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What Lies Beneath the Water

Newport

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a part of What Lies Beneath the Water, by penelope lemon.

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penelope lemon holds sovereignty over Newport, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Default Location for What Lies Beneath the Water
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Newport

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Newport is a part of What Lies Beneath the Water.

4 Characters Here

Frederick Wood [2] What the hell am I supposed to tell his mother?
Elisha Cohen [2] They told me I was the Devil and then beat me until I believed them.
Laurel Pierce [1] Plays cards like a shark, cooks like a chef, drinks like a sailor
Jack Darling [1] All in a days work

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Character Portrait: Elisha Cohen
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She could have made it to Newport in two hours, if public transit in Maine had been less of a tragedy. At the mercy of Amtrak, train schedules and ticket prices, Elisha considered whether her medication really impaired her driving skills as much as the box claimed. In truth, she knew she was upset that the truth had been taken in vain. The former Father Terry, now 'Mr. Longhurst' of New England Geriatrics, was as close as Elisha could get to a walking, talking Wikipedia article on the supernatural. However, his knowledge was limited by its relation to Christian mythology– and so the disappearances in Newport remained a mystery without more information. It warranted a closer look and she was determined to get it.

The train arrived in Portland in the late afternoon. Her heels clicked against the asphalt as she walked across the parking lot, keeping a good grip on a simple, black suitcase. It was a little bit too hot for the long, light coat she wore, but it would have to do. Once the pace was set she was reluctant to stop and take her coat off. From the station she found her way to a decrepit bus stop where a worn-down coach waited for her. It rumbled in the afternoon smog like a beast waiting in the shadows– Elisha stepped right into the belly, depositing her suitcase above her seat. It didn't take long for the bus to fill, a little over the capacity in her amateur opinion, but people seemed to have expected it and remained standing in the aisle with their books, phones and newspapers as though it was natural. She summoned the patience of a saint, avoiding conversation with the rest, trying not to sneer when they tried to reel her in with the group.

Then there were only a few left. Night was falling, the sky turning grey with clouds– not too dark to see, just yet. Elisha walked on unsteady feet down the aisle of the bus as it passed the Newport sign, and frowned.

"I thought this bus went to Newport?"

The bus driver glanced at her in the rear-view mirror, and shrugged. "You've been reading an old schedule," he said. "Bus don't go to Newport anymore."

"Why not?"

"Nobody goes to Newport. No money for us there if nobody wants to go. Just a waste of gas."

"Well, I want to go. Stop the bus."

He eyed her more carefully this time. "You'll have to walk. I can't take you there– It's not my route anymore."

"Stop the damn bus."

And that, she thought as she watched the bus continue on its way without her, was the story of how Elisha promised vengeance on the public transit system. She felt a growing empathy with Jonathan Harker as she walked down the dusty road. It didn't look untravelled to her– just... less travelled. At the very least she wouldn't be arriving in a complete ghost town, unless that was, in fact, what was causing the disappearances– but that was a dangerous line of thought to delve into just now. She was tired, hungry, and felt a little bit undignified stumbling down the road in her uncomfortable shoes. The pavement struck too hard on her heels, but the heel tip sank into the sand if she tried to walk on the side. In the end she took the bloody things off, and walked barefoot until she saw signs of civilisation on the horizon.

She had arrived at Newport. Now she just needed to find the place where she'd promised to meet Jack.

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Character Portrait: Frederick Wood
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It took him five minutes after he came home again to realise he bought William's favourite brand of cereal. He realised when he opened the cupboard and found three identical boxes in there: He buys them on Thursdays like clockwork, because William used to shove breakfast down his throat like his life depended on it, and Frederick could only watch in awe. He had been so glad the boy was turning out to be a morning person. It would have served him well later in life. Two of the boxes were still full, because Frederick couldn't stand the stuff. He didn't know how this habit has persisted when the rest of his groceries were so dominated by what his life had become. He put the cereal away and grabbed a six-pack by the cardboard packaging, sliding the garden doors open to let the fresh air in. He put the beer down by the empty cans from yesterday and sat down in his lawn chair, pointed towards the sea even though the view was obstructed by the trees. 

