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

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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

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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.”

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

Cheers,

David B

 

 

 

 

 

Hang In There, Baby

A quick note with news that I know you’ve been dying to hear. My novel Blood Justice will be published on October 1, 2010. 133 days from now.  So if you save 1 dime every day you’ll have a enough put away to obtain one precious paperback copy. Two dimes a day earns you one hardback or two, count’em, two paperback copies! Zowie! One for you and one for your very best friend to whom you always give the very best presents, just because.   What if you can’t control yourself and have to read a little bit right now? Go to http://bylightunseenmedia.com/bj.htm and satisfy yourself. Thanks for your support.

 If you live, you persevere, whether you think you do or not. Perseverance equals hope. We all hope to live another day and we persevere through each day, hoping to make it to the next. Suicides have lost hope and therefore do not persevere. If you know anybody who is talking or thinking or trying suicide, give them some hope, and perhaps they will persevere for another day, and another, and….

I’ve received uncountable rejections for my writing, even if you don’t count rejection by no reply, leaving one to wonder if they even got your query, or lost it, or it was stolen, or if they did get it they were so overcome with its brilliance they collapsed in ecstasy and died happy, and then their assistant, overcome with grief, accidentally deleted it and was struck dumb with horror at what they’d done. Yet, I keep on keeping on, because I have hope that an agent, manager, producer or publisher will be of stout heart and reply with those magic words – Please send the complete manuscript of ______.

Australian Jessica Watson recently became the youngest (16) person to sail around the world single-handed and unassisted. At 14 she decided she wanted to do it and went after her goal, acquiring sponsors and a support team and permission from her parents. Plenty of people said she was too young to do such a thing. But after battling loneliness, storms, 7 knockdowns, and miscellaneous breakdowns and repairs, and 210 days at seas, she did it, arriving with boat and herself intact and in good spirits. Now that’s perseverance! Well done.  BTW -16 year-old Abby Sunderland from California, presently in S Africa for repairs is also sailing single-handed around the world. When she arrives home she will be the youngest to sail around assisted. Another example of perseverance. Go Abby.

If you persist with your perseverance my hope is your tenacity will be seen as steadfastness.

To persevere is usually a good thing as long as it’s focused on some lofty goal that will better mankind, or at least your bank account.  Taken too far, you become a stalker, or serial killer, or that person in the office with that, at first, endearing, but quickly annoying obsessive compulsive behaviour.

By all means hang in,  persevere, be persistent, tenacious and steadfast, but not so much that you become so annoying that when you reach your goal nobody likes you and you celebrate alone.

IDEAS

What if the one you love breaks up with you and you take it hard and though you’re a nice person you get a bit stalkerish and can’t help but park outside the house and watch that beautiful, wonderful, though obviously lacking in judgement, person through the window with his/her new “friend.” You know you shouldn’t, but you persevere. And it pays off! While watching you see something evil about to attack. You run into the house to save them, but there’s nothing there. Humiliated again. You persevere and there it is again! No, you won’t run in to save them. No you won’t run in to save them! But you do! And it’s real and you save the one you love and he/she realizes they still love you and you’re together, falling down a tunnel to Hell.

What if you were on a plane over Africa and the plane crashed and some of you survived and quickly realized that no one was coming to rescue you? What do you do? You either give up and die, or you persevere and maybe die anyway, but God Damn It! you gave it your best shot and can die like a Man or Woman.

What If  (pick any great discovery or invention, such as penicillin, the light bulb, atomic bomb, MS  Windows?, the Dyson vacuum cleaner, or, no no, please, no, coffee) had not been discovered because the people with the idea did not persevere. How would life be different now if slackers had been in charge of inventing and discovering stuff?

There are plenty of stories about past  immigrants who work hard and persevere and become successful. But what about in the future? What about immigrants to the moon, or Mars, or a space station or another planet? What if they were interested in building a criminal organization, but in so doing they inadvertently created a working, successful society. After all, what good is it being a great criminal if you don’t have any victims? If you steal from a business before it gets started, the business will fail and what good is that? But if you help businesses and a society thrive, then you have something. Great criminals have to persevere, too.

My perseverance is over, so I’m going to steal away to write another day.

BTW – If you do not want to get an e-mail notice about my new blog posts, let me know. I will persevere in my effort to eliminate you from my list. It seems like it’s easier to add than subtract.