A Rhapsody of Blue

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

"A Rhapsody of Blue" is set in the remnant of a lost underwater city turned hotel/resort/museum. It is a large and sprawling tourist attraction, with the finest rooms, luxury spas, and the most
extensive collection of artifacts and research on what was once a massive and prosperous society under the sea.

The story primarily follows a family of three, the Richmond's, as they try to escape their exhausting custody disputes by taking a vacation to the new underwater attraction, ATLANTIA.

The Richmond's comprise of pragmatic but kind hearted mother Vanessa, along with her son and daughter, the lovable but reckless Danny, and the rebellious and passionate Alyssa.

When the family arrives in Atlantia, everything's smooth sailing. Until, that is, the systematic abduction of the resort's residents takes place by mysterious entities that are definitely NOT

Submitted: February 24, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 24, 2018



Vanessa struggled to keep the heavy handgun steady as she traversed the narrow corridors. The water inside the large glass tank to her left created reflections which danced along the shrouded hallway. The trembling woman barely managed to keep her composure. Along the pathway, she came across many rooms, all of which the doors were left ajar to reveal nothing but empty space.

Vanessa thought she heard movement close by and almost let out a yelp, managing to stop herself. She was not about to compromise her position. Not when she was so close. It was almost as if she could sense the energy of her young son and daughter, but could not pinpoint exactly where they were hiding if they were hiding at all.




“We should go look for her,” Danny told his sister Alyssa.


“And what, smart guy, possibly get flayed and devoured by whatever’s out there?” she retorted.


“You don’t know that!” he exclaimed.

“Besides, she could suffer the same fate if we don’t at least try.”


Alyssa pondered on this a moment, but her brother had become irritated.


“Think, think, think, that’s all you do is think. All thought and no action,” he said.


This annoyed Alyssa and disrupted her thinking process.


“At least I use my head before going hastily into a suicide mission. We don’t even know what we’re up against, Danny!”


His face swelled up with frustration and desperation.


“You’re just like her,” Danny said.


Alyssa gazed into his hopeless eyes, eager to regain that enthusiasm that always managed to lift up her spirits when things were breathtakingly bleak.


“Maybe it’s for the best,” she replied.


“I’m just sick and tired of all this waiting around,” he told her, wiping the tears from his face.


“I know. But what else are we going to do? If we leave, we could lose track of her, and that wouldn’t be good.” she told him.


“Well, while you continue overthinking things, I’m going to use this convenient  walkie-talkie,” he said.


“Go ahead. It’s not like you’ll get a signal. There’s practically no one else around.” she told him.


“No, no, I was wasn’t planning on using it. I just wanted to toss it around like a monkey with shit!” he retorted.


She ignored her younger brother’s snide remark, proceeding to snatch the device from his grasp.




After navigating the extended passageway, Vanessa entered the spa area. She gazed at the copious selection of jacuzzis, all in various sizes and all vacant. She reminisced about the days before she had Danny and Alyssa, when she would always find the time to relax in the warm, comforting embrace of the hot tub she owned. It was a tranquilizing escape from reality. An escape she wished desperately to make again if given the chance.

Having snapped out of her daydream, she scanned the room intently for any signs of danger. She was a nervous, terrified wreck, and it showed. But the thought of her children kept her going even though she felt like drifting away into nothing. She rested on one of the smaller jacuzzis and took out her radio.

She adjusted the knob, trying to get a signal. She turned it left, and then right, and then left once more, getting nothing but static. A man’s voice suddenly broke the monotony of white noise. Recognizing his voice, Vanessa tried to get his attention.


“Hello! Blake, can you hear this? It’s Vanessa. Please respond.” she said.


After a brief pause, Blake responded.


“You didn’t say over. Over.”




“You say “over” after you’re done speaking. They obviously never taught you this in Girl Scout training. Over.” he said.


She smirked.


“I never became a Girl Scout. I wasn’t … sociable. Over.”


“What do you need, V? Over,” he asked.


“First of all, don’t call me that,” she replied.


“Whatever you say,” he scoffed.


