Deep Waters is the latest Electric Eclectic book, and the first new release of 2021.
For Deep Waters, Paul White has taken a totally different approach from his last offering, the superb, gritty and surprising crime drama,‘A New Summer Garden‘.
With Deep Waters, we follow the main character, Gary, as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his beloved wife.
After a failed suicide attempt, Gary take himself off to an isolated island, far away from the distractions of daily life and the people he knows, as kind and as helpful as they try to be.
This touching and emotional tale allows privileged insight into Gary’s mind as he stumbles onward through life and unveils an understanding of why he chose this island to execute his last wishes.
Electric Press magazine says,
Deep Waters in available in both eBook format, and as an Electric Eclectic Pocketbook Paperback
“…My first thought, rather obviously, was to name the boat Francis, after my deceased wife, bless her soul.
But then, I felt it was not the right thing to do. Francis had never been here, never been to the island. Neither of us knew this place existed before, before… now, which was part of the reason I came here. To get away from those haunting memories, as callous as it may seem.
You see, that is what life is all about, the memories. The memories of shared experience. The things you do with family, mum, dad, siblings. The adventures with friends and, of course, all the things you do, all the places you go, all the battles you fight and all the little victories you celebrate with your lover, your soulmate, the one you wish to grow old with.
Francis was my soulmate. It was the memories we shared from the life we were building together which haunted me now.
Don’t get me wrong. I did not want to forget. I do not want to erase them from my mind, but neither did I want to be reminded of every detail each time I walked into a room or got onto the boat.
I want to remember Francis when I want to recall her voice or touch or tell a story about her antics. I want to remember her on my terms, not as just some random flashback.
The huge raindrops were constant, drumming a never-ending tattoo onto the roof of the car and crashing into the windscreen like a million kamikaze diamonds which splintered into slivers of distorted white light as they hit the glass.
The intensity of the rain limited my visibility, even with the wipers on full speed I found myself squinting into the darkness of the night trying to decipher what was road, what was verge, and what was simply reflection.
One hundred and ninety miles, black night, black rain, unlit country roads.
I must be insane.
As my eyes grew tired and my brain became weary, every shadow became menacing, each refraction of light an ominous threat. I drove with a sense of foreboding, a sense all would not end well.
That realisation was enough. I must to stop soon.
Besides, I needed fuel.
“Carl, Carl” she screamed down the phone. “You have to help me. You have to come now”.
So, I reacted.
I simply jumped into the car and started to drive. I never considered the weather, never checked the fuel gauge, I just drove.
Seven times so far I have called her back. No answer. Her phone just rings. I am concerned, worried.
I should not be.
I should not be going to her.
I should not be risking my life. Not for her. Not now. Not after what she has done.
Not after the way she treated me.
But here I am, in the centre of a storm, in the middle of nowhere.
The sign pointed left, ‘Pemberton – population 756’. Underneath a second sign ‘Fifteen miles’.
I headed left, following the sign, it was not much more then a dirt track but I was going to stop at Pemberton. I was going to get fuel and a big mugful of strong, black coffee.
I would need a boost of caffeine before I saw her, before I faced whatever crisis she was having.
I drove slowly along the track, trying to avoid the potholes which were brimming with rainwater. I was having to battling the rough uneven surface of the track.
I was also battling with myself.
The Devil in me said forget her, to go home. She was a liar. She was nothing but trouble.
I had to agree.
She was all of those things, yet I still thought of her more days than I did not.
One more chance, I told myself. I would give her one more chance.
Maybe I was doing this more for myself than for her?
Maybe this had nothing to do with her at all?
Maybe I must to prove her wrong… or right.
Maybe I needed to do this to give me closure, to finally draw a line under our relationship, to free myself, so I could move on.
The dirt track levelled out and changed to a paved surface. I relaxed slightly. The rain easing, leaving a misty haze hanging in the air which surrounded everything with a wispy, ghostly quality.
My phone rang. It was her.
I pulled the car over and answered. “I’m on my way, the weather is terrible. How are you doing?”
She giggled. I could hear voices in the background. “I’m fine, I just needed… you know… some stuff… I’m fine now. I’ve friends here. You don’t need to come now. I don’t want you to come anymore. I don’t want you here at all.”
The laughter from several voices echoed down the phone.
So that was it. She was talking shit again, pumping god-only-knows-what into her veins. I should have known.
But in that situation, when someone calls out, when someone you care for, cared for, sounds so desperate, you do not think.
She said she was clean, said she was not using anymore.
I believed her… until now.
“I’m halfway to you,” I said. I had no idea how far I had come, or how far away she was from here, from Pemberton, the facts were irrelevant just now.
“Then you are halfway home too,” she answered. I heard the other voices laughing at her remark.
“Yes, I am,” I replied through gritted teeth.
“Bye then,” she said with a flippant snigger in her voice. The phone went dead.
She had gone.
I had my answer.
I had closure.
I now felt I was free to move on.
Sometimes, most times, life is a bitch.
But sometimes life gifts you in unexpected ways.
Today life gifted me a future.
You see, as I started to drive away, I saw a silhouette of a woman leaning against her car, which was stopped a little further along the road.
Not a place to be alone at this time of night, especially in such inclement weather.
I walked towards her, calling ahead as not to startle her. “Are you lost? Can I help?”
I have no idea why I said that because it was I who was lost… and in more ways than one. I also had no notion whatsoever of where I was, or in which direction I should go from here.
“No,” she answered, “I’m not lost, just out of fuel.”
I drove her into the town, explaining I too was looking for fuel and a strong cup of coffee. She found that amusing.
Pemberton, it seems, has only one garage, which also doubles up as the town’s only diner, neither of which would be open until Monday. So, I had the rest of tonight and all of tomorrow to wait for both coffee and fuel.
She was telling me I would be stuck right here, in Pemberton, for the rest of the weekend.
As it turned out, that was just fine because her home was comfortable, her coffee rich and strong, her bed soft and her body warm and tender.
Sometimes, most times, life is a bitch.
But sometimes life gifts us unexpectedly.
I hope you enjoyed this small snippet of my work.
Although this story does not appear in my book, ‘Within the Invisible Pentacle’, it is representative, in style, of the twenty-nine short, and not so short, stories which do.