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!”

 

My writing team says you should check out my other books and stories. You should listen to them!

writing team 1

Http://davidburtonwriting.com

 

Windhaven 15

Welcome.  Click here to go to the full page.

FYI – I’m not posting as much because I’m working on another novel with a deadline.

 

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.

This is all first draft, or at least first draft and a half.  Comments welcome.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

BTW – I’m looking for readers to read and review my coming of age novel, Ancient Mariners: A Coming-of-Age Tale. If you’re interested let me know.

 

What Ifs?

What If a caver disappeared while exploring the huge caves in Borneo? Search parties caves 4were unable to find him, he was presumed dead. A couple weeks later he emerges and starts telling people that he met Gaia, Earth as a sentient being. He preached that Gaia was pissed off at what the people were doing to her. He was written off as a crackpot until he said an earthquake was coming – Right Now. And it did. Coincidence they said, until it happened again and again. Tornados appeared at his command. He gained followers and disciples and finally governments were forced to accept what he said and actually did what needed to be done. A happy ending for the Earth.

 What If a vampire and a werewolf fell in love and had a baby?

What would the kid be like? What if he/she had all the attributes of vamps and weres? They’d be unstoppable. Also a freak, possibly shunned by both sides. They might go off on their own, maybe to the light side, or dark, depending on how they were treated – Become the Night Wolf. Of course there comes a time for all superheroes when they have to choose to help those who wronged them, or leave them to their fate. Perhaps a human, also lonely and wronged, could help Night Wolf decide which side to choose.

 

Windhaven

Chapter 15 

Noah woke. His mouth so dry his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. He was thirsty and had to piss. The newly risen sun shone through a crack in the grey clouds and through the corner of a window, illuminated his face, but he held his eyes closed. Just for a minute or two or three he wanted to be waking up on his boat to the smell of coffee his wife, or was it Linda,  had made while he slept. He wanted to feel the warmth of the sun and breeze. He wanted to be sailing on calm seas over warm water. He wanted to take a mug of fresh coffee to… his wife, no Linda and sit next to her by the wheel. He wanted to feel her skin on his and know that all was right with the world. And it was, for about three minutes, until an errant wave slapped the hull and Leigh cussed loud enough to wake King Neptune, as if they didn’t have enough problems.

“Noah, your fucking self-steering broke, again. There’s coffee. Will you bring me a cup… please.”

“Yes, Dear.”

Several minutes later he handed Leigh a covered coffee mug. He set his mug in a cup holder and holding tight to the bent electronics bridge he pissed over the side while Leigh hand steered.

“I hate you men in general because you can do that,” she told him over her shoulder.

Noah sat beside her. “You can hang it over the side, too. Just hang on tight.”

“With my luck that cold ass water would slap my butt. I’ll stick with a bucket, thank you very much.”

They sipped their coffee for a few minutes before Leigh asked, “You check on the guys lately?”coffee 1

“I gave Thomas some coffee and helped him to the head. I don’t know what else to do.”

“Keep them watered, fed and clean. I think Thomas will be okay, but I’m worried about Red. He moans with pain, but I don’t know where it’s coming from. He’s delirious most of the time and his eyes look like they’re going to pop out of his head. And Alain, I’m giving him antibiotics and water. I think most of his injuries are internal. That’s beyond my pay grade.”

“We need that Emergency medical book. Has it dried out any?”

“Not much.”

Noah sipped and let out a deep sigh. “I think we have one good battery. I didn’t even notice that we lost all but one of our solar panels. If both are good we might at least have lights. All those electronics were under water weren’t they?”

“Yep. Several times.”

“I’ll fix the steering and see what I can figure out. You should get some rest.”

Leigh nodded, letting her head hang as if she was going to fall asleep right there. Noah gently squeezed her shoulder. She looked at him sideways. “You know we’re in real trouble here.”

Noah sighed, “I know.”

Leigh pushed herself up and toward the companionway.

“You have someone waiting for you back home, wherever that is?” Noah asked.

“Husband.”

“So you don’t hate all men.”

She shrugged, flashed a smile, and vanished down the companionway.

XXXXXXXXXX

Sitting in Larry’s command chair, Noah studied the main electrical panel. It was state of the art, but with a layout similar to the old panel in his boat. Except for the fine layer of salt on everything. Water had dripped out when he opened the door. Most of the breakers were tripped.

It took him half an hour to sort out the wiring enough to run a direct wire from the battery to the lone solar panel. He had no way of knowing if it worked, but it should, so he moved on.electric panel1

He also managed to run a direct wire to one of the interior lights breakers. Nothing. He pulled the breaker and connected directly to the interior wiring. Lights! Some in the galley and main salon. It would be a big help nonetheless.

Noah slumped in the nav station chair. It really hit him then – They were on their own, and he only had a vague idea where they were. He had to press his lips tight to endure that old sinking stomach fear. Really, he just wanted to cry. Visions of Linda slid across the back of his eyelids. He liked thinking of her, seeing her in his mind. He had a good feeling about her, and thought she had the same for him. He hoped so, but he’d never know if he didn’t make it home.

Among the debris they’d found floating in the water and hadn’t done anything with yet, Noah found the large scale paper chart Larry had marked their daily position on. Their last known position had been S 51°57’ 24.8” by W 167° 24’ 12.3”, about two hundred nautical miles East and South of New Zealand. That was noon on the day the wave hit. Say another hundred miles by the time the wave threw them into survivor mode. Those that survived.

Noah had no idea how far they’d traveled since then or what course. He remembered Larry had mentioned… Christ, Larry, his body lay in a forward bunk. They couldn’t keep him there indefinitely.

