New in town, Sorrel Quinn makes a name for herself by never backing down from a dare. So when she's challenged to rappel down into an off-limits cove to take a picture of the ghost ship that supposedly appears once a month during the full moon, Sorrel doesn't think twice about accepting. But then, she never expected to actually find a haunted ship. Or the ghost-boy living there.
Sorrel promised her uncle she wouldn't take any more dares; hopefully she would get the chance to apologize for lying.
Careful not to move an inch—not even to breathe—Sorrel squinted at the anchor lodged in the cliff-face a good twenty-three feet above her. No more than a spike with a welded ring at the top, the anchor she'd pounded into the cliff wasn't made for rappelling. It was probably too old to use for anything, but after her last 'daring adventure', Uncle Travers had his nurse confiscate her anchors along with the rest of her gear.
Things had started out well, Sorrel drove the circle-headed spike into the hard stone with an iron mallet and did all the typical precautions of tugging, twisting, and pulling to make sure it would hold her weight. The spike didn't so much as shift when Sorrel looped the rope around her arm for leverage and pulled hard. So, convinced it was safe, Sorrel slipped on her improvised harness, fastened the carabiner, and dropped over the cliff.
Lowering herself wasn't easy. Both the rope and cliff were slick with rain, and she couldn't see well in the dark despite the LED headlamp she wore. The nylon rope she’d wound around her thighs and waist dug into her skin through her clothes, though her seat, at least, felt the way it should. That was a relief. She'd jerry-rigged harnesses before with no consequence, but there was always the possibility of error.
Lightning flashed above her, illuminating the rusted steel anchor, and Sorrel squinted against the rain to search out the cracks that must have formed in the stone on either side of the hole. Was it stress? Her prolonged weight pulling downward as the stone weakened beneath the unceasing rain?
It didn't matter. However it happened, her anchor was slipping with every kick and return Sorrel used to lower herself to the beach. How much further did she have to go? Would the anchor hold long enough for her to make it down?
Bracing her feet against the sheer, slick rock, Sorrel risked a downward glance.
The anchor shifted again at the slight adjustment of her weight, and she dropped half an inch. Any other day, any other time or place, Sorrel wouldn't have worried. But today it was raining, and her shoes weren't sticking right to the soaked cliff face.
Instinct made her shift her footing to seek out better leverage. Bad plan. Her rubber sole hit a loose stone, and her left leg went out.