I thought I'd post a part of my story today. This is the first time I'm trying out first person present tense for a longer story (I've only done it for short stories before) so it's a bit different than I'm used to. This isn't quite the beginning, but it's close enough :) I'll post the rest of this section tomorrow. Does it feel blocky at all? I'm not terribly fond of this part.
I wake up as the ship starts to sink. I’m aware of the echoes of a sound, like something hitting metal very fast-- and then my room tilts, ever so slightly. “Mom!” I shout, jumping out of bed and staggering for the door. “Dad! Did you feel that?” They’re already in the hallway, dad starting for my room and mom hurrying for the lower stairs. In the belly of the ship, just the narrow space where the engine sits and there’s three feet of solid metal protecting it from the ocean, I can hear gurgling. There is not supposed to be gurgling down there.
“We’ve been breached,” Mom shouts up to us, just before she reappears. The boots she just pulled on are slightly wet, and her eyes are wide. “Go,” she says, running towards us and dragging us towards the stairs. “We have to get out of here.”
“But--” dad starts, trailing off when Captain Trawley comes barreling towards us.
“It’s no use,” mom says before he can even open his mouth. “It was a Zinker.” The captain freezes, just wincing slightly. Without a word we all bolt up the stairs. The night air hits me like a slap, it’s freezing out. The moon is a soft curve in the sky that barely gives off any light, and it makes the ocean look incredibly black and sharp.
“The ship will blow up,” Trawley says almost calmly. “We have to get off now.” He and mom are already untying the life boat, while dad is rushing around trying to find something. I have no idea what to do except try not to get in their way. Pounds and pounds of water are pouring into the ship below us, weighing us down and creeping each second towards the engines…
Breathe, I tell myself. Stay calm. Grab that blanket. Run to the cabin and get the portable communicator, wrap it in waterproof skin and put it in my pocket. Grab dad and tell him to calm down, everything will be fine as long as we don’t panic, here, squeeze my hand.
The lifeboat is free in an instant and they push it over the railing, which is already tipping towards us just barely. “Cara, you first!” mom says and I hurry down the ladder. The steel rungs are cold and slippery on my hands. The lifeboat is bobbing just below me and I lower myself in, looking up to find mom clambering after me. The boat lurches as she drops in and I sit down, flinching as spray stings my cheek.
“You alright?” mom asks as dad follows us, and I nod silently. The Zinker shouldn’t be here, we are nowhere near it’s migratory path-- but that doesn’t matter, because I can hear the ship groaning beside me. Captain Trawley throws off the rope as soon as he’s in the boat and we’re free, drifting just with the pull of the current until the engine kicks in and we zoom away.
“Shat,” dad says, looking over his shoulder as the ship tilts closer to the water. “Trawley, how far away are we from Ikmar? We couldn’t have traveled too much yesterday?”
“Just two hundred miles,” he says blandly, though I guess that isn’t too bad, considering what it could be. “We’ll make it back, don’t worry--” and then there’s a jolt, like we side scraped a huge rock except there are no rocks out here, and captain Trawley is swearing as he jerks the boat back into place.
“Oh God, the Zinker,” mom says, and then it bumps us again. We almost tip over this time, the boat actually lifts into the air a little bit, and the breath all whooshes out of me as we slap back down.
“How do you fight one of these things?” I ask quickly, trying not to look over the side of the boat. The water is black, there’s no way I can see it skimming beneath the surface right next to us.
“You don’t,” mom says reassuringly. I was just checking really, I can’t think of any way to fight something that has teeth as long as spears coming out of it’s mouth, strong enough to punch through three feet of metal. This little boat will be small crunchy snack to it. Dad opens his mouth to suggest something when it rams us again, flipping the boat and sending us all plunging into the ocean.