Windhaven 25

Windhaven 25

 Hi, Welcome to Windhaven 25 and a couple story prompts for writers or the curious.

If you want to know what school custodians do while you’re all snuggy at home with your pet or spouse check out The Custodian Stories.

I usually write about supernatural stuff or mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills, but no mystery, except maybe who survives and who doesn’t, and no vampires or trips to hell.

Speaking of surviving I’ve had my 2nd Covid vaccine shot. Like before, a sore arm and a day of feeling a bit wonky. Get it. You’ll be glad you did.

Windhaven is a survival adventure that could happen any day now. I was surprised by how many Around the world sailing races there are. I’m not doing official chapters every post, just whenever.  The numbers are to keep it all in order, for you and me. Comments and suggestions are always welcome, and preferred.

 

WhatIfs?

WhatIf your partner stole all the company money and you were blamed for it, your wife left you, your kids hated you and your friends shunned you? You decided to kill yourself by jumping off a bridge. You do and you die. Your body drifts to shore and you wake up. Disorientated, you wander into a bad part of town. For no particular reason some locals beat the crap out of you and you die with a knife in your gut. You wake up. What the hell is happening? You have no money so you rob a store. The cops shoot you. You wake up in the morgue. Now you’re getting it. Escaping, you find a quiet place to sit and think, about revenge for all the wrongs, perceived or real, on your mind.

 

 

WhatIf you and a couple friends steal millions of dollars from a drug cartel. You keep 2-3 million for yourselves and want to donate the rest to charities. But you can’t walk in a hand them  100K in cash. That sort of thing raises questions. You think you’re clever and try to clean the money. But you’re not. Now the cartel killers, the police and the FBI are after you. What do you do? Where do you go? What do you become?

 

Windhaven 25

 

“Okay, first let’s get the sail out from under the mast,” Noah said the next day.

For half an hour he and Leigh struggled with the mast and sail. They had to pry up the mast then drag the heavy sail out from under. They unhooked the halyard from the top and spread the massive sail out so it could slide along the mast track.

The wind had kicked up a bit, but they were sweating at the end.

They set up and inspected the rigging hardware and lines they needed for new fore and back stays, and halyards. Noah took his time because when they were done he had to go up the mast. His hands shook and his heart was warming up ready to jump into his throat.

Leigh stood beside him. “Noah, it’s time. We have to get this done now. I think the wind’s going to really pick up tonight.”

Noah stood up straight and took a breath.

“I can bring you down anytime.”

“Right, let’s do it.”

Once Noah was secure in the bosun’s chair, Leigh winched him up with the mast winch. Noah wasn’t sure where to look, up, down or just closed. He held tight with arms and legs. If he swung loose the boat’s rolling would swing him out and then hard back to the mast.

Once at the top he pressed his forehead against the cold metal and visualized what he had to do. Then he did it, focusing on the job and holding on. Once he had installed the wires for the forestay and backstay he attached the necessary hardware and blocks and ran the new halyard lines. All the time he kept his eyes unfocused to anything more than two feet away.

Once the rigging was secured, Leigh called up. “Noah, do you want to come down and take a break?”

Without looking down he called back. “No. Let’s finish this.”

The mainsail track had not broken with the mast. It remained intact so they could slide the sail up the broken section and down the remaining section.

The sail was heavy. Leigh had to winch him up as far she could for Noah to get any leverage. With parts of sail ripped, Leigh had to move back and forth from pulling down at the mast to working the sail up along the fallen mast, to attending the helm.

As they worked the wind picked up ten knots. Noah had to focus on holding on more and more. Over an hour since he went up Leigh pulled the last of the mainsail down the track. Relieved, cold and tired Noah’s attention strayed as Leigh slowly lowered him.

A wave slammed the boat broadside. The boat rolled. Halfway down Noah lost his grip. He swung out ten feet away from the mast. He looked down. His chest constricted his heart, his lungs, he wanted to scream, but his lungs had no air, leaving his face a rictus of terror.

It seemed to him that he hung motionless in the air that all other motion stopped. Unable to move he glanced down at the water. What if the line snapped or he slid out of the bosun’s chair and fell in the water. If Leigh didn’t throw him a life line before the boat left him behind, he would die. The water was cold and there was no way Leigh could stop Windhaven and certainly no way to come back. He would die and leave Leigh on her own and he’d never see Linda again and that scared him more than hanging ten feet in the air.

Windhaven rolled back dragging Noah with it. The mast came at him fast. He reached out to grab it, but the boat lurched and he couldn’t hold on. Instead he swung past, though not as far. Again he seemed to hang motionless. Able to breath again, he glanced down. Below, folds on folds of the ragged main covered the deck, a soft cushion to fall on from not such a great height. Not so scary.

On the next pass he managed to grab the mast. Immediately Leigh lowered him to the deck, to his great relief. He stepped out of the bosun’s chair leaned against the mast to steady himself.

Leigh stood in front of him. “You okay?”

Noah, chuffed. “I’m still breathing, my heart is still beating after a hard workout. I’m okay.”

They stood together taking in everything.

Noah said, “If someone needs to go up again, I’ll do it.”

Eyebrows up, she said, “Good to know. I guess I can go in there if I need to.” She placed a hand on his chest. “We’re partners, right? Share the load and all that crap.”

“Yeah. It’d be bitch to run this operation alone. Speaking of which, we need to get our man overboard shit together. No engine, not much in the way of sails, freezing water.”

“I get it. Put it on the list.”

A wave washed over the transom. Leigh said, “Storm’s here. Better clean up the mess.”

Moving quickly they secured all the lines, stowed the tools and hardware, and bound the old sail. Leigh took the helm while Noah went below and prepared for his watch.

Bundled up in his foul weather gear Noah took the helm as the light noticeably dimmed. The storm built as did the waves. Hunched behind the helm he glanced at one of the few surviving instruments, showing a steady fifty knot wind with gusts up to sixty. Wave heights quickly rose to fifteen feet plus. Noah tensed every time a wave lifted the stern of the boat. For a few seconds his imagination felt the wave rise and rise until it threw the boat out, pitch poling it so it landed upside down then crashing on it, driving it suddenly from the surface to 50 feet, 100 feet down, 1000 feet down, dragging him with it to the bottom. Or the wave would lift the boat up until it was vertical and let it slide bow first down the face, piercing the surface and heading straight to the bottom, dragging Noah down so he could experience his guilt for killing his crew.

While thinking of possible disasters he found the rhythm necessary to keep the boat stern on to the waves. He was as good a helmsman as he said he was. Feeling the boats movement by the seat of his pants he subtly altered rhythm as the waves and wind rose. While rising up under a wave Windhaven might want to broach, turn broadside to the wave which wanted nothing more than roll the boat and drown it. Noah had to anticipate that tendency and steer to port if the boat wanted to go to starboard then steer straight ahead before the boat turned too far. A never ending rhythm.

An hour and a half passed then Leigh emerged in her gear and sat next to Noah. They said nothing for a few minutes until Leigh took the helm.

“Hang on,” Noah shouted, leaning close for her to hear over the roar of breaking waves shriek of wind. “This wind will pick you up and make you fly.”

“There’s hot chocolate on the stove. Get some rest.”

They traded thumbs up and Noah disappeared thorough the companion way hatch.

He stood by the ladder for a moment making the transition fro the outside cacophony to the warmth and relative quiet of the cabin.

Thomas eyed him from his bunk. “Sounds like a bitch of a storm out there.”

“That’s because it is.”

“No extra big waves?”

Noah tensed, jerked his head back as he flashed back to the rogue wave that almost killed them all.

“Sorry. You probably can’t unsee that thing.”

“No. I see it all the time.” He gripped Thomas’s shoulder and went for hot chocolate.

Once he lay down he could let his mind wander. That was not a good idea. Every time a wave lifted the stern he couldn’t help but hold his breath until the wave passed under and Windhaven slid down the backside and he knew that wave was not the ‘Big” one. He then had a few moments to breathe and let his heart calm down before the next and next and next wave. Eventually pure exhaustion took him into a fitful sleep.

XXXXXXX

 

Thanks for reading Windhaven 25. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. dcburtonjr@gmail.com

To check out another sailing tale, Girl at Sea, Click HERE.

My other books can be seen to the right or HERE.

Cheers!

Windhaven 24

Windhaven 24

Hi, Welcome to Windhaven 24 and a couple story prompts for writers or the curious.

If you want to know what school custodians do while you’re all snuggy at home with your pet or spouse check out The Custodian Stories.

 

 

I usually write about supernatural stuff or  mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills, but no mystery, except maybe who survives and who doesn’t, and no vampires or trips to hell.

Speaking of surviving I’ve had my 2nd covid vaccine shot. Like before, a sore arm and a day of feeling a bit wonky. Get it. You’ll be glad you did.

Windhaven is a survival adventure that could happen any day now. I’m not doing official chapters every post, just whenever.  The numbers are to keep it all in order, for you and me. Comments and suggestions are always welcome, as long as I’m allowed to not use them without hurting anybody’s feelings.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

WhatIfs 

What If you were exploring unexplored territory and you came over a rugged mountain summit and saw a flat plain bounded by another mountain range two miles across? The plain was uniformly flat, covered with tall grass. Except for a big tree, a huge tree, a build a two bedroom, one bath, kitchen and deck tree house sized tree. Of course you’d go investigate, even though from high up the mountain the ground seemed to undulate. Probably an optical illusion caused by the wind on the grass.

It’s two miles to the tree, but only four of your party of eight make it close, alive. And somehow you can’t run away, only toward. And when you get close you can’t help but climb a hundred feet up the rough bark and enter what looks like a knot hole. Depending how resourceful you are depends on what happens inside and if anybody gets out.

 

What If you are a vampire and you do something to piss of your Vamp family? They don’t want to be nice to you and cut off your head and be done it. Instead they take you out to sea, tie an anchor too heavy to swim with to your leg and throw you over into a deep channel between shore and an island. Half an hour later you hit bottom. It’s dark even for your vamp eyes, but there is light down there.

Now what? You have two things going for you. You are familiar with the currents and tides in that area, and you are not the first vamp sent to a watery eternity. If you could find others, maybe you could help each other get to shore — and get revenge.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

 Windhaven 24

On deck, Noah, ran lines for Leigh to go up the mast. Also running rigging for a halyard to raise the mainsail to be and a headsail, too. He began to remove the tattered main sail from the broken mast and boom. Under normal conditions it took the whole crew to remove the huge sail.