Larry had mentioned they were in an area of circular currents, pushing them south as they sailed east. For a moment he let hopelessness grip his chest. They were, literally, on the way to the middle of nowhere.

He took a deep breath, sat up and slapped the desk with both palms. For all he knew Linda had forgotten about him, but she was the only thing he had to hold on to. So, no feeling sorry for himself, get his shit together and move on.

Noah allowed a smile to creep onto his face. It vanished when Leigh cried out, “Noah, come here!”
Click here to go to the full page.

Thanks for reading,

Cheers.

 

Windhaven 14

Hi,

Welcome to my What If? and novel writing blog. My original intention was to post a few pages  of Windhaven every week. That obviously hasn’t happened. I’m working on another novel, the fourth in my Blood Justice series, and that has to take priority in order to meet my self imposed deadline of December 31.  I will still post here, but it will have to be on a time available basis.  I’m sorry. I, too, look forward to finding out who survives.

Meanwhile,

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.  This is all first draft, so comments and suggestions are always welcome.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

 

What Ifs?

 

What If a cave explorer disappeared while exploring the huge caves in Borneo’s Gunungcaves 4 Mulu national park? Search parties were unable to find him, he was presumed dead. A couple weeks later he emerges and starts telling people that he met Gaia, Earth as a sentient being. He preached that Gaia was pissed off at what the people were doing to her. He was written off as a crackpot until he said an earthquake was coming – Right Now. And it did. Coincidence they said, until it happened again and again. Tornados appeared at his command. He gained followers and disciples and finally governments were forced to accept what he said and actually did what needed to be done. A happy ending for the Earth.

 

What If a vampirevampire2 and a werewolf werewolf3fell in love and had a baby? What would the kid be like? What if he/she had all the attributes of vamps and weres? They’d be unstoppable. Also a freak, possibly shunned by both sides. They might go off on their own, maybe to the light side, or dark, depending on how they were treated – Become the Night Wolf. Of course there comes a time for all superheroes when they have to choose to help those who wronged them, or leave them to their fate. Perhaps a human, also lonely and wronged, could help Night Wolf decide which side to choose.

 

Windhaven

Chapter 15

 Noah woke. His mouth so dry his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. He was thirsty and had to piss and the newly risen sun shone through a crack in the grey clouds and through the corner of a window, illuminating his face, but he held his eyes closed. Just for a minute or two or three he wanted to be waking up on his boat to the smell of coffee his wife had made while he slept. He wanted to feel the warmth of the sun and breeze. He wanted to be sailing on calm seas over warm water. He wanted to take a mug of fresh coffee to his wife and sit next to her by the wheel. He wanted to feel her skin on his and know that all was right with the world. And it was, for about three minutes, until an errant wave slapped the hull and Leigh cussed loud enough to wake King Neptune, as if they didn’t have enough problems.

“Noah, your fucking self-steering broke, again. There’s coffee. Will you bring me a cup… please.”

“Yes, Dear.”

Several minutes later he handed Leigh a covered coffee mug. He set his mug in a cup holder and holding tight to the bent electronics bridge he pissed over the side while Leigh hand steered.

“I hate you men in general because you can do that,” she told him over her shoulder.

Noah sat beside her. “You can hang it over the side, too. Just hang on tight.”

“With my luck that cold ass water would slap my butt. I’ll stick with a bucket, thank you very much.”

They sipped their coffee for a few minutes before Leigh asked, “You check on the guys lately?”

“I gave Thomas some coffee and helped him to the head. I don’t know what else to do.”

“Keep them watered, fed and clean. I think Thomas will be okay, but I’m worried about Red. He moans with pain, but I don’t know where it’s coming from. He’s delirious most of the time and his eyes look like they’re going to pop out of his head. And Alain, I’m giving him antibiotics and water. I think most of his injuries are internal. That’s beyond my pay grade.”

“We need that Emergency medical book. Has it dried out any?”

“Not much.”

Noah sipped and let out a deep sigh. “I think we have one good battery. I didn’t even notice that we lost all but one of our solar panels. If both are good we might at least have lights. All those electronics were under water weren’t they?”

“Yep. Several times.”

“I’ll fix the steering and see what I can figure out. You should get some rest.”

Leigh nodded, letting her head hang as if she was going to fall asleep right there. Noah gently squeezed her shoulder. She looked at him sideways. “You know we’re in real trouble here.”

Noah sighed, “I know.”

Leigh pushed herself up and toward the companionway.

“You have someone waiting for you back home, wherever that is?”

“Husband”

“So you don’t hate all men.”

She shrugged, flashed a smile, and vanished down the companionway.

 

Sitting in Larry’s command chair, Noah studied the main electrical panel. It was state of the art, but with a layout similar to the old panel in his boat. Except for the fine layer of salt on everything. Water had dripped out when he opened the door. Most of the breakers were tripped.electronics1

He had found a multi-meter to test voltage in an electrical toolbox. Water dripped out when he picked it up. Just for the hell of it he tested the one house battery. It worked, then froze at eleven and a half volts. Something at least.

It took him half an hour to sort out the wiring and run a direct wire to the lone remaining solar panel. He had no way of knowing if it worked, but it should, so he moved on.

He ran a direct wire to one of the interior lights breakers. Nothing. He pulled the breaker and connected directly to the interior wiring. Lights! Some in the galley and main salon. It would be a big help nonetheless.

Two hours later he hadn’t been able, between having been under water, cracked, battered and no antenna, to make any of the radios work. They had had satellite internet through Larry’s computer which was found smashed and underwater. Noah found a handheld satellite radio in a drawer in three inches of water, its internal batteries fried.

