Find Me, Chapter One ‘Changes’

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Welcome to the Immersed series

Join me where the journey begins, and Skye discovers there may be more to her mother’s death than she believes.  Here is Chapter One, ‘Changes’. Chapters two and three are in the drop-down list, hover your cursor over ‘a look inside Find Me’ in the menu bar above. Thanks for reading.

1. Changes

Skye opened her mouth to scream and bitter salt water rushed in. Thundering water pushed her down. Terror filled her and she flailed, searching for light, for breath. For Mum. Her lungs burned. Her body ached simply for up. Then from the ocean shadows an angel’s arms reached for her.
A soft bell-like sound rang through the roaring waves, pulling Skye from the water like a lifeline. In the dry silence, panic spiked at the arms still restraining her. But at once she felt them give a little. Fuzzy arms. The rolled arms of her armchair, in fact. She’d dozed off and slumped down, becoming cramped in sideways.
She pushed herself upright, exhaling. Just a dream. Her childhood nightmares had returned. Sort of… Something about them had changed.
Closing her eyes, she saw again the dim, water-blurred figure of the angel and her heartbeat quickened. Not with fear, but with something less easily defined that had crept into her returning dream. Instead of being a child, she’d been her seventeen-year-old self. And for a moment, just before she woke, her helpless fear had become a curious sense of discovery. Or longing. Flushing, she opened her eyes.
Outside the window evening tinged the sky. A clear tone of glass on crystal sounded from the next room and she recognised the noise that had woken her. She tensed, focusing on the sounds from her father Daniel’s study. A shuffling thud was followed by his soft swearing. Skye pictured another stack of his papers hitting the floor.
Seconds later he appeared in the doorway, slightly unsteady. Murmuring something that sounded like goodnight, he climbed heavily up the stairs. Skye gave an ironic half wave as he disappeared. She guessed she’d be getting dinner for herself, and began a mental inventory of tins in the pantry.
As she stood, a book tumbled to the floor. Her mother’s old Hans Anderson’s Fairy Tales. She’d fallen asleep reading it for about the hundredth time. And it showed. Picking it up, she saw the worn spine was giving up on its job – a couple of pages had worked loose. She crossed to her dad’s study in search of repair tape.
A pile of his endless research papers for a new book on sea lore was strewn across the carpet. An almost empty bottle of spirits stood next to his computer, busy with a screen saver.
She put her mother’s book on the desk. This house was too damned quiet. Scratch that: her life was too damned quiet.
Fishing out her cellphone, she dialled, crossing the room to put some music on low.
“Skye-bear!”
Skye smiled at the enthusiasm at the other end of the phone. “Oh, I’m sorry Stranger, I was trying to get my best friend.”
Morgan laughed. “It’s been too long, I know. You just beat me to calling by about ten seconds, I swear. What’s happening?”
Skye looked out at the creeping dusk. “Precisely nothing, as usual. How about you?” Putting the phone on speaker, she began to gather her father’s scattered papers up off the floor, as always avoiding reading his painstaking notes. She didn’t want to know about a drowning from years ago, or from last week, or any of the strange sea stories he hunted out.
“Lots, actually. It’s been crazy. We’ve moved to holiday apartments, a place called The Towers, for one thing.”
“You have? Why?”
“Looong story. And I’ll only tell you when I see you, because you’re coming back to Bannimor for the holidays – right?”
“…I don’t know, Mags.” Skye stacked the papers next to the computer, inadvertently nudging the mouse. The screen flickered awake.
“It’ll be fun, Skye. Please say yes. It’s been too long since you stayed. Come save me from boredom.” As Skye hesitated Morgan added, “Before you say ‘no’ again, I’ve been thinking about the old days. Before your mum – you know…and you moved away. How much you loved the sea. Listen, it would be good for you to –”
Morgan’s mother Rowena spoke indistinctly in the background. “Hang on a sec’ Skye?” Morgan said, and Skye heard the phone clunk onto a hard surface.
Skye sat at the desk while she waited, and looked at the screen. A document bearing one typed word, Elise. Her mother’s name. She scrolled to the next page.
Ellie has left me…to be with him.
The room receded, the typed words filling her world.
Ellie has left me…to be with him.
Ellie has left me…to be with him.
Ellie has left me…to be with him.
As they sank in she felt like she’d been punched. Her mother had left Dad? For someone else? She scrolled further down, her hand shaky on the mouse.
Ellie has left me…to be with him. Over and over again, pages of it. Skye felt sick. She gripped the edge of the desk, her head hanging low over the keyboard as she fought for breath. Mum had left her? Mum had left her.
Her mother’s body had never been found. Because there hadn’t been one to find? She hadn’t drowned? No wonder Dad had never moved on. The way he loved Mum, he was probably hoping she’d come back. But – it didn’t make sense. Mum had loved Dad as much as he’d loved her. That was one thing Skye was certain of. “The day I met Daniel” she used to smile, “was the day my life began.”
“Skye?” Morgan’s voice broke in. “I have to go, restaurant emergency. Promise me you’ll think about it, okay?”
“…Promise…” She managed to force out her reply before Morgan hung up.
Skye’s mind was chaotic. Why couldn’t he have closed his stupid document and left her in ignorance? So much pain… She hoped she never fell in love.
She’d been seven when her mother disappeared at Ciarlan Cove in Bannimor. For ten years Skye had tried not to think about it, to not feel anything about it. But according to this, she’d been escaping a lie. If these words were true…could she see Mum again? She screwed her eyes up against a burst of hope, like light exploding inside.
But if Mum was still alive, she’d had a decade to make contact.
Her gaze fell on her mother’s treasured book, the fairy tales Skye knew backwards. Her racing thoughts came into sharp focus. Hands trembling, she opened it to where she’d left off reading: The Little Mermaid, preparing for death on the night of her Love’s wedding to another. A story of obsessive, self-sacrificial love. It had been Mum’s favourite. Suddenly Skye’s attachment to it felt like clinging to a betrayal, a cruel delusion. Flinging the book at the wall she stalked from the room.
She got as far as the bottom stair and stopped, her ribs feeling like rubber. With a growl of exasperation, she turned back, and retrieved the book splayed on the study floor. Dismayed, she saw that the spine had slightly split and a few more pages dislodged.
This book was still part of Mum, no matter what she’d done. Finding tape, she sat at the desk again, carefully repairing the damage, conscious of her father’s document on the screen. A pungent whiff from the spirits bottle nearby filled her nostrils.
Ellie has left me…to be with him. She knew Dad hadn’t meant for her to see this, but as she so often did lately, she felt trapped by his sadness and reminded of her own. Or had she trapped herself? Something had to change. She needed to get away from here, from who she’d become.
Morgan’s perpetual invitation to return to Bascath Bay in Bannimor. Maybe it was time she said yes again? Her heart constricted with its usual twist of fear and longing as she thought of the sea. Of going back.
Bannimor had its ghosts, but it also had Morgan and Rowena. And just maybe – answers, if she could be brave enough to face them. As questions tumbled through her mind, the pull of the sea and the urge to return became irresistible. Going back wouldn’t simply be walking on her mother’s grave anymore. It could mean finding out there was no grave at all.

Thanks for joining sharing the beginning of Find Me.  What – and who – will Sky meet when she follows the pull in her heart and her quest for answers, and returns to Bannimor, and the sea…

Follow my blog for more chapters coming up, or get the whole story now on Amazon for $3.99 USD

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