Leigh climbed into the cockpit and stood next to Noah who sat at the helm, rubbing his wrist.

“I need one of those vicodin.”

“You’re not hurt enough. Use that brace, Macho Man.”

“A couple Tylenol then.”

Leigh studied the folded and twisted sail. “We have a plan?”

“I though we’d use the top twenty five feet or so for our new main sail. If we rig a forestay we can run a jib and be ready to race.”

“Race to where exactly?”

“If we keep heading East we’ll hit land, eventually.”

“Well, with that exact destination in mind, let’s do this. You’re going up, right?”

Noah looked up. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Same reason you didn’t want to go in there.”

 

XXXXXXXX

 

Ten year old Noah loved climbing the huge Live Oak tree on his Grandparent’s land. The tree soared a hundred feet tall and spread fifty wide. Years ago three boards had been nailed to the trunk reaching to the first branch.

Normally he only climbed halfway up to where two boards had been nailed between two branches. He would sit there and look out across fields to a lake at the base of mountains. Usually he dreamed of climbing the mountains, but that day he imagined the lake an ocean to sail on to distant adventure. He’d seen a pirate movie and longed to be the lookout at the top of the mast. Not halfway up, all the way to the top.

He began climbing. The limbs got smaller, but as long as he stepped close to the trunk they held easily. Maybe fifteen feet from the top he stopped climbing. On the wrong side of the tree to look out over his ocean he reached a foot around to another branch. Without looking down he gazed out to the mountain and lake. A tremendous view, but better if he leaned out just a bit.

The limb he stood on was dying, its bark flaking off, its leaves brown and withered. It gave no warning before it broke.

Noah barely had time to scream before he hit a branch and managed to grasp it as he slid off. Heart in his throat his cries for help went nowhere.

He looked down, straight down eighty feet, a hundred feet, a mile, all the same to him. High enough to fall, to die. He didn’t want to do either, ever. His cries for help produced none. Hands tiring, he had to do something.

Blood pounding in his ears, tears streaming, he slid a hand a few inches toward the trunk. The other hand followed. A small secondary branch prevented his first hand from sliding. A small moan escaped as he realized he’d have to let go to move closer.

Desperate not to let go, Noah attempted to swing a leg up and over. His heel caught, but that little extra pressure caused the branch to break. His scream abruptly stopped as the branch swung down, slamming him against the trunk. He threw his arms around the tree, gripping hard, face pressed against the bark, for minutes before his pulse and breathing slowed.

To the right another branch, thicker, healthier, offered safety. He reached a foot over. A minute later he sat on the branch, still hugging the trunk. More minutes later he tested loosing his grip then made the mistake of glancing down. Too high! Too high!

He swore then and there, as solemn an oath as a ten year old boy could make that he would never leave the ground again.

XXXXXXX

“Seriously?” Leigh said. A quick chuff. “We make a fine pair. Don’t you have a sailboat? Didn’t you ever go up the mast to repair something?”

“There are professionals for that.”

“Well, we’re the only freaking professionals here. You know what you want to do up there and you’re stronger than me, a little, so you are going up.”

“Leigh, Jesus, I….”

“Noah, you aren’t going to make me say it, are you?”

“Say what?”

“I did it so-.”

Hand up he said, “Stop. I got it. We need to do something with this sail first.”

The main sail slides were still attached to the standing part of the mast and also the fallen section. Where to start?

They studied the problem for a few minutes.

Noah asked, “How’s Red?”

“I don’t know,” Leigh said with a sigh. “You know he could slightly move his toes before, but that fall fucked up his back for good. The bleeding has slowed, but there’s obviously brain bleeding. He’s incoherent most of the time, but he has short periods of clarity, sort of. He mostly complains of the headache and asks where Ricky is. His temperature is up, too. Ninety nine point eight. That’s how he is.”

“Alain is no better. He’s pale, hot, struggling to breathe, and stinks of decay and shit. It seems obvious that a lung infection is killing him. He needs a massive dose of antibiotics, though he may be too far gone. Beside we don’t have any antibiotics left, right?”

Leigh’s silence did not escape him.

“Right?” Still silence. “Leigh, what?”

“We have one vial of injectable antibiotic.”

“We do? That’s what Alain needs. I thought we used it or lost it.”

Leigh paced the cockpit, two steps, return two steps. “So did I. I found it yesterday under the table. I don’t even know if it’s any good.”

“That just means it loses its potency, right? That’s what he needs though, the heavy duty stuff.”

“What about Red? I think he has an infection coming on.”

“You think? We know Alain has an infection. Don’t you want to give it to him?”

“Of course I want to give it to him. I know his wife and kid. You think I want tell her he died because I didn’t give him the drug? What if we do but he’s already too far gone? What about Red? What about if Thomas needs it again? What if one of us gets hurt or sick? What if we… fuck… waste it on Alain? We have to think of everybody. Do you really think one shot is going to fix him?”

“I don’t know, Leigh. You have a point. But we might not ever need it. Alain needs it right now. Do we just stand around and watch him die?”

“Do we stand around and watch Red die?”

“What about his wife and kid? Don’t they–?”

She moved face to face to him and poked his chest. “Don’t you dare try that on me.”

“Sorry. Sorry. That was shitty.”

Arms tight around their chests they turned away, walked in tiny circles until Noah said, “Okay, if I wasn’t here, it was strictly your call, what would you do?”

“Fuck, Noah.” Standing still, stared at nothing. Finally she raised her head, threw her shoulders back, and said, “I’d go clean Alain up so that at least he could die clean.”

They spent two hours with Alain. They stripped him, stripped the bunk, cleaned him head to toe, washed and cut his hair, shaved his face. All the while they talked to him, about what had happened since the wave, what they still needed to do. Leigh talked about his wife Alice and son Paulo. Noah told him they had a job for him adding new rigging at the top of the mast if he didn’t do it, Noah would have to.

Leigh gave Noah a gentle elbow in the ribs and a smile for that.

While cleaning Alain they sat him up. He seemed to breath easier so they propped him up. They managed to get him to drink some water, downing a vitamin pill and eating two crackers.

While Leigh finished making Alain as comfortable as possible, Noah cooked a simple meal. They had to hand feed Red. He ate, but was clearly not there. The headache had gone away.

Noah, Leigh and Thomas ate together. They discussed their thoughts about Alain and Red, coming to no consensus. The talked of what had happened, but mostly about what needed to happen if they had any chance of surviving.

Get some sail up, make best speed to the East, begin rationing food, pray if you had mind to.

XXXXXXXX

Thanks for reading Windhaven 24. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. dcburtonjr@gmail.com

To check out another sailing tale, Girl at Sea, Click HERE.

My other books can be seen to the right or HERE.

Windhaven 23

Hi, Welcome to Windhaven 23 and a couple story prompts for writers or the curious.

If you want to know what school custodians do while you’re all snuggy at home with your pet or spouse check out The Custodian 1

I usually write about supernatural stuff or  mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills, but no mystery, except maybe who survives and who doesn’t, and no vampires or trips to hell.

Speaking of surviving I had my first Covid vaccination recently. A sore arm and 10 minutes of feeling a bit wonky the only side effects so far.  Looking forward to #2.

Windhaven is a survival adventure that could happen any day now.  I’m not doing official chapters every post, just whenever.  The numbers are to keep it all in order, for you and me. Comments and suggestions are always welcome, as long as I’m allowed to not use them without hurting anybody’s feelings.

WhatIf?s

 WhatIf? a woman, possibly with a questionable past, died. She is in Limbo, waiting to find out where she’s going, when a demon takes a shine to her and kidnaps her and takes her down into Hell? Not being a poor me type of woman she fights and gets away from the demon, but she’s still in Hell. She has no choice but to venture into Hell proper to find a way out. She wanders through the different sections, sometimes she has to fight her way through, sometimes she gets a helping hand from a Soul Retriever (some blatant promotion there,) sometimes she’s able to help a soul. Eventually she makes it out of Hell in a dramatic way.

WhatIf? you are trapped in a high-rise building, being pursued by a ghost, demon, monster, your ex? Are there other people in the building, or is it strangely unoccupied? Through flashbacks you come to realize that whatever is after you has a reason to be after you. What did you do in the past to warrant such a pursuit? And what will it take to survive, if you do – if you deserve to?

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

Windhaven 23

 As he knelt on the wet floorboards Noah said to Thomas, “We had a bit of a leak on deck. It took two of us to fix it so there was nobody at the helm for a few minutes. We went off course for a little while. Don’t know how we can win this race by going off course like that. In any case it’s all good now. I managed to rig some self-steering that will keep us going straight for about five minutes.”

With Leigh pumping on deck and Noah inside the water level in the bilge dropped noticeably. Noah sat back on his heels and rolled his shoulders. “How’s the pain?”

“The pain is great, having party, dancing the happy dance on my knee. Me, not so much.” Thomas’s voice rode the rising anger as he spoke. “It’s all good until I want to move even a little. I expect my leg to be there, but a pillow or sheet or one of the posts of this fabulous four-poster bed I have might hit the leg that isn’t there and the pain goes through roof and I have to stay still because I don’t have any fucking leg there!”

“Thomas, I’m sorry, we….”

“I know. I know. You had to cut my fucking leg off to save my fucking life. But you know Noah, sometimes when the pain is a bitch and there’s no pills, no relief, I wonder if you did me a favor.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Stop with the sorrys, will ya.”

“Right. But you’re alive and there is some hope.’

“Hope? Half the crew is dead or dying, three are useless, we have no sails, no engine, no communications, we don’t really know where we are except thousands of miles from any fucking where.” He slumped back on his bunk. “Sorry, Noah, I don’t quite feel the hope.”

“You should. By tomorrow we will have some sail up and be able to make some miles. That little GPS unit occasionally comes up with a position that make sense. I know you hurt, but you are getting better.”

“I know you guys are doing the best you can, but it fucking hurts, man. What I need more than hope or a ra-ra speech is two of those good pain pills. It’s making me crazy. I can’t move I can’t do anything and it’s frustrating as hell. Seriously, man, I do think about dragging myself up on deck and taking a jump.” Thomas’s body tensed and he let out a piercing soul breaking scream.

Noah gripped his friend’s shoulder. “I’ll get the pills.”