Noah slumped in the nav station chair. It really hit him then – They were on their own, and he only had a vague idea where they were. He had to press his lips tight to endure that old sinking stomach fear. Really, he just wanted to cry. Visions of Linda slid across the back of his eyelids. He liked thinking of her, seeing her in his mind. He had a good feeling about her, and thought she had the same for him. He hoped so, but he’d never know if he didn’t make it home.

Among the debris they’d found floating in the water and hadn’t done anything with yet, Noah found the large scale paper chartchart 1Larry had marked their daily position on. Their last known position had been S 51°10’ 24.8 by    W 167° 24’ 12.3, about two hundred nautical miles East of New Zealand. That was noon on the day the wave hit. Say another hundred miles by the time the wave threw them into survivor mode. Those that survived.

Noah had no idea how far they’d traveled since then or what course. He remembered Larry had mentioned… Christ, Larry, his body lay in a forward bunk. They couldn’t keep him there indefinitely.

Larry had mentioned they were in an area of circular currents, pushing them south as they sailed east. For a moment he let hopelessness grip his chest. They were, literally, in the middle of nowhere.

He took a deep breath, sat up and slapped the desk with both palms. For all he knew Linda had forgotten about him, but she was the only thing he had to hold on to. So, no feeling sorry for himself, get his shit together and move on.

In a drawer he found a handheld GPS unit in a soaking box filled with foam and water. To his surprise it lit up. Gaze fixed on the flashing numbers he willed it to show their position. The numbers stopped. He checked the chart. “Shit.” He was pretty sure they were not 50 miles south of Tahiti.

He shook the unit, water came out and he threw it on the desk in disgust. The numbers flashed, and showed a position that made sense – S 53°06’ 48.8 by W 161°15’ 03.6. They were still in the middle of nowhere, a thousand miles from anywhere, but at least he knew where in nowhere. A quick calculation showed about five thousand plus miles East to Chili. Doable if they didn’t starve or run out of water or sink first.

Something positive achieved. Noah allowed a smile to creep onto his face. It vanished when Leigh cried out, “Noah, come here!”

Comments and suggestions welcomed – dcburtonjr@gmail.com

https://davidburtonwriting.com

 

Windhaven 13

Click here for the full page post.

Well, weekly posts doesn’t seem to be happening. A bit of surgery and then some tables falling on me have slowed me down some. Not much action this time, but after the Wave you gotta have some recuperation time.

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. Dcburtonjr@gmail.com

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

What Ifs are random ideas for future stories by me or you. Feel free to use them as you will.

What Ifs

What if vampires, satan3-readingwitches, werewolves, etc. were real, but, for obvious reasons given human nature, they wanted to stay hidden from us mere mortals? As if they actually could over the centuries, A Discovery of Witches notwithstanding. What if you were the only one who knew about them? What would you do? Keep it very quiet? Yell it from the rooftops – and end up in the Looney Bin? Befriend them, use them for your own nefarious purposes? What If someone else found out about them and planned to use that knowledge exactly the opposite of you. Could, would, that precipitate a war that couldn’t be hidden from the merely human. Knowledge should be used with care.

 

What If  you were on a spaceship space ship2and discovered a planet populated by vampires.  Like us they cultivated there own animals for their food supply, and had never tasted human blood. Maybe after an accident one tasted your blood. Oh Yum! What would they do to you? What would you do? Dole out you blood for favors in return. Would they force you to give them directions to Earth? Would you sacrifice yourself to save Earth? Maybe figure out a clever way to save Earth and yourself. What kind of hero are you?

 

Windhaven

Chapter 13

Thomas emitted a muffled scream; his body arched then slumped back. He lapsed into unconsciousness.

Leigh released her grip and the bone slid more or less into place.

Noah relaxed, tried to catch his breath. “That was… intense.”

Leigh nodded. “You have an awfully light touch. Effective though. We need to clean him up and bandage him. I’ve given him antibiotics. I don’t think there’s anything else we can do for him.”

“Right, then we need to get this water out and contact someone.”

They checked on Alain. He lay still but for labored breathing. Leigh pulled down the blanket covering him. “Feel here,” she said, pointing to an indentation by his ribs.

Noah gently ran a couple fingers over the depression. Alain moaned. Noah said, “Probably broken ribs.”

“I think they’ve punctured his lung. I have no idea how to fix that. His lungs were full of water, which probably isn’t helping. I got him breathing again. I doubt I did him a favor.”

“You had to try. We need to find that emergency medical book.”

Red’s eyes were open, the slightly bulging eyeballs twitching as he muttered nonsense.

They watched him for a minute, but said nothing.

On deck, under partly cloudy skies, Leigh stood in the cockpit her face upturned, arms out. “Many times lately, I thought I’d never see the sun again.” She rolled her head to look at Noah working the bilge pump again. “Thanks for saving the boat.”

“Thank this safety harness. If it wasn’t for it I’d be floating face down twenty miles back there and Windhaven would be on the bottom leaving a mystery about what happened.”

“Well, we’ll still be a mystery if we don’t get our shit together. We should put up a jib. It’ll help balance the boat and help your self-steering rig.”

Together they cleaned the foredeck of stray lines and the remnants of the shredded headsail. While Noah adjusted his self-steering rig Leigh, on her knees, looking astern, worked the bilge pump.

“I really don’t want to go back below. It’s so wet and musty and it smells and there’s no ventilation and I can’t help any of those guys.” She stopped pumping and stared at the approaching waves. “I’ll be real surprised if Alain makes it. That will be a real tragedy. He has a very pretty wife and two beautiful kids. Except for the fact that he tends to go sailing for months at a time he has the perfect family. The one everybody thinks they’re going to get.” She started working the bilge pump again.

“You married?” Noah asked.

A minute of silence passed. “Yes.”

