Buckle Up

Excerpt from Sea of a Thousand Words:  Chapter 38

By Christine Wallace


 

Queen Charlotte Strait. August 24 2033

52°20’32.5″N 129°33’34.3″W

 

“I don’t believe this is what this aircraft was designed for, Kai,” Adili muttered as he reached for the grab-rail above his shoulder.

“Are you kidding me? This is exactly the kind of thing these birds were made to do—just ask HighTower’s guy in back there… Hey, Ashfield—you awake?”

Adili turned to check on the prisoner when he failed to hear any response. His cold stare was returned by a disinterested nod from Trip, who upon acknowledgement, returned his gaze out the side window. Kai sent the helo plummeting toward the ocean sideways. “Man, I miss flying these things. I almost wish we weren’t so close to our destination… I don’t want to give this baby up.”

Adili frowned and shook his head. He didn’t share his partner’s enthusiasm for the whirling helicopter and would be glad to put his feet back on solid ground again—even if it was to be enemy soil.

It had been twenty-four hours since Kai piloted the HighTower helo off Haida Gwaii, leaving Mike’s bloodied corpse on the gravel below. Since then, Adili spent much of his time staring out of the copilot’s window in a brooding silence. The violent hand-to-hand combat and its grisly aftermath had taken a heavy toll on the Maasai warrior and memories from long-ago returned to haunt him. Kai glanced across the cockpit at his sullen friend, he could only guess what was troubling him, as they’d never spoken of Adili’s life back in Kenya. With an inaudible sigh, Kai returned his attention to the skies ahead.

A fuel alarm began to beep and a red button on the instrument panel flashed. Kai tapped the readout. “Shit.”

“What—what’s wrong?” Adili asked.

“Fuel. That kerosene we used from Eli’s stock must be a lot less efficient… Damn.”

Adili watched nervously as his partner scanned the GPS screen. “Now what do we do? Will we crash into the—the…?”

Shhh! Let me look—OK, I’m pretty sure we can make it to Campbell Island… I’ll put her down in Bella Bella.” With that, Kai turned the controls and the helo tilted shoreward, heading toward the hilly green archipelago of the British Columbia Coastal Islands.

 

A short time later, they touched down in Bella Bella on the outskirts of main street. Trip had been staring out the back window for the entire ride and suddenly recognized the run-down store where he and Mike had quizzed the Native girl about Kim Chen. He cleared his throat and shifted his gaze to the opposite window. Kai jumped out of the cockpit and threw the headset on the seat. “What do you want to do with him?” he asked, gesturing to Trip.

Adili shrugged his shoulders. “I’ll stay here with him.”

“Nah, I’ll need some help with the jerry-cans. I don’t think we’re going to find a gas station that will let us pull in with a helo, mate.”

Adili walked back to the passenger compartment and unlatched Trip’s harness. Without a word, he grabbed the six-foot-one prisoner and hauled him to the ground. Trip winced as his wounded leg folded beneath his weight. “Can you walk?” Adili asked.

“Gee, I dunno. What do you think, Kunta Kinte?”

Adili pulled Trip to his feet and wrapped his long arm around the hostage’s waist, gruffly leveraging the injured man’s weight onto his hip. Together, they hobbled their way toward the village. Kai walked ahead, counting out the money.

They reached the general store and Kai nodded at Adili. “Wait out here, I’ll ask where we can find some fuel.”

Adili deposited Trip into a folding chair and stood beside him, arms folded across his chest, eyes fixed straight ahead. With a heavy sigh, Trip straightened out his leg and adjusted his position. He glanced up at the big man next to him, scrutinized Adili’s expression and then looked away deep in thought. Finally, he coughed and chuckled aloud, as if enjoying a private joke. “You always the farmer’s dog?”

Adili looked down with distaste. “What do you mean by that?”

Trip stretched and sucked on his teeth as he looked down the empty street. “Nothing really—just observing, that’s all. I see you, always at the beck and call of these people—you fight their battles for them; carry their cargo…” gesturing toward himself, “you’re their boy. I’m just rather surprised that you’re OK with it Adili, that’s all.” Picking a stalk of dried grass off his trousers, Trip waited for his words to sink in and take effect. After a moment of silence, Trip looked up. He found Adili in the exact same position, his focus had not changed, nor his expression.  At last, the big man looked down at Trip with a withering gaze.

