Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Vonnie over on her “My Back Door” blog. Be sure to visit and enjoy her fun turkey story this week, as well as the other submissions for FF.
Since Friday Fiction was on something of a hiatus last November, I missed posting chapters of my NaNoWriMo novel while it was in process. As I mentioned before, I took the short story, “Reef, Her Madness,” and used that as the basic outline for a novel-length retelling of the same events, and then some. What this allowed me to do was expand the story to include scenes that were brushed over in the short story, and to add additional POVs. One of the pivotal scenes in the original story was the night swim along the reef, with dive lights rented from the resort Dive Center. In the rewrite, I decided it would be fun to see the Dive Center through the female main character’s perspective, and to use the scene to set up subsequent scenes in the book.
By the way – many dive shops do offer something very similar to the Explore Scuba course mentioned in this chapter, offering it for very inexpensive or even free. Often, it is done in the dive shop’s training pool, but in some locations, it is actually done in the ocean. If you have ever been curious about scuba, look up your local scuba shops with training facilities, and inquire about a Discover Scuba or similar course (I fictionalized the name for the story).
From Chasing The Sharks
Theresa entered the resort Dive Center, and wondered how she’d managed to have never been in one before. She could not remember a time when she hadn’t loved the water, and scuba would be a natural extension of that love.
Large color prints of reef life decorated the walls, and a big screen monitor played an ongoing slide show and video montage of the area’s diving. It was all just so beautiful and enticing, and she imagined what it would be like to be one of the people in the video, gliding over the seabed.
She took a mask from its hook on a wall display, and held it over her face. The skirt was much softer and conformed so much better to her shape than the inexpensive mask she’d bought from a department store. If she wasn’t already stretching her budget just being on this trip, she would have considered buying it. Turning her attention to the display of snorkels, she ran a quick currency conversion in her head, and realized the cheapest snorkel they had, cost more than her entire set of fins, mask, and snorkel.
A young woman came from a back room. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t hear you come in. How may I help you?”
Theresa pulled the mask from her face, and quickly replaced it on the display.
“Are you looking for a new mask?” the employee asked. “The one you just had on is one of our best sellers. It’s very comfortable, and offers excellent peripheral vision.”
“It is nice,” Theresa agreed. “But it’s not in my budget right now. I just came in to rent a couple of dive lights.”
“Ah, very good,” she said, pulling out the rental form. “Are you going out on our dive boat tonight?”
Theresa shook her head. “No, I’m not a scuba diver. A friend and I are going to do a little night snorkeling in the lagoon.”
“I see. Are you experienced snorkelers?”
“Yes, and I assure you, we’re both quite comfortable in the water.”
The employee walked to a closet, and removed a pair of large, yellow plastic lights from a shelf. She brought them back to the counter, and switched each on to check their functionality. “These are a bit bulky, but we have found them to be quite reliable and to have excellent battery life. We do require a credit card deposit on them, or else charge the rental back to your bungalow, so that your card on file with the resort provides the deposit. How would you like to proceed?”
“My friend should have already made arrangements to have them billed to his bungalow. He’s in number twenty-three.”
She checked her computer. “Yes, it’s here – bungalow twenty-three, Mr. Timothy Billings.” She pulled back the rental form. “I won’t need this. Mr. Billings completed it online, so you should be all set.” Smiling, she handed the lights to Theresa. “If you and Mr. Billings are comfortable snorkeling, have you ever considered trying scuba? Many divers started out snorkeling, and it’s an easy transition for them to learn scuba.”
“I hadn’t really thought about it before, but looking at your videos, it just looks so incredibly wonderful and peaceful.”
“It is,” she said. “When I am underwater, it seems that all the other cares of the world just disappear.” She pulled a brochure from a display at the side of the counter. “If you would like to try it during your visit, we offer an Explore Scuba course. We give you a brief classroom introduction to scuba, and then a basic instruction on the use of the scuba gear in the shallow water just off the beach here. Once you have the hang of it, the instructor will take you on a short guided tour underwater, and you can decide if you like the experience enough to pursue certification. The cost is minimal, and includes the rental of all the gear you will need. All you have to bring is your bathing suits.”
Theresa looked over the brochure. “It does sound nice, but I’ll need to think about it.”
“Of course. Talk it over with your friend, and if you decide to do it, just call us here at the Dive Center, and we’ll schedule the time at your convenience.”
“I will, thank you.” She lifted the lights just a bit. “I’ll have these back tomorrow.”
“Thank you,” the employee said. “Enjoy your stay at Caruso Lagoon.”
Theresa retreated from the shop before the temptations within could get any more persuasive. The Explore course sounded good, and the cost did seem reasonable, but she needed to check what she’d spent so far and make sure her limited vacation budget could handle it.
The most amusing thought, though, was that Timothy would show up without a bathing suit. The only thing he was required to bring, and if they did the course, he wouldn’t bring it. She smiled, and then laughed when she realized that she had spent the last two days swimming with someone who had been skinny-dipping the whole time. Oh, if I tell Daddy about this, he may never let me out of his sight again.
Even Jenny’s silent treatment that morning couldn’t dampen her mood.