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 if vampires, witches, 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 and 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?
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.
“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