“I am who I am. I do what I want for my friends—my people. Tell me, why did you bring this helicopter up to the islands, Mr. HighTower suit? Who is really the boy, here?”

Kai pushed the creaky screen door open and rejoined them. “They say they’ll have to send a boat over to Shearwater for fuel. I told ‘em we can’t go there ourselves—too risky.” He tossed a package of jerky at Trip and handed Adili one of the bags of provisions. “Let’s get back to the bird—we might be here for a while.”

As they spoke, young woman climbed the stairs and reached for the door handle. She glimpsed at Trip as she pulled the door open and did a double take. “Hey, I remember you—you’re the one who gave me all that cash for the salmon! You almost got me fired, mister.”

Trip nodded with a frown and gave her a cursory wave.

“Did you ever find your friend—the one who was travelling with Ooligan?”

Kai and Adili exchanged glances as Trip mumbled, “Nope, I never found him.”

“Huh, OK. Well then… have a good’un.” She shook her head and walked into the store, letting the screen door slam behind her.

“Let’s go,” Kai said. He helped Trip to his feet and motioned for Adili to lead the way, saying, “I got him this time.” As the two stumbled back to the helicopter, Kai said, “You know, we’re not you’re enemy. Why does it have to be like this?” He paused and knelt lower to get a better grip on Trip’s waist. “These people here—and back in Old Massett—they’re all just trying to live their lives. What have they done to HighTower? Why is it we’re all so expendable to you folks in your big cities and fancy buildings? Man, we’re all in this together… It doesn’t make any sense.”

Trip gritted his teeth as he half-stepped across the grassy meadow. He let out a terse laugh and said, “I’m just earning a paycheck, my naïve Kiwi friend.”

“Trust me, mate—there’s better ways to earn a buck.”

“You think so? I happen to be pretty good at my job. And, most of the time, I enjoy it.”

“I’m sorry for you, Trip. Really sorry.”

As the men approached the helicopter, they were met by two elderly Heiltsuks. The pair introduced themselves to Kai as friends of The Greenwood’s—code speakers. The elders had family members who lived in Tsawwassen. A three-person baidarka had been stopped by ferry officials close to shore several days ago… a baidarka that resembled the one that had been seen near Bella Bella recently.

Adili and Trip waited beside the helo as Kai spoke at length with the elders. Upon his return, Kai announced that they would stay the night in Bella Bella to learn more about the fate of the paddlers and why they’d chosen to move closer to the mainland shore.

They set blankets underneath the helicopter and ate a frugal dinner of apples, jerky and flat bread. The sun began to sink behind the hills of Campbell Island and Kai rose to leave. “I’m heading into town—the code speakers may have received more news about Dot and Táan—and that guy you’re so hot to locate, Mr. Ashfield.”

Adili tied Trip’s hands together and lashed them both to the skids. He moved himself apart from the other bed rolls yet sat near enough to keep a wary eye on their prisoner. The two of them spent the next few hours in silence with only the soft sounds of the trees and the water around them. Trip rolled onto his side and stared up at the yellow moon.

Kai returned to camp with some good news: the code speakers confirmed that the paddlers had been released and, from their general descriptions, Kai was certain that the three were indeed their friends—and that they all seemed to be unharmed. He’d asked the code speakers to send word throughout the southern network—that should anyone encounter their companions, aid would be rendered and word sent back to The Greenwood at once.

The men settled into their bed rolls but sleep was soon interrupted by the buzz of Trip’s mobile; the electronic device vibrated so loudly that it fell from the dash and landed on the footboard above Kai’s head. He grabbed the mobile and looked at the display. Urgent texts from Amanda Terrance demanded that Trip respond immediately. Despite several tries at unlocking the protected device, Kai was unable to respond to the director’s requests. After his last attempt, the screen went dark and would not open back up. They spent a restless and troubled night underneath the helicopter; each man pondering what the messages foretold.

The fuel arrived early the next morning and after Kai had poured the jerry-cans into the helicopter, it was time to leave. They silently lifted Trip into the seat and climbed into the pilot and copilot seats. Before he pushed the ignition, Kai turned around to address their hostage. His face was somber as he spoke. “Okay, I can’t think of any other way to say this. You’re going to have to cooperate with us, Trip. There is only one way.”

Bringing his bound hands up to scratch the stubble on his cheek, the cleaner raised one eyebrow and offered a sardonic smile. “It always comes down to ‘only one way’, Kai. That’s what you’ve missed.”

