Published by Simon & Schuster
Available in ebook, hardback, audio & paperback (16 May 2019)
About the Book
The perfect couple.
The perfect crime?
Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough; Mark a handsome investment banker with a bright future. They seem to have it all. But do they?
On a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, Mark takes Erin scuba diving. Everything is perfect. Until they find something in the water. Something that will change their lives forever.
Erin and Mark decide to keep their discovery a secret. No one else need know; they trust each other implicitly.
But someone else does know. And in situations like these, it is far better to trust no one, not even those closest to you …
I have the feeling of being too near to something I don’t want to be near to. To something dangerous. I can’t quite see what it is yet but I feel it; it feels close. I feel the trapdoors in my mind creaking under the strain of what lies underneath. But then, of course, it could just be free money and everyone loves free money. Someone might have made a mistake, and if it doesn’t hurt anyone . . . then we could keep it. Free money for us. And it’s not like we don’t need it.
It only takes us fifty minutes to reach the spot today—something to do with tidal stream and drift, Mark says; I’m not really listening. When we arrive there’s nothing left of the paper circle. Nothing to say anything was ever here. Nothing but water for miles. If Mark
hadn’t written down the coordinates on Saturday, we’d never have found this place again.
Ever since Mark suggested the idea of diving to look for a wreck, I’ve had a dreadful feeling lurking just below my thoughts. I really don’t want to find a boat. I really, really don’t. But more than that. The thought that I’m pushing down hardest is that we’ll find something else. That it won’t be sharks hanging heavy in the water this time, it’ll be something different. Something worse.
He can feel my tension. We rig up in silence, Mark throwing me
He thinks it’ll be about forty meters deep here. Contextually speaking, that’s two meters higher than the statue of “Christ the Redeemer” in Rio. I can only really go to twenty and he knows it. But the visibility out here is damn near perfect, so we should be able to see right down to the bottom without moving a muscle, or at least without having to go all the way down.
Before we slip into the water, Mark warns me again about the sharks. It doesn’t seem that relevant today. I stare off into the cloudless sky, letting his words wash over me. I breathe. Trying to let his voice calm me. We’re both nervous. And it’s not about sharks.
I notice I’m shaking as we do our buddy check in the water. He grasps my hand and holds it tight against his chest for a second. My heart rate slows. The waves are big and rolling us high today. There’s a strong breeze but Mark promises it’ll be placid once we’re underwater. As we finish up he takes my arm.
“Erin, you don’t have to do this, you know. I can go down alone. You can stay on the boat and I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes. That’s all it’ll take, honey.” He pushes a wet strand of hair behind my ear.
“No, it’s okay. I’m fine.” I smile. “I can do this. And if I don’t see for myself, I’ll be imagining worse anyway,” I say, my voice distant, slightly off-key again.
He nods. He knows me too well to disagree. I’m coming.
He slides on his mask, signals descend, and slips beneath the surface. I place my mask on slowly, securely, letting it suck hard against my cheeks. I can’t afford any mishaps today. I take my last breath of sweet fresh air and follow him under.
It’s clearer down here than it was the last time. Crystal-clear blue. High-definition
blue. Mark is waiting for me just below the surface, picked out in nature-program resolution, a living thing suspended in an ocean of nothing. He gestures to descend. And we let out our
Our descent is steady. I look up at the huge waves crashing above us; it’s so eerily still down here. Seen from underneath, the cresting waves appear forged from metal as they glint in the sun. Huge sheets of burnished aluminum.
Everything is fine. Everything is fine up until we hit ten meters.
Mark jerkily stops and signals for me to hold position. I freeze.
Blood suddenly bursts through my veins at a rate of knots, pumping faster than ever around my body. Why are we stopping?
Is there something in the water? I’m careful not to move, but my eyes search in every direction for what it could be. I can’t see it. Should we get back up to the boat? Or is it fine?
Mark signals It’s okay back to me.
Okay? Then what? Why hold?
He signals it to me again: hold. Then he signals be calm. Be calm is never a good sign.
Then he signals look down.
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invitation.
About the Author
Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End, most recently in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution in 2018. In 2016 she was nominated for Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. She grew up in the New Forest and lives with a small dog and average sized man. Something in the Water is her first novel and her second is due for release in early 2020.