A thump and an equally loud outcry stopped Noah.

“Ricky, Leigh! Leigh where are you? Larry. Thomas.”

“What the hell? Red.”

Noah ran to the amidships area. He found Red sprawled on the floor, twitching and cursing. He had a small gash leaking blood on his forehead.

“Red, Red, stop. Let me help you.” Gently Noah helped the captain roll onto his back.

“Noah, what the….” He coughed for a minute, a hacking cough that left his voice rough like it had to slip over sandpaper. “What the hell is going on here? Where’s Ricky?”

“I’ll explain when we get you back in your bunk. Leigh, where are you?” he shouted.

“Right here. No need to yell.”

“You sure about that? Help get him up.”

Red stopped questioning, moving on to a pitiful moan. Together they lifted him up to his bunk. His body trembled as he held his head. “Headache,” he grunted unnecessarily. “Leigh, where’s Ricky? … happened to me?”

“He doesn’t have a clue,” Noah said.

“I know,” she whispered. She gently turned the captain’s head. She didn’t need to say anything, they both saw the blood leaking from the hole in Red’s head. “We need to rebandage that and I don’t think Tylenol will help that headache.”

“I’ll get them. Thomas is in real pain. I’m getting some for him, too.”

“Noah, we’re awful low on the strong stuff.”

“Yeah, but he mentioned crawling on deck and jumping.”

“Jesus. He’d better get well quick because when they’re gone….”

Noah blew out a deep breath. “What can we do for Red?”

“Really, I don’t really know. Keep the blood off the pillow, feed him some pills, wipe his ass? Any ideas?”

“Antibiotics?”

“Probably won’t hurt. But the way this cruise is going we might need them. There’s not much left.”

Noah squeezed her shoulder. “I’ll get’em. You can explain stuff to him.”

Listening to the water sloshing about the bilge, Noah made his way forward to the medicine cabinet. Noah wasn’t squeamish about medical issues. He’d seen a couple nasty crashes, watched his leg be operated on as a teenager, but he’d never had aspirations to be a doctor.

He trembled as he leaned, head hanging, hands against the counter and, unbidden, his mind replayed Thomas’s amputation. He couldn’t believe did that, or drilled a hole in Red’s skull. He wanted Red and Thomas and Alain to recover, but at the same time he wanted all the medical stuff to stop. It wouldn’t, though. He was trapped on a disabled boat that nobody, including himself, knew the location of. He had no choice except to carryon on and do what he could to help them all survive, and, he realized, not let Leigh down. And what would he say to Linda if he didn’t keep on keeping fucking on.

Deep breaths calmed him. He raised his head, sighed deeply, and searched for the meds.

Noah stopped beside Alain, still except for the barely perceptible rise of his chest. He was pale, thin and stinking. They had to change and clean him soon. Noah looked down on him hoping for a movie moment when his eyes popped open and he said, “Hi Noah, what’s for lunch?”

Noah bowed his head; he knew it was unlikely Alain would ever wake up. There was nothing else they could do for him. “Sorry, Alain, we don’t know what to do.”

As he passed Leigh he handed her the pain pills and a bottle with two tablets in it. “That’s it for the antibiotics. “How you doing, Red?” Noah asked, though it was plain the way Red held his head and clenched his jaw that pain had the upper hand.

“Hurts,” he said without relaxing his jaw. “Can you save the boat?”

“We’re doing our best. We’ll get you home.”

Noah exchanged a glance with Leigh, squeezed her shoulder and moved on to Thomas.

“Take these,” Noah said. He held up Thomas’s head and held a glass to his lips. “Make’em count, there’s not many left.”

“Why, you need me to run about on deck for you?”

“We can always use an extra hand.”

Thomas managed a slight smile. ”That’d be funny if it wasn’t funny.” He settled back on his bunk in anticipation of the pills kicking in. “You going to get up some sail?”

“What we can. This boat doesn’t go well on idle.”

Thomas’s voice turned dreamy as the pills began to kick in. “Yeah, got to speed up to get to nowhere.”

“Somewhere, Thomas. Somewhere.”

Thanks for reading Windhaven 23. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. dcburtonjr@gmail.com

To check out another sailing tale, Girl at Sea, Click HERE.

My other books can be seen to the right or HERE.

Windhaven 22.1

Hi welcome to Windhaven 22 and a couple story prompts for  writers.  I did a lot of sailing back in the day, though nothing as extreme as Windhaven. But I do know that things can go bad real quick. Most sailors won’t experience a rouge wave, but they do exist. Windhaven was very lucky to have survived, despite the damage, and injuries, and deaths.

Speaking of surviving I just had my first Covid vaccination. A sore arm and 10 minutes of feeling a bit wonky the only side effects so far.  Looking forward to #2.

 

If you want to know what school custodians do while you’re all snuggy at home with your pet or spouse check out The Custodian 1(of 4)

I usually write about supernatural stuff or mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills, but no mystery and no vampires or trips to hell.

It’s a survival adventure that could happen any day now.  I’m not doing official chapters every post, just whenever.  The numbers are to keep it all in order, for you and me.  Comments and suggestions are always welcome. as long as I’m allowed to not use them without hurting anybody’s feelings.

WhatIfs?

What If you are kidnapped and buried in a makeshift coffin with air and some water like on TV. You’re freaking out. You’re even more freaked out when something digs through the bottom and takes you down. When you finish really freaking out and find yourself safe you realize the entities (you chose what they are, worm people, insect people, mutant moles, demons, bogeymen, corporeal or ethereal) are not going to eat you but need your help to save them from, you choose, (oil drillers, miners, archeologists, natural damage caused by Global Warming, or other underground creatures.)

You find that you can do that, and then you do. As a reward they give you a bunch of colored stones suspiciously like rubies, emeralds, or sapphires. They also help you catch the kidnappers and let them feel what it’s like in very close quarters.

!!!!!!!!!

What if you and a partner are doing a space walk for routine maintenance on a good sized space ship, though with a small crew. A small meteorite swarm hits the ship. Your partner is killed, much of the ship is disabled, many of the crew are dead. Only one can move about, but her legs are useless. Worst for you is the airlock is damaged. You can’t return that way. The one crew you can talk to reminds you of an emergency airlock a long way forward on the other side of the ship with no handholds or tether points.

You take your  partner’s tether and let him float away. With two tethers you can almost make it, but not quite. You stretch it out. Another swarm cuts the line, but gouges the ship’s skin allowing you a handhold. From there it’s 15 meters of free floating to safety, if meteors or fear don’t get to you first. And if the inside crew can make it to the airlock to open it.

To read Windhaven from the beginning Click HERE.

Windhaven 22

Leigh breathed in deep and lowered herself into the lazarette. Noah was right, she probably could stand up, if it wasn’t for all the stuff stuffed in there haphazardly. Nobody had looked in there since well before the Wave hit. Noah made no comment and she offered none when she tied a line around her waist and handed him the free end.

She took a last look at the sky and clouds, sucked in another deep breath, climbed over the inflatable, an extra sail bag she didn’t know was there, but should have, spare lines and rigging, and two totes filled with whatever.

As she climbed over she concentrated on reaching the narrow space into which her mind absolutely knew she wouldn’t fit. The ceiling and the bulkheads closed in, the light dimmed. She had to close her eyes tight and breathe – in through the nose, out through the mouth. In, out, don’t think about it.

But she couldn’t help but think about it.

XXXXXXX

Eight-year-old Leigh was on vacation by the shore with her family, Mom, Dad, brothers Terry and Jimmy and sister Gail. She was the youngest, Terry 13, Jimmy 12, Gail 11. Leigh had been an unexpected surprise.

The kids were walking along the shore, goofing, somehow pirates came up. Maybe they buried treasure in the sandy cliffs, or had a lookout spot. It was decided to dig a lookout cave to spy on gold laden ships, or the people walking the beach.

With four of them digging the work went quickly. They piled in, but it was a tight fit, not deep enough.

“Leigh, you’re the smallest, dig some more in the back.”

“You’re in the way, Terry.”

“Okay, okay. Come on guys, give her some room.”

Pleased to be useful instead of ignored as usual, Leigh dug in like a puppy after a treat. The others were encouraging, then silent. Leigh continued to dig, ignoring the sand dripping from the roof. Then she noticed the light dimmed.

She stopped digging and looked back toward the entrance. All that remained was a narrow strip of light. “Hey, you guys, where are you?” Reaching the light was steep, the sand soft and shifting. She could barely breathe, the sides closed in, her hands shook as she scrambled for the thin line of light.

“Hey, Terry, Gail, help me.”

Then the ceiling caved in covering her legs, holding them tight, trapping her. She worked her legs madly, but the sand only grew heavier. It pulled her down as the sides closed in pushing the air out. She breathed fast and deep, but there was not enough air. “Help,” she cried, though it came out as a whisper. Sand clung to her tears.

Panic set in. She kicked and clawed at the sand getting nowhere, sobbing “Help, please help,” with a raspy voice nobody would hear.

Heart hammering, lungs pleading for air, Leigh curled into a tight ball as despair settled over her like a cold blanket. She was going to die there, alone; nobody would know where she was, nobody would care, nobody would look, or remember her.

Somehow the despair tamped down the panic. Acceptance of death soothed her, though it didn’t stop her sobs. Hours, or minutes, later she realized that by curling up, she had mostly freed her legs. She began to think, and move, though she had to keep her eyes closed to the closeness that surrounded her.

Slowly she moved her legs, kicked them free of sand. Pushed down, her body moved an inch toward the light. She reached a hand up, clawed some sand down. Reached and kicked together, moved another inch. Slowly, eyes closed, she turned onto her stomach, then to her knees. One hand then two hands scraped at the sand. Head down, terrified, she let her eyes open for a quick glance up. Yes, progress.

Unconsciously she glanced sideways, saw how close the wall was, how it arched over her, ready to fall, ready to trap her, smother her, crush her. Eyes slammed shut, her body tensed while she fought panic. Breathing slowed, became deeper, there was air plenty of air.

Starting over, one hand then the other, knees inching forward and up she moved. Within minutes the light brightened on her closed eyes. Deep breath, eyes slowly open, the narrow strip of light wider. A minute later Leigh tumbled out and slid down the sandy slope to level beach. On her knees she searched for her brothers and sister. Nobody. Shouted, “Terry, Gail, Jim?” Nothing.

