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Above and Beyond Dark Waters

Above and Beyond Dark Waters

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Above and Beyond Dark Waters

234 pages
3 hours
Dec 19, 2016


All creatures are affected by life's challenges.

​​​​​​​Jane, a twelve-year-old girl who loves to read about superheroes, wants to become one. When she’s suddenly able to fly through the sky and rest on the rising thermals, Jane must work hard to learn and fit in. She must chart the rocky road through the rite of passage into adulthood. After deciding she no longer wants to become a superhero...

...Jane discovers she already is one.

Dec 19, 2016

About the author

Des Birch lives in Norfolk UK with his wife, Julie. He is a self-professed writing nut, shark nut, wild about the natural world and is motivated to empower young people. Des admits to being frightened of heights, bears, and hagfish; an odd combination he will admit, but reality is often stranger than fiction.He has raised his two children on his own, been in shark cages, stroked big cats, jumped off a mountain, SCUBA dived the Red Sea and lived in other European countries. If asked why, Des will smile and say, "I enjoy living life to the fullest."Des does not write about super heroes or people with special powers. He would much rather take ordinary people and place them in extraordinary situations, and record how they react.Des has always written in one form or another but in 2006 while living in Spain, he wrote his first novel, The Diary of an Innocent. A couple of years later he moved back to England and married Julie, with whose help and support he continues writing.If he could have one wish come true, it would be that his young adult books (Dark Water series) will serve to empower young minds.

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Above and Beyond Dark Waters - Des Birch

Above and Beyond Dark Waters

Des Birch

Foundations Book Publishing

Brandon, MS 39047


Above and Beyond Dark Waters

By Des Birch

Cover by Dawné Dominique Copyright© 2021

Edited by Toni Michelle

Copyright 2016© Des Birch

Published in the United States of America

Worldwide Electronic & Digital Rights

Worldwide English Language Print Rights

This is a work of nonfiction. Only the names and identifying details of the individuals involved have been changed. Those who are innocent of any wrongdoing described in each story must be protected.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form, including digital and electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the Publisher, except for brief quotes for use in reviews.

For Tayla Mia Smith…

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

About the Author

Chapter One

When I was a little girl, I liked to read comic books about superheroes, wondering what it might be like to fly through the air or to have superhuman strength. I would dream about saving the world from a natural disaster and not being afraid of anything. But I was just an ordinary girl with no special talents. I was plain looking, I could not draw very well, was no good at sports and my school marks were average. There was no superhero inside me, or so I thought, until one day I visited granddad, who sent me out for a walk; a walk that would change my life forever.

I guess that nobody grows up without arguing with their parents at some time. I was twelve years old and practicing hard to be a difficult teenager. Thinking that I knew enough about the world not to have my parents breathing down my neck all the time was not the best thing for a twelve-year-old, but this is just one aspect of the slippery scramble into adulthood.

One place of refuge was at granddad’s; someone who always had time for me and who was interested in my opinions. His house backed onto heath land, edged with high rocky crags where red kites could be seen soaring effortlessly on the thermals, without a care in the world. I loved to lie on the warm ground and watch them, shielding my eyes against the sun as I tried to imagine what it must be like to have such freedom. I always carried a pair of binoculars and a drink when I hiked up to the heath, and these sat neatly in my backpack.

On this particular Saturday, I was upset because mum would not buy me some fashion statement of the time. It is funny because now I cannot even remember what the item was, yet it seemed so important to me then.

I called out granddad’s name as I let myself in with my key. At least he trusted me with a key!

Hello Janie, he said when he spied me stepping through the French windows.

It was his pet name for me and it helped me form a bond with him against everybody else who simply called me Jane. He was the very picture of relaxation as he lay on a sun lounger, squinting in the bright sunlight, his smile defying my mood.

Pour yourself a drink.

I kissed him on the cheek, dropped my backpack near the door and then went to the kitchen, pouring myself a pineapple juice ̶ something he would buy just for me ̶ before returning to the garden to sit on the grass. Any problems I had were quickly dissolved by the sun’s rays, and granddad and I chatted lazily, as I lay down on the grass, making shapes out of the few wispy clouds edging the bright blue sky. Birds sang in the bushes and time slowed down in reverence to the perfect day.

A trill note cut through the languid air and I rolled over to see a blackbird on the fence, beginning one of the many songs in his repertoire. The sheer volume of the melody shook me from my sleepy state and I turned to see if granddad was watching the bird as well.

