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p r ol ogue

In many ways, Whym Island is like any of the hundreds

of tiny islands dotting the South Carolina coast. Its got year-
rounders, plus an infusion of visitors that swells its population
to more than fve times its off-season size. It has windswept cot-
tages, sprawling resorts, and a coastline that makes visitors catch
their breath and immediately do some mental math, desperate
to fnd some way to live there year round. And, like all islands,
it has secrets. Everyone knows that, in the 1960s, the mayor ran
off with his gardeners wife, and everyone knows people can
occasionally hear an otherworldly keening by the beach on
Bloody Point thanks to a nineteenth-century shipwreck.
During the summer, year-rounders will avoid the ferry
dock, the Upper Dock bar and restaurant, Burton Park, and
p r ol ogue
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the town square commons, because they know these spots will
be overrun by tourists. On the beach, the two groups, indis-
tinguishable from each other to outsiders, will barely acknowl-
edge each other with anything besides a chilly nod. Just like all
the other islands in the Calibogue Sound.
Except the one thing that Whym has that other nearby
islandslike Breton or Johns or Stuart Islanddont, is an air
of mystery. For one thing, Whym has unusual tides, which dont
always conform to the tide chart. This is annoying to fshermen,
enchanting to visitors. Called witch tides by locals, low tide
can suddenly, in an instant, turn into a relentless rushing high
tide. Oceanographers say its a natural phenomenon caused by
unusual plate tectonic activity. The locals explain that theres a
sunken island beneath the sea, ruled by a sea witch.
The visitors cant get enough of that story. Which is why,
during the summer, there are sea witch tours instead of whale
watch tours, sea witch specials at all the seafood restaurants,
and, of course, plenty of sea witch souvenirs at the postage-
stamp-size Souvenir Shoppe, a weather-beaten shack that
lies to the right of the Faunterloy Ferry dock. The Souvenir
Shoppe, too, is just like any other souvenir shop on any other
island. You know the ones: The foors are perpetually gritty
with sand, theres a thin layer of dust on all the shot glasses,
ashtrays, and bells that are perched on high shelves, and theres
a line of cheap candy at eye-level for fve-year-olds. On Whym,
the Souvenir Shoppe also contains handmade puppets of the
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mermen and mermaids believed to live beneath the sea. They
all have slight smiles and hair made out of yarn and are usually
only purchased by well-meaning grandmothers. Next to them
is a shelf of mermaid food, which is simply multicolored fsh
pellets that children enjoy throwing into the water as the ferry
is departing, as well as mermaid gloss, a sparkly lip gloss popular
with visitors under ten.
And then, of course, theres a shaky rack of postcards. The
postcards always show the most beautiful images of the islands.
Theyll show the sunset, the line of gorgeous willow trees that
hide the row of mansions that regulars live in, a couple walking
on the shoreline, just hazy enough to be unidentifable.
On all of them, the same tagline: Whym Island: Some
things have to be seen to be believed.
But thats not exactly correct. What it should read is: On
Whym Island, some things have to be believed to be seen.
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c ha p t e r one
I have an experiment, Genevieve Clarke began
as she leaned forward on the driftwood log, toward the crack-
ling beach bonfre. She paused, waiting for Darcy Scott to put
down her beer bottle and Gray Hartnett to glance up from
her iPhone. Miranda ORourke raised her eyebrow. Genevieve
always had grandiose theories, and the later it was and the
more beer shed taken from the cooler, the more she tended
to expound on them. But Genevieve had been Mirandas best
friend since seventh grade, and even when her experiments
were ridiculouslike the time she convinced Miranda to
sneak into a frat party at Coastal Carolina with her and pretend
they were exchange students from Estoniaher enthusiasm
made up for any absurdities.
c ha p t e r one
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Ill only do it if I dont have to stand up, Miranda cracked
as she opened her Sigg water bottle and took a large sip. It
was already almost midnight, and she had an exhibition soc-
cer tourney tomorrow afternoon, which college scouts were
supposed to attend. But she didnt want the party to end. Not
yet. After all, who knew how many nights like this theyd have
left? School started next week, and then next summer theyd
all be scattered across the country at colleges, embarking on
their real lives. That was a thought that simultaneously terri-
fed and excited Miranda. Sometimes, Miranda tried to close
her eyes and imagine what it would be like to be surrounded
by strangers, to not live steps away from the ocean, but she
couldnt. And right now, she didnt want to.
Okay, lazy, Genevieve said, interrupting Mirandas reverie.
Yall dont need to do anything. Ill do all the work. I learned
to read tarot cards this summer. And it sounds so stupid, but it
works. Like, when I got it done at the beginning of the sum-
mer, the cards said Id have a summer fing. And I totally did!
Genevieve crowed, obviously still thrilled about the totally hot
hookup shed had with a Columbia University rising sopho-
more when she was enrolled in a pre-college program in New
York City during the summer. Or at least the hookup shed
claimed to have. That was the thing with Genevieve: It wasnt
like she lied per se, but she defnitely often embellished, and
more than once, Miranda had witnessed a firtatious gaze across
a crowded party on a Friday night become an all-out hookup
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when she described it to everyone else on Monday morning.
Miranda never called her on it, and Genevieve never seemed
to feel guilty. It was as if, in her mind, she actually began to
believe the things she said. Miranda wished she could be more
like that.
Miranda was convinced that Genevieves faux-scandalous
life was pretty much designed to be one step more scandal-
ous than that of Genevieves mother, Jane. Jane had been
divorced three times, and Whym Islanders were still up in arms
that shed been the one to inherit the sprawling seventeenth-
century mansion on Witchs Knee, the most exclusive area on
the island. Jane had converted half the mansion into a yoga
studio and had turned the once meticulously landscaped lawn
into an organic vegetable plot. And Genevieve followed in her
moms footsteps, attempting to scandalize the next generation
of Whym Islanders by dying her hair bright red, getting a tiny
silver stud pierced into her nose and a star tattoo inked onto
her wrist, and ending almost every statement with a no? at the
end, as if she were daring anyone to disagree with her.
Did you sleep in his bed? I heard New York is full of bed-
bugs. I wouldnt hook up with anyone there, Gray drawled,
wrinkling her nose and purposefully edging away from Gen-
evieve. Course, Id never be in New York anyway. Too dirty.
Its also full of hot guys, Genevieve smirked as she pulled
the cards out of her bag. The light from the bonfre was fick-
ering on Genevieves face, making her look different than
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usualolder, more sophisticated, like someone who had a
whole different life back in New York. Right, Miranda?
Genevieve asked.
Yeah, the guys I remember from pre-school were really
hot, Miranda joked. That was one of the things about Whym:
unless you were born there, youd always be considered an out-
sider on some level, no matter how many years youd lived
there or how many ties you could claim to the island. Miranda
was technically a sixth-generation islander, but because her
mother had dared to move and have children elsewhere, shed
never been fully embraced as a local, even though shed moved
here full-time more than ten years ago.
Yall know I havent been back since I was fve. Besides,
wasnt the point the tarot-reading thing? she asked as she
hugged her knees to her chest and pulled her giant Calhoun
Academy soccer shirt as far as it would go down her legs.
Despite the fre, she was freezing. Still, she didnt want to break
up the moment and suggest they head into the pool house.
After all, this was the last summer the Whym Island seniors
the Ferries, as theyd been annoyingly dubbed back in frst grade,
when their parents (or, in Mirandas case, grandmother) had all
had to sit down and create a chaperone schedule to get them
all to the mainland to school at Calhoun Academy. The Ferries
were the progeny of the Whym Island elite: The kids whod
never attended Whym Public, the tiny redbrick school house
on the other end of the island that held kindergarten through
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twelfth grade. Whym Public was for the sons and daughters of
the fshermen, housekeepers, gardeners, and clerks who worked
year-round to keep the island in its postcard-perfect condition.
Calhoun was a private school founded in the seventeenth cen-
tury that had always catered to wealthy Carolinians. That was
what made it weird to be a Ferry: They didnt really know the
other Whym kids, and most of the Calhoun kids lived on the
mainland, ffteen miles of ocean away.
And now, none of them could imagine it any differently.
Sure, some of them had awkward romantic histories with each
other, some of them never quite forgave others for excluding
them from seventh-grade sleepovers, and some of them hardly
came to parties in favor of hanging out with mainland kids,
but all of that seemed to be forgotten in summerespecially
this year. So far, the routine had been perfect: Spend the day at
soccer practice, at the beach, or doing SAT prep, and then at
night, head down to the two-mile stretch of beach in front of
the ORourke house.
Sometimes, Miranda couldnt help but wonder whether her
own mother would be proud or appalled. Mirandas mother,
Astrid, had hated the island, and had only begrudgingly come
back during the summer to allow her mother, Eleanor Ashford,
to get to know her children. It was a good island for kids
it had pristine beaches with fne white sand, when the tide
was out. The ocean was gentle and sparkling blue, and the ride
on the ferry was a guaranteed way to effortlessly entertain a
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child on an otherwise sweltering day. So thats why every sum-
mer, Mirandas mother Astrid and her father Hank would pack
Miranda and her younger brother, Teddy, into the car and drive
down from New York City to set up house in the sprawling
mansion Astrid had grown up in. After a week or so, Astrid
and Hank would leave, eager to enjoy a temporarily kid-free
existence of downtown parties and concerts. For the next two
months, Teddy and Miranda would play under the watchful eye
of Mirandas grandmother, Eleanor.
As a four-year-old, Miranda had felt like an outsider. Always
shy, she noticed all the other toddlers on the beach at Whym
had friends to build sandcastles with and chase in and out of
the water. She didnt. She only had Teddy, Eleanor, and Louisa,
the nanny Eleanor hired each summer.
Until the night when Miranda was fve and Teddy was two.
Theyd been listlessly playing with Teddys trucks on Eleanors
screened-in porch one evening after dinner. Louisa was rock-
ing back and forth in a rocking chair, fanning herself with her
hand and reading a gossip magazine. It had been storming,
and Miranda remembered watching the way bolts of lightning
would illuminate the sky. A roll of thunder struck, and Teddy
began sobbing. At that point, before Louisa could scoop him
up to console him, Eleanor walked in, her face white.
Teddy and Miranda need to go upstairs, shed said, circling
her wrist with her opposite hand, as if she were holding onto
a banister.
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I was just gonna give them their bath, Louisa had said
guiltily, sure she was about to be chastised for letting them stay
up so late.
Now, Eleanor whispered.
The next morning, Mirandas whole world had changed.
Now, although she remembered the moments leading up to
Eleanors announcement perfectly clearly, she didnt remember
the next morning: Who told her, how it was phrased, why their
car possibly could have driven off the bridge on Johns Island,
en route to the dock, where theyd been coming from an after-
noon festival. All she knew was that she wasnt going back to
New York City. Not at the end of the summer. Not ever. And
her parents were dead.
In her new life on Whym, she was to wear a dress at all times,
call her grandmother and all her grandmothers friends maam,
and play with the dolls that Eleanor bought her, even though
shed repeatedly told her that she only liked stuffed animals. Shed
soon learned to never, ever talk about her parents in front of
Eleanor, since doing so tended to cause her grandmother to get
a faraway look in her eyes, then disappear into the master suite
with a headache, for hours at a time. What she hadnt known until
she got older were all the rumors surrounding Astrid and Hanks
deaths: That theyd been seen drinking at the festival, they may
have been smoking pot, that maybe it had been something theyd
meant to do, a suicide pact for a couple that had been too out
there, too passionate, too much for the island.
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Of course, none of that could be proved. After a cursory
investigation, the police department had deemed the crash to
be a accident. And yet, there were so many unanswered ques-
tions that nagged at Miranda even more as she got older. Had
they been drinking? Had they had some type of suicide plan?
And, in those fnal moments, had they known that Miranda
and Teddy would now be bound to the island forever?