“ And second, do you have any clue where Danny and Alyssa may have gone? I still don’t know where they are. Over.”


“Can’t say I do. Maybe they went out looking for you and hid someplace else. Over.” he replied.


“Why the hell would they do that? Well, thanks anyway. Over and out.”


Blake stopped her.


“Wait, wait! The last time I heard from them, they were headed in your direction, in the south side I think. Over.” he said.


“South side? That’s not far from me. How did they…”


She suddenly sensed an abnormal presence with her. She turned around, only to bear witness to a tall humanoid creature standing before her. A blood-curdling scream of fear erupted from her lips as she fired two shots from her handgun.


*One day earlier*


It was morning, brilliant rays of sunlight peeking out of every window in the house. There was a silent ambiance that influenced the entire dining room space, the monotony only broken by the sound of a television broadcasting the latest stories. A large dining room table sat in the center, and on it a sleeping teenager lying face down on an algebra textbook. Her snoring met an abrupt end as she quickly looked up in a delirious state. She turned her head to gaze at the television screen, and then to her book.


“Another night of cramming the numbers,” she said. “What good will this ever do me?”


She scoffed. “Who the hell buys thirty-two watermelons, anyway?”


She turned again to meet the television screen. This particular story sounded familiar to her.


“A new tourist attraction has just opened to the public after almost a decade of development.” The news reporter explained.

“And what is this attraction, you ask? The answer might surprise you.”


“I hate it when they leave you with a cliffhanger,” Alyssa said.


“The new attraction is reported to be an underwater museum and resort. You heard it, right folks, underwater. It is also revealed to house a variety of unique and fascinating specimens.”


“Oh great, exposition,” Alyssa remarked. “Gotta keep the audience informed, I guess.”


“And the name of this resort is…”


The reporter lady’s voice was abruptly shut out by Danny’s. The sudden noise startled Alyssa for just a moment, annoying her slightly.


“Atlantia, here we come! This is going to be so freaking cool,” he shouted.


“That’s not what it’s called, brother,” she told him.


“Close enough,” he said.


He scanned her from head to toe.


“You’re going to arrive at the airport in Justice League pajamas, of all things?” he asked.


There was a look of shock written on her face as she recalled what day it was.


“Hey big sister, you think a lot. What is it that you actually think about?” he said.

“Is it that kid, Brad, or your math? Or is it something… else?”


Alyssa shot her brother a vindictive glare as she raced upstairs to her room. As she approached the end of the stairs and into the hallway, she collided with her mother, Vanessa, who greeted her with a much more sympathetic approach than Danny.


“Well hello sleeping beauty,” she said. “Were you waiting for your prince to show up or what?”


“And I still wonder why dad left us in such a hurry,” Alyssa replied.


Her mother’s warm expression subsided almost immediately after that reply.


“Then you’ll just be ecstatic when we meet him at the airport today, won’t you?” she said.


Alyssa gave Vanessa a resentful glare. She quickly got dressed and grabbed her bags. It was going to be a long escape she thought, and she needed as much as she could carry for the road ahead.




When they arrived at the airport, the three were greeted by the lanky but stout Andrew Richmond. Alyssa was especially happy to see him, his prickly beard grazing her skin as he kissed her on the cheek.


“Are you sure I can’t still come with you?” he asked.


The two siblings directed their gazes to Vanessa, who had a conflicted expression on her face.


“We only had three tickets. You knew this,” she told him.


“I know,” he replied. “I just wanted to see if you still loved me, or not.”


“We’ll talk about this later,” she said.


“Why do you gotta make things so complicated?” he remarked.


As the three ascended into the large airliner, Danny and Alyssa gazed out their windows. Andrew was just the size of an ant now.


“Whatever happens.” said Alyssa, “I’m keeping my last name.”


Vanessa said nothing as the airliner began to take off.




After the long and grueling flight, which was coincidentally their first flight anywhere, the three arrived on a small island. The only ones there, it seemed, were workers and some fishermen. One of the employees in charge of guiding the tourists spoke up among the crowd of jet-lagged people.


“May I have your attention, please?” She shouted.


