Deep Blue (The Mermaid Chronicles Book 1)

BOOK: Deep Blue (The Mermaid Chronicles Book 1)
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DEEP BLUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.
Turbett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Jake

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

5

 

 


   
Prologu
e
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
4


   
Chapter 1—The Ocean
             
             
             
             
             
6


   
Chapter 2—The Bailey’s
             
             
             
             
             
8


   
Chapter 3—Brassila Cove
             
             
             
             
23


   
Chapter 4—A Little Swim
             
             
             
             
36


   
Chapter 5
—Under the Sea
             
             
             
             
46


   
Chapter 6—Day One
             
             
             
             
             
59


   
Chapter 7—Doctor Knows Best
             
             
             
             
78


   
Chapter 8—My Island
             
             
             
             
             
91


   
Chapter 9—Changes
             
             
             
             
             
101


   
Chapter 10—A Fish a Day
             
             
             
             
116


   
Chapter 11—Snowless Christmas
             
             
             
123


   
Chapter 12—Men and Shopping
             
             
             
             
137


   
Chapter 13—Hell of a Party
             
             
             
             
144


   
Chapter 14—Brassila
             
             
             
             
             
163


   
Chapter 15—Dinner and a Show
             
             
             
             
179


   
Chapter 16—New Years
             
             
             
             
             
194


   
Chapter 17—Good Times
             
             
             
             
204


   
Chapter 18—Tom Sawyer
             
             
             
             
215


   
Chapter 19—Sea Witch
             
             
             
             
             
225


   
Chapter 20—Checkmate
             
             
             
             
             
230


   
Chapter 21—Great Vacation
             
             
             
             
235


   
Afterward
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
246

Prologue

 

             
Looking back, I’m not really sure I could describe how things got so entirely
out of hand
.
They say when writing a story you should start from the beginning, there’s so much to say, and it seems so hard to understand that I guess the beginning is as good a place to start as any. I have
a story to tell and I will tell it my way or no way at all. I didn’t go from being some average kid to the leader of a nation in a fortnight
,
you know. Someone has to destroy the misconceptions about us, and as much as I hate to admit it, the only person qualified to tell the tale is me.

             
My mate tells me I need to accept the hand that’s dealt to me, and I work so hard every day. I have to say this isn’t a responsibility I ever wanted, and after everything that has happened, I’ve lost more than I can say in one paragraph. What I’ve gained is a wonderland of knowledge and beauty, an environment no human can ever contemplate knowing, and the love of my life. Whether it was all worth it, perhaps someone will tell me someday.

So, here we are, together, at the beginning. Our stor
y begins as many do, with a girl:
a girl lost to misfortune and tragedy
. She’d all but given up on her life
and her family, but her family didn’t want to give up on her. They decided to move to a small town on the relatively unpopulated western shore of Australia, a place called Brassila Cove. A place more than touched by the ocean, and if there’s one thing I can tell you, the ocean is big…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter
1
The Ocean

 

             
Adam Carson sat at his desk, looking through his clinic’s tiny window to the sun glinting off the ocean. It was late July, and he was expecting the Bailey family to come in today. They were from the states, someone had told him, and he was to be their guide. It was only appropriate, considering it was his old house they had purchased. He was loath to leave the little house, but he needed to be closer to the ocean. If someone described his old place as a “three-bedroom house,” they would be exaggerating; the other two bedrooms were actually more like large closets. Unfortunately, the realtor had reminded him that the house was virtually unsellable without a bit of work, so repairmen were currently crawling all over it. He sighed, took a sip of coffee and started gathering his things.

             
"I'm off to meet the newcomers, Natalie," he said to his assistant as he toted his briefcase out into the waiting room.

             
"Good luck," she mumbled. It was no secret that newcomers weren’t generally welcome in Brassila Cove. Then again, Ronald Bailey seemed perfectly friendly on the phone.