The questions had started only once she got to school
and realized what being an ORourke meant to other Whym
islanders. And shed never asked Eleanor about them. Instead,
she distanced herself from her grandmother, preferring to
spend time by herself or with Teddy. Shed never realized she
was lonely, until she found herself being forced to sign up for
a sport on her frst day at Calhoun Academy in seventh grade.
Shed chosen soccer, and had actually been good at it, which
had been the catalyst that had caused the Ferries to befriend
her. Before, theyd been friendly enough, but wary, as if they
could sense she didnt want to be on the island. But the fact
that she could score a goal in the last thirty seconds of a game
outweighed her outsider status. Slowly, despite any apprehen-
sions, Miranda began getting invitations to sleepovers and
birthday parties. Over the past fve years, the Ferries had taught
her everything she needed to know about the island, from how
to build a fre on the beach, to how to sneak from one end of
the island to the other without ever hitting the main roads.
Now, heading into senior year, she was being watched by soc-
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cer scouts from around the country and had spent the past year
dating Fletcher King, the most sought-after boy on the island.
It was a Cinderella story come to life; a sign that fairy tales did
come true. And yet . . .
Arent tarot cards, like, dark magic? Gray asked, taking
a dainty sip from her Poland Spring bottle and interrupting
Mirandas thoughts. Because Gray was only a second-generation
summer islander, and her grandparents still lived in a pink man-
sion on Charlestons Battery, Gray had taken Mirandas posi-
tion as a Whym Island newbie, even though her family had
moved to Whym full time fve years ago. And even though
she was always invited, she tended to treat impromptu bonfre
evenings on the beach as ever so slightly beneath her, and often
reminded everyone of her Charleston debutante ball coming
up later in the season.
Yeah, because we live in Salem in the seventeenth century
and Im forming my witch coven. Genevieve rolled her eyes.
No, its just a fun way to fgure out what might happen. I
promise itll be fne. Way less risky than playing Never Have I
Ever, Gen picked up the deck of cards and shuffed them on
her lap. Now, who wants to go frst?
Lydia Banay shrugged and took a big swig of the cranberry
juice and vodka mixture shed concocted at home and smuggled
into her water bottle. I will. What the hell do I have to lose?
She asked rhetorically, as the rest of the girls murmured sympa-
thetically. Lydia had just gone through a bad breakup with Brad
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Carmichael, the Calhoun Academy All-State soccer star whod
just started at Clemson University two weeks ago. On his frst
night there, shed received a text at 2 a.m. that featured a photo
of a skinny blonde girl in a halter top, along with a question
from Brad: Would you hate me if I told you Im about to cheat? The
next day, hed begged forgiveness, citing too much alcohol and
too many temptations, but the damage had been done and
Lydia had been devastated. Even tonight, Miranda could see
her eyes were red and her face was puffy from crying.
Okay, sugar, Genevieve said, closing her eyes and shuffing
the deck. She picked out a card from the deck. The card had a
photo of a skeleton on it.
Ew! Gray shrieked.
Am I going to die? Lydia giggled, but her face looked
Maybe it just means Brads hooking up with some Skeletor
skank, Darcy said, taking another large sip of her own vodka
soda as she absentmindedly tightened her auburn ponytail at
the crown of her head. Darcy was the youngest of four sisters,
and always seemed slightly bored when discussing boy drama,
most likely because shed heard it all at home.
Genevieve turned the card over in her fngers. It doesnt
mean that. Its symbolic, no? It means a part of you is going to
What the hell does that mean? Lydia asked nervously.
Genevieve sighed, as if she were a kindergarten teacher
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explaining the rules of addition to an exceptionally slow six-
year-old. Its like, maybe the part of you that loves Brad will
die, because youll meet someone new, she said, enunciating
each word.
Okay . . . , Lydia trailed off. Or maybe it means that if I
do fnd out hes hooking up with a skeletor skank, Ill kill him.
Do someone else. Get me out of my misery.
Anyone? Genevieve glanced around the group of girls.
Miranda shifted in the sand and leaned back against her
elbows, trying to pay attention, even though her mind kept
wandering. Maybe it was just nerves for the soccer sectionals
showcase on the mainland tomorrow. And even though Coach
Devlin had told her not to worry, that the Stanford coach had
seen enough videos of her that all Miranda had to do was get
on the feld and have fun, she knew it was only natural to be
nervous. But it was more than that. It was a sense that no mat-
ter what the cards said, it felt like their destinies were already
becoming more and more etched in stone with each passing
day. Genevieve would move to New York. Miranda would play
soccer at Stanford. Darcy and Lydia would most likely stay in
South Carolina and get married to cute Carolina guys. None
of these paths were bad exactly, it was just . . .
Guys, this is yalls future. Dont you care? Genevieve
called down to the guys who were hanging close to the tide-
mark. Earlier, they had been hanging out around the fre as well,
but obviously, theyd gotten bored with the girls sprawling
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conversations and had drifted off to do their own thing: Jeremiah
Black was playing his guitar; the same four chords of Free
Fallin over and over and over again, while Alexa Madden
watched adoringly from the edge of the circle. Alan Osten and
Fletcher King were tossing a Frisbee back and forth. Occa-
sionally, Alan would overshoot and the Frisbee would land in
the water. Fletcher would eagerly run in to get it, reminding
Miranda of an eager golden retriever.
Miranda! Genevieve snapped, and Miranda glanced away
guiltily. Despite the independent vibe Genevieve projected,
Miranda knew how much Gen wanted to be part of a couple,
and she knew that in Genevieves mind, sharing a possibly-
fctional kiss with a cute Columbia boy was nothing compared
to the fact Miranda and Fletch were steadily dating. Im doing
your tarot reading, in case you care, Genevieve said, slapping
the cards down on the piece of driftwood in front of her. The
light from the fre fickered on the overturned card. It was a
man and a woman, their arms intertwined in an embrace.
Genevieve rolled her eyes. Of course, this fgures, she said,
scooping the cards back up and shuffing the deck.
Wait, what was that? Miranda asked, genuinely curious. At
least it hadnt been the skeleton.
The lovers. It means that youre about to fnd the love of
your life. Or youve already found it. Genevieve laughed, but
the hurt look spreading across her face made it clear how much
Genevieve wished she was the one in the relationship.
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Lucky! Darcy exhaled, smiling encouragingly at Miranda.
Darcy loved the idea of being in love, and had already served as
the bridesmaid at two of her sisters weddings. Her two older
sisters had both met their now-husbands in high school, and
Darcy was sure Miranda was on the same track.
Yeah, youre lucky. The question is, would Fletch agree?
Gray smiled so it seemed like she was teasing, but Miranda
could read the subtext. It wasnt so much that Gray liked Fletch,
as that Gray liked to always have the best of everything. In her
mind, Fletch was the ideal boyfriend, and Miranda sensed from
the chilly way Gray had greeted her for the past few months,
that Gray felt she, not Miranda, deserved him.
Miranda smiled, embarrassed for her relationship to be on dis-
play. Besides, it wasnt exactly accurate. Sure, she liked Fletch a lot.
Maybe she even loved him, a bit. She adored his sense of humor,
the way he didnt take himself too seriously, the way hed always
agree to split an enormous plate of disco fries at the Sand Witch
Diner with her, even though she ended up eating most of them.
But was he the love of her life? She glanced dubiously at the
water, where Fletcher was holding the Frisbee aloft over his
head like a trophy. As soon as he spotted her staring at him, his
face broke into a smile and he bounded over, throwing his wet
arms around her shoulders and dripping onto her.
Hey! Miranda squealed as he leaned down and planted a
kiss on the top of her dark hair. Stop it!
At that, Fletcher hugged her again. Maybe I will. What will
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you give me if I stop? He asked, wiggling his eyebrows mani-
Miranda grinned despite herself. Despite his showdog-like
name (full name: Fletcher Adamson King, the third) he was
pure Whym royalty: A sixth-generation resident whose family
owned half the island and whose dad was the former mayor.
Fletch was also undeniably hot: At six feet with shaggy brown
hair and a muscular swimmers build, he was the type of guy
whod cause women at the Harris Teeter supermarket to poke
each other and giggle as he walked by. But something else also
drew people to him. It was his attitude, how he was so com-
fortable in his own skin, and never seemed to be at a loss for
things to say. His confdence was sometimes overwhelming to
Miranda, who couldnt quite understand why Fletch had cho-
sen her instead of someone like Gray or Lydiaborn and bred
South Carolina girls whod no doubt be spending evenings ten
years from now at dinner parties with each other, swapping
tricks for how to get their kids to sleep through the night.
While on the surface, Mirandawith her tall, athletic frame,
long brown hair, wideset green eyes, and walk-in closet full of
pastel tanks, cashmere cardigans, and Lilly Pulitzer sundresses
looked every inch an island girl, she wasnt one of them.
Mostly, it was her legacy. She knew her parents death had
cast an aura of tragedy around her. She knew that her friends
parents privately and not-so-privately wondered about her
well-being. After all, they knew that although Eleanor was
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graceful and impeccably polite, she wasnt warm and nurtur-
ing. They knew Mirandas own mother had had a wild streak.
And Miranda was almost positive that Fletchs mother would
have preferred if hed begun dating Lydia or Gray, girls who
didnt have so much baggage. And sometimes, like now, when
she forced herself to switch into full-on firt mode because she
knew it made Fletch happy, she wondered if it wouldnt have
been easier for him if hed never fallen for her.
Well, a kiss is all youre going to get. Take it or leave it,
she said as she allowed her lips to graze his. Miranda wrapped
her arms around him, inhaling his familiar sunblock-and-Old
Spice scent.
Then she pulled away and turned toward Genevieve. What
were you saying? she asked, not wanting Genevieve to think
she was ignoring her.
Never mind, just keep on making out with your boyfriend.
I was just talking about your future, but it seems you guys are
set for life, Gen said, rolling her eyes.
Are we? Fletcher asked, perching on the driftwood next
to Miranda. His bare leg touched hers, sending another shiver
up her spine. She edged closer to the fre.
I drew the lovers card for Miranda. Its obviously you,
no? Gen shrugged. Yallre about to be Alexa and Jeremiah,
she said, knowingly jutting her chin over to the waters edge,
where Jeremiah and Alexa were standing. Jeremiahs fngers
were snaking under Alexas pink-striped bikini strap, and both
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were oblivious to anyone around them. Theyd been dating for
fve years, and still acted like they couldnt get enough of each
other, even going so far as to full-on suck face before Chapel
at Calhoun. Miranda and Genevieve both agreed it was gross.
Please, Miranda rolled her eyes. She had no doubt Alexa
and Jeremiah would get married in the next few years. That
was the way it was with island kidsif they found each other
early, they felt no reason to wait or explore other options. And
that was her whole problem with Fletch. Even if she did love
him, a bit, was that the same as wanting to be with him forever?
Aw, thats so cute for yall, Gray cooed. Miranda stiffened.
Even though she knew Gray would never really do anything,
she still didnt make it a secret that shed always liked Fletch, and
that she didnt quite understand what Fletch saw in Miranda.
One time, right after they started dating, Gray had mentioned
to Miranda that she was a prime example of the ish factor in a
It? Miranda had asked, thoroughly confused. It had been
one of the frst days of summer, and Gray had been lying on the
beach, surrounded by magazines.
Not it. Ish, Gray clarifed. Apparently, guys like girls who
are pretty-ish, smart-ish, athletic-ish . . . like, theyre the whole
package, but they dont especially stand out. Like you! She
smiled encouragingly, as if to disguise her critique as a compli-
Thanks, Miranda had said, smiling tightly. Gray may have
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thought that she was passive-aggressively insulting her, but it
wasnt anything that Miranda hadnt known herself. She was
ish. And she liked it. It was better than standing out.
Whats so wrong with being lovers? Fletch demanded as
he leaned toward Miranda and kissed her hard.