Leigh sat back and sobbed out her relief, disappointment, loneliness, and finally, anger.

Without a backward glance at the Pirate Lookout, Leigh took her time walking back to the house they had rented for a week.

“Where have you been?” her mother asked. “It’s almost dinner time.”

“Nowhere.”

“Yeah, that’s you, nowhere girl,” Terry, always the jokester, said, though his smirk was pure meanness. He sat backwards on a straight backed chair.

She’d considered what to do when she saw him, the smirk decided her. She went up to him punched him as hard as she could. The blood flowing from his nose was quite satisfying.

XXXXXXX

Holding herself together she reached the corner with the space she needed to reach into. With no hesitation, hand with the wrench first, she squeezed into the space, her face hard against the hull. Holding the wrench on the nut she said, “Ready!”

“Okay.”

Gripping tight she felt Noah turning the bolt from the deck until the nut dropped off. She placed the wrench on the second nut. “Ready.”

A minute later the nut dropped off. Finally, she could return to open spaces. Taking  deep breaths, she let her eyes open, just in time to hear a heavy thump, see the port side rise, and the inflatable boat, the sail bag, totes and miscellaneous stuff slide over and pin her in the corner.

The inflatable pressed her against the hull. The sail bag on top of that loomed over her, inches away. Couldn’t move, couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe – eight years old again.

Her body cringed as she fought the fear and the panic rising within her.

“Leigh, are you okay?”

With supreme effort not to scream, not to cry, to fake calmness, she said, “Noah, please get me out of here. Please, now.”

“Okay, let me get the boat on–.”

“Noah.” Begging, pleading, she didn’t care. “Please. Please.”

He must have heard the tears streaming down her face, her heart pounding, pounding, her desperation, the effort to not thrash about in total panic.

“I’m coming, Leigh, right now.”

She felt the tug of the line around her waist which calmed her. The sail bag slid away. She dare open one eye. Noah dragging the totes away, tossing coils of line brought some relief. She wasn’t alone, someone was there to help. Noah grunted as he drug the inflatable back. Gently he tugged the line around her.

“I’m here, Leigh. I’m here.”

He reached out to her. She gripped his hand and didn’t let go until she looked straight up at the sky. For a moment she leaned into Noah and whispered, “Thank you.” With a hand on his shoulder she scrambled out of the lazarette on to the deck and grabbed the helm. She was still on watch, after all.

While Noah patched the hole Leigh sat hunched by over the helm shame dripping off her like dark rain. But as she thought of the situation she straightened up, held her high. She was well know, even famous, in the sailing world. She was known as a tough, savvy, skilled sailor. She had raced around the world twice, crossed many oceans, and would be welcomed in any crew. She had a husband who loved her as she was as she loved him. And what of her siblings? Terry stupidly dead in Iraq doing a stupid prank. Jim an addict with jail and rehab time, not strong enough help himself. Gail trapped in a loveless, probably abusive marriage, not brave enough to get out even with Leigh’s offered help. Leigh squared her shoulders, I have nothing to be ashamed of.

Ten minutes later after Noah patched the hole in the deck, he sat shoulder to shoulder with her. Staring ahead or up, they were silent for some minutes.

“You okay?” Noah asked.

“Yeah.”

“Good, because I need you.”

Leigh bumped his shoulder. “Me, too.”

From below came Thomas’s shout. “Noah, what the hell is going on up there?”

“So much for our moment of quiet,” Noah said. “Guess Thomas is feeling okay.”

“Okay enough to go up the mast?”

“Sorry partner, that’s all you.”

Thanks for reading Windhaven 22. Comments and suggestions are always welcome. dcburtonjr@gmail.com

To check out another sailing tale, Girl at Sea, Click HERE

My other books can be seen to the right or HERE

Windhaven 21

Hi welcome to Windhaven 21 and a couple story prompts for  writers.  I did a lot of sailing back in the day, though nothing as extreme as Windhaven. But I do know that things can go bad real quick. Most sailors won’t experience a rouge wave, but they do exist. Windhaven was very lucky to have survived, despite the damage, and injuries, and deaths. 

I usually write about supernatural stuff or mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills but no mystery and no vampires or trips to hell

It’s a survival adventure that could happen any day now.  I’m not doing official chapters every post, just whenever.  The numbers are to keep it all in order, for you and me.  Comments and suggestions are always welcome. as long as you know that I may or may not follow them.

WhatIfs?

WHAT IF there’s an air leak on a spaceship. The crew can not find it. The air refresher unit has been incapacitated. The Captain notices that one crew member, their technical engineer, is not searching. Just sitting, smiling.

“You’ll never find it,” he says.

So the crew has to figure out why he did it and where he might create the leak with only a few hours to do it.

Turns out his wife left him, took his money and kids. On the ship he felt underappreciated and nobody liked him. He was pretty much of an asshole.

What If, back in the time when it was a big deal for a young woman of means, especially lesser means, to come out to society, one girl, Harriet, did not want all that pomp and circumstance. At that time a girl’s first priority was to marry well, preferably up. Harriet did not want to marry somebody chosen by her parents or society, she was too smart for that.

A large amount of money, jewels, gold, coin was stolen from the Queen. Harriet took it upon herself to find the thieves and money. Well most of the money. Surely a finders fee was appropriate. The Queen was dazed and amazed. And Harriet’s secret career as a Queen’s spy or Private Detective was born.

XXXXXXXX

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

Windhaven 21

The New Zealand Long Reach Search and Rescue plane left Auckland at 4am in order to reach the search area at first light. The two women and two man crew took turns napping as they covered the first thousand miles. Around fifteen hundred miles the captain began the descent to about a thousand feet. All eyes focused horizon to horizon in any direction of the ocean expanse. A thin cloud cover kept the water grey except for the lines of white caps. For an hour and a half they flew low and slow while they scanned the surface, searching for any sign – a boat, a body, floating cushion. They flew a grid search expanding the edge with each 180° turn.

Two hours out the copilot said, “Fifteen minutes until turn around, Sarah.”

To the two crew searching from amidships, Sarah said, “Ten minutes until around, mates. Find me something before then will ya.”

“Yes, ma’am O Captain,” was Henny’s cheeky reply.

Eight minutes later Joe the copilot called on the intercom, “Henny, starboard side, two o’clock, something. Maybe a mile out.”

Henny raised her binoculars while Ngarra joined her search. “There,” he called out. “Three o’clock. A life raft?”

Henny said, “Got it. Orange life raft. Turn ninety, Sarah.”

“Don’t loose it.”

Sarah swung the plane ninety degrees to starboard. “Got it. Going lower and slower. Get pictures.”

They passed barely a hundred feet above the surface. Henny photographed the large orange life raft. “There’s writing on it.”

Ngarra had his binocs on the raft. “Christ, it says Windhaven.”

“Any sign of life?”

“No. Come around the other side. Looks like the flap is open. Maybe we can see inside.”

“Hang on, coming around.”

“Anything?” Joe asked, knowing the answer.

“Got a good look inside,” Ngarra said, resigned. “Nothing but a foot of water.”

“Worth another pass?”

Henny and Ngarra caught the other’s eye, shook heads. “No.”

“Right. Joe, mark the position. Time to go home.”

XXXXXXXXX

Windhaven 21

Noah poked his head up out of the companionway. He stood on the ladder and scanned the weather. A smudge of sun, grey clouds, grey water, 20 knot wind, 40 degree temperature – same old same old. Leigh, encased in orange foul weather gear, looked at him from under her hood and a red watch cap pulled down far enough to cover her eyebrows.

“What?” she asked.

“We have a leak.”

“Of course we do.”

“The bilge is full.”

“I thought the boat was wallowing a bit. Know where it is?”

He pointed to where the mast hung over the edge.

Leigh pointed at him then the fallen mast.

“Right.”

Noah climbed over the mast to the starboard deck. An odd wave bumped the starboard side, knocking Noah off his feet. He tipped toward the deck edge, not a problem if the lifelines were intact. They weren’t. Thinking fast, he threw his legs over the edge, dropping hard on his ass on the deck. He reached back, groping for a rigging wire before another wave washed him into the cold ass water. He took a minute  to force his breathing to slow until his heart returned to a more or less normal rhythm.

Stupid. Stupid. If he went over in this water his survival chances were much worse than fifty-fifty.

“Noah! God damn it, what’s the matter with you? Clip on. Don’t you dare leave me to run this boat by myself.”

Noah clipped his lifeline to the rigging wire and pushed to his feet. His butt hurt, but he deserved it.

“You okay?”

“My butt hurts.”

“You deserve a spanking for that stunt.”

“I know. Just drive.”

He had to get down on his knees to see the problem. A lifeline stanchion had been knocked over by the mast and ripped two bolts through the deck leaving a two inch by one inch hole. Plenty of room to allow water inside every time washed over the deck, which was often.

He could see the problem, but couldn’t get to it because the mast lay over it.

“We have to move the mast to get to it,” Noah said once back in the relative safety of the cockpit.

“You want me to pick it up, or you?”

“I’ll go finish my nap. Call me when it’s done.”

“That’s gonna be a long nap.”

“Oh all right, I’ll do it. You can pump.”

Five minutes later he had a heavy line around the mast that led to one of the massive sheet winches on the other side of the cockpit. While Leigh, using an entirely inadequate boathook pole, attempted to lift the mast up, Noah cranked the winch. To clear some deck hardware, the mast only had to come up four or five inches. The boathook could manage almost one. The mast did not cooperate, until a large errant wave slapped the starboard aft quarter, jarring it loose. With the winch line tight enough to play a tune, mast jumped a foot sideways stopped by what was left of the electronics bridge. It would go no farther.

The sudden wave bump and mast jump caught Leigh by surprise, making her sit down hard on her butt. After a cuss word a second for ten seconds she struggled to gain her feet. Noah, grinning, offered a hand. “Don’t you say a word, Noah. Not a word.”

Noah chuffed.

She hit him with the back of her hand. Cracking a smile, she said, “Asshole.”

Noah inspected the hole. It wouldn’t be hard to fix if he could remove the two intact  through the deck bolts. Then he could place a small piece of wood with a lot of caulking over the hole with a couple screws to hold it until the caulk set. Not pretty, but effective, which was all they could hope for.

