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Authors: Andrew Gross

One Mile Under

BOOK: One Mile Under
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Copyright
 

Harper

An imprint of HarperCollins
Publishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

 

www.harpercollins.co.uk

 

First published in Great Britain by HarperCollins
Publishers
2015

 

Copyright © Andrew Gross 2015

 

Andrew Gross asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

 

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

 

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

 

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

 

Source ISBN: 9780007384266

Ebook Edition © 2015 ISBN: 9780007484478

Version: 2015-02-04

Contents

 

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

 

The Cradle

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

 

Adrift

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

 

The Falls

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chapter Fifty-Five

Chapter Fifty-Six

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Chapter Fifty-Nine

Chapter Sixty

Chapter Sixty-One

 

One Mile Under

Chapter Sixty-Two

Chapter Sixty-Three

Chapter Sixty-Four

Chapter Sixty-Five

Chapter Sixty-Six

Chapter Sixty-Seven

Chapter Sixty-Eight

Chapter Sixty-Nine

Chapter Seventy

Chapter Seventy-One

Chapter Seventy-Two

Chapter Seventy-Three

Chapter Seventy-Four

Chapter Seventy-Five

Chapter Seventy-Six

Chapter Seventy-Seven

Chapter Seventy-Eight

 

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Novels by Andrew Gross

About the Publisher

THE CRADLE
 
CHAPTER ONE
 

Dani Whalen noticed the first slivers of whitewater ahead on the Roaring Fork River, the current picking up.

“Okay,” she called out to the eight people in helmets and life vests aboard her raft, “it’s been pretty much a nature hike so far. Anyone ready for a little fun?”

As if on cue, the young couple from L.A. decked out in their bright Lululemons, Maury and Steve from Atlanta, he just a month into his retirement from a sales job, and the family from Michigan with their kids in the bow, all shouted back in unison, “
We
are!” and “Let’s do it!”

“Good to hear!” Dani said, catching the sight of spray up ahead from the opening set of rapids known as Entrance Exam, “’cause you’ve come to the right place.”

Dani was a whitewater guide along the stretch of the river known as Slaughterhouse Falls, outside Aspen, Colorado. And by “fun,” she meant navigating the series of eight Class Three and Four rapids that were the main draw of the river’s four-mile run. Not that there was much real danger. They were all well-protected, of course, and Dani had done this run hundreds of times with barely a hitch. But the first sign of froth rising usually did engender a blanched face or two—Class Fours had a way of doing that to first-timers. But Dani knew exactly how to get them going as well.

On any morning, she could point to an eagle soaring above the tree line, or a long-branch elk with its doe along the river’s edge; or a silver trout streaking underneath them in the current, which was definitely picking up now. That’s why she loved what she did. That, and the triumphant yelps and whoops that were always a part of being shot out of Crossbow, icy water cascading all over you.

But it was the thrill of whitewater that was truly in her blood.

She had been a geology major back in college, back east at Bowdoin in Maine, and she could easily have been in med school or doing fourteen-hours days on Wall Street like a lot of her friends, probably making more in one month than what she pulled in in a season out here. But this river was in her blood. She’d grown up on it. She knew most anyone who had anything to do with it. After college she came back for the summer, and started earning money doing for work what she’d always done for love, and entering a few competitions. She knew she wasn’t exactly building a real life for herself remaining out here—guiding in the summer, teaching snowboarding to the youngsters in the winter—certainly not a career. Her dad was an orthopedic surgeon, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital back in Boston, but he was in Chile right now on a teaching fellowship. Her older sister, Aggie, was in med school in Austin, and her younger brother, Rick, the real brain of the family, was studying 3-D graphic engineering at Stanford.

But Dani loved what she was doing—not to mention she could make it over the Gallows, a Class Five on the Colorado River with a twenty-foot drop, as well as any of the guys. And for her there was no payback better than the wide-eyed thrill and the yelps of exhilaration from a family being shot out of Cartwheel, with its 180-degree spin, to remind her of how much happier she was out here than back east behind a desk somewhere. In her skin-hugging neoprene vest and Oakley shades, her sun-streaked curly blond hair up in a scrunchie, her blue eyes focused on the river up ahead, every day was a reminder, that for the time being at least, she’d made the right choice.

That morning, she was handling the early morning run. Out at eight, back by noon. It was one of those picture-perfect Colorado days: the sky blue, the scent of aspens filling your nostrils, whitewater biting at you from the late spring runoff. Megan and Harlan, nine and eleven, were up in front with their parents right behind them. Dani didn’t want to scare them, though navigating the Falls pushing around two thousand cubic feet per second did require a bit of technique. Everyone was laughing, pitching in paddling, enjoying the ride. Her job was to give them the time of their lives.

As they made their way around Jake’s Bend, for the first time they could see the froth from Entrance Exam rising into the air. That’s when you knew you didn’t come here for a nature ride.


Look!
” Harlan was the first to point up ahead.

“I don’t know …” Dani said teasingly, “those Exams are looking a little angry this morning. I hope everyone studied up!” It was a bit of a performance, of course, to build the tension. The real trick was not letting them realize that. She always loved catching those first looks of anxiousness on everyone’s faces about what lay ahead.

“We may lose a few of you over the side,” she said, “so remember what I said if you end up going in.” Feet-first, and not to struggle against the current. And if they got trapped in an eddy, to just relax, not fight it, and sooner or later it would pop you back out. Dani had to tell them all that—like a flight attendant pointing out the exits on a plane—but in three years of guiding she hadn’t had an incident yet. “You people on the left, I’m gonna need a little help today, okay? I need you to paddle like crazy as soon as I give the word. Otherwise, we won’t make it through. You all up for that?”

They all took hold of their paddles and responded with nods of determination. “
We are!

“Good,” Dani said, maneuvering the raft down the left side of the rapids.

BOOK: One Mile Under
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