Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Read an Excerpt from Alisha Piercy's Bunny and Shark!

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Read an Excerpt from Alisha Piercy's Bunny and Shark!

Alisha Piercy's Bunny and Shark (BookThug) combines a perennial favourite genre, the coming of age story, with something much less familiar: a shark tale. When a man pushes his ex-Playboy Bunny wife over a cliff into the Caribbean Ocean, a fable-like survival story emerges.

We're thrilled to present an exclusive excerpt from the novel, courtesy of BookThug. Don't miss the chance to get a sneak peek at this creative, witty, vibrant new novel.

Excerpt from Bunny and Shark:

Prelude

She listens to the sound of another mouth breathing fast. As if running. “Who is this? How did you get my number?” She butts out her cigarette so she can hold the phone with both hands.

“Hello?” And pulls the receiver away from her ear because on the other end, somewhere out there in the lowlands, where the wind has that particular note of heave, the other phone hits the ground with a crash.

She puts the receiver down on the table. She stares at the mouthpiece leading to the dull, beige cord as it dangles and bobs out from the wall. She is transfixed by the disappearance of the caller’s voice: a woman whose words slur together into a whisper for help. The tiny black holes spit distant sounds of rocks cracking and then a yell. Now a man’s voice. Jablonsky wonders if she should hang up and press *69. Or call the police. But to say what? Her eyes flit from the silent, resting phone to her impotent reflection on the black patio window. She is waiting for the woman to come back to the phone to tell her what to do. But no one speaks.

She picks it up again and winds the curling cord around her fingers. Where, exactly, is this happening? She stops everything, every move, and lets the house settle around her. She tunes in and hears waves crashing. But that sound could be coming from her own balcony, the sea is everywhere when you’re on an island. Jablonsky circles her kitchen twice, aware of herself, safe and sound in her mountainside villa, far from the panic of feet skidding down rocks and into sands of the difficult lowland terrain.

From across the room she yells: “Hello? Are you there?” On the other end, and what she doesn’t perceive: an intake of breath, as if in surprise. Not the woman. The phone goes dead.

///

You fall. Clumsy-bodied, running through the air, as if there might actually be some place to go other than over the cliff and into the sea.

Your clothes puff out, a sandal falls, and you enter the sea. You kick off the other shoe underwater and grasp at the surface. At whatever end is up in all that deep, green blackness. The night is dark but there is a sliver of moon.

“You bastard!” you scream, but it’s smothered by water. Your face pushes to the surface, ragged and salted. And it occurs to you where you are, and what you’ve been thrown to.

You scream out loud this time. You see him in double, and fuzzy, through the black eye he dealt you. Above, unsteady on the rocks, his white shirt blowing and his knife hung low at his side, slicing its way towards you as if you are still in front of him. Falling to his knees, terrified, he is making his way to the edge. He looks over it, afraid. That now you might not die.

Swim out of this, swim away. Or go deeply underwater. You aren’t sure because no matter what you do, he’s up so high, he’ll see you doing it.

The horror dawns on you of having been dropped into the sea where it pushes at a right angle to a wall of cliff. Striations of brown-black rock run in endless lines all leading upwards to the bastard who won’t help you. The stern sweep back down to the dark surface of sea conceals so many ways you could now die. You cry out in one final burst: “Help me!” Then you thrash for murder, carving the sea with all your limbs. Your clothes claw at you. Your face bleeds in aimless strings. You scream and whine and choke, then beg softly, your mouth going underwater, speaking halfway into the sea. You give the bastard your swan song.

Then you rest, blowing bubbles.

No more bubbles, you tell yourself. Don’t breathe so hard. Go softer. Go still. Count to ten. And sink slowly under.

For some reason, being underwater makes everything stop for a moment. You feel the quiet of airless entombment. Like you are caked in warm wax.

You pray he believes it.

Swim as hard as you can in any direction deep underwater. Hold your breath. Longer, if possible, then crouch. Your arms paddle at your sides to stop you from floating up through the surface. You come up anyhow, in no time fighting primal urges: don’t choke or gasp for air. Don’t see me, please don’t see me. Just barely holding. Above: the see-through wall of water. Your mouth: punched and swollen but somehow controllable, shapes itself to the surface to breathe through a straw-sized O. Salt-stings as you stare through the two-inch film of green ocean glaze to see if he still sees you. You hope you seem dead. Your breath shallows to nothing as the bastard turns into a ripple of white on the cliff, looking, squinting to see, the rocks skidding under him and spilling over the edge. Play dead. Don’t corpses go dead-man’s-float? he’ll be thinking. He won’t be sure.

So you play dead for him, one last performance, lolling up and over like a seal to give him his final picture. You wait for the sound of his car rearing up and burning away over the lowlands.

God love him at least for believing in the myth and efficacy of the island’s shark pit.

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