             
The town of Brassila Cove was built onto a stepped incline, as if it had been carved from a cliff-face. The storms were brutal, but the town managed to weather almost everything. People came and went as often as the seasons but there was a small core that made the town their permanent berth. 

             
He knew the Baileys would be arriving at the resort soon. It was a fair walk from his office to the highest point where the resort sat, but he looked forward to it. The sun shone on his face as he passed everyone he knew. He waved at the small town baker, side-stepped the truck driving at half-a-mile an hour carrying fish for the fish-market. Before he knew it he was climbing the last bit of the way and coming upon the little hotel they lovingly called the resort.

The resort was small; there weren’t a high number of tourists that came to Brassila Cove. Those who did were often just looking for a break from city life. Brassila Cove was a closely guarded secret, a local phenomenon. He looked down toward the ocean, down at the Caraway mansion. The mansion was about five times larger than the resort. He smiled to himself. This little town protected a secret so much larger than most would ever know.

A secret as large as the ocean itself, and a history that spanned into folklore.  

 

Chapter 2
The Baileys

 

             
The Jeep hit a bump and Alice was jarred awake. Her forehead was red where it had pressed against the window. She blinked at the sunlight, and saw nothing but barren land. Slowly, the sounds of the world came back to her: the rumbling of the Jeep’s engine, the noises of her teenage brother’s DS as he played beside her. She looked over at him, intent in his game, just as oblivious to their surroundings as she was. Their parents sat in the front; they seemed to be the only people happy about this move.

             
Sarah and Ronald were typical good parents. Ronald was tall and gangly, with glasses and wild, honey-colored hair. His wife, Sarah, was short and sweet. Her wavy brown hair was cropped short. David had his mother’s brown hair and freckles; he was gangly in the way only a 17-year-old can be. Alice was something else: Alice looked like a corpse. Her long hair was dark, tangled and unkempt; it hung flat against her and hid everything it could. What her hair didn't hide, her baggy clothes did. Her eyes were sunk into her skull as if they were hiding from something, the dark circles under her eyes describing just how little sleep Alice ever found.
Though she was seven years older than David, he could have picked her up with one arm.

             
Alice finally forced her eyes to focus on the world around her as they burst into the town. Ronald slowed the Jeep, avoiding pedestrians as they crossed the street. The pedestrians watched them curiously; there wasn’t much welcome to be found there. Alice didn’t really care to find the eyes of anyone, and she would prefer if no one found hers either. 

             
"We're almost there!" Ronald said excitedly as Sarah smiled at him and gripped his hand. Alice stared out the window.

             
"Brassila Cove," her mother said mistily.

             
"Great. How tiny is this place, anyway?" David asked.

             
"About 5,000," Ron replied, "Nice and quiet,"

             
"Completely cut off from the main city," Sarah said.

             
"Self-contained."

             
"Beautiful."

             
"Perfect for a botanist."

             
"Or a dentist."

Ron and Sarah smiled at each other.

David rolled his eyes. "Well, at least someone's happy we're out in the middle of nowhere," he muttered.

Ronald frowned, glancing into the rear-view mirror at his son, whose gaze remained fixed on his video game. "This is a great opportunity for us young man. We all decided this was the right move,"

             
"I changed my mind," David mumbled, "Australia was supposed to be cool. So far it’s just boring." His parents didn't even dignify this newest protest with a response.

Alice ignored the conversation inside the car and watched the city. Though they were obviously indifferent to outsiders, people seemed happy here. Maybe it was the sun, clearly more common here than back home in Portland, Oregon. The sky there was always gray, but Alice didn't miss it. Alice didn’t miss anything. She noticed glimpses of the ocean flicker between houses and businesses. It was beautiful, but all Alice saw was gray. She reached through a haze of nothingness and so little touched her.

             
Ronald pulled into the parking lot of the Brassila Resort. An overgrown hotel, the place was small, maybe fifty rooms. It was decorated Tiki-style, heavy on the bamboo. A worn sign announced that the pool was closed for the season, and it had clearly been dry for some time. The place had charm but it was definitely a somewhat decayed charm.

