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The Bermuda TrianglePathway to Atlantis
By Cary Trantham
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Cary Trantham
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Flying Swan
"He has seen but half the universe who never has been shown the house of Pain. As the salt sea covers more than two thirds of the surface of the globe, so sorrow encroaches in man on felicity. The conversation of men is a mixture of regrets and apprehensions. I do not know but the prevalent hue of things to the eye of leisure is melancholy. In the dark hours, our existence seems to be a defensive war, a struggle against the encroaching All, which threatens surely to engulf soon, and is impatient of our short reprieve." —Ralph Waldo Emerson
The ocean was dead calm as the bow of the schooner eased its way in a southeasterly direction out of the dense fog. In the east, the sun was coming up in a cloudless sky, and the temperature was a balmy eighty degrees. However, inside the vessel, the air was cool and damp, and an eerie silence permeated everything. It was as if a ghost ship had emerged from another time and place, with no one on board to tell the story. However, first impressions are sometimes misleading. In this case, there was someone on board to witness the strange events that had taken place. This witness, a small, lonely figure, crouched in the darkness in the aft compartment.
A hundred miles away, at a marina in Fort Lauderdale, an older man sat in front of his computer. He was trying to track a GPS locater. Wilbur Gordon had been following the object intermittently most of the evening, as he was anxious to see his five year old granddaughter, Emily. His son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter were sailing back from Deadman's Cay, Long Island in the Bahamas. Around two o'clock in the morning, the blip he was observing disappeared from the screen. Not thinking much about the incident, Will settled back down in his bunk. He knew that the area where the sailboat was had a reputation for GPS anomalies, and that the locater would rejuvenate itself.
Wilbur Gordon was an experienced sailor who had circumnavigated the world four different times. He had sailed into ports that most wouldn't. He loved adventure and reveled in sailing off the beaten track, where tourists were a scarcity. His wife had left him when their young son, Jeremy, was only four years old. She didn't want anything to do with him or his son. Will and Jeremy had traveled the world together. Jeremy was homeschooled as they traveled, and he could speak five different languages. Will made a substantial living selling articles to Exotic Travel magazine, and every once in a while, an adventure novel (with him as the hero, of course) was published. Will was also a self-educated cosmologist. He had decided many years ago that the best place on earth to watch the stars with his telescope was while sailing out on the ocean. Seafarers had used the stars as a navigational tool for hundreds of years.
Will woke up with a start and glanced over at the computer anxiously. The screen had gone into sleep mode. "Damn technology," said Will as he tapped the keyboard to wake up the computer. The screen illuminated, and there was the GPS locater, but as Will noted the position of its target, there was a feeling of panic. "What in the hell is going on?" he said aloud. The sailboat that he was tracking was two hundred miles south of where it should be. He hadn't talked to Jeremy since about nine o'clock the evening before. He knew that they would try to get some sleep and the boat would be on autopilot with the radar activated. If the vessel changed course or any objects came within one hundred feet, an alarm would sound. Now it was time to make contact.
He picked up the mike and checked the frequency. "Flying Swan, Flying Swan—this is Papa Will. Over." There was no response. Will tried every five minutes for the next thirty and then said, "Screw this; I'm radioing the Coast Guard." When they answered, he was able to give them the exact coordinates of the Flying Swan in the Caribbean Sea.
Will was a tall, slender man in his sixties, but he could easily pass for being in his fifties. He had a full head of gray hair that was a little long for the current fashion. His facial skin was smooth, with laugh lines around the mouth and squint lines around his strikingly sky blue eyes. His friends often teased him about looking like Tom Selleck. Will was well known around the local marinas and had worked as a volunteer with the Coast Guard on many oceanic search and rescue missions. When he called, they didn't question his concern and immediately started the rescue mission process.
The small figure huddled in the back cabin of the schooner hadn't moved in hours. Her short blond hair was wet and clung to her small head. Her green eyes were wide open and stared into nothing. Emily was in total shock. Suddenly, she became aware of some sort of sea monster standing in the cabin door. Her young mind couldn't take any more, and her body went limp.
"I've found a small child in one of the cabins," radioed the Coast Guard rescuer to the chopper. Will had insisted on an immediate helicopter search because he knew in his heart that there was something terribly wrong. Jeremy was an excellent sailor. He had grown up on the sea, and there was no way that he could have accidentally gotten off course by two hundred miles. He knew it would take too long for a Coast Guard cutter to reach the Flying Swan, and he requested that a helicopter be dispatched immediately.
The rescuer picked up the limp child. Although she was breathing, she was not responding to his attempts to bring her back to consciousness. He put her in a rescue basket, and they pulled her up into the belly of the helicopter. The rescuer continued his search of the boat.