“Look… We need to help our friends. I don’t give a shit about your loyalty to your craft—or to HighTower, or to what-the-fuck-ever. It’s simple, you help me out or you don’t. But if you don’t, I’m going to lighten the load in this bird by about a hundred and eighty pounds over the Pacific.”

“I don’t doubt you, Kai. And I don’t think for a second that your big friend here wouldn’t hesitate to do the same thing to me that he did to the mercenary.” Adili looked back over his shoulder with a scowl but Trip pressed on, “It’s nothing personal. This is just how it goes. Trust me.”

“I see.”

Kai started the ignition and the dual rotors began to hum. The helo rose slowly, parting the dried grass beneath the skids into flaxen furrows. As they flew over Queen Charlotte Sound the mobile buzzed again with a flurry of messages from HighTower. Kai glanced back via the mirror on his dash. He had a strange look in his eyes—as if concentrating on a puzzle. He closed one eye and squinted with the other—wrinkling his bronzed brow as he blurted out, “Adili—grab that mobile off the dash… OK right… Now try entering the words ‘Sun Tsu’, only all one word—lower case.”

After asking Kai how to spell the name, Adili punched in the six letters and the screen flashed back to life. “It says it needs a fingerprint,” Adili muttered and without hesitation, reached behind him and grabbed Trip’s hand. Pressing the astonished prisoner’s thumb hard onto the display, he shouted, “Got it!” Kai shook his head and chuckled.

Trip grabbed the edge of Kai’s seat and leaned forward as far as his restraints would allow him. “How in the hell did you figure out my password?”

Kai smiled and adjusted the mirror. Looking back at the cleaner, he smiled as he replied, “I didn’t. But you’ve got to be careful what you give away when sparring with my wife, mate. She’s a fan of The Art of War as well… And from what I hear, you two traded some quotes during your friendly little chit-chat back at Doc’s house.”

Trip’s eyebrows shot up and he opened his mouth to speak—thought better of it and collapsed back into his seat, shaking his head. At last he muttered, “I’ll be goddamned.”

Adili whispered, “God damned is right.”

With little time wasted, they were able to access the texts and learn that Kim had been detected at a charter dock in old Seattle earlier that morning—around one o’clock according to Amanda’s terse communication. Kai directed Adili to respond that Trip was southbound and would check in as soon as he arrived. Before long, another incoming message flitted across the screen.

“Ashfield—get your ass to the compound. I want both of Chen’s family members and the journalist taken care of: Disappear them. Do it today. Banks.”

“What is this about?” Adili asked of Trip. “Who is this ‘Banks’?”

Trip shut his eyes and rolled his head toward the window. “Guys, I don’t have any problems with telling you who Nelson Banks is or what he’s referring to—you can look it all up on my device for Chrissake. But I think I should warn you—you’re in so far over your heads right now… There’s absolutely no way out of this.”

Kai twisted the controls, sending the helicopter into a side-slip toward the water. “All the more reason to go big or go home!” he yelled. “Now or never, Ashfield. You want to stay in or are you ready to swim?”

Trip clutched the grab-rail above his head as Adili leaned back to unfasten the harness that kept him inside the compartment. The helicopter continued its sideways dive toward the Pacific. “In! Goddamn it—I am in for Chrissake!”

The helo levelled off and ran parallel with the surface of the ocean. Trip shut his eyes and took a measured breath. He exhaled and looked down at the water to confirm he was still above it. “Alright. We’ll try it your way for now,” he said. “We’re dead men either way—you realize that at least. But it seems logical to hedge my bets for the short term.”

 

By the time they’d reached the San Juan Islands, Kai had a hashed out a rough plan. Armed with the knowledge that Trip was ordered to appear at the compound by HighTower’s senior executive, Kai decided he would land the helo on top of the roof. With Adili’s assistance—and close oversight to ensure cooperation, they would take their wounded hostage straight to security and order the guards to deliver them the prisoners, citing the need to dispose of them offsite. Beyond rescuing Kim’s family members—and some unknown French journalist—Kai had no comprehensive strategy. “We’ll just wing it,” he’d explained.

 

 

“How much longer?”

Kai checked the computer on his instrument panel. “I’d say we’re only about thirty minutes out. Let’s hope that this plan works.”