With the wrench in hand Noah lowered himself into the large lazarette hatch at the stern of the boat. He climbed over a jumble of spare lines and rigging, a rolled up inflatable boat, gas and diesel cans, cleaning supplies and several folding chairs. He reached the hull and scrunched into a space between hull and rubber boat. With a flashlight he quickly found the leak. Then he swore revenge against all boat designers and builders.

The leak was a bit more than an arm’s length between the hull and the back of the starboard cockpit storage space. It was too tight for him to fit. Reaching out with the wrench, he was six inches short. And there was no room to go under so he could reach up. The only way he could think to get the wrench on was to get Leigh to squeeze in far enough.

“No,” she said.

“Leigh, it’s the only way to effectively fix the leak. Remove the stanchion base and caulk the shit out of a wood block covering the hole. Stuffing it with rags or some shit isn’t going to cut it. Which you know is true.”

“I’m not good with small spaces.”

“Neither am I, but pumping the bilge ten hours a day is going to get old, real fast.”

They both watched a wave sweep over the deck.

“I’m not that small.”

“Unless you can get Alain up, it’s you.”

Leigh glanced back at the open hatch.

“It’s not that small. You can almost stand up in there.” Noah sat next to her, shoulder to shoulder. Staring ahead at the  open ocean, he said, “I know you don’t want to do this. I don’t blame you. But with all the other shit we have, this is something we can fix. Five minutes down there and done.”

“You know I hate you.”

“I figured. I’ll get the wrenches I need. You can start thinking up curses for the person who designed that little space.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

Thanks for reading Windhaven 21. As this is all first draft comments and suggestions are welcome. Use either the comments below or directly to dcburtonjr@gmail.com

Girl at Sea is another sailing tale. Check it out HERE.

Cheers.

COMMENTS

Windhaven 20

Windhaven 20

Welcome to the Twentieth Windhaven post. I started the WhatIf? part quite a while ago. Feel free to use one of the story prompts. I’d love to know what you do with it.   

I finally sent the 4th novel, Blood on the Mountain, in my Blood Justice series to the publisher. Out of my hands for now. 

If you’re reading this before Dec 31, Smashwords has an end of year sale going on. My books are included – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DavidBurton 

Don’t forget to check out Girl at Sea.

To start Windhaven at the beginning click HERE.

All the parts of Windhaven are first draft with very little editing. Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

 

WhatIfs?

What if a woman, Jane, sold her ability to change into any other woman to men, or women, who had a secret crush on another woman who they had no chance with. When the customer got tired of her, or got caught by their spouse, she changed back to herself. But WhatIf? She fell in love with her client and didn’t want to leave? How far would she go to stay around? If the guy went back to his wife, how sure could he be that it really was his wife and not Jane. If Jane, what happened to the wife? Or, in the course of her usual business she’d probably hear some secrets, what might she do with them?

 

 

 WhatIf? Two teenagers, Joe and Jane, meet at a boarding school at the start of Thanksgiving Holidays. Jane has no place to go and Joe has no place he wants to go. They decide to go to NYC for the break. They get a cheap hotel, separate beds, and have a good time for two days.

One morning they discover by the next room’s door, a new baby wrapped in bloody towels. The door is unlocked, inside they discover the horrible bloody body of a teenage girl, who obviously died in childbirth. They of course call the police and eventually are interviewed on TV.

Back in their room a man barges in wanting to know where ‘it’ is, and why did they take it. They haven’t a clue what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t believe them. He punches Joe, knocking him down then grabs Jane by the neck hits her, holds a knife to her. Joe smacks him hard with a lamp. He doesn’t get up, ever. They go through a more rigorous time with the police. His dad hires a lawyer. Eventually they are allowed to leave. They get on a train to Philadelphia. His dad waits at the station, but they never show up.

Where are they, and what is ‘it?

???  ‘It’ – Proof that the father of the baby is the father and he wants to care of him/her, but his family doesn’t want that.

Or – Proof of the father, but he does not want that to get out.

Or – she stole money/secrets/something, or knows where it is, and somebody wants it back.

Or – ?

 

 

 To start Windhaven from the beginning click HERE.

   Windhaven 20

 

Linda entered her classroom, sat at her desk and stared at a notebook containing the day’s lesson. The nineteen students watched her in silence until one girl, Jasmine, quietly asked, “Is he still missing?”

“Yes, Jasmine, still missing.”

“Just like my Daddy.” Jasmine’s father had gone missing a year ago. She and Linda shared a sad hope-for-the-return-of-the missing smile. “If he’s sti….If he’s out there they’ll find him. Both of them.”

One of the boys said, “I liked him on the boat. He seemed pretty cool.”

“He did, didn’t he?”

“Are they using satellites?” another boy asked. “They can find anything.”

“They’re working on it Timmy. It’s a big ocean.”

“They’ll find him. Satellites can find anything,” he said with youthful enthusiasm.

“I’m sure they will. If I hear anything, you all will be the first to know. Okay?”

The class’s lackluster “Okay” held little anticipation of good news.

XXXXXX

Lunch time in the teacher’s lounge Linda sat with her best friend, Ginger, a petite, African American woman who kept the fifth graders in check with her good looks and piercing eyes that not even the baddest bad ass (they thought) student hiding in the back of the room would dare defy. Ginger had a soft spot for Linda because she’d lost two husbands and had some idea what Linda was feeling. Also, she knew that Linda, though soft spoken, and heartbroken at the moment, had a steel spine.

“No word?” Ginger asked while supportively rubbing her back.

“No.”

“It’s been a week. Is that good or bad?”

Linda glanced at her friend. “What do you think?”

“Yeah. This guy Noah made a big impression on you in what, twenty-four hours.”

“More like twelve.” A smile slid onto her lips. “He was the One, Ginger. Is the One. Come and gone.”

“Honey, you thought that before.”

“I know. But I’m no naïve twenty something who doesn’t listen to her friend’s advice anymore. He’s it, my friend.”

“And if he’s lost?”

“Still it.”

XXXXXX

Linda had thought she had The One once before. They’d met at a beach party, when she was twenty and you could have beach parties. Steve, handsome, oozing charm, successful, how could she not fall hard for him? There were vague rumors from her friends about him, maybe his charm wasn’t as real as it seemed, maybe his supposed success came at the expense of others.

But Linda didn’t listen, didn’t want to hear it. She knew Steve was the kindest, gentlest man ever, he took care of her, his  occasional bursts of anger were at others, never her. Three months later they were engaged and she spent most nights at his house.

Friends organized a bachelorette party, a wild night, and she bubbled with giddy anticipation. She dressed at Steve’s place, ready to walk out the door. Steve, who hadn’t been informed about the party, came home and demanded to know where she was going and with who. Not happy, he said he’d planned a quiet night at home with her and strongly insisted she’d better be back and check in with him by eleven o’clock.

Taken aback for a moment, she thought he was joking. “No, I don’t think so. Equality, remember? You were out all night at your bachelor party, so I’ll be back when my party is over.”

He wasn’t joking. He grabbed her arm. “No, back by eleven, that’s enough. And I don’t like you hanging out with those girls anyway. They’re not good for you.”

“Ow. That hurts. Let me go. And some of them have been my friends my whole life. They’re good for me. So I’ll be back when I’m back. Let go of my arm.” Linda tried to peel his fingers off her arm.

“Stop it,” he said, definitely, not joking. “I think you need to stay home.”

In a second, all her friend’s warnings flashed back through her brain. She looked him in eye and said, “No,” and tried to yank her arm loose.

His head jerked back, his lips twisted. With a quick strike he slapped her, threw her down on the bed. In seconds his expression lost its angry twist and became conciliatory, apologetic, even loving. He sat beside her, took her hand.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. I love you and only want what’s best for you. I think you should stay home tonight. You don’t want to get into any trouble before your wedding. Maybe order a pizza. You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

Linda forced a smile. Nodded. All those warnings swirled around in her head, chased by her friends’ “I-told-you-sos.”

“It’s alright. I know you’re looking after me. And yes, I would love a pizza.”

Later, when the pizza delivery kid rang the doorbell Linda said to Steve, “You sit, I’ll get it for you.” At the door she picked up her purse and coat, handed the kid twenty dollars and kept on walking.

Six months later The One went to prison for almost beating his new fiancée to death.

 

XXXXXXX

 

Two days later Linda stayed at school late grading homework when her cell phone rang. She had no desire to talk to anyone. Pushing the device away she inadvertently glanced at the caller.

Rhode Island.

Rhode Island. Her heart jumped, she couldn’t breath out. Was this the call she’d dreaded, or the one she longed for? She stared at it for two rings, then, afraid she’d miss the call, snatched it up. “Hello.”

“Hi. Is this Linda Truby?”

“Yes,” she said, wary. Inside her head – Hell yes it’s me! Tell me good news.

“My name is Maureen Davidson. I’m calling from the round the world race headquarters. We haven’t spoken before. You are wondering about Windhaven and Noah Wells.”

Linda had to suck in a deep breath to say, “Yes.”

“I’m calling all the families to update them on the search. I’m sorry to say there is no news, good or bad. The search has not ended. One of the other racers is diverting to where we think whatever happened, happened. We’ve been able to get NASA to task a satellite to search the area for three days. Nothing yet. Also, Australia is planning a long range, low level flight. They’re very good at that sort of thing.” Before the silence grew too uncomfortable, Maureen said, “Ms. Truby? Linda? Are you there?”

“Yes, yes, I’m here. Tell me, Maureen, for real, what are the real chances of finding anyone alive?”

I worked, occasionally went out with a few friends, occasionally got laid, had no interest in men.”

“Then you met Noah.”

“Yeah. Twelve hours, that’s all I knew him before I drove him to the airport and watched him fly away and started wishing he would come back.”

“He seemed like a good guy.”

“He was… is. And now there’s a good chance I’ll never see him again. All I can see ahead is me wondering what might have been.”

“But not a hundred percent chance. We’re still looking. Those Aussies are very good about search and rescue. Are you following the website?”

“Haven’t for a couple days. Guess I was afraid of seeing the search had ended.”

“Could be good news.”

“I know. But, I guess my optimism is waning.”

“That crew on that boat is a very resourceful lot. I wouldn’t give up just yet. We update every day. Keep checking.”

“Okay, thanks for calling.”

“You’re welcome. I don’t know if I should tell you this, but one of the crew on Windhaven is a good friend, and my brother is on another boat. If you feel the need to talk with someone who knows what’s happening, call me.”