He would get a phone call soon, or maybe several. Office hours were drawing to an end, and there would be questions. A part of him was grateful that his friends seemed to have latched on to this idea that Frederick could be brought back up from this. They stopped by the house, speaking to him in a low monotone about the weather. They were all reading the same manual, in which the most important thing was to Not Upset Him, and apparently to treat him as similarly to a troubled child as possible. He'd like to get his hands on the writer and wring his neck, but then there was probably a chapter on that too.

"The anger issues of the bereaved: understanding why your close friend or family member wants to murder you after you utilise the advice written in this book."

He chuckled, wincing at the small pssht his beer made as he opened it. He had an underlying fear that the beer would explode in his face– a fear that came very recently, as he began to see death everywhere. Though he doubted anyone had ever been killed by a shaken beer can. Frederick sipped his drink, and leaned back in the lawn chair. By the time his phone began to buzz, his eyes were closed– his chest moving slowly up and down as the can slipped from his fingers and fell on the ground.

When he woke up it was dark. He squinted in the low light, forgetting for a moment where he was and getting out of the chair. Feeling the soft grass beneath his feet he remembered, and then felt very small in the complete blackness as he stumbled over the lawn chair with his hands out, trying to find his house with his fingers. With some trial and error he found the door, pushing it the wrong way at first but then taking hold of the handle, managing to push it open. When the light came on in the kitchen it flooded out on the lawn, his little sleeping spot illuminated. He trotted back out to pick up the surviving cans, and paused by the chair.

A woman was walking through the woods, wearing little else but a t-shirt (that he could see– or at least pick up on). It was as though she had stepped right out of bed and into the night, and she didn't react to the light of his house, or indeed his presence as she continued on, deeper into the woods– towards the sea.

"Hello?"

There was no response, even when he tried again, a little louder. Feeling the cold crawl up his shins, Frederick retreated into his kitchen. His hand rested on his cellphone for a moment, uncertain who to call. After all, who was to say she was there for any sinister purpose? He thought about that. But then, he also thought, with all the disappearances...

He unlocked the phone.

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JACK

Jack had found his way to Newport early that morning. He had missed the turn off only twice, but that was because there was little forewarning and only one sign, with faded colors and chipped paint, that pointed to the town. That, and Jack's mind tended to wander when he drove long distances. He probably would have missed Newport all together, it was tucked so far off the main highway, but the smell of salt in the air told him he was going the right direction.

ImageEventually he happened upon the town that he had read about in the newspaper the day before. Something about kidnapped girls and abandoned boats; the information was very disjointed and pointed towards all kinds of supernatural possibilities, he just had to zero in on which one. He had his suspicions on what could be behind the strange events, but figured he would look around before he jumped to any conclusions. The last time he did that he ended up trying to exorcist a demon from a young woman but it turned out she just had epilepsy. Needless to say he learned his lesson, and decided that this time he would quell his impulsive behavior and do some detective work before traumatizing another person.

He spent the first half of the day driving around to get a sense of the place, which didn't take long. There was a main road that ran parallel to the ocean, a few shops, a few homes, a few people, and that was about it. Jack had seen plenty of small towns in his line of work, but Newport brought a whole new meaning to the term ghost town. Everything seemed quiet and in a rather bleak mood, and Jack wasn't sure how he felt about it.

He found himself parked in front of a seaside diner called Poor Murphy, his hunger persistent enough to make him try the lobster burger and chips that were advertised in the front window. He made a face, questioning his decision even as he climbed out of his car. He had learned to be adventurous with food, but even he had standards.

Inside, the cafe was paneled on all the walls with dark wood. Black and white pictures hung there of fishermen with massive marlin catches, previous owners of the shop working the grill, and historic buildings of Newport before they were torn down. Behind the bar, a large ship wheel was mounted on the wall. A gurgling lobster tank sat in the far corner. The tacky nautical decor was a bit overkill, but Jack couldn't care less.

