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Authors: Lisa Papademetriou

Siren's Storm

BOOK: Siren's Storm
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2011 by Lisa Papademetriou

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.,
New York.

Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Papademetriou, Lisa.
Siren’s storm / Lisa Papademetriou. — 1st ed.
p. cm.
eISBN: 978-0-375-89778-8

[1. Supernatural—Fiction. 2. Seaside resorts—Fiction. 3. Sirens (Mythology)—Fiction. 4. Calypso (Greek mythology)— Fiction. 5. Long Island (N.Y.)—Fiction.]
I. Title.
PZ7.P1954Shr 2011


Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


For George

Chapter One

From the
Walfang Gazette

Walfang Braces for Storm

Tropical Storm Bonita—packing winds up to 50 miles per hour and waves of up to 20 feet—is scheduled to reach Walfang by 3:00 Wednesday afternoon. Residents in some areas have been urged to evacuate, but many refuse to leave. “We’re Long Islanders,” said Harry Russell, owner of Russell Feed and Hardware. “You can’t expect a little rain to frighten us.”

But Bonita will likely be much worse than a little rain. “Although Bonita has not been classified a hurricane, it will definitely cause damage on the island. Just because it isn’t as bad as the 1938 hurricane doesn’t mean it isn’t serious,” declared Dr. Phyllis Ovid. The 1938 storm, the “Long Island Express,” left 700 dead and 63,000 homeless, and is commonly considered one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Although Bonita will not pack an equal punch, Dr. Ovid said, “people should be prepared for power loss, perhaps lasting several days.”

Indeed, residents do seem to be hunkering down. “Our shelves are empty,” claimed Sheila Danbury, owner of the
Pick and Drive on King Road. “I think we’ve got five cans of soup left.”

Federal safety experts recommend that residents reinforce windows, fill the bathtub with water, and …

Will nosed the truck forward, picking his way along the slick street. Fat raindrops thrummed like heavy fingers against the faded orange hood, while water swirled around the tires, rushing toward drains already clogged with debris. The windshield wipers beat their
squeak, thunk, squeak, thunk
against the rippled water that sluiced down the glass. Will squinted to see the black ribbon that stretched out before him. It was ten o’clock in the morning, and the rain was steadily getting worse. He turned the knob on the radio, but all he got was static.
I’m lucky the wheels work
, Will thought. His uncle’s truck was an old tank. Solid as a boulder, and just as high-tech. The boat hitch rattled over the road, dragging behind the truck like a lame leg.

The streets were empty, but Will stopped at the red light anyway. He was a careful driver, which had always amused his older brother, Tim. “Nobody cares if you go over the speed limit by five miles per hour,” Tim had always said. “Come on, put the pedal to the metal, bro!” But Tim wasn’t with him this morning, so Will could be as careful as he liked. He didn’t want to get into an accident on the way to pick up the boat.

The light changed, and Will moved forward, but a moment later he slammed on the brakes. A sheet of corrugated metal—an escaped piece of roofing from
someone’s shed—thwacked against the side of the truck, momentarily blocking the driver’s-side window.

“Jesus,” Will whispered, his heart hammering. Then the wind shifted and the metal flipped up, flew over the hood of the truck, and sailed down the street. Will watched as it tumbled and finally fell, sliding under the front steps of City Hall.

With a sigh, Will gently pressed the accelerator.

“Shit!” he shouted as a figure darted in front of the truck. Will’s right leg cramped as he ground his foot against the brake pedal. A thud sent a wave of nausea through him, and it took a moment for him to realize that he hadn’t hit the figure—it had hit
. Bright green eyes stared up at him through the windshield. The girl’s palms were flat against the hood of the truck, almost as if she were holding it in place.

Sudden music blasted from the radio, and Will startled so badly that he nearly hit his head against the roof. He felt sick. Green cat eyes, long black hair—that was all he was aware of. That and the thought,
She’s alive. She’s okay. She’s alive. You didn’t
. Still, his hands were shaking. A flood of fear surged through him, and then, right on its heels, rage.

I could have killed her!
He was furious about it—about the idea that she might have made him responsible for something like that.

“Are you okay?” Will shouted, although he knew his voice must have been muffled through the glass.

The girl looked at him a moment longer, then turned and darted off. She disappeared between two nearby buildings.
Almost like the sheet of metal
slipping beneath the steps
, Will thought.
Like a knife disappearing into wood

Will took a deep breath, then another. His head was light. Finally he became aware that he was sitting in the middle of an intersection. He didn’t want to move, but he didn’t have much of a choice. Tentatively he pressed the accelerator. The truck inched forward.