At first, I thought he was in pain as he was sitting upright and rigid, as though the blackbird’s words had physically struck him.

Are you all right, granddad? I asked as I sprang to my feet.

He stood up unsteadily, grabbed his stick and headed for the house. I followed closely, making certain that he did not fall.

I’ve got things to do now, he announced unexpectedly. You’ll have to go out for a walk or something.

I was confused. Granddad never had things to do, and yet, now he seemed to be throwing me out. What was going on?

If you go up onto the heath, you can watch the kites hunting prey to feed their young.

Granddad was holding open the door. Picking up my backpack, I stepped through and turned back to face him.

Can I come back later? I asked.

Yes, of course, he said and his smile returned before he closed the door.

Chapter Two

I was almost in shock as I headed for the heath. Why had granddad thrown me out? Had I done something wrong? This did not seem possible as we were simply lying there in the sun. Mum and dad often made strange decisions, but they were always busy and stressed, unlike granddad.

Not having an answer, I resorted to sulking about the thing that mum would not buy for me. This was a pity as being deep in thought prevented me from looking where I was going and the uneven ground as I entered the heath, was littered with rocks and tufts of grass. It was not long before my ankle twisted painfully and as I hopped on my other leg, a large stone bowled me over and I banged my head hard against a rock. The blue sky grew misty and I sank into unconsciousness.

Eventually, I opened my eyes and squinted in the bright sunlight. I could see a small dark speck going round and round as an unseen force stretched my brain in every direction, distorting my vision and preventing me from making any sense of the world around me. Even a blurred tussock of grass nearby was as big as a medium-sized bush and I wondered when this strange world around me would return to normal.

At last, my vision began to clear and I noticed that the circling speck had grown wings. The tussock of grass was still the size of a bush and large boulders appeared all around me, blocking my view in every direction. What was going on?

The kite grew considerably in size as it spiralled down to where I lay, but it was still quite some distance away. Exactly how big was this bird? Then, in horror, I watched the creature grow and grow as it lost height, until finally, it was the size of a small house. The ground shuddered as it landed beside me, one of the fingers of its talons, linked through the strap of my backpack.

I suppose you’ll have to be enough for my chick for the time being, she said in a voice like mum would use when she chooses something for dinner. There’s not much food around this morning.

Food? I said, suddenly realising what she was proposing to do. You can’t eat me!

What are you talking about? I caught you fair and square. Now, stop complaining!

Her mighty wings crushed the grass around with a downward thrust and I was jerked into the air, suspended from a single strap on my backpack. There was a whooshing sound with every beat of her wings. As we rose into the air, I began to realise that the large boulders were, in fact, the small rocks I had tripped over. Somehow, I had shrunk.

Let go of me! I cried, before realising how high we were. No, don’t!

We soared over the heath and I felt the power of those wings making tiny adjustments, as minute movements of the air rocked us one way and then another. It would have been a wonderful ride had I not been on the menu at the end.

Please don’t eat me, I begged.

We soared toward a rocky outcrop where her wings flared up, halting us in midair for a moment before landing softly on a ledge, with me hanging over the edge. The kite bent down her head and I had a first good look at my captor.

What is your problem? she asked. You’re a little animal and I eat little animals.

The sight of that powerful black, curved, razor-edged beak filled me with dread; so much dread, in fact, that I completely forgot that I was dangling by one strap of my backpack. I struggled to try to get away, but only managed to flap about in midair.

You are a funny little rodent, aren’t you?

I’m not a rodent, I’m a human! I blurted out.

A human? Don’t be ridiculous!

She turned her head to allow one of her eyes to examine me more closely.

You do look a bit like a human, but you’re very small. Perhaps you are a Quinling! Yes, yes, she said excitedly. You are a Quinling!

No, I’m a girl, I protested.

Now listen to me, you silly little human. Every once in a while, nature endows a great gift on one of the lucky few. You have been given the opportunity to go on a quest, to live life in five other forms, in turn, so that you can learn something from each one.

But I don’t want to live in another form. How would I know what to do?

Well, we’re all basically the same and we all meet the same problems in life.

We’re not the same! I argued. You’ve got wings and feathers; I’ve got skin and hair on my head. We couldn’t be more different!

Yes, but we’re made of the same things.

