Windhaven 14

Hi,

Welcome to my What If? and novel writing blog. My original intention was to post a few pages  of Windhaven every week. That obviously hasn’t happened. I’m working on another novel, the fourth in my Blood Justice series, and that has to take priority in order to meet my self imposed deadline of December 31.  I will still post here, but it will have to be on a time available basis.  I’m sorry. I, too, look forward to finding out who survives.

Meanwhile,

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.  This is all first draft, so comments and suggestions are always welcome.

To start Windhaven from the beginning go HERE

 

What Ifs?

 

What If a cave explorer disappeared while exploring the huge caves in Borneo’s Gunungcaves 4 Mulu national park? Search parties were unable to find him, he was presumed dead. A couple weeks later he emerges and starts telling people that he met Gaia, Earth as a sentient being. He preached that Gaia was pissed off at what the people were doing to her. He was written off as a crackpot until he said an earthquake was coming – Right Now. And it did. Coincidence they said, until it happened again and again. Tornados appeared at his command. He gained followers and disciples and finally governments were forced to accept what he said and actually did what needed to be done. A happy ending for the Earth.

 

What If a vampirevampire2 and a werewolf werewolf3fell in love and had a baby? What would the kid be like? What if he/she had all the attributes of vamps and weres? They’d be unstoppable. Also a freak, possibly shunned by both sides. They might go off on their own, maybe to the light side, or dark, depending on how they were treated – Become the Night Wolf. Of course there comes a time for all superheroes when they have to choose to help those who wronged them, or leave them to their fate. Perhaps a human, also lonely and wronged, could help Night Wolf decide which side to choose.

 

Windhaven

Chapter 15

 Noah woke. His mouth so dry his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. He was thirsty and had to piss and the newly risen sun shone through a crack in the grey clouds and through the corner of a window, illuminating his face, but he held his eyes closed. Just for a minute or two or three he wanted to be waking up on his boat to the smell of coffee his wife had made while he slept. He wanted to feel the warmth of the sun and breeze. He wanted to be sailing on calm seas over warm water. He wanted to take a mug of fresh coffee to his wife and sit next to her by the wheel. He wanted to feel her skin on his and know that all was right with the world. And it was, for about three minutes, until an errant wave slapped the hull and Leigh cussed loud enough to wake King Neptune, as if they didn’t have enough problems.

“Noah, your fucking self-steering broke, again. There’s coffee. Will you bring me a cup… please.”

“Yes, Dear.”

Several minutes later he handed Leigh a covered coffee mug. He set his mug in a cup holder and holding tight to the bent electronics bridge he pissed over the side while Leigh hand steered.

“I hate you men in general because you can do that,” she told him over her shoulder.

Noah sat beside her. “You can hang it over the side, too. Just hang on tight.”

“With my luck that cold ass water would slap my butt. I’ll stick with a bucket, thank you very much.”

They sipped their coffee for a few minutes before Leigh asked, “You check on the guys lately?”

“I gave Thomas some coffee and helped him to the head. I don’t know what else to do.”

“Keep them watered, fed and clean. I think Thomas will be okay, but I’m worried about Red. He moans with pain, but I don’t know where it’s coming from. He’s delirious most of the time and his eyes look like they’re going to pop out of his head. And Alain, I’m giving him antibiotics and water. I think most of his injuries are internal. That’s beyond my pay grade.”

“We need that Emergency medical book. Has it dried out any?”

“Not much.”

Noah sipped and let out a deep sigh. “I think we have one good battery. I didn’t even notice that we lost all but one of our solar panels. If both are good we might at least have lights. All those electronics were under water weren’t they?”

“Yep. Several times.”

“I’ll fix the steering and see what I can figure out. You should get some rest.”

Leigh nodded, letting her head hang as if she was going to fall asleep right there. Noah gently squeezed her shoulder. She looked at him sideways. “You know we’re in real trouble here.”

