Cass doesn’t want a new step-family. And she definitely doesn’t want to be out here in the middle of Loch Ness fishing with them.
Especially when they are suddenly in the middle of a deadly emergency…
Formats: ebook $2.99
Genre/s: urban fantasy
Audience: middle grade
Length: short story
Available from your favourite retailer here.
When Nara woke from the long sleep, her friend Shaun no longer came down to the narrow beach on the bank of the loch. She looked for him every day, then every few days, then every time she fed. And, finally, she saw movement on the gravelly sand. But it wasn’t Shaun. This time it was two younglings watching as a parent made ready a boat held fast to a tree with a length of rope.
Nara knew about family, even though hers had disappeared north past the end of the loch three long sleeps ago and had never returned. She knew they wouldn’t, and she knew they hadn’t wanted to leave her behind, but back then she was still too small to survive the dangers and the chill waters of the deep ocean. And, unfortunately, there was no guarantee she would ever find them again. Her people were very rare now, and Nara had only vague directions to the safe place where most of them lived, directions passed down from parent to child through twelve generations.
But her parents had had no choice except to leave. Not once the humans had made a real attempt to find them after Uncle, his mind wandering with age, had let himself be seen too many times. None of them had known exactly what the boats were doing at first, sailing in a ragged line from one end of the loch to the other and dangling things beneath them. But the rhythmic sounds that the dangling things made, so much like the sonics Nara and her family used to navigate the peat-shrouded waters of the loch, made their intent suddenly and devastatingly clear.
They were hunting for them.
But despite that, the humans fascinated Nara. For years she had watched them, followed them in their boats, herded trout or arctic char toward the fishermen or chased them away, depending on how she felt. She’d also watched the banks change, thick tree cover to light tree cover to fields to roads carrying cars at high speed and spewing foul smells into the air like the boats did into the water. For years she was impatient, willing herself to grow faster, bigger, hurry hurry hurry, so she too could leave the loch.
And then she’d done something even worse than Uncle.
She’d been seen, fully seen, by a human.