Chapter 1

Written by: dannyo77

A crack of thunder woke Sherwin up from his troubled sleep. Bleary eyed he rolled over and looked at his alarm clock. The digital display slowly came into focus – it was 4.53am. Sherwin sighed and threw off the blankets, he knew he wouldn't get any more sleep.

A flash of lightening lit up the room momentarily followed closely by another clap of thunder. “Welcome to the tropics I guess,” Sherwin murmured. The muggy weather, frequent storms and wildlife of South America were a far cry from his pleasant suburban life he had left behind.

Suddenly a forceful gust of wind rocked the house and rain started pelting the windows of Sherwin’s bedroom. “Damn! The Daphne!” The rough weather quickly brought back the reality of the mission home to him. Tugging on some clothes, Sherwin rushed downstairs to the clandestine radio facility they had assembled.

Sherwin had not been able to raise the Daphne or her crew in almost 48 hours. The weather reports confirmed his fears – a major cyclone was forming offshore; right in the path of the Daphne.

*******

Grant Bishop felt exhaustion through every bone in his body. The last stage of his voyage in the Daphne had sapped every ounce of strength from him. He descended from topside back to the lower decks of the platform looking for any signs of life. No such signs were forthcoming and he decided to work his way across to the communications room located on the lower deck right beneath the accommodation block.

The door to the communications room was ajar. Grant could hear static from the main speaker as he approached. As he reached for the handle he hesitated - the whole platform was starting to give him the creeps. He took a breath and pulled the door outward, slowly. The room was empty. His fear subsiding, Grant picked up the microphone and started running through the secure channels that the team had agreed to use before the trip.

*******

“No luck again,” thought Sherwin. It was nearly 7am and the channels he had polled were all blank.

“Mr Landing, come in. Over,” crackled the radio, startling Sherwin. He grabbed the microphone.

“Sherwin Landing receiving. Is that you Bishop? Over.” Sherwin could not mask his relief.

“Affirmative. I have arrived. Over.”

“Are Cromwell and Downs with you? What happened out there? Over.”

A long silence followed.

“We were hit by that storm… I’m the only one who made it,” said Bishop eventually. He sounded tired.

“The Daphne?” Asked Sherwin.

“Gone.”

Sherwin had to take a moment to compose himself.

“Okay. At least you’re aboard, so we can proceed,” Sherwin’s mind was racing, Grant Bishop’s predicament had some dire implications.

*******

As Grant Bishop put down the microphone his exhaustion returned in full strength and he decided to find a spot to grab some sleep. As he turned to leave his eye caught sight of something that made his blood freeze – a dead body hunched over in the corner.

 

Dan Oliver (NZ)

 

Comments

The POV from one scene to another has been handled well although I would not have written more than two scenes within 500 words. Too many scenes in short spurts tend to leave the reader breathless. We need to build the tension slowly. None the less I really enjoyed this. Its my kind of action and thriller and Dan has written a piece that not only lands well on the grid but has 0% passive sentence. This shows great imagination in creative writing.
A body in the corner is a great way to end this chapter. Life on the sea has many mysteries. Good work Dan
I liked the way you cut between the two characters and the two locations. The story had pace and plenty happening. Great surprise ending.
Two great starts to this piece. I, too, liked the way a new direction connected with the preface, and I was very drawn into the changes of scenes; to me, they helped develop the tension. Also, it feels like the two writers are really writing in the same story, something that doesn't always seem to follow. In fact, it could even feel like one author continued to write. Now that's continuity! Bravo for The Story Mint!