Chapter 5

Written by: Ray Stone

Pictures of childhood, of a pet dog, grandparents smiling, and an old pedal car painted red and blue in the driveway next to tall yellow flowers. Hundreds of pictures, each a milli-second flashing through his mind’s eye as a whole life crowded into a second.

Kurt’s eyes opened as something heavy thudded between his shoulder blades, forcing a sudden intake of breath mixed with seawater. He coughed twice before something pulled him down beneath the waves. His searching hands found part of the storm anchor’s rope wound around his knee. With circular movements, he freed himself and rose to the surface, coughing out water from his lungs.

Of the Skylark, there was no sign. The sea was relatively calm, and Kurt knew a second wave could, and would, hit at any time. With desperation, he looked in all directions but saw nothing. He found it impossible to call out. His lungs hurt and the pain in his back was getting worse as he tried to tread water.

He tried looking toward where he guessed the shore was but the horizon was empty and grey

***

Cushions and blankets and charts floated to one side of the cabin. The radio was dead. Teresa frantically pulled at the door that opened onto the steps leading up to the well deck. “The door won’t open. The bloody door won’t open. Jasmine, do something. Please. Please, do something. I don’t want to go drown in here.”

Jasmine cursed that all the boys were out on deck. The door had jammed as the yacht was slammed by a wall of water and rose bow first high into the air. Tilted one way after another, the Skylark had finally settled at an angle. Jasmine guessed the hull had been damaged. Water inside the cabin had reached her knees.

“You won’t drown. The yacht won’t sink. Skylark’s fitted with buoyancy tanks. She’ll keel over though. Here, stand out of the way.”

Teresa stood aside while Jasmine crashed the door open with her foot. The door and frame split and water cascaded down the steps.

“Come on, let’s help the boys,” called Jasmine. She turned and looked down at Teresa. “Another wave is coming soon,” she warned. “This is just the beginning.”

Jasmine grabbed the handrail on top of the cabin. The yacht was listing badly in the stiff wind, and the mast and sails had gone. She looked across the top of the cabin, expecting to see the boys cutting away anything that could lighten the weight. Her relief at being out of the cabin and able to help quickly turned to shock and horror. She stood, steadying herself on the wall of the well.

With deliberate calmness, she reached down to Teresa and held out a hand. As Teresa joined her, they both stood to look at an empty expanse of sea in all directions. 

“The boys are gone,” sobbed Jasmine. “Let’s hope they are safe.”

Ahead, another thunderous wall approached.