“He not so perfect?” She glanced up at him. “I expect, if we survive at all, it’s going to be just you and me for quite awhile.” Leigh smiled to herself. “He’s about as perfect as a man can be – His name is Sam.”

“Is Sam as perfect as you thought you would get?”

She stared at the coming waves, seven to ten feet, but not close together and not steep. “I never thought I’d get married to a man. I’m married to the sea.”

“Will he be worried about you?”

She stopped pumping. “You take over. The big pump below is more efficient that this, but I’m not ready to go down there yet.”

Leigh sat behind the helm her face tilted up to catch a tiny bit of warmth from the afternoon sun.woman at the helm

“Will somebody be worried about you?” she asked.

“No. Not really.” Then he pictured Linda in the morning, smiling, blonde hair a tangle, green eyes glittery with sleep and sex. “Well… maybe.”

Noah left Leigh at the helm and went below. He checked on the men then worked the big manual bilge pump hard for thirty minutes. The water level had receded significantly so he could pick up clothes, books, papers, and food. Wet clothes, soggy books, including the emergency medical book, and spoiled food he threw into the cockpit where Leigh sorted it out. He checked the fresh water. There was no power at all, but the manual foot pump in the galley and one head worked. It took a few minutes to get the stove working, a little longer to make some coffee. He handed a cup to a grateful Leigh.

“Well, maybe we will survive after all,” she said. “Can you cook?”

“As long as I can find the can opener.”

“An electric can opener won’t do you much good.”

“I know my way around basic wiring, but electronics are beyond me.”

“We all need food. Can you fix something?”

“Right. Food first, electricity tomorrow.”

While Noah heated up, not really cooking, a meal with two cans of baked beans and one of Spam, he checked the water tanks. The forward 35 gallon tank was almost full. Of the two 55 gallon tanks one was empty; the other held about 40 gallons. Windhaven had a watermaker, useless unless he could restore power.

Thomas woke enough to feed himself. Groggy, he said, “Shit, Noah, this Spam almost makes up for hitting my leg. That hurt like hell, man. Still hurts, but not quite up to Hell level. Purgatory, maybe.”

“Sorry, but that bone wasn’t cooperating, so….”

“No worries.” Thomas held out his empty bowl and let his head fall back. “You contacted anybody yet?”

“No. We’ve been trying to get our shit together so we can survive to be rescued.”

“I know. Leigh saved all our asses down here. EPIRBS?”

“The main antenna is broken off. With no power it probably wouldn’t work anyway. The other one is missing.”

Red regained consciousness enough to eat and drink a little, but not enough to speak any sense.

Alain took some water and an antibiotic pill while continuing to murmur in undecipherable French.

Though Noah desperately needed sleep he had to take a quick look into the engine compartment. The water level was a few inches below the diesel engine. On the starboard side two of the four motor mounts of a diesel generator had broken, leaving the generator on its side ready to tumble into the bilge at any time.

On the port side were three battery boxes, two holding two large GEL batteries, the third holding one. Along with the batteries were much of the miscellaneous mechanical and electrical equipment, including the watermaker. Or what was left of it.

One of the batteries had broken loose and smashed into it. Another was jammed between the engine and hull. Two other batteries were missing, thrown into the saltwater filled bilge. The lone, smaller, battery hung by its wires over the bilge. The whole compartment reeked of damp with an overtone of ozone from the batteries shorting out while under water.

Noah held the flashlight under his arm as he carefully pulled up the small battery. The flashlight slipped away, hit the hull and rolled toward the bilge. Noah reached out with his foot to stop it from rolling into the bilge. His other foot slipped. He grabbed an engine hose to keep himself from slipping into the water while still trapping the flashlight with his other foot. Simultaneously, he lost his grip on the small battery wire.

The roll of the boat gave the battery momentum. One of the two attached wires broke off when it took the full weight. It slid halfway into the water before the second wire stopped it.

Noah carefully retrieved the flashlight then equally as careful pulled up the battery and installed it in its box.

He called that a day and a minute later fell asleep on a damp pipe berth.

 

Comments and suggestions are welcome. Dcburtonjr@gmail.com

 

Windhaven 12

Hi, I’m David. If you’re a writer here’s a couple ideas you can use. If you write something I’d love to see what you did with the ideas. The Windhaven part is a novel I’m writing post by post. You can’t use that idea.

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. I will read them before throwing them out  absolutely positively incorporating them.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE.

If you only get the e-mail version please click HERE to go to the full page.

What If?

What If you had wanted to be a writer back in high school and collage. You took a lot of classes and  wrote a lot of short stories during that time, some of the later ones pretty far out. You thought they were pretty good, but Life got in the way and you put those stories away.

Say eleven years later you happen on those stories. They’re in order, first story on top of the stack, each one dated. You read the first one, not bad, but familiar. Second one the same. You check the date. Shit. Exactly ten years from the story’s date that story happened to you – A car accident, but you met the love of your life. Second story, exactly ten years later your sister’s boyfriend beat her almost to death. Third, fourth, fifth – all happened ten years later. Then you get stories that haven’t happened – yet. Winning the lottery, an accident putting you in a wheelchair, a wife murdered. Can the stories be revised?

 What if you were a kid – 10-12 – and you went for a day sail in the ocean with your father. A nasty squall knocks the boat over and your father falls overboard. You don’t have much experience, but you manage to get to your father. He’s only a few feet away when a huge hand reaches up from the depths, grabs him and takes him down. You watch him be dragged down and there’s nothing you can do.

You know what you saw. It influences your life. Grown up, you’re in a position to explore the ocean bottom in that spot. You go down and find…?

 

 

Windhaven 12

“Leigh?”

“Noah.”

