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Beyond the Salish Sea

By Clara Kingsley All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Mystery

Prologue

For Q and Barney- My best friends and most favorite seals.


The ocean is a grand world surrounding our own. It’s a paradise mostly untouched and unseen, unless you’re lucky enough to be one of its inhabitance. Most people would describe it in various shades of blue, but there’s so much more to it than that. Corals in warm sunset oranges and tickle-me pink blushes, hide psychedelic little fish that somehow manage to be even brighter. Undersea gardens of kelpy greens wrap around sea otters, like spaghetti, and supply a fun afternoon to play hide-and-seek in. Luminous critters will light up the dark abyss, trying to mirror a perfect starry night, as they drift helplessly through the waves. No matter how it’s cut or divided, the ocean is generally beautiful and filled to the brim with life.

Unfortunately, some people can’t just leave well enough alone. They see that remarking beauty and feel that they must take it for themselves…


I am swimming from the savages. I’ve often heard stories, horrible stories, from those who migrate around the world and have just barely made it home again. They’re out to get us. No one is safe from the horrors that walk on land. The land-dwellers have always been kind in the Puget Sound. However, I’ve been naïve to assume that this sort of kindness is everywhere. And that it would last. I thought they had learned, but apparently not.

I’m a very fast swimmer and naturally very good at it, but they have experience dealing with my kind before. They do not falter, not even for a second. They’ve already caught my mother, my father, all my brothers and sisters. Swimming away and drawing out the chase is a reckless mistake. I know they’re just going catch me in the end, but I simply cannot give up without a fight.

I am cut by something sharp along my right flipper and I have no choice but to stop. In the moment that I’ve halted, they quickly wrap me in a net and haul me aboard. It is less dark above the waves, but thankfully their vessel has bright, blinding lights and it is impossible to see much of anything. What I can see are a few dark figures beyond the light, laughing loudly in triumph over their catch. Immediately, the shadow of a man begins to skin me. He takes my hide the painful and unnatural way, but I still transform regardless. I look more like them and I am instantly disgusted by that wretched fact. I am damaged. Yet, even though I don’t know how my ugly other form appears, I know I am far more beautiful than them. My appearance doesn’t sway their pity, or spurn their affections. I am pushed overboard and I sink back into the dark waves in a body that is not ready for it. Every inch of me is cold, my blubber is gone and I have nothing to protect this light new skin. However, escape from this gruesome death is still not impossible. Even after everything, there is still a small chance of survival. If I just try and fight for it, I know I can make it.

Although, why would I continue to fight after they’ve won?

I might as well just die because they’ve already managed to take everything I have away from me.

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