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

Advertisements

Windhaven 9

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.

 

 

A couple WhatIf?s first –

WHAT IF?

 What if there were vampires in the crew of a spaceship on a years long migration voyage with the humans in stasis. Part of the deal was for the humans to donate blood for the vamps in exchange for them to maintain the ship and the migrants as well as navigate and handle problems. But What If? something went  wrong and all the humans died. Vamps may be immortal, but they still need blood. What happens when they don’t have any and they are years away from any human contact? If there was only one left what would his or her last message be to Earth or their destination?

What if a man (man1) doesn’t know he’s immortal until he dies. During the short time he’s dead he loses his chance with the woman he loves. For years he searches for her only to learn that she has died. But then he sees her and realizes that she is immortal, too. But, thinking the immortal man is dead, she is with another man. What would man1 and the woman do? Murder, affair, wait? They do, after all, have forever to be together.

 

 

Windhaven 9

Windhaven was into the Southern Sea under a grey overcast sky. Those on deck,  Noah and Thomas, wore full raingear with plenty of warm clothing underneath. A forty knot wind held steady behind Windhaven, driving the sailboat through dark, foam streaked ten to twelve foot seas at the boat’s maximum of twenty-two knots. Spray continually soaked the deck.

Thomas fought the helm as the waves seemed to come from different direction. Noah hunched on a cockpit seat nearby trying to avoid the spray each time the boat slammed into a wave.

Below, the rest of the crew huddled around a computer on the settee table for a streaming session with kids, including Everheart Middle School.

“You picked a nasty day to call us,” Ivan, his long face bristly with a thin brown beard, told the children. “It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s blowing forty plus knots, it’s rough, and it’s gonna be pitch dark soon. But,” his whole face grinned, “we’re making twenty-two freaking knots of speed and I’m loving it.”

A particularly large wave slapped the boat sideways, the spray sounded like a bucket of thumbtacks thrown on the deck. Propped against a support post Larry held a video camera recording the live stream the kids saw. The wave knocked him to his knees.

Before he could recover his stance he heard a few screams form the computer and a small voice asking, “Are they sinking?”

Alain, one hand gripping a coffee mug, one gripping the table, smiled and shook his head. All the men had beards, his was the only nicely trimmed, said, “Non, do not worry, we are not sinking, mes amies. It will take a much larger wave than that to sink this petite bateau.”

A student asked, “You look comfortable there, what about the others on deck?”

Red tells Larry to go see.

Larry already has his rain pants on. He hands the camera to Ivan. “Ivan tell the kids how you keep us from getting scurvy.” While Ivan makes up a story while making himself the hero Larry donned his rain jacket and toque. Ready to go on deck he takes the camera from Ivan. Holding it out to video a selfy, he says, “Hey kids, don’t listen to a thing he says. Just eat your fruits and veggies and you’ll be all right. Let’s go topside.”

Larry climbed the companionway ladder and bracing himself in the middle of the cockpit did a three-sixty turn, ending focused on Thomas behind the wheel and Noah sitting beside him. Ricky stood in the companionway with the laptop facing out so the two men could see the kids.

Whoever was videoing at the school did a slow, closeup sweep of the kids ending on their teacher, Linda Sopia.

Noah leaned forward as she gave a little wave to the crew, meaning Noah. Noah’s gaze locks onto her. “Hi, you must be the teacher.”

“Yes, I am.” She smiled warmly. “Nice to see you, without the seaweed.”

“Ha. It’s much nicer to be an Old Salt rather than a Pollywog.” He turns away to avoid a slap in the face by spray. “Though the weather was better then.”

“It looks that way. Steering a sailboat is different from steering a car. Can you explain to my students?”

“I’ll try.” Thomas, barely recognizable under a heavy layer of raingear, stepped away from the helm and bowed to Noah.

Noah took a moment to connect with the speeding boat’s motion. Larry sat on a cockpit seat to focus on him.

Noah had to shout over the noise of wind and waves and the susurrus of the boat slicing through water at twenty-two knots plus. “It’s mostly a matter of feel. You have to feel the motion of the boat with your feet on the deck or the seat of your pants on the helmsman’s seat. As it rises up on a wave the water and the wind on the sails want to push the boat around. Your job is to anticipate where the boat is going to be pushed, and then to turn the wheel enough to push it back before it goes off course.”

As he talks he does as he says. Sometimes a little movement, sometimes bigger, but all smooth. The bumpy ride becomes a bit less bumpy under his hand.