Fletch! She murmured, pushing away on his strong chest.
Were in public.
You know that talk turns me on, Fletch joked. Miranda
Do your reading, Gen. I want to know what your future
is, even though Im sure its full of scandal. Just the way you
like it, she said, leaning over and feigning extreme interest in
the cards. She didnt want to talk about whether or not they
were lovers in front of all their friends. And Fletch, remember,
gentlemen dont kiss and tell.
Who said I was a gentleman? Fletch asked, but obediently
walked over to the cooler.
Okay, ready? Genevieve asked, pleased that all the atten-
tion was back on her. She shuffed the cards and laid them out
facedown in a cross pattern, before fipping over the center
Miranda gasped. Gazing up at them was the same smiling,
dancing skeleton Gen had drawn for Lydia.
Weird, Genevieve frowned. Usually people dont get the
same thing. But I guess its because were all heading into senior
year, so it makes sense. Were all changing, no?
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This game is stupid, Gray said, wrinkling her nose. Lets
do something else. Ladies? She stood up and brushed off
the back of her white linen shorts as she walked over to the
alcohol-stocked cooler that Alan had brought along.
Do you promise the skeleton doesnt mean death? Because
it kinda looks that way from here. Lydia yanked the card from
Genevieves hand and squinted at it.
Yeah, its just symbolism. Not everything needs to be literal.
It just means change, Genevieve said testily. But she scooped
up the cards and threw them in her bag.
Miranda shivered again. It was only getting colder and later.
And even if Coach Devlin said her performance tomorrow
didnt matter since it was so early in the season, she wanted to
be at the top of her game.
As she was about to tell everyone to head home, Fletcher
loped up to her, a beer bottle in one hand, keys in the other.
Hey, Miranda said suspiciously, eyeing his hand.
Its a great night. Lets take Star Gazer out for a spin.
Miranda shook her head, annoyed. Star Gazer was the
meticulously kept twenty-fve-foot bowrider shed gotten
for her sixteenth birthday. She hadnt even wanted it, but her
grandmother had insisted. Miranda later realized it was more
for Eleanor than for her; a way to prove that even though she
didnt know how to connect to Miranda, she did care about
her. Unlike the other island kids, though, who were more likely
to drive their boat than their car, Miranda barely used hers, and
REV INT Wrecked.indd 22 2/23/12 4:44 PM
2 3
shed certainly never brought so many people on board. Would
they even ft?
I dont know, Miranda hedged. Isnt it kind of thun-
dering? Miranda cocked her head. She thought she could hear
rumbling in the distance, but that sound could well be a far-off
boat, or freworks on the mainland.
Its the sea witch, Alan hiccupped.
Stop, Darcy said nervously, glancing around. Miranda fol-
lowed her gaze, but of course, there was nothing except the
crackling of the fre and the lapping of waves on the shore.
Whym Islanders took legends seriously, especially the one
about the sea witch. According to the stories, her name was
Sephie, and legend had it that you were never supposed to say
her name on board a ship, in case you invoked her wrath, a sort
of nautical superstition in the same vein as the one that actors
were never supposed to say Macbeth in a theater, in case they
invoked the curse of the play.
Sephie could whip up storms in an instant, cause a low
tide to rush inward, or make ships collide with each other.
Every accident that had ever occurred on Whym, including
the carwreck that claimed Mirandas parents, was blamed on
her. Before her parents accident, Eleanor would tell Miranda
the sea witch would come get her if she didnt fnish her din-
ner, or if she made a fuss during her bath. When she was little,
Miranda had always been slightly frightened of the sea witch.
And when her parents died, of course she thought the sea witch
REV INT Wrecked.indd 23 2/23/12 4:44 PM
2 4
a n n a d a v i e s
was responsible. But then she grew up and faced the reality that
sometimes bad things happen for no good reason and no one
is responsible. It was something the rest of the islanders needed
to learn.
What? I want to see the witch. Sephie! Alan drunkenly
called, stumbling down the beach.
Alan, stop! Darcy said, even more frmly.
Lets go. Alan, if I were you, Id be more afraid of Darcy in
bitch mode than the sea witch, Gen said. Besides, the sooner
we get on the boat, the sooner we can leave Miranda alone so
you can get your beauty sleep before your soccer tournament.
Or Genevieve grinned wickedly have Fletch warm you
Shut up! Miranda thwacked Genevieves arm and glanced
at her friends faces. Genevieve had a point. Obviously, not
about the Fletch part, but if she brought them on the boat, she
could do a spin around the island in less than half an hour, and
she could even drop off Genevieve and Gray at the dock by
Witchs Knee, on the other side of the island. She hadnt been
drinking, but they had, and were in no shape to drive home.
Besides, there were about two minutes in between rumbles of
thunder, which meant the storm was miles away.
Lets go, Miranda added, snatching the keys out of Fletchs
hand. Im driving, she added.
Thanks, Mom! Fletch teased.
Shut up! If youre not careful, Ill throw you overboard so
REV INT Wrecked.indd 24 2/23/12 4:44 PM
2 5
the sea witch will eat you, Miranda joked halfheartedly. She
loved her friends, but they could be exhausting. Shed drop
everyone off, shed make out with Fletch on deck, and then
shed get back home in plenty of time to sleep before the game.
Miranda grabbed Fletchs hand, walked up the wobbly dock,
and stepped on to the shaky deck of Star Gazer. It was the
frst time shed been on it all summer. Between epic hangouts
right on the beach and driving over to the ferry to get to the
mainland, it didnt make sense. Now, she felt a tug of regret
that she didnt use the boat more often, especially when it was
right there.
Alan, Darcy, Gray, Gen, Lydia, Alexa, and Jeremiah tumbled
in behind her. Jeremiahs guitar was slung over his shoulder, and
Alexa was carrying the cooler in one hand as she sipped from
a beer can in the other. They all squeezed on the polished oak
benches fanking the two sides of the boat as Miranda slipped
behind the wheel and turned on the navigation system. Fletch
slid into the seat beside her and squeezed her knee.
This little lady can drive herself, as her grandmothers driver
Roger had said during her frst lesson. It was true. All you
needed to do was enter your coordinates on the console, then
steer if the water became too choppy or if you discovered an
obstacle in your path. It was easy.
Miranda turned the wheel and pulled away from the dock,
relaxing as she did so. She always felt at home on the water
felt like everything, even Fletcher, made a little more sense to
REV INT Wrecked.indd 25 2/23/12 4:44 PM
2 6
a n n a d a v i e s
her than on land. It made her feel closer to her parents. Even
though her parents car had ended up in the ocean the night
of the accident, she didnt think of the water as an enemy.
Instead, the wild, untamed waves reminded her of her mother,
while the almost-still times in between tides reminded her of
her father. She felt like they were there, somewhere, just ever so
slightly out of reach.
Hate to break up the love fest, Genevieve said, glanc-
ing at Fletch as the boat jolted onto the waves. She was tipsy,
Miranda could tell, and when Genevieve got drunk, she often
got depressed. And her creepy tarot cards couldnt have helped
her mood. Miranda felt her heart go out to her friend.
Nah, the more the merrier, Fletch said, leaning back and
putting his Sperry topsider-clad feet on top of the dashboard.
Just enjoying the night with my favorite ladies.
Youre so cheesy, Genevieve wrinkled her nose, but Miranda
could tell how much she was enjoying Fletchs attention. She
wasnt jealous. It was kind of cute how firty Fletch could be.
Please, Fletch said theatrically. Im not cheesy, Im crabby.
He said, picking up a tiny crab from a red plastic bucket that
Alan had inexplicably decided to bring on board.
Gross, Miranda groaned and pushed his hand away. Im
trying to concentrate. Its not easy driving the party boat.
Miranda shook her head as she bypassed a blinking green-
light channel marker, a sign that the route to Bloody Point
was clear to pass. Darcy and Lydia were engaged in an intense
REV INT Wrecked.indd 26 2/23/12 4:44 PM
2 7
conversation in the stern of the boat, Alan was double-fsting
beers, and Alexa and Jeremiah were practically having sex on
top of the cooler.
Fletch, listen. Your girlfriend is laying down the claw,
Genevieve quipped, pressing her fnger into Fletchs bicep.
Miranda giggled, despite herself. One of the things shed noticed
was that whenever Genevieve and Fletch were together around
her, each seemed to try to compete for her attention, getting
more silly, ridiculous, and straight-up absurd by the instant. It
was kind of nice to be the center of two peoples universes,
especially when her grandmother barely knew she existed.
Seriously, if you dont stop it, Im going to raise some shell.
Miranda attempted her own lame joke. But before Genevieve
and Fletch could react, the boat lurched forward. The crab few
out of Fletchs hand and skittered across the foor and under-
neath the wheel hatch. Miranda yelped.
Miranda yanked the wheel, but it was stuck, unable to move
backward or forward.
Whats happening? Genevieve screamed, grabbing Mirandas
I think we hit a channel marker, Fletch said, jumping to
his feet. He reached over Mirandas lap, frantically pushing the
buttons on the console. The boat was rocking side to side. The
thunder was rumbling closer, and bolts of lightning lit up the
night sky.
What happened? Miranda asked shakily. The boat seemed
REV INT Wrecked.indd 27 2/23/12 4:44 PM
2 8
a n n a d a v i e s
fne, just stationary. The console was blinking, but the map
wasnt showing up, and she had no idea where in the sound
they were.
Were you watching the water? Fletch asked accusingly.
Yes, Miranda said, locking eyes with Genevieve. Was I?
Shed been joking about the crab, but even then, shed been
glancing at the console. There hadnt been any sign they were
going to hit anything.
Miranda felt a drop on her arm, then another. She looked
up at the sky, which was covered with gray clouds. Thunder
sounded again, much closer than just minutes previously.
We have to go! Genevieve said urgently, as another crack
of thunder sounded. A bolt of lightning lit up the night sky, illu-
minating Fletch and Genevieves faces. They appeared terrifed.
Mirandas heart was thumping in her chest, but she had no idea
what she was supposed to do. Nothing like this had ever hap-
pened before. Roger had never given any lessons for what to do
if everything stopped working. She hit the console a few more
times. Nothing. Suddenly, rain began pouring from the sky.
What the fuck? Guys? Alan called from the back of the
Everythings fne! Miranda yelled. Suddenly, another clap
of thunder sounded and Miranda heard a noise that sounded
like fabric tearing. She whirled around to see a small plume of
fames coming from the stern.
Fire! she shrieked. Her fip-fopped foot slid on the foor,
REV INT Wrecked.indd 28 2/23/12 4:44 PM
2 9
which was flling with water. Help! Shrieks were coming
from the back of the boat, but the downpour made it impossi-
ble to focus on who was screaming. Miranda knew she needed
to get out, but where. And how?
Weve gotta swim! Fletch yelled. Guys, weve got to get
out. Jump! He yelled as he grabbed Mirandas waist and picked
her up. Youve gotta go, he said roughly, trying to throw her
No! Miranda protested, terrifed of the wild, churning water
below. But Fletch didnt listen, and hurled her over the edge. She
landed with a splash just a few feet away from the boat. She could
feel the heat from the fames. She thrashed and kicked as though
she was drowning, even though she knew how to swim.
Swim! Fletch yelled, seeing Mirandas distress. His hands
were on Genevieves waist, about to toss her in as well. Gen-
evieve was sobbing and Miranda wanted more than anything
to just climb on the boat and do something.
Go! Fletch yelled, locking eyes with Miranda.
A wave rolled up and knocked Miranda away from the boat.
She kicked and stroked, then surfaced and looked back.
She thought she could hear Darcy and Lydia shrieking,
but the only thing she could see clearly was the fre, that only
seemed to be getting larger and larger. Fletch was still on board,
scrambling toward the back of the boat.