“I thought everyone was… dead.”

“No, not everyone.” Her voice was rough, deep, like sliding slate together.

“Who? Who is gone?”

“Larry. I don’t know where Ivan or Ricky are.”

“Weren’t they down below?” Noah was awake, though stiff with cold and an all over sorness.

“No. When the wave hit they were not below.”

“Oh, Jesus. They were on deck, trying to get here.” With the light he looked to the port side where he had seen them scrambling to climb to the cockpit. He saw the red tether to a safety harness hanging from a bent lifeline stanchion. He raised his free hand and pointed at the frayed nylon webbing.

Noah said, ”I need help up here. She won’t steer herself. If we broach again….”

“I’m injured. Thomas, Red and Alain are in bad shape. I’ve been working the big manual bilge pump all night, but there’s still a lot of water in here and there’s no power.”

Noah surveyed the ripped main and tangle of lines. “I need to set up some sort of self-steering. If I can do that, then I can help all of you. Is the med kit okay?”

“Yeah. We’re all on heavy pain meds except Red. I think he has a bad concussion.”

“My wrist hurts like hell. I’ll get something rigged up.”

The new sun’s rays washed over him. He closed his eyes as his face soaked in the warmth.

“Noah. Noah! Don’t fall asleep.”

Noah jerked awake. “Sorry. Sorry. Self steering.”

 

It took Noah almost two hours to rig up something. First he dropped the torn main sail until he could lash the top section through the reefing holes to the boom. That in place, Windhaven picked up almost two knots. He then removed the traveler bar and rigged a flexible one with spare line and snatch blocks. With the boom free, he rigged lines and bungee cords so that if the boom swung and lost wind it would turn the helm to turn the boat back to catch full wind, and do the same if the sail caught more wind. It was a Rube Goldberg set up that would need a lot of fine tuning, but it worked well enough he could leave it for short periods.

Despite the water and protein bar Leigh set out for him, Noah wanted nothing more than to curl up a sleep, but there was much to do. He got his first real look below as he slowly descended the steps.

A foot of debris filled water sloshed across the floorboards. Papers, books, food, clothes, pillows, trash rolled back and forth. The same items were plastered randomly on counters and settees and bulkheads, left there by the earlier broaches.

He smelled the close odor of churning sea water. As he stepped into the water he hesitated a moment to identify another odor – blood. His chest tightened as he surveyed the damage – dismay and fear of their immediate future.

Thin grey cloud cover let little light into the cabin. Noah passed the galley and navigation station, both wet and dark. He saw Red first, laying on a fold down bunk across from the main table. A damp blanket covered his body to the neck, his head was wrapped with a blood spotted bandage. He didn’t move.

“Leigh!” He rested a hand on Red’s chest. Felt the faint rise and fall.

Leigh came from forward, her legs swishing through the cold water. “Noah, finally.”

“I thought he wasn’t breathing.”

“I thought so too, several times.” She swept damp, frizzled hair off her face.

Noah couldn’t contain a hiss of unpleasant surprise at the dent in her head by her left eye. The eyeball was red with a faraway look. “Christ, Leigh, have you seen yourself? Can you see?”

“Haven’t had a chance to look at myself. Am I not beautiful anymore?”

“Just the right side. Looks like someone took a hammer to the left. Can you see? We need to get the bone pieces off your eye.”

Her bravado slipped for a moment. “No, I can’t.” She waved in the direction of the companionway. “The others are worse off. Thomas has a broken leg. A compound fracture. We need to fix it, now.” She waved forward. “Alain almost drowned. He had water in his lungs and I think, maybe, internal injuries. He’s delirious and isn’t breathing well. You?”

“Wrist, hand. Something’s broken, I think. Hit my head pretty hard. I could use some Tylenol and water and a big bucket of KFC. Where’s Thomas?”

Leigh led the way to a fixed bunk about three feet high over built-in drawers to starboard of the companionway. Thomas lay head forward covered by a heavy yellow rain jacket. A blood stained white kitchen towel covered his right leg.

His voice was weak, his words a bit slurred. “Noah. You’re… alive. Thought maybe….”

wounded man

“He’s got a lot of pain meds in him,” Leigh said.

“I’m a little beat up, but still standing.”

“What happened out there?”

“Freak wave just about took us down. But I think we’re okay. For the moment, anyway.”

“I remember, Ivan and Ricky were on deck.”

“They’re gone. I’m sorry. I know you and Ricky were old friends.”

Thomas’s eyes closed, squeezing out a tear.

Leigh lifted the towel off his leg. Blood stained the area including a couple inches of bone poking through the skin. She took a bottle of alcohol from a drawer and poured a little over the wound. Thomas hissed as his body stiffened and vibrated like a line stretched too tight.

“Now,” Leigh said quietly.

Noah nodded. “Do you know how to do it?”

“Not really, but I know it’s got to be done.”

“It’s going to hurt him.”

“He’s got three pills in him. I’ll get another one.”

“Yeah, okay. And maybe some Tylenol for me?”

“Right.”

A thump echoed through the boat. Windhaven lurched sharply to port.

“Shit.” Noah staggered to keep upright. “I need to readjust,” he said as he climbed the companionway ladder.

Back at the helm he got Windhaven back on the most comfortable course. He knew that if they could make way they should be easing north to calmer water. But right then they needed to stay stable.

Before he went below Noah took a minute to closely inspect the damage to the antenna and radar array at the stern. He was no electronics expert, but if he was he didn’t think there was any hope of fixing anything. A thick-walled, two inch diameter stainless steel post had been bent a hundred and eighty degrees, smashing the radar dome to pieces along with two antennas which were broken at the base. Another smaller post with more antennas and weather instruments had broken at the base. All the antennas and the GPS and EPIRB transmitters were smashed or missing.

