by Katy Hayes
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic
Release Date: June 20th 2016
When everything you know is washed away, who can you trust?
Life is precarious on City, the last civilised place left on a drowned Earth. Some might think Libby Marchmont’s safe life there is boring, but she likes it – until her father is murdered and her certainties are swept away.
Stranded in the middle of the sea with someone she’s always considered an enemy, can Libby learn to trust Cosimo? And can they both survive long enough to share the truth her father was killed for: the seas are rising again and City lies on the brink of destruction.
Rising Tides extract: Escape from City
Cosimo’s arrive in Libby’s ordered life precipitates a flight from City, the only home she’s ever known. We join her in this extract as she leaves her home with her father and the very unwelcome Cosimo.
“Where are we going, Father?” The fog had thickened in the half hour we’d spent at home, damp from the sea combining with smoke from the recycling factory to mire the sky. It swallowed detail and made noises louder. Our feet clattered on the metal pontoons, making it sound as though there were more than three of us. My question echoed louder than I’d meant. Demanding. Needy. Not how Dr Miracle’s daughter ought to sound.
“Away from here.”
As though that was an answer! “Where, Pa?”
“Tonight we’ll go wherever we can. I apologise that our plans are a little flimsy.”
I cast a sour look at the boy, Cosimo. “I don’t blame you,” I said to my father.
“Don’t you? I rather think you should, Libby.” I heard the smile in my father’s voice and fell silent. I was clearly not going to get any sense from him while he was in this mood.
For a few minutes, the light of the lantern bobbed in front of us as we walked, haloed by the mist. The only sound was our tinny footsteps and the sloshing of the sea beneath. I was never in any doubt of our initial destination, and it was confirmed as we weaved through alleyways between houses and the sound of our feet was joined by the snap of ropes and the creak of barges shifting in the water. The quayside. Then that sound was joined by another; footsteps, coming towards us. I was anxious, but not alarmed. The tide was turning so there were bound to be people about, regardless of the foul night.
“Doctor Miracle! Are you there?”
Fear gripped me at the sudden call. My father stopped. “Ah.” He sighed, as though this were an inconvenience, but nothing worse. “I had hoped we might have a little more time than this …”
“Who is it?” I didn’t recognise the voice, but it had almost been drowned out by the thumping of my heart.
“No one of importance.” Pa smiled, although the gesture looked forced. “You go on ahead while I deal with this. Cosimo will escort you to the boat.”
I looked at the boy, who nodded as though he accepted all these slipshod arrangements. Perhaps this was what they’d been whispering about before the operation, while I’d been out of the room. Plans my father hadn’t trusted to me but had given freely to a stranger.
“I’ll go with you, Pa.” Nothing would induce me to go with the boy without my father.
“No, you will go ahead as I bid you.” Pa was calm, which sped up the rate of my heart.
I shook my head. The only word that would go past my suddenly thick throat was, “No.”
“The tide’s already turning. You hurry ahead and get everything ready.” He spoke to reassure me, but I caught the glance he gave Cosimo, the shooing motion he made.
Fear surged through my veins, increasing with every beat of my heart. “I’m not leaving you.”
“Go with Cosimo. I’ll follow.”
“No.” I had the strongest conviction that if I let my father out of my sight I would never see him again. It was irrational, but the world didn’t make sense. Not today. My father was Dr Miracle. How could he need to flee? What was there that could threaten him in all the world?
Pa looked over my head. “Take her.” He pushed me towards Cosimo and turned to meet our pursuer, Pa’s footsteps echoing rapidly as he strode away. I staggered, turning, and would have followed, but Cosimo’s grip tightened around my arm with a strength that took me by surprise. “Let me go!” I twisted to look for Pa, already disappearing into the autumn fog, the lantern light swallowed by the night. If anything, the boy’s grip tightened further. He pulled me onwards and I stumbled beside him. He was stronger than he looked. I twisted but I couldn’t get away.
We turned in to the quayside and the sea came into sight. Cosimo was distracted, looking up to orient himself and find the boat we were destined for.
I took my chance. I stamped on his foot and heard a hiss of pain but still he didn’t release me, his hands like steel around my wrists. I distinguished the word “idiot” from his damaged throat and fury leant me strength. It wasn’t his father walking into danger. I paused, sagging, as though I’d given up. When he relaxed, I drove my elbow into his stomach and ran back to where I’d left my father while Cosimo was doubled over.
After a few paces, I slowed, aware of the clatter of my steps. I didn’t think the boy would follow, but I didn’t want to make it easy for him if he did. Nor did I want to announce my presence to my father – and the person he’d stopped to meet. I heard footsteps echoing against the walls, barely distinguishable from other sounds, although I couldn’t be sure if they were my father’s or someone else’s. I followed the noise down an alleyway, the mist drifting thick around me, and caught sight of a bobbing light that had to be his lantern. I hurried as he turned a corner, letting my hand drift along the sides of the houses so I wouldn’t miss the turn.
Another corner. Something tangled in my feet. I stumbled, hands out to protect me as I slammed headlong onto the pontoons. Rising, I distinguished the obstacle. My father’s medical bag. I leaned against the wall, peering through the mist. He had to be close since he wouldn’t have left that behind.
There was a glow ahead, not moving. As I hugged the wall, I heard a voice, and I relaxed to recognise my father’s tones, echoey and thin in the mist but unmistakeable. “I’d hoped to be away from here by now, then you wouldn’t have found me.”
“We would have followed. You’re too important to leave.” Another man. His voice was distorted by the weather. I felt as though I should recognise him, but didn’t. An old patient, perhaps, a recollection just beyond my memory. Whoever he was, he wasn’t the captain of a boat contracted to take us away.
“What if I promise to come back?” There was a pause, as though the other man were considering that offer. Come back after what? I crept closer. I could distinguish two forms, but they were still no better than indistinct shapes. I’m ashamed to own, fear kept me where I was when I should have stepped right up to them.
“I can’t let you leave. I have my orders.”
“And I can’t bear to stay.” My father again. I could tell which figure was which. Pa stood with his back to me and no knowledge that I was there.
“You don’t have a choice.”
My heart bounced against my ribs. I was debating whether to step out and make myself known when my arm was grabbed once more. Cosimo. His face was close, shiny with damp. If I’d had any doubt that he was furious, it was eliminated by his expression and his ferocious grip.
Want to read more? You can get a copy of Rising Tides in paperback or for your Kindle (to buy, or free with Kindle Unlimited) using this link: http://authl.it/B01FHXD8HG?d
Your survival kit is as follows:
1. An Amazon voucher for £10/$15US/$20CAN, AUS, NZ. Load up your Kindle with books to read, while shops remain.
2. A solar charger so when the national grid fails you can still read your books.
3. A mirror. When you are stranded in the open sea you can signal for help by reflecting the sun’s light. Alternatively, if you have no wish to be rescued because you still have reading to do, flip the mirror over to depict the slogan, “Go away I’m reading.”
4. Ribbon bookmark. If all your books have been washed away by the rising seas, this can be rolled up and packed into the neck of a cut-open bottle and will double-up as a water filter. Note: this will not desalinate salt water, sorry.
5. A bag to put the last of your belongings into. DO NOT LEAVE THIS BEHIND.
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About the Author
Katy Haye spends most of her time in imaginary worlds – her own or someone else’s. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.