Noah sighed, “I know.”

Leigh pushed herself up and toward the companionway.

“You have someone waiting for you back home, wherever that is?”

“Husband”

“So you don’t hate all men.”

She shrugged, flashed a smile, and vanished down the companionway.

 

Sitting in Larry’s command chair, Noah studied the main electrical panel. It was state of the art, but with a layout similar to the old panel in his boat. Except for the fine layer of salt on everything. Water had dripped out when he opened the door. Most of the breakers were tripped.electronics1

He had found a multi-meter to test voltage in an electrical toolbox. Water dripped out when he picked it up. Just for the hell of it he tested the one house battery. It worked, then froze at eleven and a half volts. Something at least.

It took him half an hour to sort out the wiring and run a direct wire to the lone remaining solar panel. He had no way of knowing if it worked, but it should, so he moved on.

He ran a direct wire to one of the interior lights breakers. Nothing. He pulled the breaker and connected directly to the interior wiring. Lights! Some in the galley and main salon. It would be a big help nonetheless.

Two hours later he hadn’t been able, between having been under water, cracked, battered and no antenna, to make any of the radios work. They had had satellite internet through Larry’s computer which was found smashed and underwater. Noah found a handheld satellite radio in a drawer in three inches of water, its internal batteries fried.

Noah slumped in the nav station chair. It really hit him then – They were on their own, and he only had a vague idea where they were. He had to press his lips tight to endure that old sinking stomach fear. Really, he just wanted to cry. Visions of Linda slid across the back of his eyelids. He liked thinking of her, seeing her in his mind. He had a good feeling about her, and thought she had the same for him. He hoped so, but he’d never know if he didn’t make it home.

Among the debris they’d found floating in the water and hadn’t done anything with yet, Noah found the large scale paper chartchart 1Larry had marked their daily position on. Their last known position had been S 51°10’ 24.8 by    W 167° 24’ 12.3, about two hundred nautical miles East of New Zealand. That was noon on the day the wave hit. Say another hundred miles by the time the wave threw them into survivor mode. Those that survived.

Noah had no idea how far they’d traveled since then or what course. He remembered Larry had mentioned… Christ, Larry, his body lay in a forward bunk. They couldn’t keep him there indefinitely.

Larry had mentioned they were in an area of circular currents, pushing them south as they sailed east. For a moment he let hopelessness grip his chest. They were, literally, in the middle of nowhere.

He took a deep breath, sat up and slapped the desk with both palms. For all he knew Linda had forgotten about him, but she was the only thing he had to hold on to. So, no feeling sorry for himself, get his shit together and move on.

In a drawer he found a handheld GPS unit in a soaking box filled with foam and water. To his surprise it lit up. Gaze fixed on the flashing numbers he willed it to show their position. The numbers stopped. He checked the chart. “Shit.” He was pretty sure they were not 50 miles south of Tahiti.

He shook the unit, water came out and he threw it on the desk in disgust. The numbers flashed, and showed a position that made sense – S 53°06’ 48.8 by W 161°15’ 03.6. They were still in the middle of nowhere, a thousand miles from anywhere, but at least he knew where in nowhere. A quick calculation showed about five thousand plus miles East to Chili. Doable if they didn’t starve or run out of water or sink first.

Something positive achieved. Noah allowed a smile to creep onto his face. It vanished when Leigh cried out, “Noah, come here!”

Comments and suggestions welcomed – dcburtonjr@gmail.com

https://davidburtonwriting.com

 

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Windhaven 13

Click here for the full page post.

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 Ifs

What if vampires, satan3-readingwitches, 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 space ship2and 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?

 

Windhaven

Chapter 13

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.woman at the helm

“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

 

My Earth, All Mine

“Happy Holidays?”  Had enough merriment and good cheer? Tired of  “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year?” Too much generosity and good cheer for you? How about some doom and gloom? This is the time when loners feel their lonesome the most. Give them a little love.

