingly. They thought she wasn’t experienced and knowledgeable enough. Then she thought of Dr. Leland. He has risked trusting her. He’d bet on her. She knew he had.  

Over the month before this trip he’d invested in her life in a way only her mother had. All her grades were salvaged due to his persistence in his pestering. She had needed help, and he’d been there. And now she was failing him. Failing him, like her father had failed her.

She was afraid to be just like him.

And she remembered that day. It was her last visit with her father. She had needed him so badly that day, and yet, as he met her gaze there was no emotion, no comfort.

She was alone, and he’d walked away.

The sludgy gray skin of the creature squelched across the window snapping her eyes to it. The creature went silent.

Alice didn’t want to be her dad. Didn’t want to leave people. Didn’t want to fail them. Yet here she was. Her watery eyes gazed dully at the creature’s rubbery body. Then it hit her, and she slapped the dashboard, “Ha!” Then gave a regretful groan as the sound echoed painfully in her head. 

“Just move on,” Alice lurched out of her seat painfully and half jumped to the wall below.

Soon she found what she was looking for, a little hidden panel. Now if she could electrify the hull…

Alice found rubber gloves, cut the correct wires and ripped open the floor giving her direct access to the hull of the ship. She paused. The sub creaked with the sway of the ocean. It was time. Alice rammed the cable down, touching the hull.

The life tearing screeching began, and Alice cried out trying to wrench the cable back as she felt something wasn’t right. But it was no use. 

All at once it was as if their minds were in sync. So many images flashing through her mind. Unrecognizable. She was tasting other worlds, feeling a foreign sea, and talking to alien animals. 

Alice was the creature. 

The creature in a harsh new world and encountering a bright creature with electricity in its veins. Such a strange creature that seemed hollow inside. 

That’s me, Alice thought, right before the submarine was violently thrust away.

The creature moaned and an invisible current pulled at it. Whatever body part was gripping the sub fell from the window. Finally her exterior lights shone to reveal swirling dark water all around the sub. She had been taken to deeper depths, and she saw no end. No bottom.

She’d entered the trench.

She was alone in the glow of light encircling her. Or maybe not. Her gaze caught  movement.

At the edge of her exterior lights, she could see a faint figure off in the distance and holding a glimmering weapon like a staff. It had three points at the top. Kind of like…a trident.

Below him the creature was falling. Like a drunk pot-bellied large man, the sludgy creature rolled away a trail of black ink swirling down with it to the depths below.

The man figure swayed with the ocean, paying no mind to the creature. His focus on her sub.

He watched her for a moment then gestured for her to come before he swam down into the murky black depths. Was what she had just seen a figment of her imagination? Something created from the mental torture she had just endured?

Alice wanted to follow him. Wanted to discover if there was more. More to the sea and more to the mystery around her mom’s interest here. She’d been so secretive about it. Still fear or common sense tried to whisper to her. The man-like figure was swimming in about the same direction, she warned herself, as the creature.

Even now, her hands still trembled, body still felt in sync with the rhythm of the sea, still felt like a fish in the wrong ocean. Would her father have risked it? Would he even care about what mom had been so involved in? But he was a stranger to her now. No doubt he wouldn’t even care that she was at sea. She waved the thought away. 

A strange excitement, child-like in nature, welled within her as she gazed at the man with the softly glowing trident. A type of wonder that she hadn’t known was there, beating quietly below the surface. A wonder that was present in most if they just looked.

Did she follow the man? What was her carefully considered and thought out choice in all of 32 milliseconds?

Alice of course followed the rabbit down the hole.

Next Chapter: Chapter 4

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Sea Siren: Chapter Two

World Upside Down

It wasn’t the cracking that woke Alice, but the first droplet of water hitting her face. She gasped, blinking rapidly as she instantly woke. Somehow she was lying on the back wall of the sub. 

Alice put her hands to her face taking a deep breath and ran her fingers through her hair. Above her was the dome window. Nothing was to be seen outside. Only blackness beyond. She squinted at it but it just blurred before her eyes.  

Around her everything was colored in a bluish haze from the backup lights. Here and there tiny yellow and red lights blinked their small emergencies. 

Quickly she blocked more droplets with her hand. Then she froze. Where was the water coming from? 

She jerked up, body crying in pain, and groaned. Just bruises, she told herself as she achingly moved.

Once she was steadily on her feet and the swaying had stopped in her own head, she awkwardly stood on the curved back wall of the sub staring at the acrylic window above.  

No visible cracks.  

She waited. 

She lifted her hands and gripped the seat hanging just above her head, knuckles whitening. As she waited, the tension was unbearable. She closed her eyes, whispering, “Father God, please don’t let that be a crack. Please, please, please.” 

Looking back up, she noticed the blood trailing down her hand. Slowly, she brought the hand down. No cut. Then lifted her hand to her aching head, grimacing when she found a spot on the right side. Probably just a scratch…

Then another water droplet fell, and its sound echoed in the silent chamber she was entombed in. Her eyes drawn to the new ceiling and heart thudding, Alice wiped the blood off her hand and pulled herself to the side of the sub. She started climbing. 

How had she even ended up sideways? Submarines were bottom heavy which kept them up right. This had to mean she was probably on land, but then why did she see nothing but darkness outside, and what about the water? 

Life was upside down and made no sense. Front and back were now literally up and down. 

Alice had just hooked a knee up onto the seat after crawling up on the side wall when the sub jerked. Alice flew back into what had once been the ceiling and fell down to the back wall and lay there, all breath gone before sucking it back in coughing. 

For whatever reason the sub was moving and not by its own engines. As she lay there breathing she felt the submarine pick up speed, and it moaned beneath her. A memory slithered its way into her mind. The bright light approaching the sub. No breath, but not from lack of oxygen. The humming noise. And then…she remembered. 

The monstrosity. Trembling Alice slowly shook her head. No, just no. She put a hand to the hull and shoved herself up off the ground, stumbling to stand.

Looking up, her mouth flattened. This was her sub. She decided where it went. 

This time she kept each foot hold firmly and made her way towards the control system above. Pulling herself swiftly if not confidently up the side to avoid falling again, Alice made great time. At last, she swung into the seat and buckled herself in.  

Grabbing the controls, she noted a red light blinking to indicate that they were at depths that the submersible wasn’t meant for. A grim smile. Well, she was still alive. And if the water had been a leak, she would have been dead by now. Praise the Lord for the soundness of the submarine. She prayed it would keep. 

Another little yellow light caught her eye. The sub was on battery power. The main electrical engine would need safety checks. Her eyes roved the control board full of blinking lights. All would be fine until she dealt with the current situation. 

Focusing on the dome window, Alice switched on the exterior lights…nothing. But then, the black and gray colors slowly began to shift. 

A rubbery, sludgy sound grew as it slid across the window enveloping and echoing around her.  

Alice’s skin crawled. She reached for a hidden casing below the dash. She had never thought there would be a reason to use it. Again, it seemed she was wrong. Opening it she felt the black switch inside.   

For a moment, her hand hovered. Then a high pitched cry tore through her ears. Pain pierced her, she arched her back and her hands shot up to her head. The sound was in her, part of her, tearing at her. There was no other choice. 

She flipped the switch.


Next: Sea Siren Ch. 3


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