Short and sweet entry here folks.  Gotta get to class and study for a mid-term tomorrow, then another big exam for Thursday.  Didn’t want to leave you with nothing.  So here’s a small sampling from what should be my 2nd novel “The Ship”.  It involves Cassandra and Julie, two of the main women from my first novel “The Bridge”.  Cassie is still recovering from wounds suffered during the final battle of that book and has gone to Santa Cruz with her new girlfriend Julie.  This scene takes place on the sands near Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  Enjoy…

“Are you sure you’re up to this Cassie?” asked Julie.

The smaller girl nodded.

“What about your wound?  Are you sure its going to be all right with this salt water?”

Cassandra nodded, “It’s healing pretty well and with the wetsuit covering it, I’ll be all right.”

Smiling the tall muscular brunette shifted the surfboard under her arm.  “Thanks again for all this, I always wanted to try surfing.”

“Well, I hope you have better luck than I’ve had,” Cassie laughed. “I’ve never been able to stand up on the board for more than two seconds.  And this is my fourth time taking the class.”

Their instructor, a well-toned blonde in a black wetsuit blew a whistle.  “Okay gang, remember what you were told and stay close enough so you can hear my instructions.  We’re going to paddle out a ways and get used to sitting on the board.  Pay attention to how it moves in the water and how it responds to your movements.  Let’s go.”

The group of twelve slowly waded out into the water and lay down on their boards and began to paddle as instructed.

They all wore black wetsuits like their instructor.  To Cassie, they looked like a bunch of small Orcas who got bored floating under their own power.  She could hear the sea lions calling to one another around the pier just a few hundred yards away.

On the other side of it was the famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  She must remember to go there with Julie and ride the carousel.  It was one of the oldest ones in existence that still allowed you to grab a brass ring.

A large swell interrupted her thoughts and reminded her to pay attention.  Balance had always been an issue for her.  Ballroom and Yoga were some of the few things that allowed her to compensate for this problem.  But, if she had one of her seizures and zoned, she’d be in trouble.

Luckily she had one ankle attached to the board by five feet of cord.  This was so the surfer couldn’t become separated from it by any great distance.  And of course Julie was nearby and she was a strong swimmer.  Everything should be all right.

Just then something bumped her board from underneath.

Immediately Cassie flattened herself and gripped the edges of the board with a vengeance.  Maybe this wasn’t one of her better ideas after all.

“Miss Elliott?  Is everything all right?” called the instructor some distance away.

Cassandra realized she had been lagging behind.  The rest of the group was well ahead of her, including Julie.  Something was wrong.  She started to feel uneasy and cold inside the well-insulated suit.

Once more she felt her board being bumped by something below.

She felt her panic begin to rise.

“Stay where you are I’m coming,” shouted their teacher who began paddling towards her.  Julie was following close behind.

Cassie tried to remain perfectly still, when suddenly she felt the back end of her board sink slightly.  A moment later there was a splash and a barking sound.

Twisting to look over her shoulder she saw a baby sea lion near her feet.  It had mounted her board and was sitting quite contentedly enjoying the movement of the waves.

“Showoff,” she muttered, and tried to sit up and straddle the board as she had been taught.

As soon as she started to put her legs in the water, the little mammal began to bark insistently at her.

Again the cold feeling of something not being right swept over her.

“You’re afraid of something in the water, aren’t you?” she said to her passenger.

The little creature gave a nervous look around and barked at her with mounting urgency.

Cassie got the message.  There was something in the water and they needed to get out of there.  The water was becoming rougher as if a passing boat had sent a swell their way.  But there was no vessel in sight.

Carefully she paddled the board to face the shore.  She’d try to catch the next swell and ride it while lying flat.

At that moment a voice came over the water, “Hurry child!” it said.

            She froze.  She’d heard that voice before.  Only once, but it was unmistakable.  It had belonged to the man who had blocked their retreat that night on the bridge.  Looking up she saw a figure wrapped in a black cloak on the top of the nearby cliff.  He was looking down at her.

A wet nose nudged her foot, breaking the moment.  The little sea lion loudly continued his warning.

Looking around she saw a good size wave was coming and she readied herself for it.

“Stay flat and just ride it in,” called the instructor from nearby.  “Just do as I do, I’ll be right next to you.”

Cassie nodded.

The swell came. She felt the board lift up and pressed down and forward to ride it in.  Suddenly, the board was hit from behind.  She heard the panicked cry of the sea lion and then a splash.

A moment later she found herself dumped into the surf.  She scrambled to find her board, knowing it would be nearby thanks to the tether.   With a lunge she pushed upwards and her head broke the surface of the water.

Gasping, she searched for her board only to find it drifting farther and farther away.  Reaching under the water she found her cord had somehow broken, leaving her adrift with another wave approaching.

“Swim to me!” shouted her instructor from nearby.  She had gotten off the last wave and was paddling towards her.

Cassandra did as she was told and within moments was safely on the woman’s board.  Together they rode the coming wave to shore.

They had barely climbed out of the surf, when Julie rushed over to them.  “Are you okay Baby?” she cried, grabbing the heiress into her arms.  “What happened out there?”

“I’m not sure,” Cassie replied.  “Did anyone see what happened to the sea lion pup?”

Her two rescuers shook their heads and stared back at the empty water.

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