If you have not read 'Whispering Whale', there is no need for you to read the following. You can go on to chapter one.
To the others, I would like to extend my thanks for reading WW. It was a great deal of fun putting it together and now I have started the sequel and I'm posting the first four pages, which is all I have completed. I can not say that what you read will not be changed in the future or if I'll continue to post the story in an on going way.
Having read WW, I highly recommend that you reread the last chapter. Read the entire chapter to get into the flow once more. The sequel starts a few hours after the end of WW.
Mind, body and soul.
In the early part of a new day the 'Cristine' was pushed by a docile breeze that billowed her patch worked sails. The boom was fully extended to port and her jibs puffed to starboard. Justin griped a tranquil helm with both hands as he gazes across a steady bow. Nicole sat beside him. He back was to the east while droopy eyes mused mountains to the west. A following sea and a following wind had little voice except for the whispered, pulsing gurgle from astern.
Nicole's eyes regained their alertness as she rotated to face Justin. "Still no smoke".
Justin was in deep concentration and his right shoulder twitched at the unexpected sound of Nicole's voice. He turned slightly to the right. "I thought you were sleeping."
He released his grip on the helm and turned to face her. He leaned back against the helm and his eyes shifted to the the 'Cristine's' wake where an ocean swell approached with strange slowness. "No." There was disappointment in his single word. He stretched his fingers and took a deep cleansing breath and exhaled with a puff. "I don't think we should fly off."
Nicole swung her feet to the deck. "We need to talk to someone." She put her elbows to her knees and her far head to the palms of both hands. Silence issued and Justin swiveled to again face the bow. The 'Cristine' lumbered on in a methodical fashion, her stern doing a little wag with the touch of each swell. Justin again eyed the horizon across the bow. " A stiff breeze from broadside would be nice."
Nicole spoke with her head down, her words indicated a bit of distress. "There's a change rumblings within me. It's almost a belly pain." She paused along moment. "This thing thing that happened to us. It's so bizarre my mind wants to turn it into a hallucination. But, that wouldn't be true." Another long pause. "I think."
Justin spoke without turning. "From the start of this trip, when a whale presented itself it was always..." He turned to Nicole, "A humpback."
Nicole looked up. "Are you sure?" She stood. "Our first sighting was on the first day of the trip. At the mouth of that river in Oregon."
Justin turned to her. "Yes, the Umpqua. You can tell the species of a whale by it's spout. And all the the spouts we have seen for the entire trip have been the same, humpback spouts."
Nicole grimaced. "Then we crossed paths with only humpbacks. That's not a big deal."
Justin looked over his shoulder. "But, only one at a time? Whales are social. He was either the last whale or he was following us." He paused. "Or, both."
Nicole sat down. "It's been following us?"
Justin tied off the helm and sat beside her. "I think so. It couldn't be a coincidence. What happened was done with intent. The whale had an agenda from the start. He only needed the right moment." Justin hesitated as he stared deep into Nicole's eyes. "And the right place."
Nicole put her hand on Justin's knee. "The time the whale surfaced when I had the helm and you were below...remember, I was knocked on my bottom and I told you I heard something." Her brow wrinkled. "It was a whisper...that I couldn't understand." She squeezed his knee. "As I think of it now it was more musical then something of words."
Justin got to his feet, stepped to the helm and undid the securing lines. "We need to write this stuff down and we need to do it soon," He pointed into the galley. "There's paper and pens in the chest." He spun around to Nicole. "We need to make anchor. We need to concentrate on what happened and remember the details." He wave his right arm through the air. "Hell, I slept through part of it."
Nicole stood and almost pushed him from the helm. "Your right, your very right. When we get to New Atlantis there will be a lot of commotion and distraction. Let's make for shore." She took charge of the helm and Justin moved forward to handle the lines.
The 'Cristine' was soon headed west at a brisk pace.
They anchored on the north side of a small island that screened the southern wind. The leeward waters were as flat and transparent as a sheet of glass. The mainland was still miles to the west.
Below3 decks, in the galley, Justin struggled with one of the large chest. He heaved with a loud grunt and the chest came free. "We should have been taking noted...the entire trip.