Fletch! she shrieked, but her scream was muffed as an
enormous wall of water hit her.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 29 2/23/12 4:44 PM
3 0
a n n a d a v i e s
And then water was everywhere. Underneath her, over her,
inside her, drowning her from the inside out. She knew she was
screaming, but knew no one could hear her.
Finally, she kicked herself to the surface. She gasped for
breath, inhaling a mouthful of salt water. The boat was bob-
bing several body lengths away, its hull devoured in fames that
seemed to dance on the oceans surface. She needed to get
away. She kicked again, but this time, her foot seemed stuck,
bound under the waves by an invisible force. The more she
thrashed, the more her leg throbbed, and she realized that she
was somehow tangling herself in the cables that anchored the
channel marker below the surface of the water.
She was going to die. She was going to die, and Gen was
going to die, and Fletch was going to die. She bobbed under
a wave, but didnt see any light at the end of the tunnel or any
fashbacks of her life, or her parents waiting for her in heaven
or somewhere. All she felt was panic, and sadness, and wishing
more than anything that she had strong arms around her to
comfort her and carry her to safety.
All of a sudden, she felt hands frmly grasp her hips. She
kicked helplessly, and squirmed to fnd herself face to face with
a boy. A sparkly-skinned boy with dark hair and wide-set blue
eyes. Miranda reached for him, her head dropping against his
warm shoulder. She had to be dead. This had to be an angel, or
some type of escort to heaven or maybe even some weird sign
that her brain wasnt producing oxygen.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 30 2/23/12 4:44 PM
3 1
Am I dead? The words sounded fuzzy in her ears. Did I
die? she asked again.
Shhh, he said, his voice sounding like it was coming from
inside her brain and from the water all at once. Shhh, he said
again, a hushed-lullaby sound that calmed Miranda. Suddenly,
it didnt matter whether or not she was dying. Suddenly, she
didnt feel the urge to fght her way to land. Compared to the
last fve minutes, death seemed simple.
Youre safe, he said. Miranda shook her head and clawed at
her neck. Her mothers heart necklace, engraved with Miranda
and Teddys initials, felt as if it were choking her. Then unseen
hands reached around her neck and smoothed the pendant.
Miranda shivered, then relaxed as the boy carried her out of the
water and laid her gently on the sand.
Who are you? she sputtered, expecting to hear that he
was an angel, or a devil, or someone who was taking her to the
world of the dead. But then, before she could say anything else,
sleep enveloped her. And instead of fghting, she succumbed
to it, her face turned up to the sky, wondering if her soul was
already among the stars that were blinking above her.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 31 2/23/12 4:44 PM
c ha p t e r t wo
He shouldnt have done this. He knew that, as he
pulled her body across the water, noticing a pale glowing trail
following her. He wasnt sure if that was a refection of the
stars or simply coming from him, a reminder of the fact he
wasnt of the surface, and that it was because of him that all of
this had happened. Because something had changed the closer
he got to the boat. It had started rocking, slowly at frst, and
then faster, and then had been engulfed in a brilliant yellowish
orange haze. Somehow, he knew the boat was being pulled,
puppet-like by some force Down Below.
He took another stroke as the girl fell back against his arm.
This was wrong. He could simply release her into the ocean.
And yet . . .
c ha p t e r t wo
REV INT Wrecked.indd 32 2/23/12 4:44 PM
3 3
Fletch, the girl murmured, her voice cutting through
Christians heart and into his soul.
Shhh, he repeated again, the sound reminding him of the
way the waves whooshed around the coral back home. He
wasnt sure what else to say, but the noises he made seemed to
calm the girl. Her eyelids futtered closed, and Christian con-
tinued to swim. He had to take gulps of air, which hurt his
lungs. The surface wasnt an easy place to exist.
The water was still, and all around, Christian could hear the
watery sighs of the other victims of the shipwreck. Already,
their souls were foating beneath the surface, and toward the
ocean foor, where theyd join the legions of other souls savaged
by the tides.
And if he hadnt saved her, she would be going down as well.
As if shed read his mind, the girls eyes futtered open again.
The whites were bloodshot, and the irises were so dark they
were almost black. Her skin was pale and her tangled brown
hair was sticking to her cheeks. She was the frst human Chris-
tian had ever seen up close. And she was beautiful. Christian
stopped swimming for a moment to glance at the way the
curve of her cheek lay against his shoulder, the way her lips
parted ever so slightly to reveal small, white teeth. These were
the creatures theyd been taught to loathe and pity? It was
almost laughable, if it werent so tragic.
The girl coughed a few times and turned her face toward
the moon, her mouth opening into a surprised O.
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3 4
a n n a d a v i e s
Who are you? she gasped, digging her nails into his chest
before pushing him away. She was surprisingly strong.
Shhh, he repeated, more urgently than he had before.
Everything hed done so far was forbidden, but actually com-
municating with the girl was fraught with peril. There were
many rules for exploring Up Above, along with punishments
if they were broken, but actual mingling with humans was the
one rule that didnt have a punishment attached to it. It was as
if even discussing the possibilityeven as a warning, and even
if the punishment was banishmentmight encourage the citi-
zens of Down Below to do it.
Back in the time before now, Down Below and Up Above
werent separated, and all beings could easily fit between land,
sea, and sky. And then came the race of Gods who decided to
divide the kingdoms they ruled, who determined which beings
could exist in which kingdom. Now, the world of Down Below
was cobbled together, made up of loosely connected tribes and
kingdoms of sprites, devas, nereids, betwixtmen, and mermaids.
Some were more connected to the air than others; those were
the ones that cooperated with the faery kingdom and could
choose where to live. Others were dark and desperate, living
in treacherous waters and delighting in stirring up storms for
unsuspecting humans. But all of them were under the rule of
Sephie, a benevolent dictator who had only one rule: That the
world of Down Below didnt interfere with the world of Up
Above unless she decreed it.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 34 2/23/12 4:44 PM
3 5
It was more orderly and caused fewer problems than the
lawless period prior to Sephies rule, when mermaids would
rise to the surface and tease sailors until they went mad with
desire. Mermen would sometimes help ships in a storm, and
occasionally, a Merman and a womanor a man and a mer-
maid or a betwixtman and a human girlwould fnd each
other. But it never went well. Not in the history books, not in
the songs, not in any stories that Christians father, or fathers
father, or fathers fathers father had ever heard.
Christian continued to swim, clumsily pulling with one arm
as he made sure the girls head was above the surface of the
water. That was the thing with humans: They looked so similar
to the races beneath the sea, but the similarities were deceiv-
ing. They had a different language, a different way of breathing.
Different hearts.
Finally, Christian spotted a landmass beyond the crest of a
wave. It was a craggy piece of land that used to be inhabited by
devas, the spirits that could effortlessly move between the land
and the sea. And then it was discovered by humans. The devas
had disappeared, the humans had multiplied, and now, it was an
island governed by Sephies sea, with subjects that didnt know
how much their existence was owed to an unseen ruler.
Christian sighed, his heart heavy. Why had he had to fnd
himself in the midst of such an impossible situation on the
day of his Surfacing? It was supposed to have been the best
day of his life: His eighteenth birthday, the day that marked
REV INT Wrecked.indd 35 2/23/12 4:44 PM
3 6
a n n a d a v i e s
the change from boys to men, when all mermen were allowed
to take part in the affairs of Down Below. Christian had been
looking forward to his Surfacing more than most. After all, he
was a betwixtman, an ancient race from before the separation
between Up Above and Down Below, when creatures were free
to love and live as they chose. Betwixtmen had human blood
in their veins, and legs instead of fns. Some viewed betwixt-
men with envy, but Sephie viewed them suspiciously, as if they
might feel loyalty to Up Above rather than Down Below.
At one point, according to legend, thered been talk of ban-
ning betwixtmen from Surfacing, ever. It wasnt only because
they could pass as humans, with two legs instead of fsh-like
tails, but because Sephie was afraid that even a drop of human
blood would make them somehow susceptible to falling in
love with humans. The legend was, if that happened, the entire
world of Down Below would be compromised. That was why
the penalties for breaking the rules were severeranging from
banishmentwhich, in a place like Down Below, surrounded
on all sides by sharks and fearsome creatures of the deep, was
akin to immediate deathto death by Sephies hand. Christian
knew that. And yet, he couldnt let go of the girl. Hed already
interfered. He might as well follow through.
Fletch? The girl called. Her voice was hoarse and sputtery.
Fletch? She clawed at her shoulder, panic in her high-pitched
Shhh, he said, stealing a glance behind him. Fletch must
REV INT Wrecked.indd 36 2/23/12 4:44 PM
3 7
have been one of the bodies. He or she wasnt there anymore.
Instead, the ocean was ghostly silent; the fash storm already
much further out to sea.
Hastily, he dragged her onto the white sand that enveloped
the island. In the distance, a siren wailed. Christian recognized
the sound meant the humans knew something was amiss. Par-
ticles matted in the girls dark brown hair and she failed from
side to side, reminding Christian so much of a dolphin in a
net that his heart froze. He didnt want to leave her, but he
couldnt be found here. There was only a matter of time before
hed begin to transform, and the transformation only meant he
would no longer be able to breathe on land. Already, he felt a
tightening in his chest.
Im sorry, he whispered roughly, allowing his lips to brush
against the pinkish blush of her cheeks. While her hands and shoul-
ders had been freezing, her face felt surprisingly warm underneath
his hands. How could she feel so good when everything hed ever
learned had taught him she was bad? He reluctantly yanked his
hand away, but otherwise stayed still, watching the rise and fall of
her chest. A heart-shaped engraved necklace was clasped around
her neck. He leaned closer, wanting to read what it said, in case it
provided any clues about who she could possibly be.
He heard another round of sirens; the screech of wheels
on gravel. At the far end of the island, off the dock, boats with
foodlights were entering the water like a fotilla. He had to go.
He knew he shouldnt, but he gently unclasped the necklace
REV INT Wrecked.indd 37 2/23/12 4:44 PM
3 8
a n n a d a v i e s
and cupped it in his palm. He needed something to remind
him of her.
I tried, he whispered again, knowing as he said it that
nothing, not Sephies law, not an entire ocean, could keep him
away, as he turned away from land, walked into the water and
swam, deeper and deeper, past the shipwrecks, past the great
coral reefs, until he got to the part of the ocean that was too
dark and cold for anything but the hardiest and ugliest creatures
to live. Now, in the dark in between that was neither here nor
there, he felt safe. Sephie couldnt have seen, he reminded him-
self. Down Below, she was all powerful. But here, how would
she have known about a tiny boat capsizing? And even if she
did, she wouldnt have seen him. Shed have been too distracted
greedily counting her acquisitions, in the form of the souls that
had futtered to the bottom of the sea.
As he continued to stroke downward, he noticed tiny orbs of
light falling beneath the surface. They were glowing, beautiful,
doomed. He knew those were the souls from the shipwreck,
and felt a deep pang in his heart. Down Below, a soul remained
forever and ever, reincarnating and regenerating in different
forms, so that a deva might be reincarnated as a mermaid, who
might be reincarnated the next time around as a merman. But
Up Above, one soul existed only in one body.
Fletch? He called, the name tasting unfamiliar in his
mouth. One of the orbs glimmered slightly, then continued its
plunge toward the bottom before leaving his sight.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 38 2/23/12 4:44 PM
c ha p t e r t hr e e
Miranda lay perfectly still. Through the inch of
water that lay between her eyes and the air, she could only see
the sky as a sheet of blackness interspersed with fuzzy halos
of light. She could barely make out the Big Dipper, and the
sliver of moon didnt even cast a shadow on the liquid that
surrounded her. She breathed out, watching tiny bubbles make
their way up to the surface of the water. She felt her lungs
clench, but she closed her eyes, determined to last as long as
Finally, when she felt her heart beating in her stomach and
heard blood pounding in her ears, she surfaced, taking a deep
gulp of air, then another.
