Dark Waters (UF)

Searching for evidence supporting her late father's theories, a young woman stumbles across an impending supernatural war.

[excerpt]
   While checking her lines at mid-ship a subtle rocking of the boat or perhaps the sound of dripping water had Cassidy glancing down the decking to the aft. Her breath stopped in her throat. A man stood on the edge of her boat, a very large man, with the dark night making him a mere shadow against the sea. Dim moonlight glinted on water at the edges of his silhouette marking that he had emerged from the sea. Standing silently, facing towards her, he didn't move or speak as she stared at him. The moment stretched as Cassidy desperately calculated her options. The fishing speargun in the main cabin just down the ladder a few feet away, the automatic pistol she kept locked in her aft cabin which was just beyond, or perhaps it was better to use the lines and rigging up here on the main deck. He looked powerful, but if he weren't particularly quick she could retrieve one of the weapons below before he overtook her. She knew, however, that as soon as she moved it would set the conflict into motion so she wanted to be certain of her plan before that. Stay above where the options to run across the deck remained open, or go below to the weapons but potentially be trapped in a corner.
   "You don't..." he said, his voice tinged with a soft accent. Cassidy was poised like a deer about to take flight, her heart hammering in her chest. He stopped speaking and cleared his throat. "You don't need... to be frightened of me."
   He had hesitated on the words as though unfamiliar with them or unfamiliar with speaking. His statement, however, had Cassidy bordering on the edge of hysteria. He was at best something akin to a Navy Seal on night maneuvers and at worst some sort of demented maniac who enjoyed silently stealing across the ocean to climb on board ships in the night. And if she wasn't mistaken he might be naked. She thought she had every need to be frightened of him.
   "You are..." he ventured again, still laboring as though words had to be carefully chosen and formed, "... ok?" His tone was cautious, respectful. He was at least, Cassidy thought, the most polite lunatic to run into on the high seas.
   She mulled over replying. He took a small step forward and although more than twenty feet separated them she took an instinctive step back. "I'm fine," she said quickly.
   "Good," he said softly. The moment stretched into silence again. Finally he mustered, "I have come... to warn you."
   Ah, so here it was. Insanity upcoming.
   "You must..." he began, but then became quiet again as though at a loss for words. He didn't sound like a simpleton. It was more like he was translating things through a few different languages in his head.
   "I must what?" Cassidy asked a bit sharply. She had begun edging towards the ladder to the galley and he hadn't reacted yet. For her the stress of this almost-confrontation was wearing. She hadn't known that other than fight or flight there was a third option, wait. It turned out to be the most tiresome of the three.
   "You must, you must... leave this place."
   The part of Cassidy's brain that had been intrigued by his accent finally identified it and she blurted. "You're Irish?"
   He cocked his head to one side but then ignored her comment. "You must," he said with more emphasis now that he was certain in his words, "leave this place. You are in... danger."
   As more time went by without direct threat Cassidy's natural curiosity started to overtake her. She paused in her movement towards the hatch. "In danger from what?"
   "From... them." He gestured over the side of the boat with his chin.
   "Them?"
   He made a snorting noise that was unmistakable male frustration. "Deilf na Cairibe." The words rolled lyrically off his tongue but they meant nothing to her. It seemed that not knowing how to explain what he meant made him restless and he shifted from foot to foot, looking around as though something on the boat would help him to demonstrate. Cassidy tensed but he finally just gestured with his chin again out towards the water again. "Tá an arm a bhailiú anseo."
   She shook her head. "I'm sorry, I don't understand."
   He sighed, apparently accepting the limits of their conversation. "Leave. There is danger for you here." With that he stood for another few silent moments, then turned and dove back into the sea. He barely made a splash. Cassidy ran aft to grab the fishing gaffe near the back of the boat and peered over the side looking for him. She didn't see or hear him swimming away. Backing towards the wheel house she looked out across the waters that had seemed so friendly before his arrival. Now they seemed full of unknown, unexpected dangers.

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