No, we’re not! I screamed, but the scream was probably more to do with the fact that I had just realised the ground was so far away.

I’ve heard that you humans think you know everything, she said, her voice now raised as well.

I did not want to upset the creature that was dangling me over the ledge, but neither did I want to let her think that she could eat me. Her talons began to close and I knew, at this point, that I would have no control over what was about to happen.

Suddenly, her wings stretched and we were lifted by a passing gust of wind. She seemed to know where the warmer air was rising and soon, we were spiralling above the ground, higher and higher until the trees looked like weeds. Then we veered off and the next time I looked down, we were high above a lake; its dark waters looking like a puddle in the field below.

Well, now you’re about to find out just how equal we all are. Good luck, Quinling.

With this, she opened her talons and my stomach turned over as I began to fall through the air. It was a terrible feeling, knowing I had no control over my decent. The water was rushing toward me and the dark puddle grew as it sucked me into its centre. What could I do? I screwed my eyes tightly shut and waited for the splash.

Chapter Three

The impact, when it finally arrived, was not as bad as I had imagined. The water did not hurt and I opened my eyes and looked around as I was sinking. As I travelled further down, the particles in the water began to grow at an alarming rate. Eventually, one single particle swelled to such a size that it was all I could see. Still, I seemed to be falling, but only as I was shrinking. So I was not falling in space, rather falling within myself as the particle grew ever larger before my eyes. Then I noticed that it was made of tiny, jelly-like spheres, each with a centre. I was pressed up against them and I realised that I had also become a sphere, although my form did not feel like jelly, more like a magnet when it meets another magnet. Either, I would stick to another sphere, or I would have nothing to do with it.

I looked around and found that my new world was made entirely of these spheres, some bigger than others. There were no gaps and we were all pushing against each other. At first, I considered that I was in some kind of computer game; perhaps, my quest was to find a way through the maze. Just then, a voice from a smaller sphere to which I was attached, led me away from these thoughts.

Here we are again, said the voice. Back into the lake. I wonder where we’ll end up this time. Have you been anywhere interesting in the last few centuries?

Erm, I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about, I mumbled in confusion. I’m only twelve years old.

What do you mean by twelve years old?

Now I was even more confused. How could I explain that which we all take for granted?

Well, I mean that I was born twelve years ago.

BORN? Are you an animal?

No, I’m human!

Human? Its voice now sounded very excited. Then you must be the Quinling! We were told to expect you. Hey, everyone, I’ve got the Quinling here!

This was the second time I had heard this name, yet I seemed to be the only one who was unaware of what it meant.

You’ll have many questions, it said as if it was reading my mind.

Somewhere around me, I heard faint sounds of the name Quinling being uttered.

Where am I? seemed the most important question on my mind.

You’re very lucky, it said. I’ve been inside a human before. I know all about your kind. I thought that you would know about us.

What’s going on?

As I became annoyed, I noticed I was growing in size and so were the two other spheres I was attached to.

Blue, blue coming through.

The sound was coming from above and I saw a giant mass of spheres all joined together, some at very odd angles. The mass squeezed through, breaking my bond with the only sphere who could tell me what was going on.

It’s all right, he called. It’ll be gone in a minute.

After much squeezing and with a little wriggle of help from me, the giant bunch of spheres finally passed through and I once again bonded with my newfound friend.

What is happening? What was that thing?

Don’t worry, said the sphere. I’ll explain everything.

Green, green coming between.

This time, the voice was on the other side. I felt another giant bunch of spheres pushing their way through and breaking my bond with a silent sphere on my left. I was pushed and shoved but eventually, this mass too had passed and I once again bonded with the silent sphere; at least, I think it was the same one.

Let’s get out of here, said the sphere.

Great, I said, but how?

Then it changed its tone.

I hear that humans aren’t very good at working out things. You don’t even know where you are, let alone how to get out of here! I think humans must be a bit stupid!

What it was saying really agitated me. I was getting madder and madder, and bigger and bigger. I noticed that my companion spheres had also grown in size and that we had begun to squeeze through the other spheres at an alarming rate.

Yes, humans can’t be very bright at all!

How dare this little sphere talk about humans this way? I could not work out why our conversation had suddenly changed. Then we were surrounded by spheres and groups as big as we had become. Once again, I had to ask.


Calm down, was the reply that left me speechless. "First

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