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Dark Water

Author(s): Lila Rain Ekstrom

After a climbing accident leaves Theadora Solitander prey to crippling headaches, she takes refuge on isolated lighthouse station Foulweather Island. But soon something ghostly and malevolent begins to consume her very soul, and its hunger will not be slaked until she sacrifices herself to it.

        Theadora must summon all her lost strength to defeat the seductive evilbefore it drags her to her death in the beckoning, dark water.



Night fell over Foulweather Island. Inky clouds swelled up over the horizon, bringing a persistent wind. The light weakened until only the sound of the sea and wind remained--sound punctuated by the occasional shudder of the very rocks as a massive swell smashed against them.

John Mason had not come. The windows in my cottage did not have a clear view of the lighthouse, and when I looked out my door there was no light visible through the tower's glass dome. If the intruder--I thought of him that way--was inside and awake, he was as unobtrusive as I wanted him to be. I wished only for him to finish lighting the great lens and to leave. I felt sure John Mason would not be back while the stranger was on the island, and the feeling made me resent the intruder even more.

Mason gave me a sense of safety and of belonging--to the sea, the island, to the salt air and writhing fog that blurred the distinction between ocean and land. He brought coolness and a sweet dulling of the everyday. He made me forget my past and my fear of migraines.

Yet part of me understood that John Mason did not exist.

When the morning's downpour lost strength I pulled my coat back on and went for a walk, settling finally on the northwestern rocks that formed the only slope to the surging ocean's surface. The rest of the island dropped in jagged cliffs, unguarded by railings.

It was easy to imagine things in the water. Whitecaps looked like spouting whales. Drifting logs looked like bodies. Fishing floats looked like drowned divers. Flotsam in a kelp bed looked like flailing people struggling to escape their gigantic net. And always, living beside the overwhelming sea, I half-expected something monstrous to arise dripping, hungry for dry land.

The roiling, mysterious water was making me nervous. I clambered up the slippery rocks and when my eyes rose above the edge, there were two boots planted level with my face.

Reflex jerked me away from the boots. At the same time, the boots jumped back. As I scrambled, windmilling, for a grip, my head dropped back and I saw the face above the boots. His eyes were wide and his mouth open. In the second before I fell, he lunged at me, shouting something I could not understand. It was the intruder.

The tide seldom reached the rocks I had been sitting on, but they were washed with centuries of spray and their black surfaces were slick with slime and water. They were slippery, yet cruelly hard. Another second passed in slow motion as my legs and body and arms pounded on the rocks. I didn't feel pain. I was too busy desperately scrabbling for a handhold. My hands found only stone--then I clamped my fingers around a stub of a coarse plant and I hung by one hand, feet digging into a crevice.

The intruder's body stretched over the edge. He grabbed at my hand, but couldnt reach me.

"Grab on!" he shouted.

"No! I can't let go."

He held both arms to me and told me again to take his hands, and I said No, or meant to, but no sound came out of my mouth. Then my foot lost its tenuous hold in the rock crevice and just as the woody stem pulled loose, the boulder under my belly started to shift.

I screamed.

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-4543-0050-2
Genre: Fiction
Date Published: 04/21/2011
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing

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