He was a strange-looking figure as he walked along the deck. When the helicopter first spotted the boat, the wind was blowing strong. The pilots realized that it would be impossible to drop the rescuer onto the deck because of the sails so they had dropped him into the ocean and he swam to the boat. He had removed his flippers, but the goggles were still sitting on his head, tanks were on his back, and he was loaded down with the standard paraphernalia. Josh had been in the rescue unit for years and had boarded many boats, but the strangeness of this situation gave him chills. They were in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. Josh wasn't a believer, but this situation was a little too much.
He searched the boat swiftly and efficiently, knowing that the helicopter needed to get the small child back to Miami. Finally, he radioed to the crew that there were no other survivors. The helicopter pilot contacted the Miami base and requested a cutter to tow the schooner in. Josh would stay with the boat. Suddenly, a feeling of apprehension and loneliness washed over him. He was a tough guy, and these were new feelings. Quickly, he grappled for his radio and hollered out, "Hey, guys, why don't you lower Mike down so we can drop the sails before the cutter gets here? I don't think I can handle it alone." He surprised himself with this quick response, but he did not want to be left alone out in the middle of the Caribbean on the Flying Swan.
Josh and Mike again searched every nook and cranny in the boat. Josh was amazed at how well it was maintained—she was definitely loved. The brass was polished and there was just a thin layer of salt on the windows of the wheelhouse. The cabin that he found the child in was evidently used for storage, for there was a cabin on the upper deck that was definitely used by a little girl. The butterfly and swan decorations gave it away.
At the stern of that same deck was the captain's cabin. It was a huge suite with masculine decor. There were dark wood carvings on the king-size bed, the cabinets, and the doors. However, Josh could feel the feminine energy in the room. It seemed to seep through the walls. Again, he was overwhelmed by new feelings. His hands began to shake, and he fought to keep his composure. This is crazy, he thought. What is going on with me? Maybe I've been working too hard and need a vacation.
The king-size bed was unmade, so he knew that there had been someone there other than the child.
In a shaky voice, Josh said aloud, "Anyway, for Christ's sake, there was no way that she could have been sailing from the Bahamas alone." He felt totally ridiculous and needed to get out in the open air. What happened to everyone else on the boat? That was the big question. On the way out, the crew had been told to look for a man, a woman, and a child.
The Coast Guard had contacted Will Gordon and informed him that they had boarded the boat and were bringing back a small female child. She would be taken to Baptist Hospital of Miami. This was an issue for Will, and he thought, How in the hell am I going to get to Miami from Fort Lauderdale? His sailboat would take too long, and he didn't own a car.
Will had an issue with the drilling of fossil fuels and global warming. He refused to own anything if it couldn't be run by solar or wind energy. Over the past forty years, he had witnessed the environmental devastation caused by offshore drilling rigs: deforestation and the resulting above-normal increase in entropy all over the world. As a result, Will was a strong environmentalist, and his fight against big oil companies and the usage of fossil fuels had given him a worldwide reputation. If you wanted to have a "green" fanatic who wasn't afraid to voice his opinion, then you invited Will Gordon to be a guest speaker.
In a confused state, he said to himself, "Where in the hell are Jeremy and his wife? Why are they just bringing in Emily?" Will immediately got control of his thoughts. He knew that he had to get to Miami to see his granddaughter. He grabbed the phone and called his old buddy Bugsy.
Bugsy was a pilot, an inventor, and a mechanic. Thirty years before anyone else had thought of it, he had created an engine that ran on old vegetable cooking oil. Bugsy had an arrangement with most of the restaurants in Fort Lauderdale to let him recycle their oil. This was the only reason that Will would fly in any of Bugsy's airplanes or his helicopter. Fortunately, Bugsy answered on the first ring. In a matter of seconds, they arranged to meet at the marina parking lot. Bugsy was using his two-person helicopter, and it would be a quick flight from the airport. Bugsy was more than just fond of Will and his family. He figured that he and Will had been brothers in a past life, and therefore, Will's family was as good as his.
As the two men entered the hospital, people glanced their way from all directions. They were quite the pair. Both were about six feet tall, with full heads of long gray hair, and they wore T-shirts, shorts, and sandals. About the only difference was that Bugsy had a grizzly mustache and was a bit more rumpled. They could have passed for two brothers, and they made it clear to everyone watching that they were on a mission. Walking tall, they headed directly to the reception desk with a purpose.
The receptionist didn't have a clue as to what they were talking about as far as some child rescued by the Coast Guard. She seemed more efficient than most and took the initiative to make some phone calls. The presence of the two men was overpowering, and they would go to the top if she didn't do something. After several calls, she finally hung up and told them to go up to room 2922.