There was one other person in the restaurant, an old man seated at the bar who barley looked up when Jack entered. So Jack took a chair at the other end. At the sound of a new customer, another man appeared from the kitchen. He had shaggy blonde hair that needed a trim and Jack noted that he walked with a slight limp as he approached the counter. He was a few years older than Jack, perhaps in his late fifties, and wore a small silver name tag that read 'Murphy'

"Evenin' friend," he said, "What can I get you?"

Jack glanced at the cuckoo clock on the wall and wondered when Elisha would make an appearance. He decided to wait, in case she was hungry.

"Coffee," he finally replied, "Decaf, if you please."

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Character Portrait: Jack Darling Character Portrait: Elisha Cohen
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She had the common decency to put her shoes back on as she entered the town, though her feet were still aching a little from the trip. Internally she was cursing the bus driver and his entire company, though a part of her understood that even bus companies had to go with what was good for business, not necessarily what was good for her at that exact time. Still, getting used to a world that wasn't catered to your wellbeing was hard, particularly for someone like Elisha.

Still, she got a little look at the town before she arrived at Poor Murphy's. It was getting dark, but not so much that she couldn't see– though frankly there wasn't much to look at. Tall, dark green trees towered above the long-stretching road. There were few houses, mostly residential ones and a few shops that were preparing for closing time. She gave up on sightseeing pretty quickly, heading instead towards the seaside. The water looked dark and uninviting– there were a few boats in the harbour, none of which seemed inhabited at the moment. Spotting the diner where she was supposed to meet Jack, she picked up the pace, finally opening the door. The breath of warmed up air hit her face as she entered, bringing a smile to her face.

Finally, she thought. Civilisation.

An old man looked up as she closed the door behind her. She gave him a small smile and a nod hello, before turning her head to find Jack by the counter. "Jack," she said, with an air of relief. "Thank the Lord. I just had the worst journey, I was afraid I wouldn't make it. I hope I haven't made you wait long."

Her heels clicked against the floorboard as she made her way over to him. Her look fell to a lobster tank in the small corner, disapproval flashing across her face before her smile returned. "I'm absolutely starving, are you? Have you ordered anything?"

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JACK

When Murphy brought the coffee, Jack took it gratefully. As he drank, he looked out the floor to ceiling windows at the front of the store. A few stragglers from the days run were bringing their boats into the harbor.

"What do they catch?" Jack asked and indicated to the docked boats.

Murphy looked up from behind the bar. "Lobster, mostly," he replied. "Sometimes cod, not much after that."

Jack couldn't think of anything else to say, and was too busy wondering where Elisha had gotten to, that they lapsed into silence. He looked out the window again to pass the time. The fishermen hosed down the decks, brought their catches into port, bartered, and packed up for the night. Jack almost envied them; he'd like nothing more than to eat and get a good nights rest after hours of driving. The last place he slept in was a motel of questionable hygiene and lack security. He hoped this go around would be better

Image"Where you from?"

It took a moment before Jack realized that it was him Murphy was talking to. He turned back to look at the older man, and replied, "New York." It may not have been his place of origin, but it was the last place he had settled to do some paranormal investigation. At the next state, with a new case, and new introductions, he would likely say Newport Maine was where he was from. It was just easier that way.

"Just passin' through?"

"Staying, actually," Jack replied. "I'm not sure how long though."

He seemed surprised by Jack's answer and opened his mouth to reply, but the bell over the door rung as someone else entered. Jack looked up as Elisha made her way over to the bar. He smiled and she sighed, slightly exasperated as she commented about her travel.

"Sorry to hear that," he said and indicated to the seat next to him. "Starving," he replied and turned back to the man behind the bar. "I'll just have whatever's on the grill," he asked Murphy then turned to Elisha. "You?"

Murphy moved back to plate Jacks food, eyeing the two newcomers.