Looking back over his shoulder, Adili shot Trip an intimidating look—the same one he used when hunting lions in the savannah as a Maasai ilbarnot.

Glancing out the corner of his eyes, Trip acknowledged the threat. He cleared his throat and spoke loudly enough to be heard in the front compartment, “It’ll work. Just don’t overreact.”

 

 

The HighTower helicopter approached Puget Sound—which meant that old Seattle was only eighty miles away. Some distance below them, a solitary red navigation buoy bounced about in the waves. Kai spotted it out of his side window. “Hang on, Adili—I’m takin’ her down for another dive—Whooohoohoo!”

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Casting Director

My youngest daughter is an avid writer, and I have learned many valuable things from her in the last three years. One of the latest ideas is to “fan cast” (her words, not mine), my novel.

Now, like most authors, I’ve become intertwined with every one of my characters—inseparably so, and I’ve developed a detailed image of each of them in my brain. Some of them were fully created before I put pen to paper, others came gradually as the story progressed and still others popped off the page after a certain scene, “Bam—here I am!”  Initially, I was hesitant to commit trying to match my characters into flesh and blood people, but once I began the process I couldn’t stop. (Yeah, thanks a lot Pinterest).

It’s taken a while to assemble them all, and my apologies of course to those who have already formulated different looks for their favorites, but here is my casting director’s collage of the cast from Sea of a Thousand Words. *If you hover over the photograph, you can see the character’s name… or try guessing who they are from what you’ve read.

And hey, thanks for another great tip, kiddo.

 

One

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Hecate Strait. Jul 8. 2033

54°00’19.6″N 131°41’06.5″W

 

Tendrils of mist rose skyward as fog clung to the tranquil water of Massett inlet. A large raven perched alone on the high crags and waited—as he so often did—for the arrival of a small wooden boat with tanbark sails. As if on cue, a single mast appeared from the mouth of the bay. A crisp pop echoed from the cliff wall as the sail embraced the fresh breeze of Dixon Entrance. Even with the bird’s keen eyesight, the girl in the boat looked like a small dot. Her name in fact, was Dot, and in spite of her almost-eighteen years, she handled the boat with expertise. The raven cocked his head and then without further ado, extended his wings and coasted downward in a lazy spiral. Landing on the foredeck of the small craft, he danced around to gain his proper footing and bowed. Dot responded with three short clicks and tossed a piece of candied salmon on the deck.

He didn’t need a pet-name, although the island people called him “Monk” and since food often accompanied the sound of this name, he accepted it. Dot was different than the rest however, she needed no name or label for him. They understood each other plainly enough for the raven’s purposes.

They sailed along quietly for some time and after a while, the sun’s warmth dispelled the last of the fog. An expansive channel opened widely around them. Dot rolled up the sleeves of her blouse and tied back her unruly hair then looped a short rope to the tiller and leaned back in her seat with a yawn. A sharp pssssssssh broke the encompassing silence as a glossy black fin sliced the surface of the water, growing ever taller as an orca emerged from the depths below. By the time his blunt rostrum and white eye-patch were level with the boat, his dorsal fin towered several feet above them. Monk flew up to the crosstree, not so much from surprise or fear but from disdain of being splashed by the orca’s wake. The whale kept pace with the sailboat as they tacked, his fin withdrawing now and then between loud blows. Noisy wavelets slapped against the boat’s hull, filling the vacancies of his presence.

As morning subtly gave way to afternoon, the wind calmed to a gentle whisper. Growing restless, the orca slipped below the surface. Dot watched the whale’s silhouette fade into the blueish-green, his white saddle barely discernable before it merged into the darkness. She smiled to herself, happy hunting Saka. Reclining against the cockpit rails, she snacked on a loaf of bread and fish. Monk descended and took his place next to her on the bench. After tossing several more bites to her companion, the girl adjusted her sail and nestled down, allowing the boat to drift idly with the breeze. The swells from Alaska’s Gulf caused the sailboat to bob along in a rhythmic motion and its inhabitants relaxed, each in their own manner.