A wave of futility surged through his chest, shrinking it so he could barely breathe. He knew their location, roughly – Two thousand miles from anywhere except Antarctica where in their present condition they did not want to go. Persevere and carry on. Persevere and carry on. Persevere and carry on. Drawing in a deep breath, he went below.

Leigh waited beside Thomas. A shaft of sunlight shown through the companionway, illuminating her face, giving Noah a clear view of her face. Noah stifled a shocked inhale. A black smudge of fatigue underscored her good eye. The other eye, mostly red, was circled by black and purple bruising. The blood encrusted inch wide indentation of her skull covered a third of her eye and gave her an alien pirate look.

“You need to take care of that eye.”

“Later. I got him to swallow another pill. So, now, Noah. Now.”

“Do you know what to do here?”

“No. Do you?”

“Not really. I thought you did.”

“Noah, I don’t know fuck all about this medical stuff. Red’s mother was an ER nurse and so was he for awhile. Ivan was a Marine medic in Iraq and Afghanistan. But they’re not available at the moment.”

“Christ. I thought we had an emergency medical book somewhere.”

“We do. It’s in the water, somewhere. Look, Noah, anything we do can’t be worse than if we do nothing. I’ll hold him down, you pull the bone back until it goes back under the skin and slides in place. Don’t you watch television? They do it all the time. Let’s go.”

Cussing under his breath, Noah moved around to where he could grab the lower leg, but his left hand had no grip. “I can’t hold him with this hand.”

“Well, shit. You hold him, I’ll pull.”

They switched positions. Noah said, “Thomas, we’re going to–.”

“Noah, don’t talk, do.”

Noah lay over Thomas. He grasped Thomas’s leg as best he could around the knee.

“One, two, three.”

Leigh pulled on the lower leg.

Thomas bucked under Noah and screamed. He grabbed Noah’s jacket and attempted to pull him off.

The broken Tibia slid back a few inches and stopped. She tried pulling in different directions, but the bone wouldn’t budge. She let go and the bone slid out an inch. She pulled again.

Thomas’s scream was more of a desperate moan, his grip weaker.

The bone still protruded. “That’s as far as it will go.”

“Fuck it.” Noah reached out and pounded the bone with his fist.

 

As always comments are appreciated – dcburtonjr@gmail.com

Windhaven 11 – click here for the full page

Windhaven 11

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 If?s

What If when a particular person was killed her soul would jump to the nearest person, the person who killed her. She wouldn’t have outright control of the new body, just varying levels of influence. Just enough make the killer step in front of a bus or jump off a roof. She’s been doing it for a long time, met some nasty people and some good people. She now picked the way the bad ones died, so she’d be close to a good person, who she might influence for good. But there’s one very bad killer, maybe he murdered a friend, and she searches for him, so he will kill her, and then she can punish him.  What If there was a detective on is trail, too? Or, on her trail?

What If a woman reports that her boyfriend is missing. An officer is sent to get information. It turns out that the boyfriend is a ghost. She says he comes and goes through a closet. The officer likes the woman, though he thinks she’s a bit nuts. He looks in the closet, nothing weird. He steps in – and finds himself in a netherworld of ghosts and spirits.

He’s freaked out, but intrigued. The officer’s brother died a year ago, but he always felt that the brother was still around, wanting to tell him something. So, on his own he does some research and reenters the closet, searching for the boyfriend, who in life had his own secrets, and his brother. The woman goes in with him and turns out not to be so nuts during their netherworld adventure.

 

Windhaven  11

Tons of cold water smashed him against the wheel then the roiling water plucked him up and tumbled him about like inside a salty, freezing clothes washer. His safety harness bit into his shoulders, yanking him back. Water buffeted him about, attempting to knock the air out of his lungs and drown him.

Somehow he held in the air. He wasn’t going to drown. He wasn’t going to die. He had something, someone to live for. As the water attempted one more time to yank him away from the boat, squeezing his last breath out, the water let him go.

He crashed down on the helm. A flash of pain bit his left wrist. His head smacked the edge of the cockpit. The full cockpit sloshed him about as he gasped for air.

“Ahhh,” he cried out, grasping for a solid handhold.

Windhaven slid out of control down the back of the freak wave. The reefed mainsail had split in half. The boom traveler had been ripped from the deck and swung widely, crashing into the two aft shrouds.

Noah struggled through dizziness to gain his feet. He held on with his one good hand as the next wave picked up the stern and threw it aside. With no guidance Windhaven broached, turning broadside to the wave. She rolled ninety degrees, the masthead touching the water as the wave broke over her. The cockpit filled as The cold, dark water flowed from the cockpit through the hole left by the torn loose traveler.

She righted herself in the trough between waves. Noah, knowing another broach would sink the boat, forced himself to take control of the helm. Wind caught the mast and torn sails. The boat made some headway. Noah threw the wheel over as the new wave tried to broach her. His actions reversed the broach though allowing the wave to break over the stern. Wheezing, coughing, freezing, in pain, Noah wrestled Windhaven from disaster.

Half filled with water Windhaven wallowed in the seaway, yet fought with Noah to maintain a steady course. Breathing easier, expecting help from below any second, Noah surveyed the damage.

The mast still stood, though the aft lower shrouds were loose due to the constant beat by the swinging boom. The whole traveler apparatus slammed into the deck with each swing, gouging the deck and cabin top. The stainless steel array over the stern that sprouted with all the radar, radio and satellite communications antennas had bent almost double, shattering much of the equipment.wrecked boat1

The mainsail was ripped horizontally from mast to leech. The headsail clew was ripped off, the rest tatters blowing forward by the forty, fifty knot winds.