That seemed to get everyone’s attention.


“We are almost to our final destination, so do not fret about that. I know you must still be tired from your flight. Right this way.”


The lady guided the tourists to three relatively small buses that were lined up in a row and numbered.


“You will each be given a number from this hat.” She said.


People in the group started to take a number one by one. As the crowd dispersed into their buses, the Richmond’s were the last to pick a number from the big hat. Vanessa reached in, grabbing the number112, which was the third bus.


“Now we’ll be the ass end of every bus joke.” Alyssa chuckled.


“You’re not funny, you know,” Danny remarked.


After the siblings exchanged snarky comments, they went on the bus along with their mother. Vanessa was growing impatient with the two’s swelling disdain for each other and tried to take a practical approach to help smooth out their already bumpy relationship.


“Let’s play a little game, shall we?” said Vanessa.

“How about we play a game I just made up called “Why are we so mad at each other?”. That sounds like fun, right?”


“Um, sure,” they both replied.


“Danny, you go first. Why are you so mad at your sister?” Vanessa asked.


“Because she’s obviously obsessed with dad,” he replied.


“Obsessed? What does that mean?” Alyssa demanded.


“You’ve been so resentful toward mom recently and ruining her mood. Ever since she and dad got divorced you’ve leaned to dad’s side. I just don’t understand, that’s all.” Danny told her.


“Maybe if you gave him a chance you would,” Alyssa said.


“Oh yeah? Well where’s dad now?” he snapped.


Alyssa fell silent after that remark. The bus slowed to a stop, and the passengers arrived to the sight of some sort of submarines. They had a cylinder shape with smooth, round ends like a pill or a lima bean.


I’m going to need an Advil the size of that before this is all over. Vanessa thought to herself.


It was unusually chilly, the cold wind nipping at uncovered flesh. Before the people dispersed to their pods, they were given one final message from the guide.


“May each of you have a splendid adventure inside the wondrous world of Atlantia! Pray it won’t be your last.” She told them.




The pods descended into the dark, blue depths of the Atlantic ocean, where the water was brimming with clarity beneath the surface. It was so clear that the passengers could see scores of life right before their eyes. Once the pods descended deep enough, Danny encountered a massive whale passing by.


“Huh, humpback,” he commented.


“I never knew you were so infatuated with whales,” Alyssa remarked.


“I did my research,” Danny said.


“I’m sure it’ll serve the plot somehow,” Alyssa replied.


Danny faced the window again to gaze at the seemingly endless array of fish, coral reef, and a cadaver for some bizarre reason. But what he saw next was even stranger than cadavers; spotted a human-looking body hovering in the water, only it wasn’t dead, and it seemed to be observing the bean-shaped pods studiously. After a few short seconds of this, the figure shot out of Danny’s sight like a bullet. He decided it was best just to keep it to himself. There were luminous neon lights that shined above the entrance; The sign said in bold letters:




“Catchy, I guess,” Vanessa remarked.


When they arrived, the passengers were greeted by large, titanium doors. The material of the structure was that of very old stone melded with strong metal. There was a big reception waiting for them as they came inside, and there was a small group of young, beautiful women ready to welcome them with warm smiles as they escorted the people around. There was a dark, handsome man with curly black hair who approached the Richmond’s.


“Hey there, name’s Blake. I’ll be your guide here in the wondrous world of Atlantia.” He told them.


“That’s one word I’d use. Can you show us around before taking us to our rooms?” Vanessa asked.


“Thought no one would ask,” he replied.




“I’ve familiarized myself with most of this place’s interior. I know it just well enough to be of some use during an emergency… Sort of.” Blake said.


“How do you know this place so well?.” Vanessa asked.


“I’ve worked here for most of the resort’s development,” he replied.


“What did you do here?” she asked.


“I was a diver. They needed a diver. Simple as that.” he said.

“They had me excavate ancient artifacts from within the ruins. Learned quite about a bit the people who once lived here.”


“Let me guess, were they called Atlanteans?” Alyssa said..


“Bingo,” Blake said.