So there’s loners and there’s LONERS. What if you were in the latter group and you didn’t want to be just left alone in your cabin in the woods or your little apartment in the city. You wanted to be the only human on Earth. How would you go about it?earthmine

You’d want to consult with Gaia first. I’m sure she’d be glad to be rid of the human pests, but you wouldn’t want to piss her off by screwing with her plans for us, would you?

I’m not talking about evil super villains who want to have all the money and rule the world.  They need people to lord it over. The same with religious fanatics. They need people to listen to them preach doom and gloom, fire and brimstone, and you’d better have sex with me or God’s going to be mad at you. And political despots. They need somebody to enslave, harangue, and be paranoid about. Without people they’re just crazy dudes ranting at themselves.

The main problem of eliminating humans from the planet is getting rid of them without killing yourself. What good is having a planet of your own if you’re too dead to enjoy it? Inciting a nuclear war probably isn’t so easy now days. And if you could, say, obtain the launch codes for all the missiles in the US or Russia and set them all off and create a full on nuclear winter killing most everything that lives, that doesn’t sound very agreeable. If you’re going to be alone, having warm, secluded beaches or pleasant woodland walks would be a necessity. Whether 8 billion people crowd the planet or none, what difference would it make if you’re shut in your bomb shelter for the next 1000 years?

Mosquitoes are your friends. They inhabit all the earth except Antarctica. They infect hundreds of millionsmosie1 and kill millions every year. All you’d have to do is cook up a big batch of a human specific virus or bacteria, infect  a few million mosquito eggs, and distribute them around some of the busiest airports. Within days of hatching, your personal little pandemic would have spread throughout the world. Then, all you’d have to do is sit back with your beach towel and umbrella in hand and wait for the beach to clear out. Assuming you thought to immunize yourself against your private plague.

Or, you might want to learn how to sail before hand. Once you let the little monsters loose a long cruise into the ocean while the sun, bacteria, insects, and animals dispose of the dead would be nice. If you’re smart, and watched too many horror movies, you made sure that the dead stayed dead.  It wouldn’t do to come back to shore and bezombieblog2 greeted by a few billion hungry Zombies. That could be just as bothersome as a few billion regular folks. Vampires could be a problem. There’re already dead and they’d be really hungry. Better stock up on holy water, silver bullets and learn how to use a svampblogword.

Of course, with humans gone the world will start fixing all the damage we’ve done to it. This includes the return of wildlife. I imagine Bigfoot will sigh with relief not to have all those little humans stalking him with cameras. With small wildlife expansion comes the revival of the big predators; bears, big cats, wolves and the like. So, while you relax on that empty beach best keep an eye out. Those big cats only respect you for your food value, not your desire for solitude.catsblog4 wolfcatsblog2

IDEAS

What If? there really was (there probably is, tucked away in some government vault)  a virus/ bacteria that was capable of wiping humans from the planet? Then some group in a simple steal it/ransom it operation successfully steals it. But, just before they were to get their millions, one of their own, a stealth religious fanatic, steals it from them for his own highly misguided, God, Jesus, Mary Magdalene-told-me-to- do-it  cleanse the earth scheme. Suddenly the bad guys and the good guys have to work together to save all of humanity. Of course the good guy leader is an attractive woman, and the second in command bad guy is an attractive man (or vice versa) and they have to work together, close together.

What If? somebody did wipe humanity from the planet and  was enjoying their solitude when he/she came across a group of aliens intent on taking over the Earth. Well, he went to a lot of trouble to depopulate the world so now he has to fight the aliens for the planet.  He wins and once again enjoys his solitude when a group of astronauts who have been on a long space journey returns. Our single inhabitant sighs, “Can’t a guy get a little peace and quiet on his private beach?” A series for sure.beach2

What If? you were in a group of astronauts returning from a long mission and you found the only survivor of the Great Plague that wiped out humanity. You fight him at first, but he/she kidnaps one of your people and finally decides you can stay. But, the nasty bug is still around and the only way you will survive is if he gives you the vaccine, but it’s across the country and you may or may not have time to get there. Who will survive the journey? Surely not Adam and Eve – that would be too cheesy.

