Eye of the Storm
- September 29th, 2011
- in Yachting
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
Editor’s note: The following excerpt was taken from the first chapter of the novel The Eye of the Storm, written by Alison Knights Bramble and published by aLookingGlass. The publication and printing were made possible by sponsors including Caribbean Insurers Limited, INTAC, LIME, Rotary Club Tortola and Rotary Club Sunrise. All proceeds from the sale of the novel benefit Special Olympics BVI. The novel will be available for purchase on November 4.
Visit www.specialolympicsbvi.org for more details.
Ben knew at that moment that they never should have left Sunset Cove. Their small fishing boat struggled as the fuming sea made fools of them all. The light vessel was being tossed about—the stern lifting precariously before being hurled down the steep slope of the next wave. The propeller screamed as it spun, fighting to keep its grip on the water.
“Man, we need to go back. The engine, she won’t make it through this!” Isaac had to shout to be heard over the noise of the gathering storm. Ben grappled with his rising panic, trying to keep it under control, mesmerized by the white water crashing on the corner of Scorpion Island—each wave managing to climb higher than the last, spray bouncing around the seabirds that were forced to abandon their perches.
As his friend started to turn the thrashing boat back for home, he yelled over the relentless noise. “That way is upwind, Isaac. If we try and drive back through that squall, we’ll be turned over for sure.”
Charlie had frightened tears in her eyes, and looking at her made Ben want to cry, too. “Then what?” she asked. “Please do something!”
Kai was frantically bailing with the sadly inadequate plastic water bottle, his other hand pointing in the direction they had been going. Although unable to speak, the boy was demonstrating his determination to go on. Certainly they were closer to land now than they would be if they tried to turn back. Ben had to agree with him.
“He’s right. Let’s keep going. We’ll find some place to get ashore to wait it out. If we go back, we’ll risk capsizing.” As the word “capsize” came out of Ben’s mouth, he realised two things: they had no lifejackets on board, and, even worse, Isaac couldn’t swim. How had he gotten so sloppy? Just over one month in the Caribbean and he had disregarded everything he’d ever been taught about being safe on the water.
Taking the helm back from Isaac, Ben increased the speed of the idling engine and headed further into the gap between the two pieces of harsh land, Scorpion Island and Black Cay, both bordered with unforgiving rock faces. He watched the narrow channel force the sea into a funnel-like space building taller, whiter, waves that climbed on top of each other to reach the other end. They were in the worst place possible right now, but if they could just make it through, it had to be a little calmer on the other side, didn’t it?
Without warning, a rogue wave hit the four teenagers. A wall of blue water broke over the side of them. Kai was propelled head first across the small dory, and then there was a noise missing. The three others turned and stared at the silent motor, its throttle still in Ben’s hand. Isaac leapt up and reached for the starting cord. He pulled and pulled, pumping the choke and the revs, but the outboard engine was waterlogged.
Charlie’s face was grey with fear, her hair plastered to her cheeks. Kai continued to fiddle with the engine, but they all knew it was pointless.
Isaac turned to Ben, “So what now, eh? You the clever one, you got us here, now you get us drowned!”
“It’s not my fault. You didn’t have to come, anyway. You were the one that was calling us back, remember? Not wanting to be left on the beach.”
The ridiculous argument pulled Charlie back to her senses.
“For heaven’s sake, pack it in, you two. Fighting will not help. We are not going to drown! Let’s calm down and decide what to do.”
Both boys stared at the petite, blonde girl shouting at them and immediately fell silent…
Visit www.specialolympicsbvi.org to pre-order a copy of the novel.