Linda hung up and tried to ramp up her optimism with little success. She shed a tear, said something good about Aussies, and continued to grad papers. “Linda, I saw on the paperwork when Noah put down his contact information you were the only name. At first, he put down friend then he just looked somewhere and then changed it to girlfriend. He had no other contacts, no family, no business. I know it’s not my business, but is that correct – girlfriend?”

Linda sighed, slumped back in her chair. “You know, I don’t know who I am. Before I met Noah I was just a regular thirty-something woman with a regular life. Not happy or sad, just existing. I lived alone with no particular desire to live with anybody. I worked, occasionally went out with a few friends, occasionally got laid, had no interest in men.”

“Then you met Noah.”

“Yeah. Twelve hours, that’s all I knew him before I drove him to the airport and watched him fly away and started wishing he would come back.”

“He seemed like a good guy.”

“He was… is. And now there’s a good chance I’ll never see him again. All I can see ahead is me wondering what might have been.”

“But not a hundred percent chance. We’re still looking. Those Aussies are very good about search and rescue. Are you following the website?”

“Haven’t for a couple days. Guess I was afraid of seeing the search had ended.”

“Could be good news.”

“I know. But, I guess my optimism is waning.”

“That crew on that boat is a very resourceful lot. I wouldn’t give up just yet. We update every day. Keep checking.”

“Okay, thanks for calling.”

“You’re welcome. I don’t know if I should tell you this, but one of the crew on Windhaven is a good friend, and my brother is on another boat. If you feel the need to talk with someone who knows what’s happening, call me.”

Linda hung up and tried to ramp up her optimism with little success. She shed a tear, said something good about Aussies, and continued to grade papers.

Windhaven 19

Hi All,

Happy Thanksgiving,

I’ll be back working on Blood on the Mountain tomorrow. It’s the fourth, and last? book in the Blood Justice series of contemporary vampire thrillers.  After that I’ll be working full time on Windhaven. Post by post.

Please check out Girl at Sea. You’ll like it.

For more about my other books and stories Go Here.

WHAT Ifs–

What if you were a God and you found out that your wife, a goddess more powerful than you, was having an affair with a mortal, a sorcerer no less. You had to be careful, the god council had already censured you for your unforgiving conduct toward mortals. You decide to go after the sorcerer, but he’s a bit more powerful than you thought. And your wife is suddenly being very nice to you. She suggests you and she go on a vacation together to a little out of the way place of your godly world. You readily agree, but when you get there you begin to think maybe it wasn’t such a good idea….

 

What If a sort of down and out guy gets out of prison and goes into a bar. There he meets a Femme Fatal who has a plan if he’ll go along, money and her. All he has to do is help her kill her husband. Of course he agrees. She arranges for him to get into her house, quite a mansion, at night. He gets in and heads to the study where he finds her dead. Her husband, a judge who got him out so he could kill the wife,  has killed her.  Now he plans to kill the guy and blame him fore the murder. But the guy is not as dumb as he acts. He gets away. Now what, his only options are run or figure a plan to ruin the judge, and get the money he’s owed.

 

 

 

To start Windhaven at the beginning Go Here

Windhaven 19

Dirty gray cottonball clouds rolled toward them from the West. One didn’t have to be a weatherman to know a storm approached. Already the wind and waves announced the coming tempest.

Noah and Leigh each breathed deep and set about doing what they needed to do. They had to put away their concern about Thomas, Red and Alain and take care of the boat, without it, nobody survived.

The approaching weather allowed no time to climb the mast and set up permanent rigging. Leigh tied a small block to some eighth inch line and threw it over one of the spreaders. Noah retrieved the block and used the small line to pull up a larger line. They repeated the action with the same block over the other spreader, keeping a loop in the middle. To that loop they attached a larger block with heavier line and raised that to the spreaders. With that in place they raised a small storm sail.

Now they had some speed that would enable them to have some control of the boat. Without control, even though they had steering capability, Windhaven would likely be forced sideways to the waves, or broach, or she’d equally likely be knocked down, with the mast horizontal, the top in the water. The boat and crew were much less likely to recover from that.

The end of the race. Period.

In full foul weather gear and a thermal mug of coffee, Leigh took the first watch as the sun set behind them. Wave heights grew quickly – ten, fifteen, twenty feet. As the wind increased the waves became steeper and closer together. The small sail gave Windhaven some speed and maneuverability. Leigh used that to keep stern on to waves doing their best to capsize and sink them all.

Once she got the rhythm of it her mind was free to wander a bit. Harvey captured her thoughts. She could use his warmth and touch as night fell like a door slammed shut.

Leigh met Harvey Roberts at a going away party for Harvey and his team the night before they left for a one month trek to Patagonia. Harvey owned Climek, a hiking-climbing equipment manufacturer. He loved to test his own equipment.

A friend, who was a complete homebody, said Leigh would meet other crazy adventurers there.

Theirs was a classic movie cute meet. Leigh was not listening to a ho-hum story about getting caught in the rain a mile from home. She noticed him across the room, staring out a large window. She knew exactly what he was thinking – Let me out of here. A loud laugh drew his attention. He turned and saw her staring at him.

Their eyes caught. He smiled, amused. She smiled, shrugged – What are you going to do? He cocked his head, sent her a crooked smile. The deal was done.

Or not.

The crowd blocked her view. She had to move clockwise to get around the hall to him. Harvey did the same thing. Neither found the other – Guess they weren’t interested. They wandered to the bar for a forget-about-him-or-her-drink. They ran into each other’s smiles. Okay, maybe they were interested.

The next morning Harvey left on his trek. When he returned, Leigh was on a sailboat halfway across the Atlantic. They did get together, off and on, long enough to get married.

Just the thought of snuggling in bed with him warmed her, despite the cold-ass waves breaking over her. It helped her endure.

Noah did not sleep much. He expected to hear that roar, the sudden cut off of the wind, and the sudden rise of the boat as another monster wave tried to finish what that first one started. An uneasy sleep finally overcame him, but it did nothing to calm his fears.

He was on watch. He heard the growing roar of water mounting into a huge wave. The biggest ever. The stern rose and rose and rose until Windhaven’s bow pointed straight down. Noah cranked the wheel left right left right, hoping to break the waves hold on the boat and pass underneath. The tactic didn’t work and Windhaven fell down the impossible wall of water into an impossibly deep trough.

Tethered to the boat, Noah had seconds to decide whether to unclip his lifeline and live a few minutes longer on the surface or stay attached and allow Windhaven to drag him under and die a slightly quicker death.

Though the boat was vertical he still stood behind the wheel, boots planted to the deck. Windhaven’s bow speared the black water. In slow motion, Noah watched the dark water swallow the seventy-foot boat, dragging him along.

 The cold water paralyzed him. He held his breath, attempting to stave off that inevitable icy intrusion down his throat. Looking up, the wave seemed to be frozen in place, waiting for him to drown.

He looked down into the depths. Fish circled, waiting for him. Big fish, ugly fish, hungry fish with needle teeth and a red glint in their eye.

But then a light appeared. A fish? A big, bright fish? A person? A mermaid? Linda, a mermaid? She reached out, took his hand. “Come with me, Noah. I can save you.” Her naked upper body emitted a soft luminescence, her lower scales were a swirl of green, blue and yellow. An angel?

Somehow, he was untethered from Windhaven. He looked down, saw bodies float out of the companionway – Leigh, Red, Thomas, Alain, Larry. Each one extending an arm, an accusing finger.

“Come, Noah. Forget them.”

He turned to her, so good to see her. He couldn’t wait to hold her, feel her warmth again. He glanced up at the surface could he hold his breath long enough get there?

But she didn’t pull him up, she dragged him down. Her beautiful smile had become a needle-toothed grimace, blonde hair now black and tangled, her multicolored tail became a dull black and red and orange.

“Come on, Noah,” she said with a mock cheer. “You drove the boat and crew right down into the water. You deserve to be with them, sinking down down down into the mouths of those deep, dark monsters.” She yanked him close, face to face. “Don’t worry, it will hurt.”

“No,” he screamed. “I tried to save them. I didn’t want to hurt them. I….” Like an icy blade water forced its way down his throat as he sunk toward the waiting monsters.

“No!” Noah thrashed in his bunk, “No, Linda no.”

A wave smacked Windhaven, shaking him awake. His denials died in his throat. His heart thumped in sync with his rapid breathing. His eyes popped open. After a few minutes he settled back and wondered what Linda was doing.

 

Windhaven 18

Windhaven 18

Looking for Beta readers for a vampire thriller (4th in the Blood Justice series.) Interested – dcburtonjr@gmail.com

Don’t forget to checkout Girl at Sea, a different coming-of-age story.

Girl At Sea is a beautiful, dark, but ultimately triumphant book about recognizing evil that exists within some people, but also accepting the goodness that can be found through genuine friendship, lovers, and family. Only then can the albatross fall from our necks and we can truly be free. ” Julie Sara Porter — full review here.

Or – Fear Killer , a different psychological thriller.

WhatIfs –story ideas.

What if a woman from the future shows up to prevent the assassination of a president. After the present president was killed the VP became a cruel and greedy dictator who destroyed the country’s democracy and forced millions into poverty, and became her father.  Working with rebels they created a time machine to send her back. She teams up with an FBI agent who believes her. Together they are able to stop the assassination, meanwhile falling in love.  The thing is, if the killing never happens, she never exists. Will she just disappear? How deep is their love of country compared to their love of each other?

What if

What if a male vampire and a female Immortal hooked up and fell in love? How would their story play out? Maybe the vamps hate the Immortal. They can’t kill her so what do they try? What if a male Immortal is obsessed with her? Would he team up with the vamps to do…? Maybe the couple would move away. Could they have a baby? Maybe adopt an abandoned/abused kid. Maybe the obsessed Immortal tracks them down, discovers the kid and forms a demented plan to make the woman fall for him.

Talk about love that will never die.

 

Windhaven is all first draft. Be kind.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

Windhaven 18

 After Noah managed to go below and get some rest, Leigh stayed on deck. She walked the long cockpit surveying the damage, thinking she’d start to clean up, but quickly abandoned that idea. Up forward she wandered the deck with a flashlight, inspecting the damage, all the while shaking her head and muttering “Fuck, man. What the fuck? Are you shitting me?” The muttering and shaking kept her from thinking that they were totally alone, with thousands of miles to go and could expect no help. Though she had a reputation for being tough and competent and optimistic, she was scared and beginning to doubt herself.

