Chapter One

A death scream: brutal, primal, heartbreaking; it drenched the moonlit beach before soaring over the surrounding cliffs - dropping down - deep down - then deeper still - into the dark caves: where dark was born, where humans’ deepest fears lived - where THEY were.

Another agonized scream rose over the beach.

“SEE what you made me do! Show yourself, Moana!” Fifteen-year-old ‘Ino stalked the shoreline swinging a screaming baby monk seal around and around by its front flippers; his shoulders squared as if daring the looming waves to challenge him for his bounty. “Ku-hai-MO-ANA! It’s THIS stinking blob - or YOU!”

Circling ‘Ino like sharks, three more teenaged boys chanted, “…kill…kill…kill.” Their kapa malos flapped about their thighs as sand danced and swirled - a tornado around them. To add to the mayhem, the coconut trees bordering the beach shrieked and groaned like wild-haired guardians, as if to protect their shoreline from the onslaught of waves pushing ashore.

‘Opu…forgive me, little one. The anguish in Moana’s silent plea shook his shoulders. It took everything he had to stop himself. He wanted to scream - to leap out from his hiding place behind a cluster of coconut trees - to clobber his tormenters and rescue the baby seal. He’d saved him once already, yesterday morning; abandoned by his mother, probably the runt of twins; the boys had beaten him and left him to die on the beach. Moana needed a plan - and fast, or the boys would kill them both.

The moon slid out from behind the black clouds and lit Moana’s blood-covered face: a wizened face, both young and ancient; it lit the tear sliding down the thirteen-year-old’s cheek, a face that was battered and broken - one eye swollen completely shut; a sad face, expectant of only bad things. He blinked and wiped the tear from his cheek, scanning the beach with his good eye. The moonlight revealed the strangest of eye colors: on the surface was a fusion of rich warm browns, the colors of earth, but deep within, beyond the browns was a stormy turquoise ocean.

Moana stifled a sob with a bruised fist as he swiped at the lines of blood trickling from the gashes on his scalp and forehead, but some of it still got into his eyes.

Blue Coral Press Llc Middle Grade Fiction