Will tapped his fingers against the steering wheel, trying to keep his mind on the road. But he couldn’t stop thinking about that girl and her strange green eyes. Her skin was pale and smooth, like the inside of a shell. Will felt a flash of confusion. She seemed to be about his age—seventeen—and looked familiar. Then again, this was a pretty small town. Everyone looked familiar.
Do I know her?
Will wondered.

But this girl was beautiful. Beautiful in a way he wouldn’t have forgotten—not even with his questionable memory. Besides, it was summer. Walfang was a tourist town, and the population surged during the months of June, July, and August.
Maybe she’s a summer person

After three blocks, Will could see the ocean. The dock where he kept the Bermuda-rigged sailing dinghy was close to the end of town, at the rocky spit that jutted into the sea. Most of the Hamptons were white sand over rolling dunes, but Walfang was at the far tip of Long Island and had dark granite parts that felt almost New Englandy. The dock housed several small craft and was partially protected by a cove. But with a storm like this headed straight for Walfang, the cove
would offer as much protection as an umbrella in a cyclone.

Even now, waves beat the beach, exploding against the rocks that lined the coast. Foam spewed into the air, meeting the rain as it fell.
Water on water
, Will thought as he parked at the edge of the docks.

“If you’d drive more than five miles per hour, I wouldn’t have to wait for you.” The big bear of a man grinned as Will stepped onto the pitching sailboat.

“Sorry, Uncle Carl.”

But Carl wrapped one arm around Will and gave him a playful slap on the back. “I’ve been here a full ten minutes!” He let out a full laugh that threatened to blow back the hurricane winds. “Nothing but a little rain so far,” Carl said. “But the weathermen say it’s likely to make landfall near Walfang, so we might as well get the
secured. I’ll tie up the main lines.”

The wind lashed at Will’s face as he made for the sails. Nearby, boats rocked on the swelling waves. Will’s father had thought the
could ride out the storm if Will took down the sails. But Will didn’t want to risk it, not with his brother’s boat. Luckily, his uncle Carl had understood completely.

The sky met the sea in shades of deep gray, and white-tipped waves roared toward the shore. They hurled themselves against the beach in growing fury before hissing backward in retreat. The fat white gulls that usually wheeled over the docks in greedy anticipation had taken shelter under the eaves of the
nearby snack bar. They watched the sky warily as rain pelted the wooden shack. Their silence was almost eerie. There was no sound but the ocean and the uneven creak and knock of the bobbing boats.

Will scanned the empty beach. Everything was a shade darker than usual. Thick clouds blotted out the sun, and the rain had turned the rocks black and the sand to a shade of caramel. It was as if darkness had already fallen. He noticed that his uncle had stopped moving. Carl was staring out to sea, a strange look on his face. “Everything okay?” Will asked.

Carl turned to him. “Do you hear that?”

Will shook his head and indicated his right ear. He’d lost his hearing on that side the summer before. “What is it?”

Carl shrugged. “I don’t know. I thought I heard—” He shrugged. “Sounded like music.”

“Good for dancing?” Will teased, and Carl laughed.

“Good for sleeping, more like,” his uncle said. “Eh, it’s gone now.”

“Probably just a creaky boat,” Will said.

“Yeah,” Carl agreed, although he didn’t look convinced.

Will turned back to his work. He touched the mainmast with a light finger. The sail had gone up in flames last summer, leaving a dark scar on the boat. It was lucky that the whole
hadn’t burned—it had tipped, dousing the fire and saving itself.

Will secured the sail and pulled a cover over it, snapping it securely into place. Taking a deep breath, he looked up at the rocks on the shore.

Will grasped the handrail as if the boat had lurched beneath him. A sudden nausea rose in his throat.

One of the black rocks had

The rock was still for a moment, then moved again, and with heart-stopping clarity Will realized that a human figure was picking its way—headfirst—down the steep escarpment. The figure had long, delicate limbs that moved with surprising speed across the rocks, almost like a spider. Will hurried to the canvas storage bag and sorted through his brother’s collection of junk to pull out a pair of binoculars. He trained them on the figure. Just as he’d thought—it was the girl from this morning. He was almost sure of it. She had the same long black hair, the same dark olive wind-breaker.

BOOK: Siren's Storm
12.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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