She barely knew Noah. They had been on different watches, but he seemed to be competent and level headed. That was good, she would need him. Deep down she really thought she could survive and get the boat to safety. Taking care of Thomas was another thing. That, she could not do alone.

XXXXXX

By mid-morning they had made little progress sorting out the night’s disaster. They had secured the boom and some of the rigging so they could move around. The steering still worked, though the wheel had a large dent. The extra compass had not been found.

They made a plan to put up some sail. Putting the plan in action necessitated someone had to climb to the spreaders and rig some lines. Because of Noah’s injuries it had to be either Leigh or Leigh.

Hands in pockets, they stood side by side, gazing up at the mast remnant.

“We can throw a line over the spreader, pull up a block with a line in it and I can winch you up. Easy.”

“Yeah, easy.”

Neither one made a move.

“You know there’s something else we need to do. Not easy.”

Noah blew out a breath. “I know. It’s just… that… I can’t see myself doing… that. Cutting through. It’s very possible he’ll die on us.”

“I know, but if we don’t….”

It took Noah a minute to say, “I’m terrified to do this.”

“Me too.”

Noah shut his eyes tight. He didn’t like the visions he saw. Eyes open, he turned to Leigh.

She followed suit.

He gripped her shoulders, she held his arms.

“It has to be done,” Leigh said.

“Now,” Noah said.

They touched foreheads, taking courage from each other.

 

“Thomas?” Leigh said.

Thomas lay still, eyes closed, breathing shallow. “Are you the Grim Reaper now, Leigh?”

“I hope not,” she said, all serious. “We need you to climb up what’s left of the mast.”

He reached out and took her hand. “Before or after you cut off my leg?”

“Jesus, Thomas. Were you eavesdropping again?”

“Didn’t have to. Knew it was coming.”

“Right. Well, now’s the time. Take these pills. They should knock you out.”

“It’s going to hurt, isn’t it?”

“At some point, I expect so.”

With some difficulty, he swallowed the pills one by one.

“Noah?”

“He’s collecting the… tools.”

“I’m here, Thomas.” He took his friend’s hand. “You know what’s happening?”

Thomas gave a weak squeeze. His voice a rough whisper, he said, “For another ten minutes. You’ve been a good friend, Noah. Know this is hard on you. Nice knowing you.”

“We can talk about that later. It is and will be nice knowing you.”

“Right. Thanks for trying.” Thomas sighed and slipped into unconsciousness.

“We didn’t just kill him did we?”

Hands washed and gloved, scalpel and hacksaw retrieved from boiling water, bungee cords and quarter inch line for a tourniquet, and curved needles and thread for stitches gathered, Noah and Leigh gathered themselves and started.

Leigh held the scalpel over Thomas’s leg six inches below the knee. Her hand shook slightly. Noah gently held her hand and nodded – let’s-do-it.

Leigh, her hand steady, made the first cut across the bone. Then she cut through the flesh and muscle and tendons. No hesitation now. Slicing, slicing down to the bone, reaching under to cut up, reaching over to extend the cut all the way around. After a short burst of blood the tourniquet held the blood to a slow seep.

Noah pulled the flesh down so she could get completely to the bone. Once the bone was exposed, their expressions grimly neutral, Noah took the hacksaw while Leigh pulled the flesh tight to the knee. Noah, as if sawing a pipe, cut through the Tibia then quickly through the smaller Fibia.

The now free leg dropped away. Both of them breathed deep tension releasing breaths.

Leigh held out the scalpel.

Noah gingerly moved the dead leg away then with the scalpel made a deep incision in the left and right side of the flesh below the knee. The top and bottom flaps overlapped the bone stubs by an inch. When pressed together the bones were completely covered and the there was a closed seam all the way around.

“Is he still alive?” Noah asked.

“So far.”

“Should we release the tourniquets a little? Make sure there’s blood to the end?”

“I don’t know. Probably. A little.”

Leigh held the flaps together while Noah loosened the bungee cord then cautiously loosened the line tourniquet.

“Shit. Come on blood,” Leigh muttered.

Nothing happened for a few seconds that felt like minutes. Then, a few drops seeped out. Leigh loosened her grip. “That’s it, blood. Come on out.” Once blood colored the whole fleshy seam she tightened her grip and Noah tightened the tourniquet.

“Okay, let’s sew it up before I throw up,” Noah said.

“Fuck, man. You and me both.”

Noah held the skin together while Leigh sewed the two parts together from one end of the cut to the other. Her stitches weren’t pretty, but they did the job.

Shoulder to shoulder they watched as the skin gained a little color and blood oozed out the very end. “Doc,” Noah said, hand on her shoulder, “I can’t believe we actually did that.”

Leigh leaned against him. “Do you think he’ll survive?”

“I don’t know. I say we pour alcohol on it, clean up the blood, bandage it and get some fresh air. That’s all we can do.”

Fifteen minutes later from the cockpit they surveyed all the work needing to be done, searched for the sun in the thickening clouds and shared one of the few remaining beers. With little ceremony besides a few words from Noah they consigned Thomas’s leg to the sea.

“Weather’s coming,” Leigh observed.

“Of course it is.”

Thanks for reading. Suggestions and comments are welcome.

 

Windhaven 17

 

It’s been awhile since I last posted here. I’ve been working on the 4th book , Blood on the Mountain, in my Blood Justice series.  I’ve completed 2 drafts so far, so I’m taking a break for a day or two. I’ll be looking for Beta Readers soon. If you’re interested let me know – dcburtonjr@gmail.com

Don’t forget to check out and review Girl at Sea. Click here for a nice review.

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B087M4BWW6

 

Goodreads    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53242706-girl-at-sea

Smashwords –  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1018391

KOBOhttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/girl-at-sea-7

Barnes and Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/girl-at-sea-david-burton/1136970042

Websitehttps://davidburtonwriting.com/girl-at-sea/

Hope you all are making it safely through this nasty covid-19 stuff. I’m wearing my mask. Are you?

What Ifs?

What If? you were a good guy, or gal (am I allowed to say that?) vampire. Okay–What If? you’re a good vamp being chased by bad vamps and mortals. You’re good but there’s a lot of them. They run you into the sea. You’re a vamp, you’re dead, you don’t have to breathe, you swim out thinking you’ll hang out for a day and sneak back to shore. But you run into an underwater habitat experiment and save a mortal from a shark attack. You are attracted to one of the divers and they are attracted to you. Then the bad guys find you and you have to save your new love and friends. Then maybe you and your new friends go after the bad guys.

What IF? An antique bookseller friend asked you to steal a book that supposedly would teach you real magic and was worth a small fortune. You manage to steal the book, but now real bad guys with real magic are after you. You try and read the book, but don’t understand it. You go to your friend. He’s dead, but his daughter can read it and the two of you become badass magicians and take down the baddies and live more or less happily ever after.

 

To start Windhaven from the beginning click here

Windhaven 17

Almost a year to the day a two square mile mass of ice completed its separation from the Antarctic ice shelf. As if navigating to a particular destination it caught the Northern flow of a vast circular current. Right on time, helped by a well-timed storm, the ice left that current and headed Northeast, gradually shedding parts of itself.

By the time it reached W 154° 9’23.3 Longitude and S 53° 1’ 18.2 Latitude it had melted down to a bit less than half its original size. The Northern most leading edge had taken the shape of a ship’s bow, rising at an angle thirty-five feet from the surface. It carried its own camouflage, a shroud of fog that allowed the iceberg to travel in stealth mode, invisible until it was too late.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

By the time Leigh found the spare compass the sun had disappeared behind a misty gray horizon. They decided to replace it tomorrow. Red was looking better, breathing easier. Thomas, too, looked and felt better. He slept easy thanks to a couple extra vicodin with his beans and rice dinner.

Noah relaxed behind the starboard wheel. The day had been a rare one with wind no more than twenty knots, the seas as calm as they ever got in the Southern ocean. The sun had been out most of the day with temperatures in the fifties.

They had taken advantage of the day to do laundry, saltwater wash and rinse from water condensation collected from the mainsail at night, and other chores.

Noah tried to think about Linda, or his books, or what she was doing right then, or how a friend’s boat remodel was progressing. But his thoughts wanted to focus on Thomas and his leg. One didn’t have to be an ER doctor to know that it was infected. They knew they didn’t have the antibiotics to stop it from spreading. There was only one way to keep Thomas alive and they were not prepared to do it, though they had to.

A light mist obscured the stars. Noah thought the clouds were returning then realized the mist was close to the water. Fog? He squinted at the vapor. It seemed more on the starboard side and ahead.

He sat up and checked the speed – three knots.

He stood and looked closer ahead even as Windhaven entered the dark misty wall. The bow disappeared from sight. A larger darkness began to materialize. Before he could call for Leigh or grab the wheel the darkness became the bow of a ship, the line drew his eye up to the top of the mast.

Iceberg?

Windhaven bucked, knocked him down. A crunch. A snap like a gunshot. Leigh’s “What the fuck?” from below. The heavy stainless steel forestay landed like a hammer blow on the deck.

Mesmerized, Noah watched the mast lean aft.

Another groaning snap as the mast ripped apart just above the lower spreaders. The backstay, relieved of its tension, looped into the cockpit rolling over Noah, holding him down. The boom, with no sail or boomstay to hold it up, crashed onto the cabin, blocking the companion way.

The mast, still attached at the break, fell toward Noah. The masthead crashed over him, destroying what was left of the electronics stand and the aft rail. The mast missed him, but an upper shroud whipped across his shoulder hard enough to rip through his jacket, thick shirt and his skin.

Silence, but for the lapping of waves against the hull, enveloped Noah. He lay still, caught his breath, allowed his heart to calm. Allowed a sob of despair.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

“Noah!” Leigh popped up around the boom. “Noah?”

“Here.”

Relief flooded thorough her. As strong and competent as she was the thought of being alone did not appeal to her. She would never admit it terrified her.

She slipped through he companionway in time to watch the ice melt into its foggy shroud.

A few minutes later she managed to extract Noah.

Sitting in the cockpit among various wires and debris, Leigh tended his shoulder and wrapped his left wrist which, “Hurts like someone dropped something big on it.”

“Remind me not to let you stand night watch alone again,” Leigh said.

