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And finally, here is an exclusive quote that reveals an important scene from Chapter Six Sea skin.
An image emerged from the sea. Yemoza stops, her hair wrapped in a black sheet around her shoulders, the coils under her crown shiny, sharp and golden and shining in the sunlight. He set foot on the beach, his wrap is made in perfect white and blue folds, every unpleasant movement brings him closer to us.
“Do as I do,” I whispered, bending my knees, lowering my gaze and pressing my forehead into everything but the hot sand. I try to swallow, but my mouth is dry. Cola has a movement on my side as she folds her height into a bow.
“Don’t talk unless Yemoza claims it or I don’t ask you.”
The dark brown toes reached the white sand in front of me as the scent of purple and coconut almost overwhelmed me. I take my gaze, skimming the muscular legs, the bright white side of the wrapper, the blue edges and the fine gold thread, shooting up to the thick necklace of bulbs pearls.
Only the lowliness of his voice does not want me to raise my head towards Orissa. But I do. Her veil is swaying, a piece full of lips on her face, stuck in a line. I raised my gaze to the flash of his eyes, which shone in the silvery solid shade.
“What does that mean, girl?” Turns his head to look at the collar and asks Yemoza.
Beside me, the boy is standing, wiping the sand from the palm of his hand with a perforated band tied around his waist. He looks at me and I clear my throat, pressing my trembling fingers to my side. At least he’s not opening his mouth to claim already.
“Mother Yemoza,” I begin, respecting my voice. “Adekola would like to ask for your help. She- “
Orissa stopped me and raised a hand. A gold ring set with shiny diamonds and emeralds from his fingers. He tips his head to one side. “How did he get here by calling me?”
“I saved him.” I licked my lips, tasted salt. “I dragged him out of the sea.”
Yemoza pulls her head towards me, the pearls in her veil clicking loudly. “What did you do?”
“I was going to collect her soul, but … she hasn’t passed yet.”
Orissa is completely swaying in front of me. “Did you fail to remember your work?” His words are calm but the needle is sharp.
Shaking my head, I carefully form my next sentence, trying to hold on to the growing confusion that mixes with the anger from my voice. I saved a life rather than a life. Surely saving someone is a good thing? “I didn’t forget, but I couldn’t let the sea and the sharks claim it. You spoke of my motives, but he was Alive Leaving him means his death. ”
Yemoza looks down at my legs and the shiny bottom of my wrapper. “And so you showed yourself and brought him here?”
The hiss of his voice made me shiver. I looked back at Kola and thought of her face when she saw the shaking of my tail, the molten scales on my skin. At the time I wasn’t thinking, I was shocked at the attempt to drag him. Shame and heat increased and spread across my chest and up to my neck. But then I think the cola has fallen into the sand, the food he ate and some guilt is gone.
The sudden roar that leaves Orissa makes me stumble on the sand in the back, losing my balance so that I fall hard. My heart slammed against the wrapper tightly stuck to my chest when I was scared in front of him. Yemoza is raising her hand towards heaven, she is screaming again like tapping her fingernails. The cola squeezes her ear while the cry pierces the air more loudly. I hear the waves crashing against the pure rock, and when I dare to look at it, the emoji looks at me, the wall of water behind it. The blue mass shimmers, its weight being fixed by Orissa. For a moment, I thought he would drop it, hit the beach and hit us. I look at Kola, she’s willing to go near me. He will never live.
“Mother Yemoza,” I say, raising my hand, palm up. “Please. Once he’s well I’ll be able to take him to the mainland and then no one will know.”
Orisha is trembling, obsidian hair jumping over her shoulders as she respects me. Yemoza sits motionless, the rope muscles in his arm tightening as he holds his fist over his head. She looks at me, her lips twisted, but there is a look of fear in her eyes.
“Please.” I stand and put my hand on my heart. “I thought I was doing just that.”
Orissa respects me with silence for a second which spreads out longer than I thought possible. And then he puts his hand down and behind him, a drop of water, back to the bay. I take a deep breath, checking that the cola is still nearby. Her shoulders curled, but her eyes were sharp and alert. Yemoza’s fingers are moving and the sea is calming down again. His shoulders dropped as he moved away from us.
“You don’t …” But before Orissa could finish, he stumbled and fell to the ground.
Yemoza is sitting on the white sand, her wrap wrapped around her like flower petals which we called her. Her face is in the corner towards her lap, a dark shroud wrinkled that protects her from my sight.
“Simidale,” she says softly, looking at me with her hair. Her veil is shiny, with sharp lines of pearls that stretch tightly across her nose and cheeks. Milky orbs slide a tear from the bottom. “What you have done means our death.”
Summary from Sea skin Reprinted with permission from Natasha Bowen. Copyright Random House book for young readers.
Sea skin Out November 2 by Natasha Bowen; You can order a copy Here.
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