Miranda! Her eyes few open as Eleanor rushed out the
c ha p t e r t hr e e
o x r x o x + n i : + r r
REV INT Wrecked.indd 39 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 0
a n n a d a v i e s
sliding French doors and onto the sandstone patio. She was
wearing a silk orchid-color knee-length dress and had a lily
stuck in her hair.
Sorry. Just swimming, Miranda called, willing Eleanor to
leave her alone.
Miranda! Eleanor shrieked again, her voice piercing the air
like a siren. From far off, Miranda could hear a dog bark. Dont
do that. You know if you need to go swimming, you should have
Louisa watching you. Eleanor shook her head. Im worried
about you. This isnt normal. Dr. Dorn says that this isnt healthy.
You need to get back into your routines, into your life.
Miranda swam over to the side of the pool and blinked up
at Eleanor. I said I was sorry, she said in a low voice. In the
semi-darkness, she noticed that her fngers gripping the gutter
of the pool were ghostly white. The air was chilly, even though
the water was a temperature-controlled eighty degrees. Im
fne, she repeated, a steely edge to her voice.
Eleanor nodded curtly, her hair not moving from its shellacked
French twist. She was platinum blond even at age seventy-fve.
Im heading to the hospital. Can you get ready?
Instead of answering, Miranda dunked her head underwater.
She wished she could stay there forever, until the sound of her
heart beating in her ears drowned out the noise of anything
else. The only place she felt remotely okay was when she was
in the water. If she concentrated on the rhythmic stroking of
her arms and legs, then she could almost stop thinking. That was
REV INT Wrecked.indd 40 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 1
why she spent as many of her waking hours as she could swim-
ming, either in the pool, or more preferably, at Bloody Point at
the other end of the island. In the shadow of a long-abandoned
golf course and only accessible through a half-mile path in the
woods, no one was ever there. And Miranda liked it that way.
Thats why almost every night Miranda had been sneaking
out the window, climbing carefully onto the fat roof of the
porch, which led to the thick-trunked magnolia tree she could
climb down. It was dangerous, but she didnt really care. It was
more dangerous to be alone with her thoughts. It wasnt like
things were better in the water, but she felt more in control. She
remembered back to when she was a four-year-oldwhenever
shed be upset or whiny or nervous, her mother would take her
across the street to the park and tell her to outrun the bad feel-
ings. Shed run in circles, around and around the metal jungle
gym, until shed tired herself out. Then, shed lie on the grass
or the sand by the swings, feeling her heart beat in her chest.
Back then, shed always felt better. Now, it was almost the same.
It was all about letting her body overtake her mind. It was like
soccer, making your opponent think she had a chance to take
the ball before cleanly kicking it to a teammate. Except now,
she couldnt outrun her feelings.
Miranda, we need to go. Visiting hours end at six, Eleanor
said again, practically tapping her foot against the sandstone tiles.
Will you be ready in ten minutes? Ill have Roger get the car.
Of course she wasnt ready. She didnt want to see Fletch
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4 2
a n n a d a v i e s
lying unconscious in a hospital bed, his body bloated and
hooked up to dozens of wires. His mom and dad were always
by his side. They allowed her to come in, but Miranda knew
it would be better for everyone if she didnt see Fletch. See-
ing him wouldnt make him get better, it would just make his
parents hate her more.
Its not my fault! Miranda wanted to tell them. But so far, she
never had. Because no matter how much people insisted that it
wasnt, that the navigation system had failed, that the channel
marker wasnt clearly identifable in the storm, that a lightning
bolt had caused the fre that had led to all the destruction. She
had been the one driving the boat. Maybe it was her fault.
Genevieve, Lydia, Alexa, and Darcy were dead, Jeremiah had a
broken arm, Alan had a dislocated shoulder, and Fletch was in
a coma.
Gray was miraculously uninjured, having been guided by
Alan to one of the larger fberglass pieces of the boat. She and
Alan had held on until the Coast Guard ship came to res-
cue them. Genevieve had most likely died immediately; her
head had struck the side of the boat as Fletch had tossed her
overboard and she drowned. Jeremiah, Alexa, and Darcy had
all fallen overboard when the ship cracked in half. And while
Jeremiah had desperately clung to both girls, to try to swim
them to safety, theyd both been pronounced dead of smoke
inhalation as soon as they reached the hospital. And Miranda
had woken up with a minor concussion and a gash from her
REV INT Wrecked.indd 42 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 3
thigh to her knee where part of the boats fberglass hull had
torn into her leg.
Sighing, Miranda grabbed the ledge of the pool and began
to hoist herself up. She grimaced as Eleanor instantly extended
her fragile hand.
I can do it myself, she announced in what she realized was
an echo to the phrase shed said so often as a toddler. One try,
two tries, and she fnally heaved her abdomen over the lip of
the pool, landing like an injured seal pup. She grimaced as she
pushed herself into a standing position.
Think confdence. Think you can do it. Thats what Lacey, the
impossibly perky physical therapist at the Mount Pleasant
Rehabilitation Center, would say before forcing Miranda to
walk up and down the four-stepped mini staircase in the treat-
ment room over and over and over again. It was a miracle she
was walking so quickly, Lacey kept reminding her, even as she
kept forcing Miranda to repeat the exercises, even when it felt
like white-hot pokers were searing her fesh. Of course it was
going to hurt. The cut had torn into her muscle, and rebuilding
strength was going to take a long time.
Or at least thats what Lacey said. But what Lacey didnt
know, and what Miranda wouldnt admit to anyone, was that
her leg didnt really hurt. Sure, sometimes her muscles hurt, and
sometimes the cut seemed like it was beating in time to her
heart, but it was nothing she couldnt handle; nothing as bad as
the ACL injury shed had in eighth grade after a soccer tourney.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 43 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 4
a n n a d a v i e s
And despite all the tests shed had in the hospital, she found that
as long as she kept telling them that her leg hurt, then theyd
keep running tests and ordering physical therapy appointments
and keeping her from heading back to school. And the more
she said it, the more she believed it herself. She just wished it
could work for everything elsethat somehow, if she said the
accident hadnt occurred, it hadnt. Plus, the more she focused
on any twinge of pain that emanated from where the cables
on the channel marker had dug into her leg, the more she
could ignore her heart. Or try to until she couldnt bear it any
Then, shed stay up almost all night, forcing herself to listen
to the Fletch and Miranda mix on her iPod, to look through
the Calhoun Academy yearbook from last year, to scroll through
the thousands of texts she and Fletch had sent to each other
over the past year, all of which ended in oxowhich sort of
looked like an infnity symbol. It had started as an offhand
observation, but had become automatic. Love for infnity. Right.
Miranda pulled on the sweatshirt that was slung over the
patio chair. It was Fletchs Calhoun lacrosse sweatshirt and still
smelled like him: woodsmoke, Old Spice deodorant, and some-
thing else Miranda couldnt quite placesomething that made
her feel safe and nostalgic and sad, all at once. But the scent
was fading and it felt more like a costume than anything, an
outward sign to the Kings that she was mourning just as much
as they were.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 44 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 5
Im having Roger drive us, Eleanor said, almost to herself.
He brought the car around front.
Okay, Ill be there in a second, Miranda said.
Eleanor paused, as if she were about to protest. Then she
nodded and turned away, her heels clacking against the sand-
stone tiles. She moved surprisingly fast for her age, and Miranda
was relieved when she heard the French doors to the kitchen
click closed.
She didnt know what to do or say to Eleanor. Ever since the
accident, theyd behaved as if they were both polite strangers, even
more distant than theyd been before. Miranda hadnt talked
to Eleanor about the accident. Shed tried, once, but Eleanor
got an uncomfortable look on her face and left the room. The
next morning, Eleanor casually mentioned that shed thought
it would be good if Miranda saw a psychiatrist a few times a
week, to process the situation.
It had been the same story when Mirandas parents had
died. Eleanor hadnt even told her what had happened, but
had simply said that her parents wouldnt be coming back, but
that they loved her. Miranda had nodded, assuming they were
just on a triptheyd do that sometimes. During the funeral,
under the watchful eye of Louisa, Miranda had had a tea party
in the garden with her collection of teddy bears in the memo-
rial garden at the Cavalry Church. When the service got out,
all the mourners paused en route to their cars to hug Miranda
or ruffe her hair, and Miranda had been confused that they
REV INT Wrecked.indd 45 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 6
a n n a d a v i e s
didnt have presents for hershed assumed it was a birthday
party. Later, Eleanor had taken her to a child psychiatrist, but all
Miranda remembered doing at sessions were drawing pictures,
playing with blocks, and hugging the extra-large stuffed polar
bear in the corner of the offce.
Now, Eleanor was still pretending everything was business
as usual, as if willing it would somehow make it true. When
Miranda had come home from the hospital, anti-slip rugs had
been put down on all the marble hallways and the stack of col-
lege catalogues, correspondence, and SAT prep books that had
been stored in the library had been boxed and put in Mirandas
closet. All the pictures of Miranda and GenevieveMiranda
and Genevieve at Gens Studio 54-themed sixteenth birthday,
where Miranda had worn a sparkly romper that had belonged
to her mother and Gen had worn a super short silver halter
dress; Gen and Miranda, dressed respectively as the sea witch
and a mermaid last year for Halloween, when theyd gone to a
party at Fletchs and realized as soon as theyd gotten there that
they were the only two whod bothered to dress up; Miranda
and Gen, lying on the beach in string bikinis and oversized
sunglasses, giving their cheesiest grinshad been cleared from
Mirandas room. As if Genevieve had never existed.
Miranda wrapped a towel around her body, slid on her fip-
fops, and grabbed the crutches propped on a nearby chair. The
crutches werent entirely necessary, but they defnitely served as
an emotional security blanket, especially in front of the Kings,
REV INT Wrecked.indd 46 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 7
who resented her because she was alive and Fletch . . . was?
wasnt? Miranda didnt know. Slowly, she made her way around
the sandstone path to the front of the house.
There, Roger was waiting in the drivers seat of the black
BMW, while Eleanor sat in the back. Roger also did general
repairs and maintenance on the sprawling house, and had also
taught Miranda how to play soccer, the year she was fve. When
she was little, she once called him daddy by mistake. Eleanor
had heard, and the next day, the impromptu soccer lessons had
stopped. It was just another thing that Eleanor and Miranda
never talked about, just like Miranda had never learned what
had happened to her grandfather or had been allowed to look
at any of Astrids old photos or schoolwork. In the Ashford
household, dead meant dead, and talking or processing feelings
was simply not done.
Lets go, Eleanor directed Roger crisply. Theres a fve-
twenty ferry.
Roger nodded silently. Roger was always taciturn, weather-
beaten, and morose, as if every day was a funeral. He wore a
black knit cap year-round, despite the off-the-charts humidity
during the summer. When Miranda was younger, shed been
half-convinced Roger was primarily on staff in order to spy
on Miranda and Teddy, and ensure that they didnt fall into the
wrong crowd on Whym Island. In fact, she still wondered if
that was the main reason why Eleanor kept him on staff.
Miranda gazed out the tinted windows at the setting sun.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 47 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 8
a n n a d a v i e s
The refraction of the light made it seem like the water was
twinkling. Far off in the distance, the green-and-white ferry
was slowly heading in toward the dock at the other end of the
Before, Eleanor would never have deigned to take the ferry.
Roger would have taken the wheel on Star Gazer, and theyd
have docked at their space on the mainland and taken a car on
the other side. It was just one more reminder of how every-
thing was different.
Look at that, Roger said, breaking the silence as he jerked
his elbow toward the drivers side window. Miranda looked
where he was pointing. Far in the distance, at the dock was an
enormous yacht, like some of the ones docked at the harbor in
Charleston. It looked like a miniature cruise ship, with Sephie
written on it in script and blue and green silk fags spiraling up
the mast.
