Massive Megalodon shark siblings Bela and Lizzy are on the prowl for more meals—human or otherwise—in Steve Alten's MEG: Nighstalkers, the sequel novel to MEG: Hell's Aquarium and fifth entry in the MEG series (Warner Bros. is adapting the first book into a feature film). With Nightstalkers coming out tomorrow from Tor Books, we've been provided with an exclusive excerpt from the novel's intense first chapter to share with Daily Dead readers.

MEG: Nighstalkers synopsis: "In this fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling MEG series, Nighstalkers picks up where MEG: Hell's Aquarium left off. Bela and Lizzy, the dominant Megalodon siblings from Angel's brood, have escaped the Tanaka Institute to roam the Salish Sea in British Columbia. While Jonas Taylor and his friend Mac attempt to either recapture or kill the "sisters," Jonas's son, David, embarks on his own adventure, motivated by revenge. Having witnessed his girlfriend's gruesome death, David has joined a Dubai Prince's ocean expedition, tracking the 120-foot, hundred-ton Liopleurodon that escaped from the Panthalassa Sea. Haunted by night terrors, David repeatedly risks his life to lure the Lio and other prehistoric sea creatures into the fleet's nets, while battling his own suicidal demons.

Steve Alten weaves these storylines together in a page-turning thriller that culminates in a final showdown between the most dangerous predators ever to inhabit the planet."

To learn more about MEG: Nighstalkers, visit:

Exclusive Excerpt

Situated off the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island is the San Juan archipelago, a cluster of over four hundred islands, islets, and rocks, only a fourth of which were deemed large enough to actually name. The Salish Sea is littered with these oddly shaped landmasses, their forest-covered hills of evergreen and pine dwarfed by the snow-peaked Olympic Mountains which dominate the waterway’s horizon.

There are no bridges linking the archipelago to Vancouver Island or the Canadian mainland; access being limited to boat or air. The island chain is surrounded by heavily used shipping channels, with swift currents and dangerous riptides fueled by the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the south and the Strait of Georgia to the north. Haro Strait serves as the western channel connecting the Port of Vancouver with other destinations in the Salish Sea. Rosario Strait lies to the east and is used as the major shipping channel for oil tankers originating out of the Cherry Point Refinery to the north.

San Juan Island is the second- largest and most populated landmass in the archipelago, its year- round residents numbering just below seven thousand. Its main hub is Friday Harbor, an Old World seaport with New World charm, located on the east side of the island. Built on a hill that overlooks the marina’s crystal green water, the community is a tourist Mecca for vacationers looking to experience the unspoiled beauty of nature.

Eric Germata was an adventurous outdoorsman with a sense of humor; at least that is what the food and beverage manager from Chicago had highlighted in his Match - profile. He and Ashley Kuehnel had been Skype- dating for three months when the blond twenty- eight-year-old had suggested they plan a whale watching vacation together. Rendezvousing in Seattle, they had taken a charter flight together to San Juan Island, arriving at the Friday Harbor Bed and Breakfast in the late afternoon— Ashley having reserved two rooms, just in case things didn’t work out. Their first official date was a walking tour of the harbor’s quaint shops, followed by dinner, drinks, dancing, and a carriage ride back to their B&B where they spent the night together in Eric’s room.

Ashley had chosen the San Juan Islands because she wanted to kayak in open water with orcas. Eric was an outdoorsman; what he wasn’t was a good swimmer. The thought of being in deep water surrounded by thirty- foot killer whales in a boat barely wider than his waist gave him serious trepidation, but if he wanted his second night on the island to end like the first, Eric knew that his girlfriend’s wishes had to be honored.

They had checked out of the B&B after breakfast and had taken a bus across the island to Mitchell Bay, their destination— the Snug Harbor Resort and Marina. Eric secured the keys to their seaside cabin while Ashley went down to the docks to reserve two spots with Crystal Seas Tours for a six-hour kayaking adventure.

Their group was made up of two other couples. Natalie Baker and her friend, Vicky, were a lesbian couple from Britain. The Cunninghams were a married couple from Houston. Nikki Cunningham was part Korean, part Italian, and with her brown hair, gray contact lenses, and freckles, looked neither Asian nor European.

Eric couldn’t recall the husband’s first name.

Their instructor was a Nashville native named Nic Byron. A fit, heavily tattooed man in his early thirties, Nic had vacationed in the San Juan Islands six years earlier and never left. He spent the first twenty minutes instructing the three couples on how to climb back inside their two- person kayaks in the event they tipped.

Their route would take them out of Mitchell Bay where they’d follow the western coastline of the island to the south, making land at Lime Kiln State Park at a place called Dead Man’s Cove. After exploring the trails they’d enjoy a cookout before the return trip at sunset.

Because the water was cold, they’d be using sit- inside cockpits. There were two types to choose from. Recreational models— being shorter and wider with larger cockpits— were recommended for beginners. Touring kayaks were thinner, longer and not as stable but were faster in the water.

