Coldwater Cottage – 2: The Dive

Previous instalments: 1

Coldwater Cottage“You know what to do when I come up?”

“If you do nothing, I do nothing. If you wave, I turn the clutch,” she fingered the lever on the outboard, “and drive over to you.” Ian heard indulgence in her tone as she repeated what he’d said to keep him happy. He hadn’t used the word ‘drive’.

He pulled on his neoprene gloves, reducing his sense of touch to degrees of sponginess. The rubber gunwale felt very spongy as he lowered himself on to it. The edge of his mask was less spongy as he pulled it over his eyes and nose.

“You look like James Bond.” Jakki’s voice was muffled by his hood, as though she was a long way away. “You know what you’re looking for?”

Ian felt as Jakki must have done when he repeated his questions. The hood made it difficult to say ‘a silver brooch in the shape of a Celtic cross’, so he just nodded.

“And Ian? Thank you. For trusting me this far.”

He nodded again, glad he didn’t have to say anything. He glanced at his dive computer, seeking refuge in technicalities. It was twenty minutes before low tide, which would minimise both depth and currents. He put the regulator in his mouth and rolled back off the side of the boat. Silver bubbles tussled before his eyes before he bobbed to the surface. He waved to Jakki and emptied the air from his buoyancy jacket. He watched the waterline slide up his mask and knew it would be closing over his head, but he couldn’t feel it through the hood.

Silence. Ian never noticed the perpetual noise of human existence until the sea took it away. Even on the boat, there had been the lapping of the water against the hull and the murmur of the wind. And Jakki. He let out his breath and broke the silence with a roar of bubbles.


Next week: The Sister

The full story is available from the Amazon Kindle store, and is part of the Steel in the Morning collection which is available in Kindle or paperback format.

Coldwater Cottage was originally published in Lamplight 1:2 and subsequently in the Lamplight Volume 1 annual.

Author notes


Cover by Manda Benson

Other stories by DJ Cockburn available online

Steel in the Morning

Newgate Jig

The Endocrine Tyranny

Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo


Cassandra’s Cargo

Mars One

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