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Agartha's Castaway


I strolled toward my two best friends, Mike and Jack, who were standing near the stern of
the boat. A faint light flashed in the night sky from the east, and I pointed. “Hey, was that
lightning?”
Mike poured a pail of chum into the sea before he offered a smile. “Nah, not on my
vacation.”
“Hey, that’s our last bucket,” I said.
Mike set the pail down and wiped his hands on his tie-dyed board shorts. “It’s five a.m.
Night fishing’s over. I let the fish have the rest of the bait.”
Jack rummaged through the colorful, flashy lures in my dad’s tackle box. “With all that
chum floating in the water, maybe I’ll catch myself a 100-pound tuna.”
He smiled as I grinned. I loved the way he could always make me smile. We’d known each
other since we were babies, and I couldn’t ask for a better friend.
Standing at the railing, I leaned over. Powerful deck lights above illuminated the green
water of the Pacific Ocean. I smiled as streaks of yellow and silver swarmed around the sailboat.
Mike playfully nudged me with his elbow. “Aren’t the tuna amazing? I just want to jump in
and swim with them.”
I blew a long strand of black hair from my eyes. Yep. That’s Mike for you—full of crazy
ideas and too much energy he doesn’t know what to do with. Of course he’d want to jump in.
And I had no doubt he’d do it.
A roll of thunder rumbled in the distance. A summer storm? No, couldn’t be. I lifted my
head. Nothing but twinkling stars filled the black velvet sky.
I grabbed Mike’s arm as he swung his leg over the rail. If he jumped in, I was going to give
him a piece of my mind. “Don’t you even think about it!”
Grinning as if daring me to stop him, he jumped down and pulled me close. He placed his
strong hands on my hips, his touch sending shivers down my spine. I had a secret crush on Mike
for as long as I could remember.
He winked, lowering his voice. “Okay, fine. I promise, no free diving—at least not until
daylight.”
I arched a brow. “Are you crazy? I bet sharks all the way from Australia can pick up the
scent from all those fish guts you just dumped. You barely survived your last run- in with Jaws.”
I pointed to the jagged scar on his calf.
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