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

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Author: davidburtonwriting

David Burton is an American writer living in sunny Southern California. He traveled by motorcycle through Mexico, US, Canada and Alaska. From motorcycles he turned to the ocean, building and sailing his own boats to Mexico, Tahiti, Hawaii, and through the Panama Canal to Florida. He spent a lot of time reading while on the water, so he decided to write books he would have wanted to read at sea. Having swallowed the anchor he now mops floors and collects trash for money, writes for a living, and has become a (temporarily?) unrequited sailor.