Saturday 7 May 2016

Distress Signals
Catherine Ryan Howard

This is a Blog Tour with a difference. Each day there will be a different extract on a different blog. Once you have read all the extracts, it will make up one chapter of the novel. Genius! I am third on the tour, so if you have missed any, have a look at the poster below and catch up before going on to the next one!! Enjoy.


My time’s almost up. I wonder how they could’ve possibly got here so fast. Didn’t I just hit the water a minute or two ago? Have I been here for longer than I think? Or have they come for someone else?


Above me now, the helicopter dips to hover close to the surface, kicking up waves that push me off course and splash cold, salty water in my face. I kick harder. The body disappears from view and undulating waves take its place. I blink away a splash. The body reappears. A wave crashes over me. When I open my eyes a second time, the body is gone again.


The sound is tunnelling a hole in my brain. It’s not above me any more but in me. I feel like it’s coming from inside my head.

Then, the grip of a hand on my arm.

Everything is bright with white light now. Am I hallucinating? Is that what happens when you go into the water from several storeys up, possibly dislocate your shoulder, nearly drown and then exhaust yourself trying to stay afloat in open sea?

But no, there really is someone by my side, a man in a wetsuit with an oxygen tank on his back. All I can see of his face are his eyes through the foggy plastic of his mask. He lifts it up over his nose and says something to me, but the words are lost in the helicopter’s deafening roar.

I turn away from him and try to find the body again. I scan the surface but I can’t see it now.

A bright-red basket is dropping on a rope. The wetsuit man grips me under the arms and pulls me towards it.

He speaks again, this time shouting right into my ear from directly behind me.
This time, I hear him.
‘Is there anybody else in the water? Did you see anybody else in the water?’
I say nothing.
I focus on the belly of the helicopter. It’s navy blue and glossy. I think I see a small French flag painted on the underside of its tail.
‘Was it just you?’ he shouts. ‘Did you go in alone?’
We reach the basket and another wetsuit man. Together they lift me into it.
I am now looking up at the night sky. It seems filled with stars.
The man’s face appears above mine, blocking my view of them.
‘Can you hear me?’ he asks. ‘Can you hear me?’
I nod.
‘Were you alone in the water? Did you see anyone else?’
Above me the helicopter’s blades spin. 

Whump-whump-whump-whump- whump. 

Out of the water, the pain in my shoulder is sharper. I start to shake.
All I wanted was to find Sarah.
How has it come to this?
‘No,’ I say finally. ‘It was only me in the water. There is no one else.’

To continue reading, head to CleopatraLovesBooks tomorrow, 7th May.


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