“Like most things it’s about anticipation, practice,” he sticks his rear out and points to it, “and driving by the seat of your pants.”

Larry laughs. “And there you go, kids, a lesson in life and steering by our master helmsman, Noah.”

Noah waves. “Okay guys, good to talk with you.” He points directly at Linda. “Good to see you again.”

“And you,” she says. “Maybe when you return you will come and visit us.”

“Count on it.”

Standing in the companionway, Red says to the camera, “Okay kids, time’s up. If we keep up this speed Noah will be in your classroom in no time at all. We’ll be heading deep into the Roaring Forties where the weather and seas can get pretty rough. But, we have a good crew and a good boat so no worries.”

 

What If? – Windhaven 3

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you had a good one with family, friends, or a kind waitress serving you a bowl of gruel in some greasy spoon diner. Tip her well.

Christmas/New Years sale!

Starting midnight December 25 to midnight January 1 Smashwords is having a book sale. Go to — https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DavidBurton  to see my books on sale or free. Feel free to share this link. There’s also a link to Amazon for paperback editions. Thanks for your support. 

If for some strange reason you don’t find any of my books or stories to your liking there are thousands of other Smashwords books on sale — https://www.smashwords.com/shelves/promos/1

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

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.  

The What If? Part:

What If? the plane Noah is on does one of those alternate dimensional/time shifts and he sees a magazine with the story of Windhaven? He reads the article with alarm, especially when he confirms the date, a year in the future. What does he do? Call Linda and the boat’s Captain and get no answer? What if he lands, knowing what happened? What if the plane shifts back to his time? Does he still go, knowing what might happen? Could he change the outcome?

 

Windhaven 3  

Sipping excellent coffee, Linda sat at Noah’s settee table and watched him efficiently scramble eggs, cook bacon and toast toast. She wore the jeans from the night before and one of Noah’s long-sleeve shirts against the early morning chill. She’d showered in the marina’s bathrooms and her hair was still wet and unfettered. Noah wore his light brown hair short and had no use for a hair dryer.

It figured she’d like the guy who was going away for half a year on an adventure she thought she’d like to go on, too. When he glanced at her with those bright blue eyes and a slightly embarrassed, yet thoroughly satisfied, smile she shivered with the warm memory of his touch. How long had it been since she’d had great sex and so often. There were jokes about it but she thought she might be a little sore for a day or two. So worth it.

Noah refilled her coffee cup then slid a plate full of eggs and bacon and toast and small pile of leftover potatoes in front of her. “Eat up. You’ll need your strength for those wild third graders.”

He sat across from her with his own plate. Staring at his food he raised his eyes and met hers. “You look beautiful this morning.”

“I feel beautiful. You look pretty good yourself, if a bit sleepy.”

“Your fault.”

“At least you’ll get to sleep on the plane.” She moved her eggs around with her fork. “Unless you’ve decided at the last minute not go sailing off into the sunset.”

Noah studied the piece of bacon in his hand, shrugged. “I’m committed. Or maybe I should be committed. It’s into the sunrise, actually.”

They ate in silence for a couple minutes, then Linda said, “You said the race will have a website. “I’ll follow your progress. Get my kids to root for you.”

He cocked his head hoping a thought would fall out. He grinned and shook a finger in the air. “I forgot until just now, I think their planning to set up streaming visits by satellite to schools. The kids will be able to ask questions of the crew and get real-time answers. You’ll have to check the website. Maybe I won’t have to wait six months to see you again.” Linda’s eyes opened wide in question. “That is if you don’t mind.”

Her grin matched his. “And maybe I won’t have to wait either.”

Done with breakfast they stood by the companionway ladder not sure what to do or say.

Noah said, “I’d say thanks for last night, but that seems a bit unseemly.”

Linda said, “I was sort of thinking the same thing. How are you getting to the airport?”

“Uber.”

“Then why don’t you thank me for a ride to the airport?”

“Won’t your third graders be pining for your smiling face?”

“They’ll survive. I can take half a day.”

Noah stepped up close. “Are you going to walk me in and kiss me goodbye at the gate?”

Linda moved a few inches closer. “Yes.”

“Then thanks.”

—————————————————————————————————————————–

 

Don’t forget to sign up for this blog and/or occasional updates and check out the sale books.

Cheers,

David B

 

 

 

 

 

What a Disaster!

