Ocean Thyme just wants to live her life and be happy, like all girls. She has a great job as a cinema manager and a loving girlfriend. Her and Jacinta live in a house in the suburbs and on the weekends they support their favourite Roller Derby Team, Dishonour, and their close friend and Roller Derby girl, Cherrybomb.
But there’s something about Ocean that makes her different from the other girls: she has these recurring dreams about standing on an empty beach in the middle of the night, all alone, except when a strange girl comes and who wants her to go with her to places Ocean has never been too but returns from, safe and sound, at the end of the night.
A bewildering event late on a Saturday night in her hometown will change her life forever. And when, a few nights later, while watching TV with her girlfriend Jacinta, Ocean’s latest dream appears on the news accompanied by a photo of her, her happy life is thrown into disarray. And soon, the city in which she lives becomes a battleground for her sanity and her life, and if she loses, she loses everything, including the very thing she has enjoyed until now: her freedom.
Read an excerpt below:
Ocean thought she’d been in bed, could’ve sworn she had been and wondered why she had that curled-up-in-bed feeling. But her thoughts were hazy and they drifted away on the ambience. She couldn’t tell the difference between the dream and reality anymore. But then she suddenly remembered her car and how she had stood beside it. And in the blink of an eye, she again stood by her car.
She fell against the car as if she’d fainted, and startled herself to full conscious.
‘Geezus!’ She shook her head. She sucked in a few deep breaths to steady herself, her eyes widened and brows arched.
She twisted so her back was against the car and supported her, and then surveyed the car park. No one else was there. She was alone. Crickets.
What the hell happened? Why had she fainted?
Then she rummaged for her keys in her bag, saw them on the ground, bent to collect them. She tried to get into the car, but the keys and remote fell to the ground again with a metallic clink and she cursed. ‘Shit.’ She bent to pick them up and tried again to open the car door. The familiar toot of the security alarm as she pressed a button on the remote, and the soft clunk of the doors as they unlocked. This time she succeeded and the door was open.
In the car, she breathed heavily and still wondered what had happened. Rubbed her forehead. Why had she fainted? She soon recalled hazy images of the grey-skinned being and a rifle. She’d slept standing up? The idea puzzled her.
‘Wow, that’s so weird,’ she muttered.
She wasn’t shocked by those images, they were familiar. She’d seen them in her dreams since she was eight. They were no surprise. But what was a surprise, was the hour. She looked at the dashboard clock, it said 2:30 am.
Now, this shocked her.
What the hell was going on? Her eyes were like full moons. She couldn’t have stood there by the car for more than two hours. Come on! Something was wrong: either the clock was wrong or something else was wrong. She quickly checked the time on her cell phone and saw the same time. And just as she was about to start the car, the song of her cell phone startled her some more, and she twitched.
‘What the hell?’
She said hello as she answered the call.
‘Ocean? Where the hell are you?’ said the female caller.
She instantly knew who it was, and quickly apologised.
‘Sorry, Jacinta.’ She huffed loudly. ‘I’m just leaving the office now.’
She cringed at how corny that must sound to Jacinta. She’d know she finished work earlier. And Jacinta would keep at her until she gave her an appropriate response. She didn’t look forward to that because Jacinta was like a bear with a sore head when she was upset about something.
‘Look, I know this sounds crazy, but …’
‘Just get your arse back here now. It’s missed.’
‘My arse is missed, or I’m missed?’ Her response was half a joke and half a serious question. Of course, what she’d done was successfully divert the conversation away from the time and her absence, and what had really happened. Just like that, she thought. Jacinta was so workable.
Jacinta was quiet for a moment.
They both chuckled at the same time, and soon both laughed at each other.