Monday, May 20, 2024

Another excerpt from Echoes from the Deep

I thought you might enjoy another excerpt from my latest science fiction novel, Echoes from the Deep. Get your copy today at:

Dark water frothed and churned around Phineas. The darkness broken only by the occasional brilliant flash of lightning from above. He swam in one great circle, a circle with a one kilometer diameter. He’d been swimming for more than two hours. Swimming since sunset. Swimming since the storm started. During this time, he continually cast his echolocation towards the reef, but only an echo of the reef came back. He never caught a glimpse of the nothingness that had been there three days earlier…or hadn’t been there. He still wasn’t sure how to think about it.

In all of his experiences both on Earth and here, Phineas had never encountered something like this…or not encountered it. Whatever, he thought to himself. It was frustrating. How do you think about something that wasn’t there, but obviously was there at the same time? He sent another wave of echoes towards the reef, and still the reef came back to him. What was he supposed to do?

Maybe it was time to give up and return to the pod, he thought. Just as he was about to swim away, he suddenly received back a massive echo, a terrifying echo. There was a behemoth swimming away from the reef; swimming directly towards him.

Phineas sent off a desperate plea for help before turning and heading for open sea; the place where it was virtually impossible to escape the behemoths, but he couldn’t think rationally anymore.

Phineas didn’t need to turn and use his echolocation to know that the massive double jawed beast was chasing him. He could feel it. That feeling was enough to convince him to swim faster.

Two kilometers later, there was a sudden surge of electrical charge passing through his body. Without thinking, he dove. A bolt of lightning struck the water where he’d been. It passed into the water just behind Phineas, his skin crackling with electricity.

A call reached him from the shore. The pod was coming to help him, but they were too far away to really do anything. Phineas spun in the water and headed back in the direction of the behemoth. He knew the orca-sized creature wouldn’t be able to detect him until he got close because of the static charge in the water near him.

He began porpoising as he approached the gray-green terror from the depths. His echolocation told him he was about to reach the creature. Acting purely on instinct, he jumped into the air and cleared the gaping jaws of the behemoth by less than a foot. He continued to flee, but he had no idea where he was going.

The creature turned behind him, and continued the chase. Phineas headed for the reef, diving in amongst the crevices as he got there. He felt his belly skin against the sharp sea creatures, but he continued to swim. The blood would only make it that much easier for the terrifying creature to follow him.

He spun as lightning flashed in the skies above him. The behemoth crashed through the reef, sending the reef creatures, sand, and debris scattering through the water. Turning slightly, Phineas could see the four strange tentacles beside its moths flailing madly, in obvious blood lust. The “death flailing” was what the dolphins called it, and it was something that none of them wanted to see, especially up close. That would usually be the last thing that they’d ever see.

Sending out a shriek, Phineas began to zig-zag, swimming frantically, knowing death was about to take him. Suddenly, he was surrounded by darkness. It wasn’t the absence of light he’d experienced just before the behemoth had come after him. No, this was an absence of everything. No light, no sound, no echo. He knew that he was in whatever it was he’d detected days earlier. He swam and thrashed about violently. He had no idea of direction. Even gravity seemed oddly distorted. He had no idea where the behemoth was, and he was hoping, at the same time, that the behemoth had no idea where he was.

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