As the little boat neared Rose Point, the current of Hecate Strait met the stronger tide of the Pacific, creating a wash-bucket effect that made sailing uncomfortable. Dot turned her boat toward shore. As they rounded Rose Point, she kept an eye on the jagged rocks cropping up near the water’s surface. The lee of Haida Gwaii provided relief from the confused sea-state, so Dot doused her sail and reached for a paddle. A glint of bright color along the otherwise charcoal-hued coastline caught her attention and she paused to scan the rocks. Whatever she spied seemed to have vanished, or perhaps it was just an illusion—a reflection from the sun. She continued toward a shallow embankment up ahead and the object came into view again; so out of place in the earthy tones of the shore that it appeared garish in its intensity. Swinging the paddle to the opposite side of the boat, she steered in the direction of the color. The boat slid between some shallow rocks and she braced herself as its prow came to a stop—the keel rested upon the gravely bottom. Dot sprang from the cockpit and waded knee-deep through the chilly water, coaxing her boat further ashore. Once she’d secured the line, she glanced around and made a series of clucking noises with her tongue. The bird replied in kind and adjusted his course toward the mystery object, his long wings made a whooshing sound as he flew.

The rocks were covered with a slimy green algae and Dot slipped into the water several times while scrambling up the embankment. Monk hopped from stone to stone, pausing long enough to examine the narrow cracks and fissures between rocks with his dagger-like beak. He ruffled his feathers and bobbed his head several times as Dot reached the crest of the boulders. She stood upright and wiped her hands against her pants.

The bright color that had initially captured her attention was a large, rectangular bolster, similar to what one would find on a ship’s settee. The plastic-y orange cushion was covered with dried strands of eelgrass that clung to the coarse fabric. Monk pecked at the seaweed and a small beetle scurried for cover. Suddenly, a dirty bruised hand appeared from beneath the foam and groped towards Dot’s feet. She gasped and stepped backward, toppling over the rocks behind her. The arm extended and a soft groan could be heard. Monk flapped skyward with several throaty squawks. Landing a safe distance upland, he eyed the cushion warily.

Regaining her composure, Dot reached for a stick and prodded the cushion. The moaning intensified and a faint voice whispered, “Bāng wǒQǐng bāngzhù wǒ.

Dot had no idea what the words meant, but she understood the pleading quality in their tone. With apprehension, she moved closer and wedged her stick underneath the corner of the cushion, taking great care to stay out of reach of the groping hand. She held her breath and upended the water-laden foam, flipping it over to expose what lay underneath. She gasped.

An Asian man of about thirty years lay prone among the rocks, his right leg was bent at an unnatural angle. One of his arms was pinned underneath a heavy piece of driftwood, the one stretching out in front of him was badly bruised and had several deep scratches. His clothes were shredded and stained in blood and dirt. Resting beside him was a sodden briefcase, saltwater had formed lacy patterns across the leather as it dried. Dot examined the bag, hoping to find a clue as to the man’s identity. She noticed a narrow brass plate with several strange characters etched into the metal, below them she could make out the words “Dr. Kim Chen.” She twisted the hasp back and forth to no avail, the case was locked tight. Lifting it closer, she investigated its base and sides, finally giving it a good shake—the case was intact. Just then, Dot perceived that a slender cable connected the handle to the man’s wrist.

In the course of her investigation she jostled his injured arm. The man stirred again and murmured, “Hē shuǐ.

Dot knelt beside his head. She could tell he’d been trapped like this for several days by the condition of the brittle seaweed and his parched lips. She straightened up to fetch water from her gear but as she turned to go, the hand grasped at her leg. “Qǐng, bāngzhù wǒ.

Dot backed away and climbed down the embankment. When she arrived at the boat, she paused to weigh her options. There was no possibility of moving the injured man. She couldn’t tell for sure how severe his many injuries were but even so, he was too heavy for her to move without help. Grabbing a pebble from the shore, Dot dropped it into her pants pocket. She stepped into the cockpit to retrieve her water bottle and snatched up the remainder of her lunch. Crawling over the transom, she walked down to the water’s edge and stooped near an outcrop of boulders. Dot took the pebble out of her pocket and began to tap it against one of the partially submerged rocks. She replicated her pattern for several minutes: two solid—pause—three solid—pause—two staccato—pause—one solid—full stop… repeat. Satisfied at last, Dot rose and, gathering her things, climbed back up the rocky bank.

