We are thrilled to share an excerpt for Heather Lyons' THE DEEP END OF THE SEA! THE DEEP END OF THE SEA is a New Adult Fantasy set for release February 13, 2014 and definitely one you need to add to your TBR pile!
What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?
Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.
But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.
I let it happen again.
The temple settles into that stagnant silence I’ve long learned to loathe, and these are the most cohesive series of words I can string together for many long, desolate minutes. I let it happen again. Resolutions apparently mean nothing, even if crafted under the best of intentions. Had I not, just this very morning, recited a daily pledge held dear to my heart: I shall not let myself be used for death?
And yet, a man is dead, and I was the weapon that slayed him.
I move closer to where he now stands, forever frozen in terror, and press my shaking hand against his outstretched stone one. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, though he cannot and never will be able to hear my words. “So, so sorry.”
His eyes, wide and mercifully detail free, offer me nothing in return. Once I commit his features to memory, I construct a life history with a name worthy of his sacrifice. Walt was single (I can’t bear the thought of spouses and children, thus my collection of singletons) and a bit of a daredevil when he wasn’t volunteering to teach literacy to adults in poverty stricken urban areas. He’d gone spelunking at least a half-dozen times, sky diving twice, and bungee cord diving off some crazy bridge in Colorado just once, on his thirtieth birthday. Walt liked to write poetry; how could he not, when his now-deceased parents had named him after one of the greats?
Walt liked to talk about poetry, too, which means he needs to be with others like him. I strip off my flannel work shirt, down to a tank top, and get to work. Shoving stones around when half of one’s body is reptilian isn’t the easiest of tasks, requiring a great deal of precision and care.
As I always tend to do when placing a new statue, I can’t help but flash back to the one and only time I’d broken one of my victims. I’d been tired—he’d snuck upon me when I’d been sleeping—and an overestimated shove sent poor Nikolaos face first against the temple floor. I’d spent most of that night collecting the pieces which once made a whole man, blubbering in misery. As penance, his head, missing an ear and part of his nose, still sits on a shelf in my bedroom. Treat us gently, I like to imagine him telling me nightly before I sleep. We deserve your care.
I have not failed Nikolaos since. Over the ages, I’ve developed a routine to transfer the statues around the island that includes wrapping the bodies in a thick quilt before putting them up on casters. It takes a painstaking amount of time to shift them short or long distances, but each person deserves nothing less from me.
Walt’s group sits just outside the temple. They are the philosophers of our island; it only seems natural they would find much to appreciate in both the sun and the stars. I struggle with his body over the stairs—they are tricky to maneuver for me even without hauling a two hundred pound statue—but eventually, I get him exactly where he’ll fit in best.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Walt,” I tell the still faces forming a cluster near a non-functioning fountain. “His poetry is as beautiful as his namesake’s.”
I angle Walt so his eyes face theirs. It’s late afternoon, and there is soft orange light filtering down upon their features. It’s a beautiful sight, which only saddens me, because all of that talk about death and beauty being intertwined is one of the biggest loads of crap I’ve ever heard. Death isn’t beautiful. Too often than not, it’s messy and brutal; even when done in sleep, there’s still that theft of breath, that failure of a heart. Death is an act of violence.
I should know. I am one of the most prolific murderers in history. And I think about death constantly.
I often wonder what my own death will be like, if I am ever blessed to embrace it. I’m not too picky in my imaginings; I’ll take any sort by this point. Logically, I’d prefer a less painful exit, but, knowing my luck, it’ll be as ruthless as once reported and still widely believed.
It ought to be noted I have some of the most wretched luck to ever be doled out, so there is that.
The sound of waves crashing against the shore sends my eyes to the horizon. I’ve tried to drown myself in those waters more times than I ought to admit over the years, but the sea always spits me back out. I’ve also tried overdosing on pharmaceuticals, stabbing myself in the chest and eyes (which was just as painful as you’d imagine), and throwing myself off a cliff. Melodramatic, yes, and all ineffective for an immortal cursed with impenetrable skin and a digestive system apparently filled with acid.
Death is not my friend. At least, not yet.