So, whether you’re a loner alone or a loner in a crowd find a bit of Christmas spirit and don’t vanish humanity, at least until after New Years.

Check out and share my first attempt at a book trailer for my story Heartbreak – http://youtu.be/NNLTJNUgYHs

My website (such as it is) with information on my books and stories is: http://dcburtonwriting.wordpress.com

Feel free to comment and Please share.

dcburtonjr@gmail.com

Solitary Man

In my new novel Ancient Mariners, one of two main characters is a solitary man. For five years he has lived and sailed on his sailboat, wandering, compelled by guilt and grief to live a solitary life. There are a lot of Solitary Men and Women out there, some by choice some by chance. Some by both.

By chance, because of some real or imagined childhood trauma, you might be paranoid and be absolutely sure that the sweet old lady in 3B is cooking Meth in her apartment and everyone in the building is her customer and they are all just waiting for you to let your guard down so they can steal all your hoarded newspapers you’ve been carefully collecting in your living room since 1992 when someone who used to be a friend told you there were secret messages from God in the daily jumble puzzle. So you live a solitary life because  you know they are all unworthy of God’s message, even if you can’t quite figure them out yourself.

Or, you’re already a Methhead and are trying to stay straight and the only way you can do that is to keep all those freaking druggies (ie. everyone) the fuck away!

Or, you’re sick to death of all the bullshit from family, job, government, and that snotty neighbor two houses down who knows everything about everything, which is okay but he/she just won’t SHUT THE HELL UP about it. So you find a cabin in the woods, mountains, desert, foreign country, or sailboat and live alone and love it. Because it’s QUIET.

Not all who live alone like living a Solitary life. Suppose you’re shy, conversationally inept and socially challenged (Or are they the same?) But not scared or fearful. You’d rather run into a dark alley to answer a cry for help followed by gunshots than take one step away from the corner of a cocktail party you were inadvertently invited to because somebody thought you were friends with that hottie from work you happened to be standing beside (well, standing behind,) and start a conversation with… anybody. Is there any more solitary life than to be surrounded by people having a good time while they totally ignore you?

Even if you aren’t challenged by the social graces you may prefer a solitary life. You might be too smart for your own good. Any conversation at any party,  event, dinner, family gathering, or meeting is inane, plebian, and of so little consequence you can actually feel the words go in one ear and out the other leaving a trail of dead neurons and blasted synapses while making your eyeballs roll up, pleading to God or whoever to strike you down on the spot if you hear one more reference to crabgrass or “Did you see (insert any reality show here) last night?” You’re much more comfortable alone in your study, “Nadia, no interruptions for the next week, please!” reading books written by dead people because no live people have written any books worthy of your esteemed, and possibly imagined, intellectual attention. The solitary life for you. Who’d have you, anyway?

Then there are the ones like Silas in my book so consumed with guilt, deserved or not, that they are compelled to live alone as punishment for the hurt they inflicted on others, intentionally or not. The ones with secrets – personal, criminal, governmental – who feel the only way to keep those secrets, and save humanity or at least the one they love from afar – is to live apart from anyone they might be tempted to tell them to.  The ones who’ve seen and understand the worst of the basic human condition and just don’t want to interact with them anymore. The ones with a challenge, like walking to the South Pole, alone, or climbing a mountain, alone, or sailing around the world, alone, where it’s their strength, their will, their brains that determine success  or failure. All the glory, all the blame.

No matter why you live a solitary life, voluntary or involuntary, there’s someone out there who despite your resistance, gets you, cares about you and whether intentionally or not will bring you into a socially acceptable congregation of two, alone together.

