Sorry about not posting on Sunday. We had a wicked thunderstorm last Thursday that caused a major power outage (4 days eek!) so no post. But I did manage to work on the first few pages of the Not So Secret Project book.
Mind you, for anyone who may be reading, this is a FIRST draft. It may not even resemble this in the book. This may not even make it in the book because this is a prologue. We'll see. But here's a taste.
Dianne huddled in the corner of the small fishing bateau with her brothers. Her sisters sat with her parents on the other side of the vessel. The boat rocked as the storm raged. She glanced at the small glass box holding the candle swaying above her. Could the boat be listing? It seemed the candle hit the wooden beams at the same time her stomach lurched. Little Michael whimpered in her lap. The poor boy was as pale as her petticoat. Father Guillaume, their parish priest, clutched his rosary tighter and Dianne watched his lips move in silent prayer.
A flash of lightning lit the sky through the small porthole, which was then covered by the rolling waves. Thunder boomed, or was it an explosion that caused everyone to look up at the boards over their heads. One of the crew slid down the ladder, a frightful expression on his face.
"The mast is gone. The Captain says we must get off the ship. Come, hurry!"
Dianne scrambled to her feet holding Michael in her arms. Her mother and father picked up the two little girls and swayed with the rocking boat to try to gain the ladder. A sudden roll of the boat brought Dianne down to her knees.
How were they going to get off the boat in the storm? Was the Captain mad? Where would they go? They would be killed on the rocks, or worse, drowned in the storm. Either way, leaving the boat was certain death.
Crawling on the floor, Dianne fianlly reached the ladder and looked down at Michael. How could she climb it with him in her arms? Father Guillaume took the boy from her.
Dianne hiked her cumbersome skirt between her legs and climbed. She reached the deck and water washed over her. A crew member grabbed her hand to keep her from sliding into the roiling ocean. Her mouth filled with the salt water. Dianne hadn't realized she'd been screaming.
The crew man helped her into a smaller dory and threw a barrel and some rope in the boat. "Tie yourself to the barrel," he shouted.
Dianne looked around the deck. Her parents and her sisters were gone. Had they gone aboard another boat? Had they been washed overboard? Rain and sea water mixed with her tears.
Father Guillaume handed Michael over the side of the dory. Dianne took the boy, placed him on her lap, and tied the rope around them both. Her other brothers, Daniel, and David, climbed over the side into the dory.
"Here," she yelled, handing Daniel, the elder, the rope. "Tie this around your waist, and then David, and then lash it around the barrel."
Father Guillaume climbed over, but as the bateau listed in the churning ocean, he was pitched into the sea.
Dianne screamed as she watched his face go underneath the waves. The crewman who had helped her, threw a barrel over the side. Dianne prayed the good Father would be able to find it and survive. The crewman then climbed into the dory and cut the lines, releasing it from the bateau. It slid off the larger vessel into the heaving ocean.
Waves washed over the side of the small boat. They were going to drown. Dianne wrapped one arm around Michael, reached for Daniel's hand, and pulled him closer. Daniel had David wrapped in his arms.
As they drifted away from the bateau, the sounds of splintering wood rent the air. The bateau had smashed into the rocks. Dianne prayed as it was all she could do.
"Dear God, please keep us safe."
If she survived, what was to become of her?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013