Shaking my head, I searched for and finally found the switch for the bilge pump, flipped it on and heard the motor roar to life. “We won’t sink,” I shouted.
Margaret nodded and glanced my way. Her eyes had changed. Their blue centers were now ringed with gold. She appeared to be struggling with something. I could read the concentration lining her face, pinching her lips tightly.
As I took a step toward her thinking if I was alongside her it might help, the boat rose and dropped again, knocking me off my feet. I crawled across the small cabin inching my way as I fought the forces of the storm, and smelled the lake water and an odor not unpleasant that seemed to ride the scent of the water.
Finally, I reached and touched Margaret’s left foot. She looked down, smiling as if I was nothing but a delightful child there to amuse her. But the rest of her face distorted by her inner battle showed me that Margaret was more than a beautiful woman. Her flesh writhed, fingers clenching and unclenching, nails digging small bloody moons in her palms.
Abruptly the storm ended. The water flowing from outside stopped and Margaret collapsed like the life force in her had been absorbed by the storm.
Now I could move easily, and reached for her pulled her tight against my chest and lowered my head to feel her breath. There was none, and then she gasped and jerked upright violently enough to snap her spine.
“Margaret,” I shouted and shook her gently, again wrapped my arms around her and held her firmly so she would not injure herself.
Slowly she seemed to recover until I could feel a slow and steady heartbeat, and warm even breath on my face.
When she opened her eyes, they were normal blue beautiful. I kissed her forehead feeling deeply thankful. And Margaret smiled.
“Thank you,” she whispered and closed her eyes asleep in my arms.
She woke slightly as I tried to move her to a bunk, and together we got her comfortable. I removed her life vest and covered her with a light green wool blanket.
When finished, I took off my life vest and again went up to sit in the captain’s chair. The boat was still moving on autopilot. I shut everything down and absorbed the sudden stillness. The sky no longer seemed restless as night settled over us. Since the storm was completely past I looked up to see which constellations were visible from wherever I was on earth.
However there was not a dot of light, not a twinkle, or glow. The night sky was as black as midnight might be if the storm hovered overhead. In the distance, perhaps miles, or even a hundred miles as far as I could discern, a curved shadow with sparkling embers of light across its surface left me wondering what I saw. I found power binoculars, and after adjusting them for me eyesight, focused on the sparkling lights I’d seen.
Even with the tremendous magnification, all I saw were sparkling lights, but now saw they were not all white. Some were blue, some yellow, some red, and too white. As I scanned to the right, everything about my reality shifted beyond anything I could comprehend. There, along what seemed to be a curve landline, was an array of stars. The more I looked in that direction, the more stars appeared, even several galaxies were visible.
“Apparently,” I said quietly, “we are in some kind of deep hole. Or a place on earth where a small world exists?” Yet even that explanation felt miserably simplistic. “My god where the hell are we?”
I wanted to wake Margaret and show her what I discovered, but as I stood the autopilot switched on. The boat shifted so now instead of seeing the brown mountain range with a massive waterfall in front of us, I was staring directly at the sky full of stars. Fumbling with the seat I was in, I reached and flipped off the autopilot. Nothing happened. I flipped the switch on and off several times but gave up when it was ineffective. The boat held a steady speed reasonable, but faster than the last time we used the autopilot.
Again my life is not mine to control. What the hell have I done?