“It’s just been speculation, but now I think we finally have proof of their existence.”


He motioned them to stop and pointed to one of the exhibits. He proceeded to show them the sophisticated artifacts and tools on display, but the family became hypnotized by the great tome that lay in the center, ajar to reveal the text of a foreign tongue.  


“Pretty impressive, isn’t it? No one knows how it stayed so intact after so many years of neglect.” Blake said.


“Do you have any idea what it says?” Vanessa asked.


“I bet you five bucks that Blake knows what the book says,” Alyssa whispered to Danny.


“You’re on,” he said.


“Hm, I think I can make out some of the words. It says, and I’m paraphrasing here, “The Great Fire shall rise once more to smite blah-blah-blah, and it’s a bit muddled after that.” Blake said.


Alyssa smirked. “Called it, brother,” she whispered.


“Damn!” he mumbled.


“The “Great Fire” what does that supposed to mean?” Vanessa wondered.

“How did you…”


“We had a translator here with us to try to decipher the text. Granted, she was much better than I was,” Blake told her.


“She must’ve rubbed off on you,” Vanessa remarked.


“There was a lot I didn’t catch, though. She wasn’t here for very long, and she wasn’t too fond of teaching me what took her years to master,” he said.


“Why not?” she asked.


“I don’t know. It’s as if she didn’t want any part of this place after she went through that tome,” he said.

“It’s just a shame, about what happened to them, the Atlanteans. If they’re still out there somewhere…”


He gazed at his wrist.


“Crap,” he said.


“What is it?” asked Danny.


“I got to get you guys to your rooms,” he told them.

“Oh, and you might need this. Be careful with it, I don’t hand it out to just anyone.”


Blake handed Vanessa a walkie-talkie before escorting the three to their rooms for the night.




“I’m considering moving in with dad,” Alyssa told Danny.


“What? Why?” he asked.


“I just think it would be best if mom and I spent some time apart, you know, to give us space to vent out our frustrations,” she said.


“Have you considered how that would affect us? That your decision would, I don’t know, have the opposite effect of what you wanted?” he asked.




“Because that’s how I see things turning out the instant you leave home to live with dad. Just a bloated, exacerbated mess!” he told her.


“I think this is why mom got us a second room,” remarked Alyssa.


“Why, so we could argue in peace?” he asked.


“So we have a better chance of settling our differences in a private setting,” she said.

“What, you think she’s stupid? She knows exactly what’s going on, and that’s why I need to leave for a while.”


“No, I don’t. And I’m telling you, you’re making a mistake,” he said.


“Maybe I am,” she replied. “But…”




“What you said to me on that bus, I really gave it some thought.” Alyssa told him.




“You really think dad chose to stay behind, like, deliberately?” she asked.


“Heck if I know. It sure looks that way,” he replied.


She paused momentarily.


“Oh,” she said.


“Look, it’s your choice whether or not you stay with mom. She won’t fight you, and neither will I.” he told her.

“Now can we go to sleep please?”


Alyssa said nothing, and she didn’t need to. They understood each other perfectly in that one moment before they each turned out their lights.


“Hey sis,” said Danny.




“I saw the weirdest thing while we were headed toward Atlantia…” he said.




Alyssa found it difficult to sleep most of the night due to the hail storm of thoughts racing through her head. The two awoke to sirens blaring out of the overhead speakers. They gazed at each other in bewilderment as they heard the panicked screams of the residents just outside.


“What the hell is going on?” asked Alyssa.


There was the sound of a handgun firing off.




The two looked at each other again with the same thought.




Someone was trying to get inside, and the sudden noise startled them.


“Are you in there? Danny? Alyssa?” Vanessa yelled.


The two were relieved to hear her voice, also from not soiling themselves. Quickly and cautiously, they opened the door.


“Good, you’re alright! You guys need to stay here. I don’t know what’s happening, but you have to lie low in here while I go check it out,” she told them.


“And what are we going to do while you’re gone?” Danny protested.


“I can’t risk you guys getting hurt. Besides, you’re great with each other, right?” Vanessa said.


