The wind was still rising. It wouldn’t be long until it would be blowing a full gale, so I ran up the trysail, then furled the mizzen and moved forward to bring in the tiny foresail. I almost lost it overboard, but when I had finished, I could feel a difference in the way Wahini stood up to the wind.
We went below and I built a fire in the Shipmate. It hadn’t been lit since Will and I left San Francisco six months ago. Even if Bermuda was just over the horizon – in the wrong direction now and further away every minute – this storm had sent the temperature plummeting.
Raven had wrapped herself in a blanket. She looked lost and alone. I refilled her coffee cup and opened a can of soup. I set it on the Shipmate, then took the transom seat across from her.
“If you don’t talk soon,” I said, “you’re going to just break down and cry.”
“How long was I unconscious?” she asked.
“I don’t think you were ever unconscious. You were in shock from your immersion, and as soon as I got you on board you passed out, but I would just call it sleep. And you only slept about six hours.”
“But the storm . . .,” she gestured toward the overhead.
“This storm was already building when you went overboard. You would have noticed the signs if you had been on a small boat.”
Her eyes searched my face, but I couldn’t read their message. She said, “Where are you taking me.”
“I tried all last night to sail toward Bermuda to put you ashore, but this storm is blowing in exactly the wrong direction. By the time we ride it out, it will be too late to turn back. I’m afraid you’ve signed on for the whole journey. I can put you ashore on the Azores or at Gibraltar, or you can come all the way to Marseille. It’s up to you.”
I let her think about it while I served up the soup. She balanced easily to the motion of the Wahini and ate it in neat little bites while I drank from the rim of my bowl. Then I stuck my head out of the hatch to scan the horizon. The ocean is wide, but there are a lot of ships out there. It is a thousand to one against ever colliding with one, but if it happens, it can be awfully fatal.
The Shipmate was glowing now, and the cabin was growing cozy. Raven had laid aside her blanket. Will’s shirt and jeans were wide cuffed and baggy on her.
I said, “Who are you, Raven No-name? Who threw you off that cruise ship, and why?” more tomorrow