The crumbling passage led to an underwater city, filled with marvels, wild magic… and secrets.
The village witch rowed Newyn to the tainted place, the ocean cove the locals called ya sangra liu — the bloody harbor. No one knew what had happened there, except that once it had not been filled by the sea.
“There.” It was a toothlike stone structure that stuck out of the water to roughly waist-height, in the middle of the miniature bay. “Everyone knows, you walk down that way, you can breathe.”
Newyn studied the protrusion. It was manmade, circular, perhaps the ruined top of a tower. “Do you breathe water, like a fish, or is there air?”
“You’re not floating, if that’s what you mean. You can walk, run, speak if you find anyone to speak to. Near enough to air, even if the fish swim in it.”
“And others have gone down, and come back.”
The witch half nodded, half shrugged. “Come back, yes. But not always whole.”
“Why did they go?”
“Some folks come back ranting about gold… I’d think you might like gold.”
“Oh, I do,” Newyn said, so softly it was almost a hiss. “I do.”
Isabel Pelech has been published in Talebones, Tickled by Thunder and Dreams & Nightmares. She lives in Tennessee with two gray cats.
“The Wine-Dark Sea” appears in Black Gate 14. You can read a more complete excerpt here.
The complete Black Gate 14 Sneak Peek is available here.
Art by Mark Evans.