Nice, Miranda said, not knowing what else to say. Why
should she care? The only way it affected her was that the
more people lived on the island, the fewer people would know
who she was. She scooted further down on the leather seat.
Whym was such a small island that most year-rounders rec-
ognized each other, and Miranda didnt want to see how the
once friendly parishioners from the Cavalry Church, or from
the Whym Flower Society, or from the Historical Preservation
Board, were now shunning her and her grandmother. There
had been no phone calls or sympathy cards or visits to the
REV INT Wrecked.indd 48 2/23/12 4:44 PM
4 9
house, not even from the Cavalry Church minister, in a month.
The windshield had been cracked in the parking lot of the
supermarket when Roger had run errands a few weeks ago.
And the week after the accident, when Miranda had still been
in the hospital, Eleanor had been turned away from Darcys
funeral, even though she and Darcys grandmother had co-
chaired the Memorial Day Flower Festival ten years in a row.
Thinking of that sceneEleanor, with her Sunday suit and
hat, holding out a silver tray of egg-salad sandwiches, only to
be sent awaymade Mirandas heart hurt. And yet Eleanor was
still trying to get into the good graces of the families of the
victims. Didnt she realize the best thing they could do was to
leave them alone?
Nice? Roger huffed. Pretty fucking gaudy, if you ask me.
Excuse my French. Thats no way to sail.
Now, Roger, hush, Eleanor said frmly. It is ridiculous,
but who am I to judge? The longer I live here, the more this
island surprises me. Maybe things do need to change, Eleanor
Yes, maam, Roger responded, and Miranda knew Eleanor
wished she could gossip about this new person to Darcys grand-
mother. For the hundredth time that day, and probably the mil-
lionth time that month, Miranda wanted to apologize.
Miranda, darling, Eleanor said, changing the subject, I
spoke with Headmistress Wyar and she and I agree that Mon-
day would work quite well for your return.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 49 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 0
a n n a d a v i e s
Monday? Miranda repeated, dread forming in the pit of
her stomach. She knew shed have to go back to Calhoun even-
tually, but she assumed it would be in January, which sounded
so distant and far off it was almost unreal. But Monday as in
Yes. You seem to be doing well in physical therapy, and
Dr. Dorn and Dr. Faville have given you the all clear. I think it
would be good to get back into things. It cant help to just sit
around and ruminate. Its depressing, Eleanor pursed her lips,
as if the word depressing was distasteful to even say.
Miranda stared at the foor as the car inched along the route
to the ferry dock. Depressing? Not getting into your frst choice
college was depressing. Breaking up with your boyfriend was
depressing. Having four friends die, a boyfriend in a coma, and
three friends seriously injured because of an accident that was
your fault was catastrophic.
The accident couldnt be helped. You couldnt control that.
What you can control is getting on with your life. Going back
to school with your head held high is key to your recovery,
Eleanor said frmly.
I know, Miranda said. She leaned down, rooted inside her
bag for her iPod, and closed her eyes. She didnt open them
when they got on the parking deck for the ferry, or when the
ferry started pulling away, or when they reached the other
Shell be fne, Miranda heard Eleanor murmur to Roger.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 50 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 1
Of course, maam, Roger said, as if hed agreed to pick up
groceries or fx the door in the pool house.
Miranda only opened her eyes when she felt the car stop.
Im glad you were able to sleep, Eleanor said, pulling a
large wicker basket full of jams and fowers from the trunk and
hanging it over her arm, as if she were heading off on a picnic,
not a visit to a comatose patient.
Miranda trailed behind her into the now-familiar lobby of
Westmoreland General, hating the scent of industrial-strength
bleach and air freshener that accosted her. Miranda knew
Eleanor insisted on accompanying Mirandaor, rather, forc-
ing Miranda to accompany her to the hospital to see Fletch
more to keep up appearances than anything. It certainly wasnt
for Mirandas beneft. Theyd come every day for the past two
weeks. Fletch was still in the same ICU unit hed been in since
the accident. He hadnt gotten better. And even though the Kings
werent saying it, Miranda knew he never would. People who got
better had doctors and nurses checking on them several times
an hour. People who got better didnt have the same amount
of machines surrounding them as they did hours before the
accident. People who were getting better didnt have daily
closed-door meetings with social workers, who were most
likely asking the Kings when they were ready to say good-bye
to Fletch. Miranda had seen enough crappy television medical
dramas to know this. Still, sometimes she just hoped that maybe
a miracle could happen.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 51 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 2
a n n a d a v i e s
When Miranda had been in the hospital after the accident,
shed been on the orthopedic foor, where shed shared a room
with a college cheerleader who had a broken ankle and hosted
what had sounded likein Mirandas hazy, painkiller-induced
foga sorority social in the room. In contrast, the ICU unit
was quiet, except for the hiss of ventilators and the hushed
tones of family members.
Miranda closed her eyes and crossed her fngers as they
stepped off the elevator. It was a habit before she did anything,
whether it was begin a soccer game or take a chemistry quiz.
Now, it was a gesture to hope Fletchs parents werent there, and
that they were taking a nap at the mainland hotel they were
staying at or grabbing a cup of coffee at the hospital coffee
shop or even having a closed-door meeting with his doctors,
anything so she could actually say what she wanted to Fletch
that she was sorry, that she wished shed said I love you when it
mattered, and that shed do anything for him to get better.
Miranda whirled around as Fletchs mother, Lily, emerged
from the tiny kitchen next to the nurses station clutching a
Styrofoam coffee cup. Tears were drying on her high cheek-
bones and instead of wearing her usual pastel sweater set or
fowered Tory Burch dress, she was wearing a pair of oversize
blue doctors scrubs. Her blonde hair was pulled in a low pony-
tail and she wasnt wearing any makeup. Except for the dark
circles under her eyes, she looked almost childlike.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 52 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 3
Hi, Miranda said, shifting nervously from foot to foot.
Before the accident, Lily had always been friendly to her,
constantly asking Miranda to dinner with the family and invit-
ing her for lunch downtown for girl talk. She was a little fighty,
but mostly fne, to talk to. Now, Mrs. King was only icy.
How is Fletch? Miranda asked in a small voice. As if the
answer would be different than what it had been the last two
Hello, Lily, Eleanor said, stepping in front of Miranda to
offer the basket to Mrs. King. Weve been praying for Fletch.
And of course, if theres anything we could do . . .
Theres nothing you can do, Lily said coldly. Miranda
stared at the dirty linoleum. The unspoken rest of the sentence
was clear . . . Because youve done enough.
The frst time Eleanor and Miranda had visited was right
before Miranda had been discharged from the hospital. Shed
been on a potent combination of pills for pain, sleeping, and
anxiety, and had felt like she was in a dream. She knew she
was supposed to be upsetno, devastatedbut she couldnt cry.
Whenever the doctors, or the police, or her grandmother had
asked her if she remembered the accident, it had felt like she
was remembering a scene from a movie. It hadnt felt real. And
she couldnt make sense of it. All the questions the police raised
were the same that tossed in her own mind: Why had she been
the only survivor whod ended up on shore? How had she got-
ten disentangled from the cables? And why hadnt anyone else
REV INT Wrecked.indd 53 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 4
a n n a d a v i e s
followed her lead to safety? I dont know! She wanted to scream.
Hes in his room, if youd like to stop in, Lily said stiffy. As
if Fletch could be anywhere else. Miranda felt like she was an
actress in a movie, unsure of what her next line was. On her
frst visit, shed made the mistake of telling Lily how Fletch
had saved her, how the last thing she remembered seeing was
Fletch helping the girls get off the boat and into the water.
Shed thought Lily would have liked hearing that, but later
she realized that of course, that was the last thing Mrs. King
wanted to hear. Because if Fletch hadnt stayed on the boat, he
wouldnt have inhaled so much smoke. He wouldnt have passed
out in the water. He wouldnt be brain dead. Which of course,
was what he was, even if Mrs. King refused to use that term.
Of course, Eleanor said somberly as she patted Lilys
shoulder. Lily recoiled as if shed been slapped and Miranda felt
a sliver of rage slice through her stomach. Didnt Eleanor real-
ize they werent wanted here?
The doctors say its good for him to hear from people he
loves, Lily said stiffy, as though talking to herself. They feel
that Miranda should visit, she added to herself as she pushed
open the door to Fletchs room.
Thank you, Miranda said as she walked into the room,
steeling herself to see Fletch. Each time was harder than the
last. Half his head was shaved and there were staples in his scalp
from where theyd set up a pressure-relieving drainage tube in
ICU. His face was puffy and there was a green bruise under
REV INT Wrecked.indd 54 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 5
his eyefaint, but still visible. Fluid from two different IV bags
dripped into his arm and there were several monitors beeping
at the head of the bed.
She walked through the entranceway of the room and
stopped in her tracks when she saw Alan sitting on the far side
of Fletchs bed. He turned to face her, his mouth twisting in
an ugly grimace. Tears were running down his cheeks and his
face was pale.
Hi, Miranda said tentatively. Even though physically he
was fne, having survived the accident with only a dislocated
shoulder from when he jumped overboard, he looked nothing
like the goofy guy who once rented alpacas from the farm on
the other side of the island and set them loose in his house dur-
ing a particularly epic party.
Why are you here? Alan asked, his eyes glittering with
I . . . Miranda paused. Im sorry, she said fnally.
Youre sorry? He nearly spat the words. Why? You have
nothing to be sorry about. It was an accident, he said, barely
making eye contact with her.
Before Miranda could say anything, Alan turned toward
Fletch and started speaking. Hey, bro, Im going to leave. I
love you, man. Stay strong, he said, awkwardly rubbing Fletchs
shoulder beneath the thin cotton blanket on the bed.
Im sorry, Miranda mumbled again, the words coming out
like a whimper.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 55 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 6
a n n a d a v i e s
Ill be back later, Alan said to Mrs. King as he stormed
out, accidentally-on-purpose bumping into Mirandas shoul-
der. Miranda winced and forced herself to focus on the waves
and valleys displayed on one of Fletchs many monitors.
That was Alan Osten, right? Eleanor asked, after a beat.
He looks well, she added helplessly.
Miranda cringed. Remarking on Alans healthy appearance
only made it even more apparent how critical Fletchs condi-
tion was.
Well, Miranda? Lily asked, her voice icy underneath her
Southern accent. Say whatever you have to say.
Miranda grabbed Fletchs hand. It was disconcerting to
touch it and not have him grab her own hand back.
Hi, Miranda said. I missed you, she continued, glancing
over her shoulder at Lily and Eleanor. Neither were looking
at her. Lily had her arms crossed over her chest and refused
to meet her gaze, while Eleanors hands were clasped, as if in
Its getting dark earlier. Its defnitely fall . . . , Miranda
started again, before trailing off. She was supposed to be talking
to her boyfriend, who knew she had a constellation of freckles
shaped vaguely like a star on the small of her back, who saved
her life, and she sounded like she was giving a weather report.
Worse, she felt entirely detached from herself, as if she were
watching herself from across the room. She knew she seemed
confused and scared and entirely at a loss for what to say.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 56 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 7
I love you and I want you to get better soon. Okay? Just get
better. Because if not, then Ill be mad and I wont have anyone
to go to prom with, and you know thats a teenage tragedy,
Miranda said, wishing that she could take it back when she saw
Lily wince. If Fletch were here, really here, hed have smiled and
shot back a joke. But without him, the joke fell fat, making it
sound like all she cared about was having a date. You know
Im kidding, babe. I just want you to come back. Ill make you
Miranda winced. Ill make you cookies? She was sounding
worse and worse. She squeezed Fletchs hand tighter and fxed
her gaze on the watery IV bag that dangled from a pole on the
other side of the bed.
Im sorry, she said thickly. Im not good at this. I just wish
you were here, like, here here, because youd know what to do.