While the other two couples went for stability, Ashley lobbied Eric to go with the sleeker touring model used by their instructor.

It was nearly three o’clock by the time the trio of two- man kayaks followed their leader out of the docking births. Nic Byron gave his group free rein within the confines of Mitchell Bay, to get a feel for their boats. Situated in the stern cockpit, Eric quickly mastered the rudder pedals, his mind wandering as he stared at Ashley’s muscular back and the pair of blue angel tattoos adorning her shoulder blades.

Once out of the harbor the tranquil surface became two-foot swells that had Eric silently cursing his male ego. On their left were miles of unspoiled coastline. Patches of rock yielded to arching Madrona trees that reached out like gnarly copper- brown fingers, their berry filled branches providing relief from the sun for fish living in the crystal- green shallows. Birds flitted about by the thousands and Nic pointed out several bald eagles soaring above the pine trees, their stark white heads and chocolate- brown feathers easily recognizable.

On their right was a forty-mile stretch of sparkling blue water culminating in a spectacular horizon of snow- peaked mountain ranges looming in the distance like a mile- high tsunami.

Nic gathered his charges. “The waters around the San Juan Islands are nutrient rich, perfect for migrating fish. Our resident orcas come here every year to dine on their favorite delicacy: Chinook, the largest species of salmon. The killer whales consist of one clan subdivided into three pods— about eighty individuals in all. That includes Granny, whose age is estimated at one hundred and two. The first person who spots an orca fin gets a pass on cookout clean-up duty.”

Nic led them into deeper water, keeping the group about three hundred yards off shore. Ashley pointed to a whale- watching boat moving south through Haro Strait while Eric fastened two more clips on his life vest, keeping his eyes focused on the water.

His pulse raced when Vicky yelled out, “I saw an orca fin!” She pointed fifty yards to the northwest where a series of black dorsal fins were rolling along the surface.

Signaling for the group to stop paddling, Nic scanned the surface using a pair of high- powered binoculars. “Good spot, Vicky, only those are Dall’s porpoises. They’re black and white and look just like miniature killer whales, only they’re a lot smaller.”

Ashley pointed to one of the whale- watching boats. “That boat just circled back; maybe they spotted something?”

Nic aimed his binoculars. “Congratulations, Ashley, you spotted members of K- pod. Guess you’re excused from clean-up duty.” He passed her the glasses. “Take a look. You can’t miss the adult bull’s big dorsal.”

“Can we get closer?”

The Cunninghams chimed in. “Yes, let’s get closer.”

“We’ll halve the distance, as long as there are no standing waves and the current cooperates. Stay together and be prepared to link up in case the whales want to get a closer look at us. Remember, adult males can weigh as much as six tons.”

Eric felt the blood drain from his face. “Uh, exactly how safe is it to be kayaking so close to an adult male orca?”

“In six years, I’ve never witnessed a single act of aggression against a kayaker or boater by a killer whale. That’s not to say they couldn’t cause a kayak to tip— which is why we link up. Like their dolphin cousins, orca can be playful. Usually they’ll just pass under the boats.”

The group started paddling, their leader keeping the three double occupancy kayaks on an intercept course for several dozen black specks moving south on the horizon. Ashley’s back muscles flexed with her increased effort. Eric eased up, fearing his girlfriend wanted to beat the rest of the kayaks to the whales.

After a ten minute sprint, Nic abruptly raised his hand. “They’ve changed course. Everybody link up, you’re about to have a once- in-a-lifetime experience!”

Eric’s heart raced as he reached out to the Cunninghams’ kayak. He managed to clip his bungee cord to their fast- line a moment before the British females’ boat abruptly rammed his left flank from behind, nearly sending him head- first into Nikki Cunningham’s ample cleavage.

Nic Byron clipped his single kayak to Ashley’s bow and then all seven kayakers held their collective breath as the killer whales moved closer.

And then suddenly they were all around them, passing under the boats before breaching the surface behind them with powerful blasts of expelled salty air tinged with sea water.

Eric’s fear turned to amazement as a mother and her calf swam straight towards him before diving directly below his kayak. They reappeared on the opposite side of the flotilla, the entire pod racing for shore.

And then something else passed beneath Eric’s kayak— something infinitely larger.

Its head was bullet- shaped and pure white like the bald eagle’s, and it was followed by a lead- gray torso as wide and as long as the commuter plane in which he and Ashley had arrived twenty- four hours earlier. A rigid expanse of pectoral fi ns spanned the entire width of the flotilla; the tail seemed to take forever to appear as the creature completed its leisurely trek beneath their boats before disappearing into the depths.

Eric’s throat tightened, rendering his voice box mute. An orca moves through the water in arching north- south bursts as it surfaces to breathe. The creature that had just passed beneath his kayak swam in east- west undulations, powered by its half- moon shaped caudal fin.

Shark . . .



Unable to speak, barely able to move, Eric reached forward with his paddle to tap Ashley. She screamed as he connected with the blue angel on her right scapula, her expression aghast in terror as she pointed.