When they arrived at the room, the door was closed, but voices could be heard inside. Bugsy said, "Hey, Will, you go on in first. I'll wait out here."
Will didn't hesitate. He opened the door, walked in, and stood there with a lump in his throat and a knot in his stomach. Lying there as if asleep was this tiny little form. He could see her blond hair and her pale face. A doctor was checking her heart with a stethoscope, and the nurse was wiping her brow. They both turned and acknowledged his presence at the same time.
"My God, is she all right?" said Will with a soft, shaky voice.
The doctor completed his task and turned fully around to face the older man. "Are you family?"
"Of course, damn it. I'm Emily's grandfather."
The doctor nodded and said, "We have just completed a check of her vitals and everything seems to be okay. There are no physical injuries, but she does show signs of shock. She's remained unconscious since they found her. Hopefully, she will regain consciousness within the next few hours. It would be comforting to her if she woke up to a familiar face. I don't know what this little girl went through, but her whole body was shaking uncontrollably when they brought her in. I gave her a sedative to quiet her down, but it should be wearing off in about an hour."
Will couldn't take his eyes from her face, and now that he knew she wasn't injured, his thoughts went to Jeremy and his wife, Marlina. They were such a striking couple. Jeremy was tall and blond, and Marlina was small and dark, an exotic Asian beauty. Marlina and Jeremy had met for the first time when Will docked their boat at Dili, now the capital of East Timor. She was a mixture of Portuguese and Indonesian, which explained her exotic look.
Timor is an island in the easternmost area of the lesser Sunda Islands. It was a Portuguese colony until Indonesia overran and annexed it in 1975. Will and Jeremy were there when East Timor became an independent state in May 2002. They shared in the celebrations, and that is when Marlina and Jeremy connected. It was like a meeting of soul mates. They were inseparable. It used to be one of Will's favorite places to sail, but now that oil had been discovered in the Timor Sea, offshore drilling rigs would soon follow. He knew that if he went back, he would be tempted to blow up a few oil rigs, but he realized that would further devastate the environment.
Meanwhile, Josh and Mike were struggling to lower the sails, but nothing was working right. Neither one of them had experience under sail, and they thought the safest course of action would be to lower the sails and proceed under power toward the mainland to meet the Coast Guard cutter that was heading their way. Wrestling with stubborn winches and tangled lines, the men were unable to bring the stubborn sheets down.
Josh could feel the uneasiness of Mike's composure, and he was having the same apprehension. Earlier, when they had completed another thorough search of the schooner, Mike had refused to go belowdecks again. His only response was, "Hey, man, it just feels too damn creepy for me down there."
For Josh, it seemed too spooky just to sit there. He entered the wheelhouse and tried to start the engine. "Damn, nothing's happening—not even a sputter. Hey, Mike, I'm going to have to go down to the engine room. Are you sure you don't want to accompany me?" he asked sarcastically. Mike just gave him the finger and kept working on the sails. I'm not sure why I had to be such a smart ass. I'm not real crazy about going down in the hull myself, thought Josh. Once down below, he checked out the engine. He didn't see any way for a manual start. His flesh was damp with sweat as he climbed up to holler at Mike. "Haven't you had some training as a mechanic?" asked Josh. "I hate to ask you after my smart remark, but I really need you to come down and check this out."
The engine wasn't anything like either one had ever seen. Unbeknownst to both the young Coast Guard rescuers, the engine had been converted by Bugsy to run on his special fuel. "Man, oh man, Josh, I don't have a clue as to how to get this engine started. Wow! Do you feel what I feel? Can we go back up top now?" Mike looked pale and sweaty. Josh felt a musty warm breeze and swiftly agreed. Neither one could get up on deck fast enough. Once they checked to see that the anchor was still set up, they again tried to pull the rigging down.
The sails seemed to have a mind of their own. Suddenly, Josh and Mike felt the wind pick up, and both men turned to the north. They could see a strange luminescent surface fog about a mile away, and it seemed to be moving toward them. Josh and Mike didn't even have time to communicate with each other, let alone the Miami Center or the Coast Guard cutter, before the schooner was engulfed. Josh's only sense was the familiarity of the female energy that he had felt in the master cabin, only this was stronger and overwhelming. As he was looking at Mike, Mike was abruptly engulfed in the fog and instantly gone. Josh opened his mouth to scream, but nothing came out.
Excerpted from The Bermuda Triangle by Cary Trantham Copyright © 2011 by Cary Trantham. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This has to be the most ridiculous book I have ever bought.. It was so unreal I skipped probably half of it.