Nicole knelt before the stove. "As soon as this fire is started I'll go topside and see if I can catch dinner." She lit a match and touched it to the kindling.
Justin moved with smooth efficiency, his mind flowed with thoughts of the adventure and how to record them and in what order. "Hay, collage girl. How do we get this right? A short story? Maybe we need a title?" He laughed.
Nicole smiled, closed the fire door on the stove and stood up. "Just write it down as it comes into your head. We can put things in order later. All we want now is the facts and any notions we may have felt, but I don't think we should come to any conclusions at this time."
Justin looked at her. "Right. We get the information down on paper and head for home.
Nicole was moving topside when she stopped and turned. "Do you need ant help with that?"
Justin didn't look up. "No, this box has been opened before."
Topside, from the stowage box under the cockpit bench, Nicole retrieved a fishing line with a little red lure dangling from it. She stepped aft to the stern railing, but before she dropped the hook over the side and scanned the sea for signs of activity. Now, she would have been utterly surprised to see the spout of a whale or the shinny back of a dolphin.
Nicole dropped the lure into the water and watched it giggle to the bottom. She hauled about a foot and a half back in and began to jig the line up and down. But, her head rose to study the line of the horizon.
Moments passed, minutes passed. Nicole stood as a statue with only her right arm moving. Suddenly the line jerked and she looked down, almost annoyed by the distraction. She began to haul the line in while following the movements of the captured fish. She hollered. "Snapper to eat."
Justin made no reply and jammed the trunk back into the forward compartment. A small stack of blank paper and four pens and four pencils sat on the table.
He turned and looked at the stove and then went to the galley stowage box where they kept their food supplies. Everything in the box came from the distant past, from his long gone home in Winchester Bay. He selected the olive oil, the instant mashed potatoes and the salt and pepper. "Fried fish, potatoes and...that's it. No fancy smachey. Eat and get to the writing." His hands worked efficiently but, his thoughts were broken chunks of two subjects. He walked to the stove. "You better be hot." He spat on ti's steel and the spit sizzled and danced. He shouted. "We're ready down here."
Nicole replied. "Two fillets on their way."
The meal was produced in a rush, but still the fish had great flavor and the potatoes were heaped high. No words were spoken as both Nicole and Justin were anxious to end the eating and start the story telling.
Their hunger satisfied, they pushed the plates aside and sat there looking at one another. Justin picked up a pencil and began to doddle on a piece of paper. "Where to start?" The large, warm meal began to settle in his stomach,
Nicole reached for some paper and a pencil. "Put the first thing down that comes to your mind. One thought will lead to another." She watched a design emerge at the tip of Justin's pencil. Her eyes, a bit droopy, she put her elbow on the table and cradled her chin in her left hand. "That night Justin...that night." She exhaled a deep moaning breath. "I'm not going to tell anyone about that night."
The pencil in Justin's hand came to a rest, but did not lift off the paper. "Do you think we could love like that again?" There was along, long moment of silence.
Nicole's eyes turned to the sun rays streaming through the hatch. She took her hand from her face. "The sun is on it's way down."
The pencil dropped from Justin's hand. "It's been a long day."
Nicole used her index finger to swipe a morsel of potatoes from her plate. She extended her hand to Justin and looked into his eyes. "Eat this."
Justin pulled her hand close to her mouth. "Perhaps we should rest before we write." He put her entire finger into his mouth.
Nicole's eyes blinked a few times. "A little fly off...the sea will have a nice color at sunset."
Justin released her hand. It could be another three?"
Nicole licked her lips. "Mind, body and soul."
Nicole smiled. "If I keep thinking of the night...I'm going to cry."
They rose simultaneously and Justin spook as they headed for the cabin aft. "Everything is just so different." He stopped at the ladder and turned to her. "Look at you. Your different Nicole and I look at you through different eyes. " A sensual smile blossomed across Nicole's face. "And people will precise the difference Justin. When their near us. When they hear us." She gave him a short peck of a kiss on his lips. "How are we going to explain any of it."