The Time is NOW!

If you haven't already, now's the time to click on over to the RAD Store and order your copy of Dwr! 

To celebrate this awesome new release, here's a quick excerpt to whet your pallet. Because we love you guys. 

 

Damage

A Dwr Excerpt, by Rani Divine

Copyright RAD Writing, 2017

“You know what to do?” he asked Piper as he sat down and removed his shirt and shoes.

She looked back at him with those big green eyes, ready to learn more about sailing and working aboard the Helena. “I’ll keep the boat just out of the way of the Helena while you’re in the water, and relay messages up to the crew whenever you give them to me.” She nodded, trying as hard as she could to act like she knew what she was doing.

“And if you see something in the water?” he asked, a smirk pulling at the corners of his mouth.

“I scream?” She grimaced.

Mal laughed. “That’ll do.”

He slid off the side of the boat and into the cool water, kicking his legs to keep himself steady and high enough that he could still speak to Piper for the time being. “I’m going to have to go under,” he told her.

“Mal,” Davy said from up on the deck, something waving in his hand. “Goggles.”

He nodded back to the man and held out his arm, watching while the goggles sailed through the air and landed nearby. They floated on the surface of the water just long enough for Mal to snatch them up and wipe the lenses before he put them over his eyes. At least this way he wouldn’t have to face the burn of the saltwater, though he wasn’t sure how easy it would be to see with the glass covering his gaze.

“Thanks,” he shouted up to the deck before returning his attention to Piper. “Just make sure the boat doesn’t move too much.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, mock saluting him before he took a deep breath and dived beneath the waves.

The first thing he noticed was the colors. Even through the goggles, everything down there was vibrant and beautiful. Everything was alive, moving through the brightly colored rock formations on the sea floor. He’d never seen such things before. In his mind, there was no word to describe the things that he saw. He hadn’t realized that they were still over the reefs, so far from the shore, but he supposed this was as good a place as any to drop the anchor and check the body of the ship.

Before he’d even gotten a chance to look at the Helena, he had to go back up for air.

“See anything?” Pip asked as soon as he breached the surface.

“It’s beautiful,” he replied, a smile on his face.

Piper’s eyes stared back into his with a look he’d never seen before, one of more than just interest and willingness to learn, but he could only ignore for the time being and dived back under the ship. This time, he took notice of the Helena. She’d only been scraped in a few places, so he knew for the most part where he needed to look.

Slowly, he ran his fingers over the surface of the wood, searching for air bubbles or places where the water might soon be able to leak into the ship. As he started on his way back toward Piper, he felt a hand entwine with his—a hand with webbed fingers and skin that felt unlike any human skin he’d ever felt before.

He unthinkingly let out any breath he’d been holding as he turned to look her in the eye, and his body panicked. He thrashed against Arneia’s hand, only to be pulled deeper into the water. Her free hand gripped tightly to his flailing arm, and before he knew what was happening, her lips were pressed against his. She forced open his mouth and expelled fresh air into his lungs, allowing him to breathe with her. It shouldn’t have been possible, but he’d already surmised that her kind must have been able to breathe both air and water. How else could she have stayed so long under the waves?

“Malcolm,” she said as she pulled away from him, breathing water and speaking in words that echoed through the waves. “Do not fear. I will not harm you.”

He nodded, now holding his breath under his own power. He couldn’t speak: not down here, underwater.

“Go.” She released his arms and pointed to the surface. “When you return, I will show you the damage.”

Again he nodded, this time propelling himself straight up and out of the water. He gasped for air and took hold of the edge of the boat, using his free hand to wipe the hair from his face. “Nothing so far,” he said, assuming that Piper was listening. In that moment, it hardly mattered to him whether she was there or not. What mattered was that Arneia was somewhere down there, in the water beneath him, and that once again she wanted to help them.

He dropped back beneath the ship and kept himself close to the keel, his hand again brushing against the wood in search of damage.

“This way,” Arneia said as she swam up beside him. She pointed to the back of the ship, to a place Malcolm hadn’t even thought had touched the ground when they’d traveled through the strait.

Still holding his breath, he looked her in the eye and shook his head. He didn’t know how to tell her that the captain would expect him to check the whole of the ship, not just take the words of this creature as fact. But looking at her now, as his hands still absently scanned over the keel, he knew that she understood.

“We will watch after you,” she said, gesturing away from them, deeper into the reef. “When you are ready, I will show you.”