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LAUREL


ImageLaurel noted, with some misery, that she would be docking with barley half a days catch in the lobster pots. She also noted that she would likely be the last boat in, and briefly wondered if even the harbor master, that old grizzly woman named Edith Jones, would still be on the docks.

She reached up and turned on the masthead light, as it was getting too dark to see more than a few yards off the bow of the trawler. She had purposefully prolonged returning back to Newport for a number of reasons. The first being that she genuinely liked being out on the water. The sea spray soaked everything and chilled her to the bones, and the smell of bait was nauseating, but the sound of the waves and the rocking of her boat outweighed the other not so pleasant aspects of fishing. Plus, out on the ocean, the only person she really had to worry about was herself. She didn't have to pretend that she didn't see the scowling look the postmaster gave her, or hear the snide remark said by one of the ladies at the grocers.

The second, and most important reason for her coming back to port so late was because she was almost certain that she wasn't crazy. Almost. She knew she saw something that night, she just wasn't sure what. Lately, as her uncertainty about her sanity grew, so did her desperation for answers. Laurel had been spending more and more nights on the water to try and figure out just what she saw that night, but so far all of her searches came up dry. Perhaps she was just seeing things. Was she so drunk that she imagined the face in the water?

Laurel sighed to herself as she helmed to boat closer to town. Now, she was starting to sound like the townsfolk. It seemed that they fed off each others paranoia; not that she blamed them. Strange things happened in town, there was no denying that, but the futile need to talk about something other than the kidnappings and drownings made everyone gossipy. If it wasn't Laurel's drunken episode then it was the rumor that Tom Jenkins had a woman in the next town over or the chiefs recently drowned son—anything to keep away from the taboo subjects.

Laurel knew better, or at least she thought she did. She wasn't sure, but there was something fishy going on and she wasn't about to just ignore it like most everyone else in Newport.

Pun intended.

Laurel smirked to herself. Christ, she was funny.

She shifted the gears to neutral and the loud rumbling of the motor died considerably. She steered closer to shore, making her way towards to the docks that jutted out from land. By the looks of it, she was right; Exodus was the last boat into the harbor.

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Character Portrait: Laurel Pierce Character Portrait: Frederick Wood
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"Hello?"

He was wearing little else than flip-flops, a pair of well-worn shorts and a shirt– not made for the grass and ground of the woods, much less so in the middle of the night as he tried to hurry after the ghostly woman who was no well ahead of him. She seemed to walk without much regard for the branches on the ground, despite being barefoot. Frederick had to find a balance between walking hurriedly, but carefully– he was losing precious time, and his phone refused to make the call he tried so desperately to make.

"Excuse me?" he shouted again, but she was on her way down the hill now, and he lost sight of her for a while. Panic growing in his chest, he broke into an awkward run after her. His speed wasn't greatly increased by this feat, especially as the plastic strap of his flip-flops was pulled tight into the sensitive skin between his toes, forcing him to break as he went down, finally standing behind the small businesses on the dock of Newport.

There was no sign of the girl. He was breathing heavily now– sobered up, but still dulled by the alcohol, from his recent nap, and from the general state of his health. Hands on his hips, he took a deep breath, looking for signs of where she might have walked. Eventually he decided to run out into the street from between two buildings. There was no way she wasn't headed to the docks– though how he knew that, he wasn't sure. Instinct, perhaps– a gnawing premonition starting at the edges of his panic, creating red-hot flashes across his face.

Before he knew it he was standing on the precipice of the asphalt and the wooden docks. He couldn't see a soul– scantily clad young women or otherwise, except a boat pulling up towards the harbour. He didn't recognise the boat, but he soon recognised the face behind the staring wheel as he waved her down.

"Miss Pierce!" he shouted, hoping she could hear him. "Did you see a girl walking by here?"

He was standing on the docks, catching his breath while he looked feverishly around, his eyes eventually drifting to the waterfront. It was impossible, however, as the Exodus came in, creating small waves that would have erased any signs of a jumper. He wiped at his mouth, drawing his hair away from his face as he looked up to Laurel, waiting for her reply.