Before the new year, I shared a picture on my Facebook page in reference to one of my secret projects (because I'm obviously so good at keeping secrets LOL). To my delight, that post recieved more interaction and views than anything else I'd recently posted! Since there were so many comments and questions, I decided that it was time to bring the project out of the shadows. So, here is the title, cover, AND excerpt from my project Swept Away.
**This is a first draft, unedited excerpt**
It took almost an hour to clear the oak floor the rest of the way, by which time I’d shed my sweater and was in a full on sweat from the amount of work. My white tank top was striped with filth and sticking to my skin, but I couldn’t find a moment to care. With the timbers finally cleared, I set to prying them apart, hacking at the wood until it broke. It was loud business, but graciously quick, the lumber already rotted from centuries of being buried. The mud underneath was thicker than what I’d already dug through, heavier. Glancing back at the sky, stars still sparkling, I took no time for a break and began digging again.
The drill had left a good hole for me enlarge and I focused all of my attentions there, knowing that at the end would be the treasure of Oak Island, finally discovered after more than two hundred years.
Time flew by, blood pumping through my veins, singing to me of my own anticipation. As the end of the drill’s path came into view, it seemed that my heart might explode from the exertion and excitement of it all.
Breaking another glow stick, I tossed it into the cavity, careful to avoid what appeared to be a broken skull. The drill had gone right through one of the larger pieces, though it didn’t appear to be what had originally broken the bone. The way it was laying suggested to me that the rest of the skeleton was here as well, still buried under years of mud and muck. The skull wasn’t really what held my interest, though, as amazing a find as it was. No, it was the piece of gold next to it, the one that had been unlucky enough to be drilled through as well.
Gingerly, I began feeling around the mud surrounding the find, hoping to come across some type of box still hidden. Why would there be only a skeleton here and no treasure? Finally, I hit on something harder than the mud, but softer than rock. Excitedly, I dropped to my knees and began digging with my hands, unearthing the front of a wooden box—a treasure chest.
Awe filled me as I wiped my fingers over the front of it, feeling the gold lock on the front, an elaborate “O” engraved on the pieces. It appeared to be a type of puzzle lock, only revealing the design when it was put together correctly. I’d never seen anything like it in person before.
“He was right!” I laughed, not able to believe that my dad had been right about one of the world’s greatest mysteries. All those years I’d wished he would just leave it alone and he’d been right. “If only he was here to see it.”
A moment of sadness overtook me as I looked at the legacy I’d been left. A sudden cracking sound from above brought me right back, my eyes desperately trying to find the culprit of the sound. If I was caught . . . .
Nothing greeted my straining eyes and I turned back to the chest, hurriedly trying to dig it out the rest of the way. It looked like it would fit in my canvas bag, if not I would have to risk tying the ropes around it and pulling it up in its fragile state.
Sweat clung to me as I worked, dripping in my eyes and causing me to rub muck across my face whenever I tried to wipe it away. Even with all of the added moisture, I still felt the first drop of ocean water fall on me.
It was like a gentle kiss, brushing through my hair and spreading across my scalp as I looked up in alarm, knowing there were no rain clouds in the sky. The mechanism holding back the flood waters was coming apart, shaking against the walls, the gates leaking the salty liquid down the walls, the advancement silent. With a shock, I realized that the water was already starting to pool in the bottom of the pit, with my chest only halfway dug out.
Frantically, I dug faster, grabbing onto the sides the best I could and tugging the box out of the ground. With a deafening crack, the floodgates cracked open and a torrent of water rained down on me. The cold seeped through my skin, filling my lungs with its sudden force, twisting around my hands and stealing the chest from me. Desperate, I tried to reach for it, but the need for air had me swimming for the surface instead.
It was like trying to swim straight up a waterfall, which was essentially what I was doing. My chest burned, begging me to take a breath, but I couldn’t get to the surface. Finally, my head broke the rapidly rising waterline and I sucked in all the air I could manage before I was pushed back under.
My hands reached for something, anything, I could grab and pull myself up on. They brushed over the muddy walls, nails digging into the pit that was killing us. The water pushed me in every direction, confusing me when it came to knowing up from down. I felt like I was being sucked through a stone wall, my jeans ripping open on a jagged rock that cut through my leg. The salt stung the wound as I flailed, my eyes going dark and lungs about to burst as I slipped further and further from the surface.