Ten feet in front of Nic’s kayak, poised above the choppy surface like a white buoy, was the enormous triangular head of another Meg. The shark was spy- hopping, its blue- gray left eye clearly analyzing the flotilla and its human passengers.

The depths surrounding the forty- six-foot Megalodon glowed like a turquoise- blue island, identifying the albino monster as Bela’s sibling, Lizzy.

Time seemed to stand still, life reduced to whitecaps and ten knot winds, the fading chuffing of the fleeing killer whales and the pounding pulses of the kayakers who shivered and waited while an inquisitive killer debated their fate.

Nic Byron broke the silence. “Slowly and quietly, detach your lines.”

Eric’s hand trembled as he struggled to unclip his bungee cord from the Cunningham’s kayak.

As if sensing the disturbance, Lizzy’s head slipped below the surface.

Now the real terror began.

“She’ll come up beneath us!”

“Vicky’s right; we need to go.”

“No one’s going anywhere.”

“You’re not in charge!”

“Keep your voices down; it can hear you.”

“Listen to me,” said Eric. “There are two of them; Bela, the dark one, passed under my kayak— she was after the whales. I think we need to get to that whale- watcher boat.”

They turned in unison, locating the tourist craft a good mile to the west.

“We’ll never make it,” Nic said from behind his binoculars. “See those ripples? Those are standing waves, five feet high inside the trowel. They’ll come right over our heads.”

Ashley gripped the instructor by the Moby Dick tattoo covering his right biceps. “I don’t want to be eaten.”

“No one’s being eaten,” said Natalie. “These Megs were raised in captivity. Humans aren’t on their menu.”

“How do you know what’s on their menu?” Eric demanded.

“I studied marine biology back in London. I think I know a little bit more about it than a food and beverage manager.”

“Yeah? Well, Lana Wood was human and they ate her!”

Nic searched the mile- and- a- half of sea separating them from San Juan Island’s coastline, then shoved the binoculars into a watertight compartment. “We’ll head south, working our way back to shore. Nice and easy, no splashing. You see a big shark fin— break for land.”

They set out, paddling quietly. Hearts raced, flesh tingled. The Cunninghams prayed aloud for God to watch over their three children. The British women whispered softly.

A shrill orca cry caused everyone to cease paddling.

Less than a mile to the northeast the surface erupted— Bela’s upper torso rising out of the sea, a twelve-foot juvenile killer whale thrashing within her hyperextended jaws.

Eric gritted his teeth as the impaled orca and the Megalodon flopped sideways in an explosion of bloody froth, the sharp clap reaching them on a three second delay.

“Let’s move!” Plunging his oar into the water, Nic set out on a brisk pace which forced the other kayakers to keep up. He counted a hundred strokes to the south, then cut the rudder hard and set out on a direct beeline for shore, targeting the Lime Kiln State Park lighthouse.

Now it was a race, every boater for themselves.

Ashley’s shoulder muscles ached as she pulled great gouts of water, each stroke accompanied by a grunted word. “ Aren’t . . . you. . . .glad . . . you . . . listened . . . to . . . me . . . and . . . picked . . . the . . .faster . . . kayak!”

She was right, they were flying through the water, pulling nearly eight knots as they passed Nic Byron. Within two minutes they were thirty yards ahead of the others and had halved the distance to shore. The late afternoon sun reflected brightly off the light house’s lens; waves lapped along the shoreline of Dead Man’s Cove— bloody waves.

The couple was less than fift y yards from the rock strewn beach when Eric saw the first dead orca . . . then the second.

And then he was airborne.

The twenty-four-ton albino had launched its upper body out of the water just ahead of the kayak, the underside of its lower jaws striking the deck of the bow so hard it flipped the plastic craft ’s stern into the air like a catapult, tossing Eric Germata out of his cockpit and over the outstretched jaws of the Meg into the shallows.

The fifty-six-degree water might as well have been electrified. Seconds after sinking, Eric was scrambling awkwardly to his feet, stumbling onto land past the eviscerated remains of a beached juvenile bull orca that was bleeding out in Dead Man’s Cove.

Eric dropped to his knees in shock, the island spinning in his vision.

Then he remembered the girl. “Ashley?”

He stood, searching the cove. The shallows were littered with the bobbing, bleeding, butchered members of the orca pod, many still alive and squealing. Twenty yards from shore Lizzy’s bloodstained dorsal fin cut slowly across the surface, her thrashing caudal fin frothing the sea pink.

Eric’s eye caught movement. The others had come ashore a quarter mile to the south. He took a quick head count— Ashley was not among them.

Then he saw their touring kayak.

The craft had washed ashore, intact but upside down. Eric struggled to roll it over. He took one look inside the bow cockpit, turned his head and wretched.

Ashley was still inside the watertight compartment, at least her lower torso was. Her body had been severed at the waist; her upper torso having been bitten in half as she was flung head-first into the breaching Megalodon’s open mouth.

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.