Chapter 2

Written by: danaesidh

The city had ridden the dragon quite well. There were some serious landslips, but the lessons of previous events had replaced fatality with injury. Power, mostly secure; gas, only some ruptures, quickly contained; telephony thanking various deities for microwave cellular technology.

Nobody had claimed that a bullet had been dodged, but it felt that way. The heart of the city had skipped a beat or two. Rural regions needed attendance, heritage details assessed for restoration.

Richard and Felicity stood in their garden looking back at their house. Their lives were safe. The garden looked untouched, although they would have to rake leaves. Their house was still standing, stable. Yes, they needed to call the plasterers. Some windows had shattered or cracked. Dust had entered the workings of their clock collection and Richard's telescope.

The neighbours were dazed, yet unscathed. The area had ridden many shakes better than most for a hundred years. The shock was physical. Blankets, hot drinks and tearful embraces were the regularly applied remedies. The whole street knew the drill.

The questions that they had to answer many times: "Where's Kurt? How is Kurt? Is Kurt not with you?" were those that ran like a loop through their being, insistent. Internal, with dread, external with tears.

Kurt hadn't responded to the radio. It was unusual, but not without precedent. Richard and Felicity knew that contact with him now was improbable. Now they had to appreciate the distinction between patience and waiting.

Kurt spat out his beer in a half choke. The others hadn't seen it yet.

They had been lucky with the wind; it had been a fresh, steady breeze, putting them ahead of schedule. They had threaded the islands, enjoying the open water of the Hauraki Gulf before Waiheke.

It was grey-green, filled with many darknesses. It was silent, any sound carried away by the wind. It began as an insignificant smudge on the early morning.  It wasn't cloud or smog. It was something that kept catching his eye as he scanned the Gulf for indicators of wind change.

It got large, suddenly. It was fast; it stole the horizon. Its roar swallowed the wind.

Kurt realised they had minutes to act. They were all in life vests, Jasmine was closest to the safety locker, "Get the drogues out!" The storm anchor was going to be their only chance.

The rope with the plastic cones attached paid out over the stern. The sailing party now frantically reefed sail, stowed lockers, cleared decks.

The wait was eternal. Everyone except Kurt was below deck with the hatches battened. Kurt was on a short leash with his storm harness at the helm.

If the boat rolled over, they would die. The storm anchor should let the boat surf the face of any wave instead of broaching as it sped past them. It had worked in the past, in some spectacularly bad weather.

But this was not weather.

Comments

Oh boy, we're in for a gripping ride with this serial. This is a great chapter with examples of interesting language, vivid imagery ('an insignificant smudge') and details ('they would have to rake leaves').