“Yeah, we really bonded over tea and crumpets,” Danny retorted.


“Here, just take this walkie-talkie,” she said.

“I’ll find a way to contact Blake. In the meantime, stay here and stay safe, got it?”


They nodded and shut the door.


“We need a plan in case she doesn’t come back,” said Alyssa.


“What do you mean? We can’t go out there. You heard what she said!” Danny argued.


“Well, we can’t just sit on our asses in hopes she doesn’t die or get lost,” she said.


“Okay, Captain Richmond, what do you suggest we do?” he asked.


There were more cries of terror, but they seemed farther away this time.


“Right now,” she said, “let’s just try to find help.”




“I could have been lying on a beach in Maui,” Vanessa mumbled as she cautiously wandered the empty halls and vacant lobbies.

“What the hell am I doing here?”


She noticed a trail of blood from where she was standing. Her legs decided to investigate, despite her head screaming no.


“This isn’t a horror movie, Vanessa. Nobody’s dying, everyone goes home safely,” she assured herself.


The minuscule ray of hope she had disappeared as she discovered what lie ahead of the crimson path. It was one of the resort’s guards, dragging himself on the ground before finally giving up. His body was mortally wounded, and Vanessa was aghast by what she saw.


“Oh my god, what happened to you?” she asked.


“They were huge,” he said. “With spears or something. Started *cough* *cough* taking people away.”


“Look, I don’t know anything about medicine, but that looks pretty bad,” she told him.


“Screw it,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to die in the middle of the Atlantic.”


The man chuckled, and then perished. He had a handgun clutched in his palm, and Vanessa hesitated to retrieve it from his grip. The weight of it made her feel uneasy. On his belt she found a radio.


Blake! she thought.

I hope those two are still in their room.




Did you get anything yet?” Danny inquired.


“Well, seeing as most people are either dead or hiding away somewhere…” Alyssa said.


Finally, the static ceased, and Alyssa motioned Danny to be quiet.


“Hello?” she said. “Is this Blake?”


“Who is this? Where’s Vanessa?” Blake asked.


“Listen, we’re going out to find mom. We don’t know where she is, and I’d like to know if she’s still alive.” she told him.


“We are?” Danny asked.


“I’ll let you know when we’ve found her.” she said.


“Wait…!” he tried saying, before getting cut off.


“Let’s go.” she told Danny.


“Yeah, I can’t wait to die young, he said resentfully,” Danny remarked.


They opened the door again and headed in the direction where they last seen Vanessa go. Meanwhile, Blake tried contacting Vanessa on his radio, eventually picking her up.


“Vanessa, is this you? You won’t believe what you’re about to hear,” he said.


Once she heard the news, her eyes widened in disbelief. She tried gathering her thoughts aloud.


“I knew I shouldn’t have trusted them to stay where they were. What was I thinking? Where could they…”


As she was thinking to herself, she heard a loud and terrifying sound, which caused her to flee in a panic down a narrow hallway. Meanwhile, Danny and Alyssa, not far behind, also heard the rageful noise, and searched desperately for any open room to enter.


“In here!” Danny yelled, pointing at an open door. They ran in and shut it quickly.


Shaking like an autumn leaf, Alyssa cracked open the door to investigate.


“We’re not getting anywhere at this rate!” Danny said.


“I’m, I’m trying…” Alyssa mumbled, trying to keep her composure.


Seeing her mental state breaking down, Danny decided to do something he had never done to his sister. He grabbed both her arms, and slapped her in the face. She responded with a look of shock, and he stared her down with desperate eyes.


“Listen to me! I’m scared too, but that doesn't mean you can check out!” he yelled, keeping his shaky voice down.

“You are strong, and brave, and we will both get out of here alive!”


She stared off over his shoulder, repeating what he told her, and he released his grip.


“Sorry.” she said.

“Let’s, uh, let’s just try this again. Without the freaking out part.”




Blake was looking over the few residents when he heard Vanessa’s voice over his radio. After she inquired about the two’s whereabouts, and after giving her a little tip on radio talk, he responded.


“South side? That’s not far from me. How did they…” she replied.


