From Dark into Darkness

The wind picked up intensity, blowing loud as a Texas liar. I had forgotten the sound the wind makes when it ratchets into a cyclone. It whistles through the rigging, singing in a voice that rises in pitch with each gust and subsides in each lull, and pounds the boat’s exposed hull with irregular beats of a broadside tympani. Our boat crawled out the narrow channel through lightning and thunder and rain toward the open sea. A lightning flash gave Shat the first glimpse of a giant silhouette shrouded in rainy darkness bearing down on our bow. “Jesus Christ, it’s Godzilla!” he shouted back to Scurvy at the wheel.“Give her room!” Namu shreiked.It was a giant cruise ship, skyscraper tall and a thousand feet long, moving back to port. Even in the dead of night the ship was lit up like a giant artificial Christmas tree. We had seen these big monster ship hotels dozens of times, but never this close, a faceoff in the pitch darkness of a storm-tossed inlet. The ship approached swiftly and passed us within sixty yards, as we craned our necks to look straight up to its towering omnipresence.The long hull slid past within ten seconds and Scurvy turned the rudder sharply to let Scotoplanes slice across the big ship’s wake. Within a minute the ship vanished into the darkness, enveloped in another torrential downpour that swiftly overcame us. Again we were alone as we reached the end of the inlet and moved out to open sea. We did not realize at the time that the big cruise liner had diverted back to port to avoid a tropical storm that was forming over our heads.”

–from Sailing with the Scotch Brothers, novel in progress

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