And I dont, Miranda said fnally, more as a message to Lily and
Eleanor than anyone. I love you. I love you forever and a day,
she added, brushing her lips against Fletchs forehead. It was a
phrase she remembered her mother using with her, although it
was never something shed said to Fletch before. But somehow,
it sounded right.
She turned toward Eleanor and Lily, hoping they would
appreciate her performance. It wasnt that she didnt want to
talk to Fletch, it was that she felt so numb inside that she felt
like anything she said wouldnt be right, would be just one more
way to let him down. She just wished her every move wasnt
REV INT Wrecked.indd 57 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
being scrutinized. She knew it was dumb, but she somehow felt
if only she had a chance to be with Fletch, alone, then maybe
she could say something that would bring him back from wher-
ever he was. But of course Lily would never allow that.
We should go, Eleanor murmured. Mirandas head
snapped up, relieved Eleanor had offered an out. I dont want
to overstay our welcome. And please let us know if you need
anything. Please, Eleanor said, pressing her hand on Lilys.
Yup, Miranda parroted. As if she had anything else to offer.
And I suppose youll come back tomorrow? Lily asked, a
note of resignation in her voice. Miranda noticed that the table
at the far end of the room was crammed with plates of cookies
and baskets of fowers Eleanor had brought over the past few
days. Everything was untouched, the fowers still wrapped in
If you dont want us to . . .
Of course we will, Eleanor interrupted. And hes looking
much healthier than before. Itll only be a matter of time.
Thank you, Eleanor, Lily said stiffy.
I dont care what Dr. Ollins says. He needs to be at a real
hospital, a voice boomed. Mr. King walked in the door, yelling
into his phone. Miranda looked away, embarrassed to see Mr.
King so helpless. Before, hed been a larger-than-life force, the
type of guy who loved getting behind the grill at parties and
who was always tapped to serve as emcee at island events. Now,
his voice was tinged with hysteria and the oversized sweatshirt
REV INT Wrecked.indd 58 2/23/12 4:44 PM
5 9
hanging from his shoulders made him look far less imposing than
he had been. Now, I need to be with my son, he said loudly
into the phone, hanging up and glancing around the room.
Miranda ORourke, he said, his lips curling into a sneer.
Miranda winced. Mr. King had never called her by her full name,
usually calling her pet nicknames like baby girl. Coming from
Mr. King, it had been endearing rather than creepy, and Miranda
always felt like he was the type of dad she wished shed had.
I just came to see Fletch. Were leaving, sir, Miranda said,
shooting her grandmother a look. It was clear that Lily wanted
them out, but Eleanor seemed to show no sign of leaving.
Instead, she wandered over to the table and set down her basket.
John! Eleanor said soberly, placing a hand on Mr. Kings
arm. I was just saying to your wife how well Fletch is looking.
You can see the color coming back to his cheeks, she said.
Miranda couldnt take it anymore. Was Eleanor serious?
Fletch looked exactly the same as he did yesterday, which was
the same as he looked last week. Didnt anyone understand that
Fletch wasnt there?
Miranda stood up, her chair making a loud scraping sound
against the foor. I have to go. I feel sick. Im sorry, Ill be back.
I just . . . if Im sick, I cant get him sick, Miranda babbled,
running out of the room. She got as far as the nurses desk and
doubled over, nausea coursing through her stomach.
As soon as she got out of the room, her stomach calmed
down. It was being in the room with the Kings that made her
REV INT Wrecked.indd 59 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
feel sick. She took a deep breath and was about to leave when
she saw a nurse standing behind her, holding a miniature card-
board box of tissues. Her nametag read Olivia.
You okay? Ive seen you visiting every day. It must be hard,
she said, resting her hand gently on Mirandas shoulder.
Miranda nodded. It was a change to hear someone actually
be nice to her. Miranda gingerly accepted one of the tissues,
steadying herself on the desk. Her stomach was still rolling, and
she was unsure whether or not she was going to throw up.
Its important that you visit.You know, even if he doesnt
seem to be there, I think it makes a difference on some level. I
truly do, Olivia said, nodding to herself.
Even if he doesnt seem to be there. It was what Miranda had
sensed since the frst time shed seen him but that no one
would say. Fletch was somewhere far, far away. And he wasnt
coming back. Is he . . . hes not . . . he wont get better, will he?
Miranda said fnally, stumbling through the words. Saying it out
loud made it seem so real.
Oh, darling, Olivia said briskly, yanking her hand away
from Mirandas shoulder as if shed been burned. I cant answer
that. You need to speak to his parents or doctors, she said. But
even though she hadnt told her everything, the pain in Olivias
green eyes told her everything she needed to know. Fletch was
already gone.
I have to go, Miranda said, feeling her stomach reeling all
over again.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 60 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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Wait. Youre not looking great. Ill fnd you a ginger ale or
something . . . stay here, Olivia said hurriedly, turning on her
As soon as Olivia turned her back, Miranda rushed as fast
as she could out the automatic doors and retched, repeatedly,
in the bushes next to the hospital. Tears from exertion pricked
her eyes, and she was almost disappointed when she stopped
throwing up. She wanted to suffer, wanted to feel something
instead of the always-there blankness shed felt since the acci-
No such luck. She straightened up and wiped her mouth
with the back of her hand. The sky was a brilliant blue and
birds were chirping in the background, which only made her
feel more exhausted and out of place. She wanted darkness and
rain, weather that made it that much easier to climb under the
covers and try to sleep.
If you have to get sick, get sick at a hospital, a low voice
murmured behind her.
Miranda turned to face an elegantly dressed woman. Her
hair was light blond and her eyes were an odd violet color. She
was wearing a black dress that hugged her curves and looked
like she was going to a cocktail party instead of the hospital.
Here, take this, the woman continued, rooting through
her black quilted handbag. She passed Miranda a white linen
handkerchief, with an elegant S monogrammed on its corner
in royal blue thread.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 61 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
Thanks. She staggered to the curb and sat down as her
crutches fell to the ground beside her with a clatter. She dabbed
the corners of her mouth with the square piece of fabric as the
woman peered down at her curiously.
Im fne. My boyfriends sick. Well, hes not sick, but hes in
the hospital. I mean, I guess hes sick. Hes in a coma? Miranda
babbled, ending the sentence like a question.
That must be so devastating, the woman murmured,
perching on the curb beside her, trailed by a cloud of sweet,
pungent perfume.
Yeah, so Im here visiting. And Id be here longer, its just
that its a small room and his parents are there . . . Miranda
stopped herself. What the hell was she doing? She was obvi-
ously so starved for conversation shed talk with anyone.
What happened to him? the woman asked.
An accident, Miranda said wishing as soon as the words
left her mouth that she hadnt said anything. She knew exactly
where the conversation was headed.
What kind? the woman pressed, her eyes widening.
Great. Two more questions and this woman would know
exactly who she was. And that, Miranda realized, was exactly
why she shouldnt get into the habit of talking to random
peoplebecause she could never be anonymous, not really.
On the water. Miranda mumbled, wondering where Roger
was and why her grandmother was taking so long saying good-
bye to the Kings.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 62 2/23/12 4:44 PM
6 3
The oceans dangerous, the woman said, as if she were
talking to herself. Were you in the accident as well? she asked,
nodding toward Mirandas crutches.
Miranda nodded, staring at the ground. The train on the
womans dress contrasted to the dirty cement sidewalk. Who
was she?
Finally, Miranda looked up, surprised to see the woman
there, still curiously gazing down at her. Wouldnt she imme-
diately want to disappear like everyone else, certain that some
type of curse followed Miranda? Thats what everyone else
believed. Even when Miranda had been a patient in the hos-
pital, shed noticed that the nurses never lingered like they did
with her sorority-girl roommate. One time, shed seen one of
the orderlies cross herself before walking into the room, as if to
ward off any type of evil eye.
It underscored what everyone had always thought about
her, but what shed never believed until now. She was unlucky.
Before, whenever she was reminded of that, like when she told
Coach Devlin she lived with her grandmother because her
parents had passed away or when she overheard an elderly gar-
dening club member loudly whisper that Teddy and Miranda
were doing so well, considering they were orphans, it was dis-
concerting how tragic it sounded. Now, her life sounded like
it was fodder for a crappy television drama. It didnt sound real.
Well, youre a lucky girl, to have survived something like
that, the woman murmured.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 63 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
Miranda glanced up sharply. Lucky? Was she kidding? It was
the opposite.
As if in response, the woman placed her hand on Mirandas
shoulder, and Miranda gasped in surprise. The womans fn-
gers were freezing, and caused an involuntary shiver to run up
Mirandas spine. How ever did you do it? the woman asked.
Live, I mean, she added, as if there was any confusion.
Miranda paused. It was the same question that had been
asked, in various forms, by everyone from the police to her
grandmother to Dr. Dorn, the psychiatrist. And shed always
answered the same thingthat she didnt know. But she did.
She knew that someone had helped her. I was saved, Miranda
said simply.
An inscrutable expression fashed across the womans face.
Saved by whom? she asked.
I dont know, Miranda said lamely, kicking a few pebbles on
the sidewalk. After so many weeks of barely talking to anyone,
she felt rusty, half a second behind when she should be speaking.
Some boy, Miranda said. I dont know where he came from.
An uncomfortable silence fell between them. Her shoulders
and legs felt tight, and she couldnt wait to get back to the
island, so she could head out and get back to swimming. The
water was the only place where things began to make sense,
where she could actually allow herself to think back to the
accident, to try to put together the moments that had caused
her survival and Fletchs death. Sometimes, in the water, she
REV INT Wrecked.indd 64 2/23/12 4:44 PM
6 5
felt so close to that feeling of safety shed felt in the moments
before she passed out, but it always seemed somewhere just
beyond her reach. But she felt like if only she swam faster or
farther . . .
Well, youre lucky to have been saved, the woman said
stiffy, interrupting Mirandas thoughts. Miranda smiled, embar-
rassed to have even said anything. And your name is . . . ? she
asked curiously.
Miranda, Miranda said. Maam, she added. Everyone in
South Carolina automatically said maam and sir, but it was
something that had never come second nature to Miranda,
even after living on the island for over a decade. But the saluta-
tion, along with its accompanying polite gestures, like thank
yous and introductions, went far, and maybe that was what this
woman was waiting for.
Thankfully, Miranda spotted Eleanor exiting the automatic
doors. I have to go, she added, knowing she was breaching
etiquette by not asking the woman for her name.
Nice to meet you, Miranda. The woman nodded and
strode into the hospital, the train of her dress slithering behind
her like a tail.
Who was that? Eleanor asked curiously.
Miranda closed her eyes and massaged her temples, a move
that relieved stress according to one of the crappy magazines
shed read in the waiting room at physical therapy. Didnt help.
Who was that? Eleanor repeated, more sharply this time.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 65 2/23/12 4:44 PM
6 6
a n n a d a v i e s
I dont know, she stopped to talk to me, Miranda said,
walking ahead of Eleanor. Wheres Roger? Im not really
feeling great.
Eleanor immediately placed the back of her hand against
Mirandas cool forehead before bombarding her with ques-
tions. Do you need a doctor? Do you think its some sort
of virus? Do you think it has something to do with Fletcher?
Should we call Dr. Dorn? Eleanor asked breathlessly. She rum-
maged through her purse, pulling out a silver pillbox. Do you
need one? she asked urgently.
No! Miranda shook her head. Eleanor was even more
adamant about pushing pills than Dr. Dorn. In the hospital,
Miranda had gotten prescriptions for sleeping pills and anti-
anxiety medication, which Eleanor had flled immediately, and
which she offered to Miranda at any opportunity, even though
Miranda never said yes. She didnt want to dull her pain. If any-
thing, she wanted everything to feel sharper.
