"You all right?" I yelled, the wind's roar and the deep smacks of the hard beating rain all but drowning me out.
Pepper leaned in. "I want the rental fee back!"
It was noon as we whipped up and down, back and forth, the water working an unscored, randomly chaotic rhythm, the swells thrashing the boat with caprice. It could've been late dusk. The volatile world around us was dark grays, deep hues of blue, rich silvers. Thirty minutes before there'd been pretty much a pristine summer-blue sky, the kind a flock of geese honk across, with just a few clouds, and a soft, fresh breeze.
Another strong surge tossed the boat the other way, so the bow dipped into the lake, and I saw her head wound and the blood the rain washed off almost instantly.
"At least go to the stairs," I yelled. She'd already refused to go down into the little cabin.
"No way!" She shook her head. "This thing goes down, I'm not---!"
We suddenly rolled to port and took on a lot of water.
Looking at the flooded deck she shouted, "I'm not getting stuck in the hull for divers to find!"
Shifting myself over I grabbed the wheel with one hand and one of her handles with the other. "This came on fast, it'll probably end fast!"
"Oh! Darling you send me!"
A large wave washed over the stern and threw its strength against us. I saw water getting through the closed doors to down below. I knew when it was over we probably wouldn't have power.
"Terry!" Pepper cried. "God Terry!" She'd run out of bravado humor.
If I could have, I'd have grabbed her and hugged her tight. I moved over so we held on to the same handles; I enveloped her and at least felt like I protected her. "It can't last much longer!"
The boat started spinning.
"Oh god Terry! Oh god!"
We reeled faster and then a wave took us to the most absolute vertical we'd been, with the bow pointed straight up to the hateful black storm clouds. But the boat was still twisting and as it spun left we almost capsized. I lost my grip on one handle.
Pepper lost her grip on both. My free arm reaching as far as it could, my hand vainly open to grab her, it took a few moments to grasp that the vicious lake water had swallowed her.
It took two days to really grasp it.
|For the index of K.L.'s creative writing and essays at this site, click here.|