Chapter 14

No, no, go back down,” Lorcan shouted at the dolphins, but it was too late. The sharks had seen them.

The sharks dove down so fast that Miracle and Flipper couldn’t get away quickly enough. The dolphins swam around and around, dodging the shark attack. Lorcan was thrown up and down and sideways in the carriage. The dolphins let out a whistling noise that Lorcan thought was probably a call for help.

Flipper was bitten first.

Then Miracle.

Lorcan looked at the desperate animals being slaughtered, feeling hopeless because there was nothing he could do. And he would be the next casualty.

As the carriage sank, Lorcan saw the jaws full of sharp teeth moving toward him. He opened the door and dove out just before the monstrous jaws crushed the carriage.

He instantly felt the pressure of the water that his human body couldn’t handle. He was at the bottom of a submarine dimension. He might be wrong—maybe the surface up there wasn’t the way to Earth.

He sank.

From the corner of his eye, he could see the shape of a dome, but it might just be the dome of the hospital where he had killed the doctor. There was no point in him heading toward that dimension. He grabbed at the edge of a strange-looking pear-shaped rock to anchor his body, only to discover it wasn’t just a rock. From his vantage point, he could see a hole in it, like a gate to something.

If he turned around, he would swim into the sharks’ jaws. This hole could be just another sea creature’s jaw. But at least he didn’t see any teeth here. Making a decision, he bore his weight on the rock and pushed himself, floating, into the hole.

The pressure was released instantly.

Is this another dimension? He swam for a couple of meters and then flopped onto sand in a cave. A shark poked its mouth through the hole, but it was too big to follow him into the cave. It withdrew.

Lorcan scrambled up to his feet and rubbed absently at his left side where he still felt a lingering pain. He glanced around. He was in a deep, narrow, and dark cave. No sense of adventure would entice him to go down into the cave, but compared to the prospect of being a shark meal outside or death from starvation for staying right where he was, he thought exploring the cave might result in something a bit more promising.

He followed the cave wall and the coral and went inside. He didn’t travel far before finding remains on the ground. It must have been a human judging by the shape and size of the skeleton and the material that used to be its clothes. He moved in for a closer look, and his stomach did a somersault when he recognized the velvet glove and the ring from the woman on the boat. He studied at the skeleton closely. He didn’t need any special medical knowledge to see that from the condition of the body, the woman had been dead for more than two days. It could take months or years for a body to decay to this degree.

Faye told him he had been in a coma for two days.

What was she hiding?

Before he left the body, something shiny beneath the ruined fabric and in between the rib bones caught his eye. Lorcan crouched down. He slid his fingers in between the bones until he touched the object. It was small and cool—like a stone.

He pulled the object out. The white piece of stone stared up at him from his palm. He recognized it. This was one of the interlocking pieces of the artifact he had been supposed to steal. The other two were light green and blood red. The three of them formed a round piece of stone, like some sort of talisman.

“Where are the other two pieces?” he asked himself aloud while examining the stone closer. It was white and shiny like mother-of-pearl.

Then he looked at the dead body again. He remembered the moment before the explosion and the position in which he and the woman were standing. She wouldn’t have had enough time to grab the box before the cabin exploded. So the artifact would have been blown out of the box and shattered…and the white stone had embedded itself in her body.

Or maybe she’d survived the explosion somehow and picked up the piece from the bottom of the ocean. But that wasn’t possible. Lorcan knew for a fact that the human body couldn’t survive direct contact with the environment of this submarine dimension.

He slid the piece of stone into his pocket and continued to walk deeper into the cave. The further he walked, the higher the temperature got. It was as if he was walking into a heated oven.

The cave corridor opened to a large area, hot and reeking of rotten flesh. Lorcan could see rows of small prison cells flanking the corridor.

A couple of prison guards walked past. Lorcan ducked down as far as he could in between two rock columns to hide from the guards. When they turned the corner, he crept out and walked along the hall in the opposite direction. They must have come from the exit, because the direction in which they were going went down, deeper and darker.


Lorcan jumped at the noise that blasted at them. He turned and looked. It wasn’t coming from the wall but from a small window in a thick door, locked from the outside.

The pair of eyes in the window stared at him, and there was a torrent of whispering.

“I don’t speak Nepolymbian, and I don’t want anything to do with you,” Lorcan responded in a hushed tone and kept walking.


He moved on.

“Hey, human!” the person shouted in English, copying Lorcan’s tone exactly.

Lorcan glared at the creature. “Don’t shout!” he said.

“Open the door for us, and then I won’t make a sound.”

Lorcan scurried along the corridor, heading out. The man in the cell yelled, “Guards!” in English, and followed that with a string of Nepolymbian.

Lorcan heard the footsteps of the guards, charging his way from another direction. He turned and ran, but the footsteps were everywhere, echoing down the long and narrow corridor. Soon, guards of all shapes and sizes, armed to the teeth, flanked both ends of the corridor.


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