In a world of steamships and Progress, no one who sails due south across the Wild Sea ever returns.
No one knows why.
Dale Mortensen intends to solve the mystery. With the help of an old sailor and a reformed playboy searching for his missing sweetheart, he locates a captain and crew ambitious—not to mention crazy—enough to undertake the journey across the Wild Sea.
The Infinity and her crew sail south, but the truth of what really lies on the other side of the horizon is more amazing—and terrifying—than anything they can imagine.
It’s the adventure of a lifetime—and it may just get Dale and his friends killed.
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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HORIZON
E. R. PASKEY
A FIERCE GUST OF WIND BUFFETED THE dirigible and Naya clung tighter to Dale’s sturdy frame. “Are you sure about this?” she asked in a low, nervous voice.
“I’m sure.” Dale tightened his arm reassuringly around her shoulders. They sat in chairs bolted to the observation deck, facing a bank of massive, rain-streaked windows. “Everything is going to be fine.” He put on a brave face. “Peabody flew through the Rift without wrecking the dirigible—I’m sure he can make the return trip.”
Naya looked like she wanted to say something else, but her grandmother occupied the chair beside her, her wrinkled face grim. Mrs. Azlynn seemed to have resigned herself to her fate.
“Everything will be fine,” repeated Dale, though he winced as the dirigible rocked violently again. “Hold on, love.”
The three of them—along with Raphael, Elena, Hawk, Riley, and a few other men and women—were the first passengers Peabody would carry back through the Rift. Hawk was in the engine room, having decided that one good look at the Rift was quite enough for a lifetime, but everyone else had opted to stay on the observation deck.
Dale clasped Naya’s hand—a hand which now also bore a wedding ring. “I can’t wait for you to meet my Aunt Helen. And my little cousin Gail…who is probably not so little anymore,” he said ruefully.
She tried to smile, but it emerged as more of a grimace.
Several seats down from them, Elena clutched the arms of her chair in a vice grip. The dirigible lost several feet of altitude quite abruptly, eliciting gasps from everyone, and she shot an incredulous look at Raphael. “And you want to make this trip on a regular basis?”
Her husband shrugged his good shoulder; the other was still healing. “I think Peabody’s idea has promise.” He sent a sharp grin in Dale’s direction. “And if I know my father at all, he will jump at the chance I offer him to trade with another world.”
“That’s one way to make amends.” Dale turned his attention back to the stormy sky ahead of them and his breath caught in his throat. Through the rain, he glimpsed a nebulous silver mist threaded with sparks of color—and a jolt of adrenaline pumped through him. “We’ve reached the Rift!”
Beside him, Naya gasped; he felt her surprise resonant in his chest.
“We’re going through,” announced Riley with a kind of gleeful wonder, leaning forward in his seat to stare at the Rift stretching before them.
In another moment, the dirigible had plunged into the thick of that swirling mass separating the two worlds. For an instant, as the airship shook and rattled around them, Dale was transported back through time to the Infinity’s deck and the first time he had set eyes on the Rift. So many things have changed since then. He thought of the people they had lost…and the people they had met.
All at once, the swirling clouds of the Rift parted ahead of them. The dirigible shot forward into a blaze of liquid gold, blinding everyone in the observation deck. The sun was sinking toward the horizon.
Raphael cheered loudly. “Sunshine!”
“I thought I’d never see a clear sky again,” said Elena reverently, wiping her watering eyes.
The sun. Dale tightened his grip on Naya’s hand and looked down at his wife with a smile. “Welcome to the Other Side.”
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Copyright © 2013 E. R. Paskey