IDEAS

What If? you were hearing voices, not a voice, not a few voices, all of them. You’d think you were crazy as would most other people you were foolish enough to tell. Then you discover that solitude quiets the voices so you live in a cabin in the woods (don’t forget the pristine lake) as Solitary Men/Women do. Then the voices return, but they’re alien voices and you understand them and out of the jumble in your head you realize they are preparing to conquer Earth. At some point someone comes into your solitary life. A boy or girl, lost or running away. Maybe an older man or woman, lost or running away. They think you’re crazy, but you’ve bonded, connected (insert steamy sex scene here) and now they can hear the voices, too. Your mission, if you decide you give a damn, is go out in the world and using your power and sidekick, save it.

What If? you were sailing single-handed in the middle of the ocean at night, watching the blazing lights of a cruise ship speed over the horizon. You hear a cry for help. You’re not crazy or stupid so you’re quick to figure out what’s happened. Oh shit. For a few seconds you consider continuing on your placid way, but you know you won’t. You follow the voice to a woman, or man, in the water, under imminent shark attack. Eventually she tells you that she was thrown overboard by persons unknown. Murdered. Why? Don’t know. All you want to do is drop her at the nearest port and sail on. But you know you won’t because you want to know, WHY?

What If? you were trapped in Limbo, floating alone in the timeless darkness, trapped by an evil Sorcerer (or, of course, Sorceress) for meddling in his affairs. But for a long time (hours, weeks, years) you’ve been moving toward a spot of light. Suddenly the spot rushes up and dumps you out into a vast desolate, grassy, sparsely treed, rocky, gouged, mountain bordered, rugged plain. You are alone.  You head for some high hills to see what can be seen. A person runs over the crest, yells at you to run. Behind him come semi-human creatures – hunters. You follow the prey to a tight copse of trees at the end of a deep ravine. You fight the hunters, win, at the cost of the prey’s life. Before he dies he tells you to get to the cave, grotto, hut, altar, mansion, palace and you will be safe.  Ever the Solitary Man, you make your way across the deadly landscape fighting or eluding the ever more deadly hunters and other hungry beasts to your ultimate goal, the _____ of ______, and the second book of the series.

Even though you might be imbedded with the social media in-crowd, give a thought and a hand to those solitary boys and girls, men and women, who stare out from the corners of life’s cocktail party.

Please click here to go to the Ancient Mariners’ page for a short excerpt and links to where it can be downloaded.

Don’t Go In The Water!

Water, whether you love it or it terrifies you, you got to have it. Dying of thirst isn’t much fun. Your blood gets thicker and thicker and eventually there’s only a red dust tumbling through your veins, like one of those old dolls filled with sawdust. Unless you are possessed by an evil spirit, or, if you’re lucky, a good spirit with a sense of humor, you’ll be blowing’ in the wind,  baby, like a dust devil in the desert.

Of course, too much is just as bad for you. If you’re one of those athletic freaks, oops, sorry, species who go to bed and get up with the mantra hydrate, hydrate, hydrate coursing through your brain like a Noir murder mystery movie  where the old Victrola is playing the same relevant refrain of a scratched record over and over before revealing the dead body slumped over the desk, you don’t want to drink too much water. Drinking too much, whether, flavored, fortified, purified, or, God forbid, plain, will turn your blood into a thin rusty tea, that won’t do you any more good than red dust.

Drowning is no fun either. And even though I’ve heard that it’s not that bad a way to go, sucking in that first cold lungful of water’s  gotta be a bitch. In any case, whether you’re in the ocean a thousand miles from land and your boat sinks and you can’t quite make it to the liferaft the wind is blowing a little too quick for you to catch up, or if you’re dead drunk face down in three inches of gutter water, lungs full of water are not a good thing.  Either way, or any way in between, that whole life passing before your eyes thing might be trippy.