Lets go, she said, stalking toward the parking garage,
wishing, more than anything, that she could be the one lying
unconscious in a hospital bed.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 66 2/23/12 4:44 PM
c ha p t e r f our
For the past two weeks, hed been watching her
swimming. Always from the distance, from just beyond a wave.
Shed come at twilight, and she never saw him. She always did
the same thingdropped her crutches on the sand, shimmied
out of her shorts and sweatshirt, and ran full-speed into the
surf, not stopping to test the water or ease in slowly. Then shed
dive under and pull herself up to the surface, kicking and strok-
ing until she got toward the rocky jetty at the other end of
the beach. Then shed tread water, sometimes calling the name
Fletch or Gen angrily into the wind, before swimming back,
heading back to shore, and leaving without looking back.
He had the heart-shaped pendant with the words forever
and a day etched on the back. Hed been wearing it doubled
c ha p t e r f our
REV INT Wrecked.indd 67 2/23/12 4:44 PM
6 8
a n n a d a v i e s
on his wrist and every time he looked at it, he thought of her.
She was so beautiful, so sad. In that moment when she was
in his arms, hed known that hed do anything to save her. He
wondered who gave it to her. A parent? A boyfriend? One of
the people who went down in the shipwreck? He was vaguely
jealous of whoever it was, because whoever it was had gotten
to speak to her, to know her. Hed give anything to have that.
He wanted to know if she even remembered him. He wished
that she did, but he knew that was practically impossible. Shed
barely been conscious when hed saved her.
And yet, sometimes, she stopped midstroke and glanced in
his direction, a searching expression on her face. Hed always
duck below the surface, terrifed hed been spotted. Because,
what could he possibly say if she saw him? They were of differ-
ent worlds. But even when he promised himself that hed spend
an entire day below the surface, he always ended up going. It
was as if the girl was a siren, pulling him Up Above.
Until the day he couldnt.
It had begun like any other afternoon. Hed swum through
In Between, faster and faster, feeling the way his lungs began
yearning for oxygen, feeling the Up Above winds churn the
water, when his hand had hit the surface, unable to break
through. Hed hit again, harder, but the surface had become
Panicking, hed swum back Down Below, desperate to
breathe. He felt dizzy and his thoughts were blurring together.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 68 2/23/12 4:44 PM
6 9
It was harder and harder to stroke, and he wondered if this was
how it felt when humans were drowning. It was horrible.
His lungs burning and his head pounding, his frst thought
was that it had been a fuke; a capricious tide that would soon
right itself. Down Below, he searched for his older brother Val-
entine, hoping that Valentine would agree; but he already sus-
pected there was more to it than that, and that it most likely
centered on his prior misdeeds.
But Valentine had simply shrugged when Christian told
him what had happened. So you cant Surface. So what?
hed asked. It was the reaction Christian had been expecting
from him. Valentine had surfaced only once, on the eve of
his eighteenth birthday, two years ago. Since then, hed had
no interest in exploring the world of Up Above. Prior to
his Surfacing, Christian thought Valentine was small-minded.
Now he thought that Valentine was smart. If only Christian
could have done the samegone up to the Surface, surveyed
the view, and come back down, content to live the life beft-
ting a Down Below betwixtmanserving Sephie, and living
in relative peace, without any suspicion or question of his
Christian had hesitated. He hadnt told Valentine about the
girl. Not only would his brother not understand, but hed be
angry at Christians betrayal of Sephies rule. Hed suddenly
scrutinize Christians every move. Thered be a rift between the
brothers. And yet . . .
REV INT Wrecked.indd 69 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
What did you do, brother? Valentine had asked, more
urgently this time, his jaw clenched.
There was an accident, Christian had begun.
What? Where? On the Surface? Valentine had asked shakily.
Not today. My Surfacing, Christian had said, glancing
around. Of course nothing was there. Although it was all under
Sephies rule, Down Below was so vast that merfolk kept to
themselves, only occasionally interacting and meeting. It was
better that way.
Stop, hed said. We cant talk about this. Not here. Its not
safe. Hed grabbed Christians wrist and pulled him toward
the In Between, a no-mans-land that wasnt protected under
Sephies rule. Being there meant that conversations werent
about to be overheard, but it also meant that they were helpless
against anything that crossed their path. In Between was a nec-
essary evil to get to Up Above. It was dark and portentous and
made Christians skin crawl. It certainly didnt feel safe.
Did any of the humans see you? Valentine had asked, his
jaw clenched in concern.
Christian had shaken his head. Her eyes were closed, hed
added, almost to himself, still thinking of how, fathoms above,
the girl must be swimming. Her closeness had made his heart
Whose eyes? Valentine had asked urgently.
Christian had paused. The girl I saved, hed said fnally.
There was no going back from there.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 70 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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Tell me what happened, Valentine had said frmly, his eyes
darting from side to side, keeping a watch for any potential
enemies. So Christian had told him everything: About how
shed kept crying out, about how shed struggled before falling
asleep in his arms, about how he knew, even before she realized
it, that her heart was breaking, about how there was something
about her large eyes that had called to him.
After hed said everything, Valentine had been quiet. The
silence had frightened Christian. His brother always had some-
thing to say.
Im going to the Surface. Stay here, hed commanded in a
voice Christian had never heard before.
Christian had waited, watching as Valentine stroked to
the surface. Minutes, or maybe hours, went by. Christian had
debated whether to follow him, or whether to head back
Down Below. Instead, hed stayed, suspended in time.
Finally, Valentine had returned, his mouth set in a grim line.
I Surfaced, hed said simply. There was no barrier. I think
its you. Youre banned.
Banned. The word had caused a chill to fall over Christian.
I think you need to tell Sephie, Valentine had said, echo-
ing Christians thought.
Christian had gulped, trying to come up with excuses: His
lesson had already been learned. Hed never go to the sur-
face again. Hed behave. He hadnt known hed done anything
wrong. But Christian had nodded.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 71 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
Ill come, Valentine had decided. Christian felt grateful
and guilty, all at once. Valentine shouldnt be dragged into this.
Together, the two made their way to the gilt-gold gates that
surrounded Sephies kingdom. It was one of the few perma-
nent structures of Down Below, a place generally made up of
the destruction from Up Above. From the hulking shipwrecks
that would disappear from decay after a few decades, to the
coral reefs that would be reshaped and re-formed hundreds of
times over, nothing Down Below was meant to be permanent.
Sephie greeted them at the gates, alone, as if she were expect-
ing them. She was wearing a shimmering white gown made up
of hundreds of tiny orbs that almost obscured her sparkly silver
tail, a sign that she was pureblooded mermaid. Her white-gold
hair was pulled up at the nape of her long neck, and her violet
eyes were shimmering brightly, almost a beacon in the watery
Do you know what the word Christian means Up Above?
Sephie asked, her eyes wide.
I . . . Christian gazed helplessly at Valentine. Hed been
expecting to ask to see Sephie. He certainly hadnt expected
for her to seek him out.
Simply put, it means a person who believes in a savior,
Sephie said. Of course, thats a simple defnition, and the
humans Up Above could give you all the nuances and true
details. She arched her eyebrow. But its an apt name for you,
because it turns out, you are, indeed, a savior for some.
REV INT Wrecked.indd 72 2/23/12 4:44 PM
7 3
What do you mean? Christian croaked. Valentine shot
him a look. He was supposed to confess, he knew that, but he
hadnt expected this. This was worse than being punished. He
felt like he was being lured into a fshermens trap, unable to
fnd a way to escape.
I mean you rescued that pretty little dark-haired girl.
Although Im not sure if she even appreciates the favor. Shes
very sad. Which is why now, its up to you to right this mistake.
I didnt . . .
Didnt what? Didnt save her? Didnt meddle with the
storm? Didnt mean to? Which one, Christian? Sephie turned
her gaze to Valentine. And you may go. I dont want you get-
ting any ideas from your wayward brother. She laughed a
sharp cackle as she reached out toward Christian, digging
her fngernails into his arm. Christian squirmed and Sephie
Sephie, my brother didnt mean to do what he did. I prom-
ise that hes learned his lesson, and hell never Surface . . . ,
Valentine said, his voice shaking slightly.
Always loyal to everyone, Sephie said. No. You go. I will
speak with your brother.
Valentine shot Sephie a pleading look and Christian held his
breath, unsure whether he wanted Sephie to allow Valentine to
come with him or not. Was he about to be executed? And if so,
why wasnt he feeling anything?
Go along, Sephie said, pulling Christian through the gates
REV INT Wrecked.indd 73 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
and into a small coral cavern. The gates slammed shut.
Im sorry, Christian said meekly. The cavern was pitch
black, except for a few brightly colored orbs foating around
them. Christian gazed at them in horror. He knew what those
werethe souls that had been lost below the sea.
Im sorry, too, Sephie said. All Christian could see were
her eyes, glittering in the darkness. The water in the cavern was
so still and cold, he could hear his teeth chattering. Im sorry
I didnt get the souls I aimed for. Im sorry you thought you
could play God. And Im sorry that you and I seemed to have
a miscommunication.
There was a storm. And she was trapped, and I knew it
was wrong, but I thought . . . I thought it would be all right
if I saved her, Christian said in a small voice. The truth was,
he hadnt been thinking at all in the moment that hed set the
girl free, all he knew was that if he hadnt done something, he
wouldnt have been able to live with himself.
Sephie laughed, the noise sounding like a hiss and a bark.
Well, thats where our miscommunication lies. Because it
wasnt all right that you saved her. I wanted her soul. I wanted
all their souls. But Im letting you off easy, she said, not letting
go of her grip on his arm.
Thank you, Christian said.
I need her soul. Ill collect the rest in my own time, but her
soul is on you. You have one week.
Christian gulped, remembering how his lungs burned when
REV INT Wrecked.indd 74 2/23/12 4:44 PM
7 5
hed been denied access to the surface. He couldnt let anyone
else go through that type of pain.
But of course, Im reasonable. Thats not your only
option . . . , Sephie said.
Ill do anything! Christian replied eagerly, hoping that
somehow, she was providing one way of atoning without killing.
Your death, Sephie said simply. Its only fair. Yours or
hers. One or the other.
Christians heart thudded. I will kill her, he said, dully. He
couldnt tear his gaze away from her eyes. It was similar to
when hed been entranced by the boat wreck, when the fre
seemed to dance on the water.
Good, Sephie said. One week. I need her soul. And thats
a favor to you. Im allowing you the opportunity to see her one
last time. And shell thank you. She didnt want to be saved. She
wanted to die.
Thank you, Christian said woodenly, turning to the gates.
He looked over his shoulder, but Sephie had vanished into the
darkness. The orbs surrounding him shimmered in the water, as
though they were winking at him.
And, Christian?
Christian heard Sephies voice, coming from somewhere
that was both above him and behind him. He couldnt see her
anywhere. Sephie? he called, his voice shaking.
Her name is Miranda, she said, before a tidal wave of
water came from nowhere and pushed him out of the gates and
REV INT Wrecked.indd 75 2/23/12 4:44 PM
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a n n a d a v i e s
threw him in the middle of the messy, vibrant, teeming Down
Below, wild and terrible and refreshing after the cloying silence
of Sephies cavern. Not waiting to update Valentine, he swam
immediately up to the Surface, the name Miranda echoing in
his head like an endless incantation.
When he got to the Surface, the waters parted easily, and he
made his way to the area where hed always seen her before,
right by the shipwrecked boat hull. The sun was sinking low
on the horizon. Maybe Sephie was right. Maybe the girl had
wanted to die. The rules of the ocean werent polite, but maybe
they were fair.
He scanned the waves, but he didnt see anything, except sea
gulls swooping in and out of the water. The girlMiranda
was nowhere to be found. Christian felt relief, followed by a
wave of fear. What if he couldnt fnd her? Or worsewould
he be able to do what he had to do if he did?
REV INT Wrecked.indd 76 2/23/12 4:44 PM

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