NaNoWriMo: The Islands Beyond, Day 14

Day 14

Today I blitzed the NaNo quarterback and flattened him to the turf, figuratively speaking. I got off 3200 words. Very satisfying.

Jacques Cousteau

Jacques-Yves Cousteau – Underwater Explorer, Pipe Smoker, and Temporary Guest in the Islands Beyond (josephcrusejohnson.blogspot.com)

I wrote most of my stuff in a notebook before copying it into my computer document. It was an interesting exercise, and one that I ought to do more often, as I find that it gets me thinking in different directions than when I am working on the computer. I am much less inclined to micro-edit my writing when I can’t simply hammer on the backspace key. The annoying part is when it comes time to copy the text from the notebook into a computer document, mostly on account of the fact that I don’t have a convenient way to position the notebook. I am thinking of building a little stand that I can place between me and the laptop.  I’ll post a picture if I ever build it.

So, today the boys wrecked their sailboat, and it now lies flooded at the bottom of Bromyv Strait. Lucky for them, Jacques Cousteau steams into the channel with the RV Calypso a few minutes after the wreck. Although Monsieur Cousteau never went missing (that we know of), I have taken the liberty of snatching him from our world for a while. He’s just too useful (and too snazzy with that pipe and red toque) to stay put.

Today ended at 25,600 words. Here’s an excerpt:

“Ethan, we’re sinking!”

“I know! We need to get to shore.”

He tried to steer the Dagger towards the rocks once more, but with her hull filling with water, she was sluggish and unresponsive. Waves were washing over the deck, but the nearest rocks were still a few yards off.

“Get up to the prow,” said Ethan.

Pete ran, but Ethan lingered a few moments to undo the halyards that held up the mainsail and the other sails. The booms fell to the deck with a thump and were buried beneath a heap of sailcloth.

Water was soaking into Ethan’s shoes as he ran to join Pete at the bow. The stern was mostly underwater now, and the rest of the boat would follow quickly. They were coming up on a broad, flat rock. Everything beyond it was sharp and steep, and would be impossible to jump onto without breaking their bones.

“Pete, follow me. Aim for that rock!”

Ethan ran a few steps and jumped, knowing that his life depended on it. He landed squarely on the rock, falling hard onto his elbows and knees. He tried to ignore the pain, and rolled out of the way. A second later, his brother landed beside him, groaning with pain.

“Ugh. My elbows!”

“Never mind that,” said Ethan. He pointed at the water. “Look!”

Just the bowsprit and mast of the sailboat were out of the water now. The current appeared to be tipping it onto its side, until just the tip of the mast could be seen, poking up like the branch of a submerged tree.

The boys were silent for a long time before Pete finally spoke.

“What are we going to do now?”

Ethan didn’t answer. He gazed across the channel, first at the swiftly moving water and then at the cliffs beyond it. They were sitting in the shadow cast by rocks that loomed up high over their heads, impossible to climb. They were trapped on the flat stone, with no food or shelter from the wind, and no hope of getting their boat back.

They sat back to back, trying to trap a little warmth between them, but they were soon shivering anyway. When his butt had gone completely numb, Ethan stood and began stomping warm blood back into his toes. He scanned the dark rocks and the lip of the cliff high overhead.

“There’s no point sitting here on this rock until it gets dark,” he said finally. “I’m going to climb up there and see what’s up top.”

“But Ethan—”

“Don’t try to stop me.”

“But Ethan—”

Ethan spun on his brother, cold and angry. “You think I want to climb up there?”

“No! Look!”

Pete pointed down the channel in the direction they had been heading. A ship was approaching. It was long and white, with a black stripe just above the waterline. There was a small yellow helicopter parked at the front of the top deck, and the word Calypso was written on it. A blue, white and red flag fluttered above the deck that Ethan felt pretty sure was French.

The boys shouted and waved their arms, trying to get the ship’s attention. When the ship was nearly alongside them, it let out a long blast from its horn that echoed from the walls of the channel. They’d been seen.

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About jackfrey
Jack Frey lives somewhere in Northeast Asia with his wife and two young boys. He finds the letter K to be the most aesthetically pleasing of all the consonants, in both its upper and lowercase forms. Like many of us, he is currently seeking publication of his first novel.

2 Responses to NaNoWriMo: The Islands Beyond, Day 14

  1. I absolutely love it, I love every bit of it. I think your book is going to be so great. I used to teach fourth through sixth grade and this is exactly the type of book I wished I had had for my boys to read! They loved the adventure books, like Hatchet. Your work reminds me a lot of that. Thank you so much for sharing the excerpts.

    • jackfrey says:

      I loved Hatchet! For years, whenever I rode in a plane, I secretly wished I would crash somewhere in Ontario. I read it recently with my boys, and they loved it, too.

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