"Well, grab your stuff, kids: we're here!" Ron announced. The two parents jumped out of their seats while David grudgingly put away his electronics. Alice slowly opened the door and stepped to the ground without excitement or argument. Sarah stole a glance at her daughter. They were used to her demeanor by now. After the tragedy she had suffered some of it was understandable. On the other hand it had been so long and she still hadn’t even begun to recover.
They
hoped being close to a tropical ocean, in a town with little to no crime, where everyone knew who everyone was, would do her good. Something that they couldn't do for her.

             
"I hope we’re doing the right thing," Sarah whispered to her husband.

             
"Me, too. I just wish we could have the old Aly back," Ron said.

             
"Maybe she'll start swimming again!"

             
"Don't get your hopes up too much, dear." They watched her follow slowly behind them as David tugged at a large suitcase in the back of the Jeep.

             
They checked in at the desk, a giant fake palm shading them as they signed the ledger. The pimple-faced desk clerk gave them a key and pointed up the staircase. He looked bored, like he'd do anything to get out of the little town.

             
"What? No elevator?" David yelped. The attendant just shook his head. David glanced down at his luggage. Mostly electronics, it wasn't exactly light, and he looked up at his mom in horror.

             
"Come on, honey, it'll be good for you," she smiled, patting him on the shoulder. They made a procession up the stairs, Sarah and Ronald in front, Alice still quietly following behind, and David bringing up the rear, breathing heavily and cursing his parents for bringing him to this stupid town. 

             
"Oh, look at this place!" Her mother yelped when they made it to the room. Alice glanced apathetically out the window. It was open to the outside, and there was a view of the ocean and a gorgeous mansion down on the beach. She had heard her parents discussing it: some millionaire or something owned it and the surrounding beach.

             
She turned back toward the room. The two double beds and chairs were made of a worn wicker; the desk was a brown wood that looked like it had been cooked by the sun. Light blue curtains swung in the breeze leading out to a balcony. Alice floated toward that balcony and stared down at the town. There wasn't really any privacy in the room, but Alice had no trouble finding that slow solitude she was accustomed to in her mind. Shut out the sounds, shut out the smells, shut out the light, breathe. 

             
Both parents were fawning over all the quaint details, the local paintings on the walls and the bars of soap in the bathroom, dancing with excitement. They hadn’t expected Alice to open up right away, but the apathy of both kids was still mildly disheartening.

David was busy opening his suitcase and setting up his laptop on the rickety desk, the chair squeaking noisily. Abruptly, David huffed with frustration.

             
"Mom! There's no internet in this place. What kind of a hotel doesn't have internet?"

             
"I think you can survive without internet for a few days, David," Sarah sighed, in a way only a mother could. David glared at her, then booted up a game.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Opening it, Ronald said, “Hi! You must be Dr. Carson.”

“And you must be Dr. Bailey,” the young doctor responded as he stepped into the room. “You can call me Adam.” He had deep brown eyes and dark, dark hair. He moved with an innate confidence, as if he owned the town.

Sarah moved forward quickly and grabbed his hand, shaking it vigorously. “I’m Ron’s wife, Sarah, and these are our children: David, on the computer, and Alice, by the window.” Sarah glanced at Alice, curious about her response to the handsome stranger who would be showing them around the town. Alice didn’t seem to care; she was just doing her thing where she shut out the world again. Sarah sighed.

Adam nodded at the kids, then turned back to Ronald and Sarah. "I'm sorry that the house isn’t quite ready for you yet. They are still working on the roof, and I think the air conditioner has been delayed again. Hopefully by the end of this week."

             
"Absolutely fine, this place is wonderful," Ronald said.

             
“Well, can I show you around town? You can even see where your dental practice has been set up, Ronald.”

             
"Oh that would be splendid!" Ronald practically skipped to join the doctor. Neither child moved.