Disasters happen everyday everywhere. Some affect hundreds, thousands, millions, maybe even billions for those who believe (rightly) in global warming and look ahead a few years. Some disasters are small – Nobody is reading my blog, AArrrgg!  Some are huge  – earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes/cyclones.

Disasters come in all sizes, just check under disaster in a thesaurus.

How a disaster affects you,  is a personal matter. Of course we all feel for the people of Haiti, but does it affect you more than an accident that requires surgery  you can’t afford? How much caring can you spare for flood victims when in order to survive a disease you have to declare bankruptcy and lose your house? Thousands lose loved ones to wars and natural calamities, but if the one you love leaves you, breaking your heart, which tragedy is the one that consumes you?

Potential disasters of global proportions are always waiting in the wings for their entrance. There’s that old chestnut –  the asteroid heading right toward us. Not worried about that? Ask the dinosaurs, if you can find one. Global warming is a certainly a threat, but who’s going to worry about slowly rising sea levels after a 50 mile wide asteroid plunges into the ocean ( Talk about your tsunamis!) and causes a new 1000 year ice age. At least the poor overfished fish would have time for a comeback.

The only plague, flu, epidemic, pandemic we (you and me, of course, would survive any disaster) might have to worry about after the cleansing rock from space, or was that from God, would be a Zombie plague, assuming they could swim. I wonder what would happen to the Zombies if they ate all the living people. Would they starve to life? Eat each other until the last Zombie standing raised its boney arms to strains of the Rocky theme? I’ll leave that to the philosophers.

Space has several other misfortunes to offer: Our sun going nova, a distant sun going nova so we have plenty of time to attempt a getaway, aliens blowing up the Earth to make way for a new interspace highway – oops, we already went through that, aliens that want to wipe us out just because we’re here, lots of little asteroids, the pissed off ghosts of all history’s innocent victims tired of wandering around space wanting payback, or the soul of a planet ruined by its inhabitants coming to save the Earth from  its unappreciative inhabitants, among other things weirder than we can imagine.

IDEAS

What if  the Earth became so crowded,  and our (or our alien friends) technology became so sophisticated we could slowly move the moon closer and closer to Earth until it gently touched us. How would you like to be a first settler? How would this affect our orbit, our gravity, our atmosphere?

What if aliens did wipe out all the people on earth, except for you, me, and a small group of miscellaneous others. We had no hope of defeating them so the plan was to somehow steal a ship and escape to…. How would we do it? Would we find alien “friends,”  be  ignored, be chased to be put in a zoo, be put on display, then using our animal friends, escape? Maybe we’d escape and meet up with enemies of our enemies and help them wipe out the new Earth tenants and as a reward we get the planet back?

Surely there’s room for one more asteroid-is-going-to-hit-the-earth story. Maybe this time there is a secret government project that wants this particular rock to hit the Earth. A CONSPIRACY! Yes! But A rival group wants to prevent the hit. What is the reason for wanting the collision? Who’s idea was it? (All the conservatives could have a field day blaming Obama, no matter which side he was on.) Who prevails and what happens whether it does or doesn’t happen? And what if when the asteroid hit you lived in a lab 50 feet underwater, and suddenly you were 500 feet down and the shock had opened a volcanic vent close to you so you were going to get baked, boiled or poached if you didn’t escape. Where’s Dirk Pitt when you need him?

What if  the Zombies did take over and ate everybody? Then some alien researchers arrived and wrote a report titled – A History of the  Zombie Occupation of Earth and How It Died (or, How it Thrived)?

What if there was a local epidemic of some kind and the area was domed or force fielded over. Unfortunately you were in the area, fortunately that area covered the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory or JPL or Stark Industries. Unfortunately you were never going to be let out, though you now posed no threat.  What’s a bunch of pissed off brainiacs in one of the most advanced laboratories in the universe to do?

What if the disaster was closer to home.  Your spouse or child is attacked, gravely injured, maybe paralyzed or dying. They needed some sort of transplant and it appeared that the attacker was the only viable donor.  How far would you go, what sort of deal would you make, how much of your conscience would you ignore, what, or who, would you sacrifice to find the attacker and take what was needed to save your loved one? And what would your spouse or child think of what you did?

What if there was a local disaster and the only people available to help were inmates, all set free by the flood, fire, earthquake, at a prison close to a small town.  Who would step up, and save/change civilian lives, and maybe their own?

Tragedy or not, I’m off to my bomb shelter in a deep cave. Will you be here when I come out again?