What If? — For writers and readers with imagination. Use your head.
What If Noah planned the accident of the one crew member so he could be in the crew. Maybe one of them was a murderer of someone close to Noah and he plans to discover who once out at sea? Agatha Christie anyone?
Or, What If the opposite is true. The crew has some nefarious plans for him a la the Orient Express. But he catches on and subtly fights back. And then there was one, or, if the crew was clever – none.
Or, What if the crew were demons and wanted some power that Noah didn’t know he had. Or did he? Or, What If they were all on a space ship and the crew were aliens, bad guys, good guys, demons, vampires, angels, cyborgs, robots? Mix and match. Fun!
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.
Before he fell asleep on the plane Noah’s waking dreams centered on Linda. He didn’t really believe in love at first sight. First night, maybe. He ran through the firsts – first smile, first kiss, first time they made love, both nervous, but laughing, first breakfast that felt so true.
He woke about a half hour before they landed. The smile he slept in turned tight and nervous. The woman faded a bit replaced by the boat, its crew and the sea. Plane landed, he breathed several deep breaths and, chuffing at the drama circling in his head, went to meet his fate.
The first mate, Ricky Kiln, a six foot, broad shouldered guy with unruly dark hair, picked up Noah at the airport. After quick introductions Ricky guided him to a full size SUV loaded with equipment and food.
“How long has the crew been together,” Noah asked once away from the airport.
“All of us, about three months,” Ricky said. “Some of us longer.”
“I’m sorry about your guy breaking his leg.”
“Not too sorry, I’d bet. Now you get to go.”
Noah shrugged. “There is that, though I have to admit I’m a little nervous. This is a big step up from anything I’ve done.”
“Red told us what you’ve done. You impressed on the Bermuda race. Just take it easy at first. You’ll fit in.”
“I imagine your guy is disappointed.”
“He’ll get over it. He has a new girlfriend he’d rather hang out with than a bunch of crazy sailors.”
Noah crossed his arms and held himself tight. “I know how he feels.”
Windhaven floated like a sleek water beast yearning to be sent home to the sea. The sight of her rocking gently against the dock lines sent a thrill through Noah. He took in the seventy feet of racing sailboat with light blue streaming lines spelling out Windhaven on a dark blue hull; A fine bow and a fat stern with a low cabin and long cockpit. Twin wheels and polished stainless steel hardware all gleamed in the afternoon sun.
Ricky gave him a minute to take it all in. “What do think?”
“Yeah, she is. Wait till you see her under full sail.” Ricky clapped him on the shoulder. “Come on, new guy. Meet your new best friends.”
Noah took a deep breath and descended the companionway ladder. Like the stark, all business deck, down below was also set up for business, but with a bit more flare. Mostly white with teak trim and shades of blue in the cushions and even a few small curtains over the small cabin side windows.
A navigation station from a space ship filled with instruments, computers, and communication equipment set to port of the ladder. A space with two bunks opened aft.
Starboard were two more bunks and a long, narrow galley. Forward of the galley was a U-shaped settee. Six people, five men and a woman, sat there, inspecting him. A stocky man with a round shaved head stood up.
“Noah,” Captain Redfield Smathers said, reaching out to shake his hand. “So glad you could make it. It’s going to be an adventure.”
“I imagine it will be,” Noah said, failing to match Red’s strong grip.
Several of the crew shifted to give him space on the settee. Noah studied the group. One man he knew. “Ivan, I see you’ve gained about three ounces since the last Trans Pac. Been eating your own food?”
Ivan, rail thin with cocoa skin reached a long arm across the table. He grinned wide. “Noah, good to have you aboard. I see you haven’t been eating my food, you’ve lost a few pounds.”
“Why do think I came along?”
The woman sitting next to Ivan, maybe forty, maybe fifty, skin dark with years at sea, short of stature, especially next to Ivan, short of hair, broad of shoulder shook with Noah, her calloused grip matching Red’s. Leigh Tag said, “Ivan and Red say your okay, I hope they’re right.”
“I do, too,” Noah said, not quite able to meet her icy blue stare.
Sitting beside Leigh a young man, say mid-twenties, with a long face and a shock of blond hair gave a quick wave with a thumbless right hand. “That’s Larry Brockard,” Red said. “He’s our navigation and weather wizard. Just a kid, but he knows his stuff.”
“Well, that’s good. I’d hate to get lost out there.”
“No worries, mate,” Larry said with a mild Aussie accent. “I’ll get ya home.”
“Glad to hear it.”
“Next is Alain Bienvenue, all around deck man and our resident monkey. If someone has to go up the mast, walk the boom or hang off the side, he’s the man.”
Alain, slight, wiry with dusky skin and slicked back raven hair reached across to shake Noah’s hand. “Bonjour, Noah. Un plaisir. I hear vous êtes très compétant behind the helm.”
“I can usually keep going in the right direction.”
“Fast or slow if you ain’t goin’ in the right direction it’s not good,” the well-muscled man next to Noah said with a Texas accent. “I’m Tom Whitmore, deck man with Alain. He’s the brains, I’m the brawn. Least that’s what I tell him.”
“Plenty of need for both,” Noah said. “Even though I’m an old fart at forty-six I’ll do my best to help you win this little cruise.”
“Can’t ask for better than that.” Red raised his beer. “Well, this is our crew and here’s to us. Fair winds.”
The whole crew clinked bottles. “Fair winds.”