Noah searched for Ricky and Ivan. There were no signs of them, they must have made it down below. Then why hadn’t he heard from any of the crew?

Windhaven shuddered as the boom swung against the rigging again. Once he had the helm in hand, to secure the boom was a top priority, not only for the rigging, but each time it whipped the traveler over the deck it opened the hole bigger and if anybody was incautious enough to exit the companionway without looking could easily have their head taken off.

Fighting through the dizziness and deep chill, he determined that the only way to secure the boom would be to get a line around the end and use a winch to hold it in place. Tangled lines were strewn about the cockpit. He picked out a suitable line, timed the waves then locked the wheel and staggered to a winch and quickly, with one hand, unwound the line and returned to the wheel in time to navigate another wave.

His left hand had no strength to it and hurt like hell, but after several tries he fashioned a fixed loop large enough to throw over the boom end.

“Hey. Anybody. Hey!”

The sun had set. All lights were out. Thirty to forty foot waves still crashed around him. Occasional thin breaks in the streaming clouds offered an occasional glimpse of moonlight. Noah attempted to get his breathing under control. “Hey!” No answer. He had never felt so alone.

Using his innate feel of the boat’s motion Noah attempted to loop the line around the end of the boom. On his fourth try he succeeded. Quickly he took the line he’d already run through a fixed block and whipped it around a winch. The effort took him away from the helm too long. Windhaven skipped sideways, knocking him down, but the boom was minimally secured.

Noah crawled back to the helm and spent five minutes planning his next move.

“Hello! Anyone?” Surely, someone must be conscious.

With another line Noah secured the boom with a second line to the opposite side of the boat. A few minutes later of shivering and pain he pushed through the water still filling the cockpit faster than it could drain and knelt by the open companion way hatch. Inside, no light, no movement except for three or four feet of water sloshing side to side with each roll of the boat.

“Hello!” Noah shouted, though his voice came out as a dry croak. “Is anybody there? Please, is anybody in there? Tommy, Ivan, Larry? Answer me.”

He heard no sounds from below except water splashing and the sound of debris knocking on the bulkheads. Tears formed in his eyes as fear and loss and loneliness settled over him like a black cloak.

Beside the helmsman’s seat there was a flip up plastic cover. Underneath was a socket for an eighteen inch handle that worked a manual bilge pump. He found the handle still secured. With his bad, probably broken, left hand he almost unconsciously kept Windhaven stern to the seas. With his right hand he worked the bilge pump. One full movement of the handle pumped out one gallon of water.

He kept asking himself why he continued to pump. One gallon out of hundreds or thousands of gallons. What difference would one, two, three… gallons make? No solid water was flowing in, but the spray from breaking waves and gusting winds and probably a leak or two or three from inside were replacing the gallon he removed. Why bother? Why put off the inevitable?

Because that would mean giving up, and years ago Noah had learned to never give up. He was one of the smartest in his high school class. Algebra baffled him. His father told him that if he wanted a car when graduated he had to get a B or better on his final exam. He wanted to give up, but he wanted the car. It was up to him. He studied, to little effect. He finally checked his pride and asked a girl in his class to tutor him. She made algebra make sense. He got a B+ on the exam, the car, and the girl. His writing career was built on hundreds of rejections. Jobs he wanted, the wife he wanted, the boat he wanted – persistence pays.

He wanted to live, he wanted that girl. So he pumped.

At first Noah thought about how to rig some sort of self steering. There were ways to use the wind direction on the sails to turn the wheel. He thought about Linda. He thought about books he wanted to write. He thought about his crewmates. Between, he thought about thirst, cold, hunger, exhaustion.

While he thought the night marched on. Imperceptibly, the clouds thinned, the wind slacked, the waves calmed, Windhaven wallowed less. Throughout, Noah pumped and steered.

The sun had not rising above the horizon when a the playful slap of an errant wave jolted Noah awake. His head hung under cover of his rain gear hood. His right hand, frozen and still, gripped, the pump handle. His left hand rested unmoving on a spoke of the wheel. His only movement the partial lifting of his eyelids and the slow roving of his eyes, his first real look at the destruction.

eyes 1

Then, his eyes opened slowly opened, fixing on movement in the damaged companionway. A face there, unidentifiable, pale, ragged.

Someone.

Alive.

Loneliness slipped off his shoulders like a heavy cloak.

 

Comment and suggestions are welcome – dcburtonjr@gmail.com

Windhaven 10

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? you were a Demon Hunter (like Sam and Dean, say) and were taking a cruise to relax from the rigors of keeping all things supernatural in check? What If? the Devil (or one of his minions) was on board (first class of course) planning to make the ship a Shipships3 of the Dead? So when you start seeing the Dead walking (groan) you have to find the Devil (or his minion who might be making a play to upstage his boss) and stop his, or her, shenanigans so your whole vacation isn’t ruined! Bummer.

 

I had a dream the other night sort of about rounding up all the stray dogs and putting them down. What If? we had, say, a well meaning leader who gave a damn about dogs and people and he/she started a program that each neighborhood, block, cul-de-sac and the like would adopt a dog or two or three and train them to watch over their area. dogs2Great, but over time, What If? the dogs took on too much power. Soon they ran their areas. When there were puppies each family had to raise one to add to the Dog Security Force. Certain Dog Leaders might become more interested in gaining doggy wealth and power and want to take over other areas, Dictator Dogs. dogs 1Soon the humans might be forced to fight the Dog’s wars. Until, a Dog leader, slightly different from the others, smart and compassionate, finally brings peace between Dogs and Humans.

