Adventure snack for the weekend: chapter 24 of the (to be released) novel “Rebound.”
I woke up with a start, disoriented. The room didn’t look like the room in Denver, and Imani’s bed hadn’t been slept in… It took me a while to realize I was thousands of miles farther east and it was many weeks later. I sat on the edge of the bed for a while, feeling exhausted. Jaws licked my hand; I stroked his big head. Immediately, Bo and Lex came, they always did. None of the dogs allowed me to give favors to a single dog, the love had to be shared. I sunk to the floor and rubbed their heads. They would be on a boat for a long time, which would be stressful… for all four of us. Getting up, I stumbled into the bathroom, switched on the LED light and washed my face. I shaved and cut my hair with a blunt pair of scissors.
The mirror informed me unkindly that I looked like a worn-out Snake Plissken, with a bad haircut, a shabby face, and tendons and skin instead of Plissken’s muscle. And I didn’t feel as tough and confident as the Snake either, today I was more in Patrick Dewaere’s league, a moody French actor that I had greatly admired; until he committed suicide at the early age of 35. Befitting thoughts to start the day. I fed the dogs: dried elk meat that Francois had provided. They loved it. I packed my stuff in a large bag and tidied the room a little. Who knows who might be using it in the future?
I set off towards Francois’ place. Although it was still early, he wasn’t in. I made myself a large coffee and had some crackers and meat for breakfast. I went over my list of the final stuff I still needed to do. Then I went to the boat, which was waiting patiently. I tightened the ropes and checked the fuel, equipment, and anchor. I went to a store downtown that I had passed the day before and got some more maps. I also got an additional satnav; sure, the ship had a built-in navigation system, but it is better to have a spare. Finally, I had everything and was ready to go. The wind was stronger now, and the sky overcast. Francois was neither at his house nor at the boat. I decided to move the catamaran closer to Francois’ place; walking half a mile between the two was senseless.
And then I waited. Francois didn’t appear. Had something happened? Had Harry returned? I had no clue where he could be. Soon it was ten, then eleven. I grew more and more impatient, as I wanted to make a good distance before nightfall. I might be forced to return, should the ship malfunction. I walked up and down the pier, nervously. Then, finally, I saw Francois appear, from the direction where the ship had been anchored. He was carrying a duffel bag, so heavy it made him tilt to the side. His head was bent down; he looked miserable. I stared at his sad figure, as he came towards me, wondering what had happened.
Then he raised his head, and for an instant, I saw his face for the very first time with a serious expression. But when he discovered me and the boat, his face lighted up immediately.
“Alan! I thought you had left!”
“I couldn’t leave without saying goodbye, could I?”
He hurried forwards and handed me the bag. “Put that on board.”
It was tremendously heavy. ”More books to read? You packed those already for me, remember?”
“Not books! My clothing and essentials; I had to get new stuff from the store. You don’t want to share a cabin with a sailor that doesn’t change his underwear, do you? Now help me, we must stow away some more food. I packed the boxes early this morning. The water should be sufficient for two.”
“You rascal. Are you sure you want to come along?”
“I’m sure. Harry can stay with his bloody moose! I have left him a farewell note. To tell you the truth: I don’t think he will even notice that I am gone.”
It took us half an hour to store his stuff on the boat. Then Francois moved behind the wheel, stuck a captain’s cap on his white manes, and started the engine. “Are you ready, son?”
“Yessir, never been more ready than this.” My heart was beating and even the three dogs showed nervous anticipation. I loosened to ropes and pushed the boat from the shore. Francois made a cross and mumbled a prayer. Firmly he stood behind the wheel and then steered the boat out of the harbor, the engine happily put-putting. We entered The Narrows, and after a few minutes, we passed between Cahill Point and North Head. One last look at the lighthouse of Fort Amhurst, and our boat entered the Atlantic Ocean, its large, heavy waves moving us up and down. The ocean’s vast expanse in front of us: 2500 kilometers of wild water… and beyond that the great unknown of Europe. Francois lifted his cap from his head. “May we have fair winds and following seas.”
REBOUND will be available as an eBook and paperback soon… Stay tuned! Register to this website to get informed about its availability.
In the meantime, find all my published books here.