A lot of people like water, sailors, divers, surfers, fisherpeople, beach goers and Real estate sales people among them. I like the water and hope to be sailing on it again one day. Abby Sunderland likes water. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be attempting to be the youngest person, she’s 16, yes, 16, to sail around the world singlehanded, nonstop. If a 16-year-old girl can do it, I can, too.  You can follow her blog at http://soloround.blogspot.com  or at www.abbysunderland.com . She should be rounding Cape Horn as you read this. Yea, Abby.  I am so jealous.

Many people don’t like the water. I don’t know why, except it might kill you and that most likely  just beyond the limit of your visibility, whether that’s one foot or two hundred feet, something is waiting to eat you. I’d sail across an ocean in a minute, but I have no desire to jump in the water a 1000 miles from anywhere because I know, I know, that if I do, a long tentacle will shoot out of the depths, wrap around my leg,  and drag me down. And not to introduce me to some long-lost Atlantean civilization where I’ll live forever in undersea bliss. Those monsters down there are HUNGRY, man.

Sure, water soothes the soul and all that. We’re 90 something per cent water and like attracts like. We even respond to the pull of the moon’s gravity, just like water. Must be why a full moon pulls the werewolf out of us. But, soothing your soul while you lay on the sand soaking up all those nasty sun beams doesn’t really make for exciting stories like–

IDEAS

What if you were sailing for the S. Pacific and you were stuck in the Doldrums and to bide your time while waiting for the next rain squall, you looked into the water and saw something swim up out of the depths and it wasn’t a tentacle but a mermaid. Not  a Manatee, those old-time sailors must have been really hard up to mistake one for a mermaid, but a real mermaid, or merman. Maybe she begged you for help, told you evil gangster mermen were after her, and you helped her. Brought her aboard, made a bathtub of the cockpit. The thing is, is she running from the gangster mermen, or was she escaping from mermen police? What is her/his agenda, and are you helping because you really believe there’s a mer-something in your cockpit? Or is he/she pulling a Call-of-the-Siren thing on you and leading you astray?

What if you woke up one morning and heard the dripping of water in your head? It would not go away, drip, drip, drip. You tried to go about your business, but there it was, drip, drip, drip. Sometimes a bit faster, sometimes slower. You try to move away as it drips slower. Blocks, miles, cities, states, countries, the sound slows, but never stops, never…stops. Like the Chinese Water torture, you become so used to the drip, drip, drip, when it stops you go crazy waiting for the next drip of water on your forehead. Finally you have to  move toward the dripping, following the sound in your head, faster, faster it draws you toward the source. This is now your quest, your life. You wander, miles to the North, miles South, East, West. Is it faster this way? This way? Slowly you narrow down the location. Your heart beats faster. You know where the dripping water comes from. You remember. Dread fills you. No. Not there. Please, not there. Yet the drip, drip, drip inexorably draws  you to… your redemption or damnation.  Which do you deserve?

What if you were a boy or girl on the cusp of adulthood in an Island society? It was time for your ritual ceremony. You drank the potion, breathed the special smoke… and woke up in a small boat on a big ocean. You had a little water, a little food, and no idea where you were, what direction was your island? What would you do? Survive, perish? Find your Island, find another island? Sail into legend as the mysterious sailor who brings good or bad luck if sighted? What adventures might you have alone a sea with only your wits and the creatures of the sea to help you?

What if the Apocalypse came and went and you were still here and controlled the only water source in a hundred miles. Would you share it, hoard it? Dole it out as long as  the recipients did what you wanted, vile or virtuous? Virtuous at the beginning, how long until you passed the line to wicked to protect your water, and your power?

What if you had to take a Heart of Darkness trip up a river? Lots of things can happen, real or otherwise, on a journey up a close jungle river, whether accompanied by friends (are they really?) or strangers. Which ones do you think you should trust your life to?

Think about it. I’m sailing off into the sunset for awhile, figuratively, if not literally. Untie that dockline, will you?