 

 Windhaven 10

After a month and seven thousand miles Windhaven has passed New Zealand’s South Cape and cut off about seven hundred fifty miles of the 4700 miles between the South Cape and cape Horn. Only four thousand more miles and they can turn north to warmer weather.

They were third only three hundred miles behind second place Newsboy who was behind Global by less than a day. One boat had had damage to its rudders and returned to South Africa. The other three were days behind with their own race.

Windhaven had a few problems as they pushed Eastward while dropping into the Furious Fifties Latitudes. A lower shroud broke. An inspection of the others found two more also needed replacement. The hydraulic steering began to leak in one of the most inaccessible areas. Repairs took almost a day. The 120% Genoa foresail ripped in half. They had to use a smaller sail which slowed them down three knots of speed for a day.

The scariest moment came at dusk with Ricky at the helm and they were doing a steady twelve knots through a choppy gray sea. Leigh shared the watch with him, her hard gray eyes constantly assessing wind and sea. Looking forward, for a half second she thought she saw something dead ahead. She jumped up, ran twenty feet forward. There a large shape. Shit! “Ricky! Hard to port! Hard to port! Now!”

Ricky had known Leigh for almost twenty years. He trusted her experience and intelligence completely. If she said, “Hard to port, now!” he wasn’t going to second guess her for one second. He spun the wheel hard to port, ignoring the shouts of alarm from below.

Leigh walked back, pointing at the huge, flat iceberg racing past. The abrupt turn sent the aft end slipping to starboard where it bumped against the ice and rose up as if to jump on the iceberg and possibly damage the twin rudders. Taking advantage of his own experience he spun the wheel to starboard. The rudders bit in and sent the stern skittering to port to clear the ice by inches.

Red popped up out of the companionway. “What the Hell’s going on?”

Leigh and Ricky pointed at the receding iceberg. A last burst of light reflected off the hundred meter by fifty meter block of ice.

Alain and Noah rose up in time to catch a glimpse. “Mon Deux. Did we hit it?”

Ricky said, “I think we bumped it. If it hadn’t been for Leigh’s sea eyes we’d be on top of that sucker with a big ass hole in the bow.”

“Good job, both of you.”

Leigh stood beside Red, both looking aft at the now invisible ice.

“That’s too close for comfort, Red.”

“Yeah. Larry, what’s our latitude, right now?”

Fifteen seconds later Larry said, “Fifty-one degrees, forty-six minutes South, Skipper. Icebergs have been reported farther north than this.”

“Get us up North of fifty degrees. Three man watches at night.”

 

One of the continuous storms that circle the Southern Sea unimpeded had caught up with Windhaven. Sixty knot winds and twenty-five foot plus seas lashed the boat and Noah at the helm. Bigger winds and seas were a definite possibility according to Larry’s weather data. Oppressive dark clouds blotted out the sky. The sun had set, its last vestige of light fading fast.

At the moment, Noah was not thinking about icebergs or weather or water. He’d been on the helm for almost two hours, his safety harness clipped on to a U-shaped stainless steel tube over the compass, was beginning to get uncomfortable. He’d found the rhythm of boat and wave. The rise as a wave lifted the aft end, the brief surfing down the face of the wave, the balancing act as the wave passed underneath, the drop of the stern as the boat slid down the wave’s back side; The increase of the wind at the top of the wave, the slight reduction in the trough, waiting a few seconds for the next wave, and the next and the next. His hands moved the wheel almost automatically. He kept an unconscious eye on Ricky and Ivan on the forward deck discussing a sail change.

Noah wasn’t thinking of that, he was thinking about Linda. The last scheduled streaming had been cut short by technical difficulties. But, he’d got a good look at her smiling at him. She’s the one had flitted in and out of his thoughts. A ridiculous thought after a one night stand, though a memorable one. They had fit. Whether the first kisses in his boat, lying side by side in his bunk, on the top or on the bottom, they fit. She was smart and well read, liked sailing, and they had many common interests. And her smile just lit him up.

That’s what he was thinking of when the rhythm changed.

The rise of the wave seemed stunted, the wind suddenly shifty. The slide down the backside less steep. The constant roar of breaking waves muted. The trough wider. Noah felt the wave before he saw it rise and rise and rise like a grim specter in his peripheral vision.

wave3

For a moment he froze. This couldn’t be happening to him, now.

“Ricky, Ivan get off the deck,” Noah screamed. Then, like a high speed elevator, Windhaven rose up, stern first.

In an instant Windhaven tilted bow down forty-five degrees. Over the hiss of a massive volume of water building behind him, Noah heard the crash and cries from below decks.

Though taking only seconds, for Noah time slowed. Instead of pounding out of his chest he felt his heart rate slow as he was thrown against the steering wheel; as he watched Ricky and Ivan scramble on deck for the companionway; as the boom slammed to port sending a shudder throughout the boat.

Windhaven rose to almost vertical. Noah stared down into the bottom of the trough maybe twenty feet past the bow. They were going to pitch pole, he knew it. If he stayed tethered to the helm as Windhaven pitched over he’d fall almost a hundred feet and be driven under with the stern. When, if, the boat resurfaced, he’d probably be dead.

If he unclipped his life line he’d be separated from the boat. If it resurfaced, he’d be separated from it, unlikely to reconnect. In the forty degree water he’d also die, just a little slower.

Lying flat on the now horizontal wheel he twisted back and forth as the gigantic wave tossed him about. Maybe that’s what did it, but as he looked up at the huge breaking wave about to throw the boat over, the stern broke through. Its weight sliced through the top of the wave. For a second Noah thought, we’re going to survive!

Then the wall of solid water on either side crashed down on him.

 

Comments and suggestions are welcome – dcburtonjr@gmail.com

Please check out my other books at — https://davidburtonwriting.com