Monk acknowledged her return with a nonchalant blink as Dot set her water bottle beside the injured man. She hoped he would have the strength to reach for it, but his arm remained motionless, the utterances had stopped. Panicked, she leaned over his face, tilting her head to listen for any breath. It was there, faint and uneven, but he lived. She sighed and slipped her hand underneath his neck. Gently, she tilted his head enough to drip small amounts of water through his cracked lips. He choked and sputtered, his eyes opened wide as he gulped at the reviving liquid. It reminded Dot somewhat of the chíin that Ol’ Pa used to throw onto the deck of his skiff each summer; their eyeballs bulging and mouths agape. The memory caused a shadow of a smile to play across her face as she held the bottle. At last, the man could drink no more so Dot placed his head back onto the rocks. His eyes fluttered closed.

Dot knew she was taking a big risk by remaining there with him. It was likely that the injured man was chipped and if so, he could be discovered by the Mossies. If he’d come ashore with any of the snakeheads or coyotes, then they would both be detained—or worse. Dot wished she had a personal scanner, but those were precious to come by, and usually in the possession of the fetchers who came over from the Greenwood. She found herself longing, for what seemed the hundredth time, to have a position among the select ranks of fetchers.

 

Mossies had been sighted in the archipelago with growing frequency over the past year. The HighTower trackers had been a fixture for almost a decade, although they were easy to spot and for the most part, avoidable. As HighTower’s presence along the borders became more prevalent, their reconnaissance methods became more advanced, and with waning oversight, their detention methods became even harsher.

The Canadian and U.S. solution to the escalating climate refugee problem had resulted in a contract with the private government contractor, HighTower Security Authority, or HSA. The crisis back in 2019 that caused the European Union’s collapse was enough to spur North America to close its entire borders to climate migrants. The Prime Minister in Ottawa and President in Washington D.C. granted full control to HSA’s director, and by 2020 HighTower had become synonymous with border defense. In the years to follow, the HSA had assimilated the departments of Customs, Homeland Security and Immigration, even the Coast Guard was requisitioned for offshore border patrols. The trackers—eighty-seven-foot former USCG cutters—ran along the Pacific coastline and the Inside Passage in search of unregistered vessels. If a ship did not carry a transponder chip, the trackers would fire a warning shot. If the ship did not respond, then it was typically destroyed. Only small vessels such as kayaks, native longboats and sailboats were permitted to cruise without these chips, and even then, there was a considerable risk of being boarded or fired upon.

Dot spent most of her life under the shadow of HSA’s scrutiny. The trackers in the northern islands recognized her little boat and paid her little attention. However, the Mossies were a different matter: The “Mobile Observation Systems-C” were HighTower’s “eyes in the sky.” MQ-9C drones deployed to scan for transponders and report undocumented watercraft to HSA’s marine traffic station. To be reported by a Mossie meant certain trouble. Recently, HSA had become disposed to skip warnings and simply sink any vessels that could not or would not identify themselves.

To make things worse, Tyee survivors continued to migrate, even after so many years. When the Tyee—the Cascadia Subduction mega-quakehit the Pacific Northwest in 2022, it destroyed hundreds of miles of coastline and decimated Seattle and surrounding towns. Suddenly there were tens of thousands of homeless refugees who were moving inland and northward. HighTower did not discriminate between nationalities. Their motto was: If it doesn’t scan, it doesn’t land.

Dot wasn’t really sure whether a specific person’s ID chip could be picked up by an overhead drone, but she didn’t feel the urge to find out right then.

 

Splashing noises from the shore below startled her and she turned to see Saka’s familiar markings as he spy-hopped several meters from the boat. She made her way downward as he emitted a series of noisy bursts, spray hung in the air above his head. Wading waist-deep into the water, Dot reached out to rub his nose as the orca swam near, then ran her fingers along his back as he returned to the deeper water. Clapping her hands three times, she waited for the Saka’s response. The orca rose higher out of the water and swayed his head to and fro—his giant flippers and dorsal fin now completely visible. Dot made a wide, pointing gesture with her left arm and swung her right arm in tight circles overhead, similar to that of a cowboy throwing a lasso. Saka rolled onto his side, exposing his expansive white belly. He slapped the water with his flipper and disappeared beneath the waves.

Dot returned to the narrow beach. The sun had already fallen behind Haida Gwaii and she knew that with its absence the temperature would be dropping soon. Her wet blouse and pants now clung to her skin. Shivering, she rummaged through the cockpit’s contents for supplies and found a raincoat, a flashlight and one tattered life-jacket. She sighed, this’ll have to do. Rolling her provisions inside of the jacket, she trekked back to the wounded man and began her vigil.