“What? How did they what?” he asked, before hearing her terrified screams over the radio followed by gunshots, which sent his mind into a frenzy.

“Where are you? Over.”


Having no choice but to leave the residents on their own, he rushed to the south side, having no clue as to where the shots came from.




Danny and Alyssa also heard the gunshots from where they were, and knew that it could’ve came from only one person. They both ran out of the door, calling frantically for Vanessa’s attention. Vanessa, while running desperately for her life, heard their cries, and ran faster toward them. But looking back, she saw nothing. She backtracked where she heard their call, turning a corner and into their arms. She felt a sensation of hope that she had never experienced before as she squeezed them tightly.


“We need to get the hell out of here!” she said.


“Blake may know where to go.” Danny remarked.


She grabbed her radio excitedly, calling out to Blake.


“Blake, this is Vanessa. We need a way to contact the surface. Do you have any ideas.” she said.


“You’re alive! Yes, you should be close to the control room. You’ll have to haul ass, but you can make it there.” he said.


Vanessa nodded, and the three ran farther south for the control room. They could feel each other running out of breath, but they knew it had to be close. Halfway there, something grabbed Danny from the shadows, his horrified screams echoing in the hall along with Vanessa’s, but they knew that they couldn’t stay and mourn him. They frantically approached a doorway and closed it shut, locking it. Vanessa turned to see the control room, filled with buttons and levers. There was a wide window that looked out, and when she did she stood speechless at the sight of what appeared to be the other residents floating with the water.


“What in God’s name…” Vanessa said.


Blake barged into the room, a regretful expression on his face as he slowly reached for the gun in his back pocket.


“I didn’t want it to be this way,” he said. “I just wanted… them to come back home.”


“What are you talking about… Blake.” she said


He pointed the gun at her head, and Vanessa moved to cover Alyssa.


“I’m sorry. I hope you enjoyed your stay here.” he finally said, before getting knocked unconscious.


An Atlantean emerged from the shadows, staring at them curiously. It looked juvenile and naive, like a young man. He found two sets of scuba gear and broke the glass that was protecting them. Vanessa gazed into his big, innocent eyes.


“Thank you.” she said.


He did not respond as he opened the hatch above them. The room was quickly filling up with water now as he assisted them upward, and into the cold sea. From there they swam for quite a while, each having to take frequent stops due to exhaustion. Alyssa stopped as another whale had passed them, its eye following them as it moved.


Huh. Humpback. She thought.


At last, they reached the surface somehow, and a rigorous feeling overcame their bodies. The men there spotted them and were quick to extract them from the water. After a short wait, a private jet descended onto the earth  and the two boarded it, their bodies wrapped in towels. They sat quiet in their seats for most of their flight before Alyssa decided to break the silence.


“What’s going to happen now? What are we supposed to do?” she asked.


Her voice grew louder with her rage.


“What happens after this?!”


Vanessa tried to conceal her tears, but she knew it was no use.


“I don’t know, Alyssa. We’ll… we’ll figure something out,” she told her.


“I don’t care what happens with you and dad anymore,” Alyssa said.

“I just want this, all of this, to end.”


“It’s not that simple, dear. It doesn’t just end. That’s not how it works,” she said.


Alyssa covered her face with her hands.


“I miss him, mom. I miss him so much.” she said, weeping.


“I know,” Vanessa replied.

“All we can do at this point is move forward. There’s nothing for us back there.”


“Yeah, I understand,” she said, sighing.


When they arrived home, Alyssa asked her mother one final question before going back up to her room for the first time in what to her seemed like decades.


“When will you tell him?” she asked.


“Soon,” Vanessa replied.


Alyssa continued slowly up the flight of stairs, shutting the door firmly behind her as to make a noise. Shortly afterwards Vanessa dialed some numbers into her phone, and it started ringing.


“Hello?” The voice said.


“Hey Andrew, it’s Vanessa,” she replied.

“Listen, can we meet somewhere private? There’s… something I have to tell you…”

© Copyright 2018 Sir William Pennybanks. All rights reserved.

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