Flash Fiction Friday: Drowned


Above and below and inside me. Tendrils grasp at my hair, my arms and legs, pull me ever deeper. My chest is surrounded by a thousand pounds of nothing and everything, all at the same time. Pressure so intense, my lungs will burst at any second, will finally put me out of this misery. Will finally send me to a watery grave.

I open my eyes, which is exactly what I don’t want to do. The world around me is fuzzy and dark, except for that one bright spot, the one my body insists on fighting toward. It would have been so much easier to just die, to give up and relieve this agony inside my chest. But no. My skin forces my Will to comply, to urge itself toward that stupid light.

And then…


Swallows me whole and burns my lungs and screams at me to wake from the dream. The one where I am sure I will die.

I’m alive.

Frigid liquid clings to my limbs, mocks my stubbornness at life. At my attempt to survive. I kick and punch and gasp. That ridiculous brightness laughs from above, like it knows my future, my past. My present.

On instinct my body flips and folds, as I search for the boat that carried me. The one that sank. The one that left me alone in the middle of the ocean. It is nowhere in sight, in a hurry to find a new home on the bottom of the sea.


“Hello there.”

I twist, blinded once more by the sun.

A lifeboat floats beside me, a man twenty-four or forty-six or sixty-eight, inside. He reaches to me, sun darkened skin covered in sweat or water or a combination of both. My hand–the traitor–reaches back before my brain can tell it, ‘No!’

He grunts, and heaves, his muscles in a quiver. Unsteady. Uncertain. Unspoken trust for a stranger. My body falls inside, pain an echo through my elbows and knees as I bump and jostle the wood planks of the floor. I roll over. Breathe.

My heart races, fingers and toes buzz, vision fades in and out.

“Th-thank you,” I whisper. My eyes close and I rest my head on the bottom of the boat.

“Not sure that I can offer much help.” His voice is gravelly, like it hasn’t been used in years.

I blink, sit up. “B-but, you saved me. Of course you helped…”

Melancholy does a waltz across his brow. His shoulders slump. “Only prolonged the inevitable, really.”

A breeze whips across my back, chills my clothes to my skin. “What do you mean? You’re here to rescue me, aren’t you?”

The man shakes his head. “I’m sorry but no. I saw your boat, thought that maybe you would be the one to save me.” He swallows. “You see, I’m stranded, too. I’ve been floating here for days.

“We’re alone out here. Your boat was our only hope.”


©Laura L. Zimmerman 2016


Photo credit Unsplash by Padurariu Alexandru


Book Review: BURNED by Cyn Balog

Finally!! I’ve been waiting for the release of this book for years. (Yes, that’s an “S” on the end of that word!) Exactly two years ago I read the first release in this series, “Drowned” by Nicholla Reilly (Cyn Balog‘s YA pen name.) (You can find that review here.) I immediately fell in love with the story and contacted her to beg for the next one! It’s taken some time, but the prequel to the first book–“Burned”–was released in August! Read on to find out more about Cyn Balog‘s latest release!



Spoiled, pampered Aliah has found her way to someplace very different from her technologically-advanced underground world. A place where people fight for survival, and even the king is a violent savage. The inhabitants of this place are all coming to terms with a frightening reality: Inch by inch, the kingdom of Tides is dying.

But are these people truly lost? The more time she spends with King Wallow, the more she begins to settle in, and forget the life she left behind. Still, this kingdom is not kind, and there are horrors and secrets behind every wall. Is it possible to survive, or is finding a way back home her only chance?

The Review: 

5 Stars out of 5!!! 

Holy smokes, this story is fantastic! I simply love Cyn’s writing style and knew from the start that her stories are always well developed with great characterization. And this book didn’t disappoint!  Continue reading

12 Months of Giveaways – July

Happy Birthday to me!   


This coming Saturday is my birthday! Yippee! What better way to celebrate than by giving stuff away, amiright?


So, for this month’s giveaway, I’ve decided to give away stuff related to all things me! That’s right! One lucky winner will win not one, not twobut five fun prizes! All things that I love or represent my life. Check out the fun items to be won and don’t forget to read how to enter multiple times to earn these great birthday treats!! Happy July 11, friends! Continue reading

Missing Imaginary People

An occupational hazard as a lover of books is becoming attached to the characters.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a few specific characters from the book review I gave last week (‘Never Never’ by Hoover and Fisher). Silas and Charlie have been bouncing around inside my head, driving me crazy. I just want to know what’s next!

So I got to thinking about characters from my past. Lots of them actually. Throughout the years there have been plenty of series I’ve read where I’ve counted down the months and days for the next book to be released. (‘Under the Never Sky’, ‘Legend’, ‘The False Prince’, ‘Delirium’, ‘Wither’, pretty much anything ever written by Cassandra Clare, to name a few.) Many have come to a conclusion, bringing the characters and their journey to a close. Some are still ongoing.

Here is a list of a few of my favorite books whose stories have yet to end. And yes, I’m still counting the days until I can read them!


* ‘Nil’ by Lynne Matson – Technically this shouldn’t be on the list, since the story of Charley and Thad did actually come to a close at the end of book 1. I knew there was a prequel being released, before I even finished it, though. Does a prequel mean I’ll get to see Charley and Thad again? No. But I can always hope! I loved these characters and the world of Nil that Ms. Matson created. ‘Nil Unlocked’ has been released but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Can’t wait though!

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* ‘Drowned’ by Nichola Reilly – Talk about ending this book on a cliffhanger! Not only are Coe and Tiam separated, but we’ve been clued in to some pretty extraordinary abilities she possesses that leave a bunch of new questions. Ms. Reilly has announced that she has the prequel AND sequel to this series written already! I can’t wait for the rest of these books to come out so I can get some answers!  Continue reading

New Year, New Books

What are you planning to read this year? I’ve got a number of favorite authors that have books coming out, that I’m looking forward to devouring, asap! 😉 Here’s a look ahead to how my 2015 is shaping up.


Burned (Drowned series Prequel) by Nichola Reilly: Long before Coe and Tiam look for a way to save their people before their world is underwater, King Wallow and Coe’s father have a past that needs to be told. Learn the answers to all the questions you’ve had about this amazing series! The good news? The next installment in the series, ‘Buried’ – falling just after ‘Drowned’ – is also due out in 2015! Can’t wait to get lost in this series again.

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12 Days of Giveaways – Day 10

Only 3 days left to win prizes! Where has the time gone?? Congrats to yesterday’s winners of doTerra Essential Oils – Erica, Erin and Jen B. So happy for you! 😉

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Now on to Day 10 of Caffeinated Fiction’s ’12 Days of Giveaways’. I can’t stress just how excited I am to tell you about today’s awesome giveaway item! This was a book I read this past summer and I can honestly say, it was one of my favorites of 2014! 

A signed copy of YA novel, ‘Drowned’ by Nichola Reilly!!

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Oh my goodness I can’t tell you how much I love this book! If you are a fan of YA, dystopian, and all that jazz, this is the book for you. Enter. As many times as you can! And the best part? This is only the first book in the series – Yay. I happen to know that a prequel and sequel will be coming out in 2015, and Cyn Balog (writing as Nichola Reilly) is already working hard on the last book of the series. Fantastic news for us fans! 😉 This book is jumping to the top of my ‘Favorite Series’ of books, as soon as the next one is out! 

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