“And miss all the excitement?”

“Fucking iceberg, Jesus.”

“Smooth sailing from now on?”

She slumped onto the seat beside him and gazed at the stars. “In our dreams, Noah, in our dreams.”

 

Don’t forget to check out and review Girl at Sea – a slightly dark, slightly paranormal, coming -of-age- tale.  Go here for a nice review -https://bit.ly/32I3T4h

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B087M4BWW6

Goodreads    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53242706-girl-at-sea

Smashwords –  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1018391

KOBOhttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/girl-at-sea-7

Barnes and Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/girl-at-sea-david-burton/1136970042

Websitehttps://davidburtonwriting.com/girl-at-sea/

Windhaven 16

Hi All,

I’m finally getting some momentum on Blood on the Mountain, the 4th book in my Blood Justice Series. (look right) I hope to finish the first draft by Jan 1, but with the holidays and work and the general unexpected, it will be a tough deadline to make. I may be able to put together one more Windhaven post by then.

I am still looking for reviews of my coming of age novel Ancient Mariners.  (look right, down) If you’re interested let me know.

Ancient mariners
Ancient Mariners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually write about supernatural stuff or mystery/thrillers. Windhaven might have some thrills but no mystery and no vampires or trips to hell (see my other books.) It’s a survival adventure that could happen any day now.  I’m not doing official chapters every post, just whenever.  The numbers are to keep it all in order, for you and me. Comments and suggestions are always welcome, as long as you know that I may or may not follow them.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

 

What Ifs?

 What If? a large sailboat is out at sea, say crossing the Atlantic, with five crew aboard. One night, one is murdered. Everybody freaks out, blaming each other. One guy cooks a meal, adding a knockout ingredient. When the rest wake up they are chained in separate rooms. The Cook is determined to find the killer, using extreme methods. The captives determine that the cook is the killer. One of them manages to overpower the cook, accidently killing him. Great, but they are still chained and a storm and a rocky shore loom ahead. Oops! Now what?wrecked boat 3

What If? there’s a spaceship(A)a long way from anywhere and some accident takes out all their communication and navigation systems. The engines work, but where to go? Eventually another ship(B) finds them and wants to steal their cargo etc.. But the crew of ship A are bad guys, too, and try to take over ship B. What If? a crewmember from each ship know each other and decide to take it all. Let the cat and mouse games begin.

space ship1

 

 

 

Chapter 16

Leigh stood over the twitching body of the captain. She attempted to hold him still but had little success.

“Jesus,” Noah uttered when he came up beside Leigh.

Red’s eyes protruded and his mouth worked as if to say something, but only a strangled gurgle came out.

“Look at his head,” Noah said. “It’s seems swollen. I think he’s bleeding in his brain.”

“There’s been a few times when I thought he was doing a fat head move, but….”

“This is no joke. I think if we don’t reduce the pressure he’s gonna die.”

“Well we don’t have any drugs that we know how to use. So you’re thinking of drilling a hole in his head?”

“I’m open to suggestions.”

“I know we have at least one battery drill. See if you can find it. I’ll prep him, as I’m sure a real nurse would say.”

“You watch too much TV.”

“I haven’t watched TV for almost two years.”

“Lucky you.”

Noah worked his way forward. He stopped for a moment beside Alain. Delirious, the Frenchman struggled for each breath. Noah lightly squeezed his shoulder. “Hang in, man.”

A built in workbench on the starboard side had a cabinet above and two rows of drawers below. Each row had a stainless steel rod in front too keep the drawers from flying open during rough weather. A rack between the worktop and upper cabinets held three battery drills and batteries. All had a light coating of salt.

The first drill didn’t work. When he removed the battery water dripped out. He tried another battery. The drill spun, but slowly with no power. “Damn it!” Several minutes later he had one drill and one battery that worked. “When we get back I’m inventing waterproof drills.” He found a box of drill bits and a roll of electrical tape then headed aft.

He didn’t look in the small bunk forward where Larry’s body lay. But he didn’t miss the beginning odor of decay.

Leigh had shaved a four inch area on the top of Red’s head and wiped it down with alcohol. She had a plastic first aid kit open.

“You think that’s the right place?” Noah asked.

“Fuck if I know.”

“Right. A quarter inch drill bit a half inch deep, I’d guess.”

“Sure.”

Noah wrapped the tape around the bit about a half inch from the tip. “You want me to do it?”

“No. I’ve been friends with Red for a long time. If he’s going to die getting a hole in the head it should be from a friend, not a relative stranger. You have to hold him steady.” She wiped down his head with alcohol again and doused the drill bit with it.

Noah leaned over Red and gripped his head with both hands. “It’s going to hurt him.”

“Yeah, well, the only anesthetic we have is a winch handle to the head. He’s had enough of that.”

“Be quick then.”drill woman

Leigh leaned in and braced herself against the boat’s motion. She positioned the drill bit an inch above Red’s head. She’d already set out relatively clean towels and bandages.

“Sorry, Red,” she whispered. “We’re doing the best we can.”

Leigh squeezed the switch and pressed the drill against Red’s flesh and bone. Red’s body arched and he emitted a plaintive moan as the drill bit in. The bit immediately cut through to the bone. Leigh, face a tight grimace, pushed into the skull, her eyes fixed on the tape. Her hands shook as she slowly pushed in while ready to yank the drill out.

With no warning the drill broke through right up to the tape. “Shit!” Leigh yanked the drill out releasing a spurt of blood. More blood followed, soaking the laid out towel.

Red’s body slowly relaxed. To Noah, inches away, it seemed as if Red’s head shrunk, eyes receded, puffiness sucked in.wounded man

Noah let go of Red and rotated his own shoulders to ease the tension. He studied the blood dripping from the hole. “Now what? Let it bleed? Plug it up somehow?”

Leigh took a deep breath and flexed her hands. “I think we have some dry cotton balls. Stick one in and keep checking?”

“Sounds good.” He gripped one of her hands. “Good work. That can’t have been easy.”

“No. No. Thanks for your help. I hope we did the right thing.”

“We’ll see.”

“Noah. What’s going on?” Thomas called from his bunk on the opposite side of the boat.

Noah and Leigh exchanged glances. Leigh shrugged. “Might as well tell him.”

Noah moved over to Thomas. “How you doing?”

“My leg hurts like hell and I feel like shit. What were you guys doing to Red?”

“Drilling a hole in his head.”

Thomas lifted his head and gave him a what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about? look.

Noah explained.

“Fuck, man. He’s still alive?”

“So far.”

Thomas lay back and stared at the ceiling. “We’re fucked, aren’t we? All the electronics are dead?”

“I think so, but after tucking you in I’m going to start checking it all out. We do have one good battery.”

“Like I said, we’re fucked.”

“Not as long as I’m in charge,” Leigh said. “Take these pills.” She held out a plastic glass of water.

Thomas reached for the glass, hissed, his body vibrated and he fell back. “How about two… or three? Hurts, Leigh. Hurts.”

“Takes these first.” She held his head up to help him swallow the antibiotic and pain pills. “Let’s take a look.”

Noah fetched the first aid kit while Leigh gently pulled off the blood stained bandages. Leigh clenched her teeth to keep from making a sound when she saw the wound. When Noah returned she gave him a warning glare before he looked.

Dried blood surrounded the angry red puffed up cut. The stitches strained to hold it all together. Fresh blood seeped from the bottom end.

Tight lipped, they looked at each other. That wound did not look healthy.

Leigh shook her head back to practicality.

“Okay, Thomas. Special today for our one conscious patient.” She fed him two more pills. “We’re going to clean this up and put on fresh bandages. We’ll be as gentle as we can, but it may sting a bit. Then I’ll get you something to eat from our gourmet kitchen. Okay?”

Stretched out in one big breath barely audible, he said, “Okay, Captain Leigh.”

Wearing thin latex gloves Leigh and Noah cleaned the wound with alcohol. Thomas hissed and stiffened, but said nothing.

Finished, they moved topside to the aft end of the cockpit and spoke quietly.

“That leg didn’t look good,” Noah said.

“No, it didn’t. I think we need to double up on the antibiotics. If it gets really infected….”

“I agree. How much of that stuff do we have?”

“I don’t know. Between Alain, Red and Thomas, a couple weeks. Maybe three.”

“You’ve been tending him, but Alain doesn’t look good at all. Besides the pills, what else can we do for him?”

“Nothing. If we don’t get help soon….” She stared out at the grey waves and shook her head at the shittiness of the situation.stormy seas

 

XXXXXXX

For two hours Noah dug into the modern electrical system with a small multimeter that had been stored in a tightly closed box. He found that indeed, the one good battery was being charged by the one good solar panel though the sky was overcast more often than not.

He shut down the main panel, which still seeped saltwater. One by one he tried all the electronic devices. He got a buzz from the VHF and silence from the main satellite phone. GPS did not respond, the radar might have, but with the dome destroyed it didn’t matter. A secondary handheld satellite phone also produced nothing but silence. Despite the claims of their wide coverage, none of the cell phones had any bars. The computer was best used as a footrest.

The one thing he did find of use was a handheld backup GPS unit built for the outdoors. It had been found floating in the bilge even though one corner was slightly crunched. It lit up right away. In a few suspenseful seconds of flashing numbers it produced a location.

Excited, Noah laid out the large scale paper chart Larry had used to plot their progress. He pinpointed the GPS location, and found they were only a hundred and fifty miles from Tahiti. Noah slumped in his chair. He was pretty sure that it was too windy, cold, rough and grey outside to be anywhere close to Tahiti thousands of miles to the north.

Not willing to give up he switched off the unit, shook it, tapped it on the desk and turned it on. Again the screen flashed then settled on a location. Immediately Noah saw that the location was more realistic.

162.11 West Longitude, 53.42 South Latitude.chart 1

Elated that he had a probably real position, he plotted it on the chart, but worried that they were farther south than he hoped. He’d set a NW course, yet they seemed to be moving south. “Oh shit.” He scrambled into the cockpit and studied the compass. It showed a course of 80 degrees, but there was no damping oil in the compass. He steered Windhaven ten to fifteen degrees to port. The compass didn’t move at first. A minute passed and it swung twenty to thirty degrees to the north and stuck. Turning back, the compass card did not follow.

“Which the hell way are we going?” He knew they had en extra compass, if it was still intact. “Leigh!”

 

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