Prologue: Under The Water

The lightning outside shook me awake that night. The storm had been raging through the small Florida town all day. But being nine years old, it was natural for me to be afraid. I remember clutching my Mickey Mouse plush, hiding under my princess patterned sheets and trembling in anticipation of the next boom from the boisterous sky.

As expected, the sky lit up and blew another wave of sound to the earth, shocking me out of my bed.

"Daddy is just downstairs in the office" I told myself, and I sprinted downstairs as fast as my footie pajamas would let me, careening off the steps with pitifully attempted finesse.

I shuffled down the adjoining hallway in the kitchen that led to his office, Mickey Mouse in tow. The distant sounds of rain and thunder almost masked and blended with the sound of his typewriter. He was working on the fifth and final book in his fantasy adventure novel series. And every once in a while, he would forget the world, losing himself in his work. But my Daddy never forgot me. Because in his eyes, I wasn't his world, but his universe.

When I eased the door open, the typing stopped. I can still see his goofy smile, his disheveled and shaggy salt-n-pepper colored hair, and his slightly aged eyes, gleaming and happy. He simply chuckled, and wagged a finger at me, having busted me out of bed after my bedtime. He was never mad, because it was storming. And I had never liked storms.

He pushed his chair back and beckoned me over, cooing reassurances and kind words to me. Scrambling into his lap, I felt immeadiately safer. Little did I know, it would be the last time I felt that safe, or even saw my father alive for that matter.