I was crazy-rushed this weekend to get everything done! Shew!
GREAT news!!! At the RWA meeting on Saturday, the executive editor from Harlequin Nocturne was there doing cold readings of the first two pages of manuscripts, and Night Walker was among them…
After the meeting she invited me to send her the whole manuscript!!! YAY!!!!
So please please think good thoughts for Night Walker for me. I have no idea how long it will take before I hear anything back from her, but she was intrigued enough to request the book so I’m encouraged!
We also passed 4,000 comments last week too!!! Thanks SO much for reading and letting me know what you think. I love hearing from all of you…
Onto the new story for this week!
I got so carried away researching this story that I almost ran out of time to write it! Yikes!
Anyway, with a topic of Life under Water, shipwrecks popped into my head. I’ve looked at so many amazing underwater photos! Wow! Talk about haunted, these shipwrecks are like ghost towns underwater. Amazing!
So as I researched different shipwrecks, I opted for no pirates this time (sorry!) because I was intrigued with the Great Lakes. There are so many lost ships there that they have museums and guided dive tours to go see them!
In the end, I decided my ghost was from the Lucerne. It was a gorgeous schooner, and she still sits at the bottom of Lake Superior.
Sadly, 5 of the crew were never named, or found. They were truly lost during a storm in November of 1886.
Their story inspired mine. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Shipwreck – By Lisa Kessler
Her mind hummed with activity as she hustled to the head for one last pit stop. She yanked open the door and walked right into a stout chest.
“You got the wrong room, Tish.”
“What?” She looked up at Captain Turner with a furrowed brow, and then noticed a urinal on the wall. Her cheeks flushed with color. “Oh God this is the men’s room!”
She spun around and made a beeline across the corridor to the other restroom.
“Sorry!” She yelled back over her shoulder.
Once she was safely inside, Tish exhaled and closed her eyes. This dive had her way too keyed up. Ridiculous really. She’d been a shipwreck diver for the past seven years. This was nothing new.
But finally seeing the wreckage of the Lucerne, touching it, had her nerves pulled so tight, she could hardly function.
“Breathe Tish,” she whispered to herself. “Gotta calm down.”
She went to the sink and splashed some water on her face. In the dingy square of stainless steel they liked to call a mirror, her face looked pale, and her blue eyes were haunted. She reached up and traced the dark shadows lingering under her eyes.
Maybe this dive would give her some peace so she could sleep again.
A year ago she never would have considered spending some of her precious vacation time in Ashland, Wisconsin. But here she was, desperately clinging to hope that this dive below the surface of Lake Superior would quiet the ghost that demanded her attention.
She dried her face and headed back out on deck. Once she had her fins fitted over her wetsuit, and her air tank secured, she waddled over to the rail with her mask in hand.
Sweat rolled down her cheek as she spit into her mask and wiped it around to keep it from fogging up inside. She didn’t usually dive in a full wetsuit in the summer, but the murky waters of Lake Superior were cold year round, and she didn’t know how long she’d be below the surface. She still wasn’t really sure what she was looking for, instead she chose to believe she’d know it when she saw it.
She hoped so anyway.
“Carpe Diem.” She pulled her mask on, gave the captain a thumbs up, and rolled backward into the water.
She kicked her feet, propelling herself deeper. The weightless freedom of the water calmed her nerves, wrapping her in a blanket of silence. Her soul always felt at peace here. If she could live her life under water, she would.
In the distance, she could make out the shadow of debris, and her pulse quickened. This could be the end of her trial and error. It started last summer during a dive in Florida. She was visiting the wreckage of the San Jose. The Spanish Galleon went down off the coast of Florida nearly three hundred years ago, but patient treasure seekers could still filter the sand and find gold and some personal items from passengers. While she was sifting through the sea floor for any sign of gold pieces, she heard a voice.
Startled, she’d shot for the surface. Silence was her constant companion underwater, so hearing voices couldn’t possibly be a good thing. But the ghost followed her and haunted her dreams. For months she fought to ignore them, but finally her will broke, and she faced the young man who so often visited her while she slept.
“Help me. Please,” he whispered.
“Who are you?”
“Nick. Nick Anderson. I left a little girl back home. I have something for her. Please.”
“Because you heard me.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“It doesn’t have to.”
He faded away before she could get anymore information, but over the past few months, he’d been visiting her regularly while she slept, until she finally learned that he had died in a shipwreck. She scoured through old ship records, searching for Nick Anderson’s name, but came up empty. Judging by his clothes, he wasn’t in the military, and he probably sailed before the 1920’s.
So after a few empty dives and many more hours of research, she ended up planning an underwater visit to the Lucerne.
She reached the wreckage, and found herself looking at the bow. The waterlogged beams hadn’t seen the sun for over one hundred and twenty years, one of hundreds of ships that met their doom in the waters of the Great Lakes. A winter storm had raged onto the scene on the evening of November 15, 1886, surprising all of the crew. The icy weather and rough pounding waves attacked the large schooner for two days before a lighthouse spotted the wreckage of her sails.
Three frozen bodies were found tangled in the rigging of her sails, but the remaining five crew members were never found.
Tish hoped that this might be Nick’s ship. The time period felt right, but she tried to keep from getting her hopes up. This was the fifth sunken ship she’d investigated, and so far, none of them had quieted the restless spirit that begged for her help.
She swam past the deck beams, marveling at the size of the sunken leviathan. As she scanned the lake’s bottom, Nick’s voice echoed through her mind.
“Very close now.”
She gasped, sending large bubbles of air up toward the surface. “This is it,” she thought to herself. “Guide me Nick.”
Slowing her forward momentum, she floated with the current until a sparkle caught her eye. Tish circled back slowly, trying to keep from disrupting the muck at the bottom of the lake. Through the silt she found a metal pendant suspended just above the dirt. With a tentative hand, she reached out and grasped it, only to find it was caught on something. She followed the chain down into the dirt, carefully pushing it aside until she found something smooth. As the water cleared, a skull stared up at her.
Again air bubbles shot up to the surface.
“Take the necklace to my little girl. Please Tish. Do this for me.”
Pulling a breath from her oxygen tank, Tish steeled her nerve and maneuvered the chain free of the skeletal remains of Nick Anderson, one of the unknown sailors of the Lucerne’s final voyage. Clenching the pendant in her fist, she swam for the surface.
She hadn’t told Nick that his daughter was long dead. He didn’t know that over a century had passed since he fell into the icy water. Maybe she could find a living relative?
She had no idea that she already had.
As Tish broke through the surface of Lake Superior, the spirit of her great-great-grandfather was finally at peace.
~~~ The End ~~~