             
“I think the kids and I will hang back this time,” Sarah said. “Adam, where would be a good place for food nearby?”

             
"There's a diner a couple blocks down. Emelie makes a great fish and chips," Adam mentioned. “Sure you don’t want to join us for the tour?”

Sarah shook her head. “I think the kids and I need to get some food in us before we explore much more,” she remarked, “But you could walk us to Emelie’s!”

 

             
After dropping the rest of the family off, Adam walked with Ronald. Mr. Bailey's office wasn't too far from his own. He was looking forward to the new practice: they had never had a dentist in the town before.

             
"When did you graduate from med school?" Ron asked, looking at Adam puzzled by his youth.

'
             
"A few years back, with honors." Adam said. He was used to strangers giving him odd looks for his youth.

             
"Your father must be so proud." Ron said.
             
"He is. He was excited to move to the city when I came back to take over the local clinic here."

             
"He was a doctor, too?"

             
"Yeah, runs in the family, I guess. How about your kids?" Adam asked. Ronald frowned in response.

             
"Well a couple years back my Aly had,” he paused, “some problems.” Adam eyed him but didn’t press, and Ronald continued hesitantly. “Her and her brother used to be real close. When Aly got distant, Davy buried himself in his games and computers.” Ronald sighed. “Alice ended up dropping out of college. Here’s a picture of her a few years ago." Ron pulled a photo from his wallet. It was Alice’s senior picture from high school. In it, her hair, the same pale color as her father's but with her mother’s waves, was cut a little below her shoulders. Her green eyes shone at the camera and she had a smile that could break your heart.

             
"She's beautiful." Adam said.

             
"She was," Ron frowned, "Her mother and I were hoping maybe the sun and the small town would do her good, bring her back."

             
"What made you decide on Brassila Cove?"

             
"Well, Sarah got an opportunity at the school up in the city, and then, I dunno; something about this little town just jumped off the page for us."

             
"Well whatever the reason," Adam said, stepping aside to open the door to Ronald's new office, "I'm glad you're here."

 

             
Sarah, David, and Alice headed out to the diner. David was keeping pace but dragging his feet, and Alice, as always was behind. She bumped into a passing young woman.

             
"Watch where you're going, retard!" the girl snapped. Alice looked up. The stranger was about Alice’s age and looked way too fashionable for this area. Her bright bikini top perfectly complimented the highlights in her brown hair and brown eyes. Alice mumbled an apology, perplexed at her manner. Though others in the town had been cold, no one else seemed so easily offended.

The girl was already rushing past, headed down toward the beach. Sarah and David had already disappeared behind the doors of the diner, and Alice followed them, then almost walked straight back out as the first strains of “Mr. Sandman” began to play. David was stock still, looking like he was about to throw up. Their mother clapped her hands in delight. Alice was just stunned. The whole diner was so strange that even she came out of the clouds for a moment. She stared around and wondered if she had walked into a time warp. If nothing else had said they weren't in Portland anymore that diner would have said it all.

             
Her mother slid into one of the red vinyl booths. David followed, looking green. While David stared at the table, Sarah and her daughter looked around at the locals. They looked fairly average, a couple of fishers, a small family with a young baby in the corner, a couple surfers. One guy at the counter was surrounded by three girls, all four as fashionable as the girl who had bumped into Alice outside.

             
The guy was wearing a collared shirt, strategically unbuttoned, his chest and washboard abs clearly visible. He had a swimmer’s bod on a lean frame, and was probably at least six foot. His sun-bleached hair and strong cheekbones framed a perpetually annoyed look. He reminded Alice vaguely of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only younger. She had watched so many of those episodes with her roommate from college, who had owned all the seasons. Shaking her head, Alice wiped away thoughts of her old life as fast as she could; she didn't want to remember college, or her roommate for that matter.

BOOK: Deep Blue (The Mermaid Chronicles Book 1)
2.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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