Morgan Walker stared at the ominous fog bank, blocking the boat’s way like a giant alien creature from one of her science-fiction novels. She cautiously leaned over the wooden rail of the Starfish, straining to catch a glimpse of mysterious Gull Island. She felt the hair on her arms tingle, then saw a flash from inside the fog bank.
“Did you see that?” she shouted to the two students standing near her on the college’s thirty-eight-foot research boat, but they didn’t reply.
She felt her stomach tighten and her head ache at the sound of rocks being smashed into Gull Island’s deadly reefs by the savage Atlantic. “We’re going to die.” She sat down on the wooden bench affixed to the inside of the partially open wheel house and imagined tomorrow’s newspaper story: Three high school honor students attending Sieur de Cadillac College’s Summer Island Research Program perish with their professor in the black fog off Gull Island, Maine. The Coast Guard is searching for their bodies. Morgan sighed.
Something touched her shoulder. Startled, she jerked forward, almost falling off the bench before she realized it was Peter Dugua’s hand. He was the student who almost missed this field trip.
“Are you okay?”
“Um, well, I suppose so,” she replied.
“I was trying to calculate how close we were to the reef when you shouted.”
“Did you see a flash?”
“No,” Peter replied.
“What do you think I saw?”
“Don’t know. I didn’t see it.”
“Maybe the captain can tell us.” She waved her arm, but he was looking the other direction. “Ah, Captain Young, what was that flash?”
“I saw something like a bolt of lightning,” she replied while pointing toward the bow.
“Probably some electrostatic phenomena,” he called over his shoulder. “There have been a lot of weird things happening around Gull Island for the past few weeks. Yes, definitely an atmospheric paranormal event,” he said with a chuckle.
Reading about the paranormal is interesting, she thought, but experiencing it is for the birds. Morgan noticed the boat was not turning around. “Sir, ah sir, are you going to drive this boat into that fog?”
“There’s that sickening sweet smell again.” She yawned as she neared her cot.
“It’s making me groggy,” he replied and collapsed onto his cot.
Without undressing, Morgan removed her shoes, climbed inside her warm sleeping bag, and felt the sleep take her.
Morgan jerked her head and felt something cold and clammy touch her face. She fought to awaken. She rubbed her eyes, sat up, and looked around. Only the candle on the window was lit. By its erratic flickering, it would soon die. Shadows jumped past her face. She cringed, and then glanced under the spiral staircase. Peter was still clothed and sleeping on top of his sleeping bag. “Peter,” she whispered, “Peter.” She heard his snores.
She yawned, then stared upward, on the steps above Peter. She saw shadows moving up the spiral staircase. Morgan glanced at Lena’s cot but saw only shadows twitching in a sleeping bag. “I must be having a lucid dream.” Morgan rubbed her eyes again and yawned. There’s that nauseating sweet odor again. She felt chilled. “Can’t stay awake.” She snuggled deep into her sleeping bag to escape the nightmare. Sleep came quickly. She plunged into her deepest and darkest dreams, as a multidimensional spirit, existing in all planes, and fearing all things unknown. Her last remaining consciousness tried to awaken her from the nightmare. The candle wick flickered, then burned out. Morgan experienced total darkness.
“Something is very wrong ahead of us!” Peter yelled back to the team.
Floodlights blinded their eyes and they halted.
“Hands in the air,” a deep male voice ordered from the tunnel entrance.
“We’re…” Morgan replied.
“Shut up! Do as you’re told,” shouted another male voice behind her.
“Hands up!” a third male bellowed.
Ginny, Morgan, and Jamie eased Dr. Paulson down, who slumped onto the cold hard rock floor, then they raised their hands.
Morgan glimpsed at a fourth, large man, wearing a black uniform and cap, and aviator sunglasses, holding Lena by her hair. She struggled and screamed hysterically. He sprayed something directly in her face and she went limp.
Peter lunged at a fifth man holding an M-16 to Jamie’s head. Morgan heard something hard hit Peter. He moaned, and fell near her feet.
“Peter!” she screamed and bent down to help him.
Someone pushed her to the floor and stepped on the back of her neck with a heavy boot.
“Can’t breathe,” she gasped, as she heard the sound of rifle bolt clicking and its muzzle pushing against the back of her head.
I dedicate Secrets in the Fog: the Invisibility Project to the memories of my loving and supportive parents, Bill and Ella Bigenho, who included me in all their adventures and who made my childhood experiences on Great Duck Island possible. I further wish to express my loving gratitude to my husband and best friend, Dr. Harry Spain who stuck by me in sickness and health. Thank you for continuing to intellectually, spiritually, and financially support my endeavors to earn my Masters in Writing and become a full-time novelist.
Special thanks to Dr. John Anderson at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, to the Passamaquoddy people and the Abbe Museum, and to my family and friends in Maine. You inspired me to create some of the interesting characters and the beautiful setting for this novel.
Additional thanks to the faculty of the Writing Popular Fiction graduate Program at Seton Hill University, who pressed me to complete my thesis, "Secrets in the Fog", and especially to my personal mentor, author Leslie Davis Guccione, a classy lady who teaches academic perfection. Thank you all.
However, this manuscript would not have been completed without the dedicated effort of my last mentor, Barbara Miller (Laurel Ames), a terrific author and a remarkable writing professor whose excellent editing ability and positive criticism along with sincere understanding and patience enabled me to successfully complete Secrets in the Fog (the thesis version) and receive my Masters in Writing in January 2008. I am forever grateful to you.
Lastly, you would not be reading this version of my novel had it not been for my current editor/publisher, Vickie Kennedy at eTreasures Publishing. Kudos for accepting my thesis in October 2008, and many thanks for your copy-edit suggestions. www.EllenSpain.com