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Thick and dark clouds had now massed overhead, and threatening rumbles could be heard in the air. It had scarce been ten minutes since Adrianna had pointed out the clouds that the first raindrops fell and only another five before the full force of the storm struck. Adrianna then realized that storms can come up quite suddenly at sea.
“You two must get to safety,” said Captain Underwood to Adrian and Adrianna. “Go into our cabin by the doors near the helm on the quarterdeck. Once we get a little settled in this storm, I’ll be calling you, Adrian, to help – maybe in a day.”
The wind was tearing at Adrianna’s hair. “Do they really last that long?” she asked.
“Oh, much longer,” said her father. “Storms can last for weeks out at sea.” His eyes looked tired, and he was holding his hat from being blown off his head, yet he didn’t flinch as the vessel rolled again, another thin cataract of sea water spilling over the deck. It was colder than Adrian and Adrianna expected, and before five minutes were over, they were soaked through. The captain gave his hat and wig to them.
“You have not had any sleep yet,” said Adrian.
“I’ll be fine,” said the captain. “Now hurry.”
And with that, Adrian and Adrianna were forced to leave, knowing they would only get in the way to the crew who was rushing above and below decks. They made their first steps toward the stern, unsteady on the pitching deck, and had to cling to the railing as they ascended the spiral wooden steps of the aftercastle to the quarterdeck. Winton Northrup and two sailors were at the helm, doing all they could to keep the ship straight and steady.
The decorated wooden doors with windows in them that faced opposite the helm were latched. Yet Adrian was able to force them open, and the doors slid and folded smoothly to the left and right. Inside was a very small cabin, mostly bare, that housed a few navigational tools whenever the helmsman, captain, or other crewmember needed them. A couple yards in, they reached the back of this, where a single thick door stood with a lock in it, yet the lock was open. Inside was a wide room for the officers to dine in, with a long table stretching from port to starboard, and at the end of this room was the door to the captain’s cabin, which was currently locked. The curtains to the officers’ dining room windows on port and starboard were still open, and they could see the rushing of the storm outside.
“Father gave me this,” said Adrian as he pulled out from the folds of his clothing an iron key attached to a string. He fumbled with the lock for a moment as the ship rolled about. The creaking, snapping, and groaning of the ship sounded all the louder within the ship than it did without. Adrian knew it would only be all the worse below decks in the belly of the ship.
The lock finally gave way, and they entered, shutting out the rain and sea water behind them. Yet the sounds intensified within the ship, and they could not shut out the noise. A long central table ran down the center going from abaft forward, and along the side walls of the captain’s cabin were their three cots and mattresses. There was a large window seat at the stern windows, and a dark and hazy gloom came from those windows of the cabin, showing thick dark waves and rain and clouds. They could look out and see the rolling waves at the ship’s back, and it looked a gloomy gray sea. There was so much tossing about that they became dizzy looking at the rollers rising above them and tossing the ship about countless times. Adrianna stumbled over and pulled the curtains closed, fastening them tight. Yet she could not drive out the sound of the creaking ship, snapping and groaning in the storm, and she huddled up on one of the long, cushioned seats that she would be using as her bed. Adrian lit a lamp that was fastened securely to the ceiling. It was pointless to attempt any sleep, so they sat on their bunks and just listened to the horrendous groaning.
“How long do you think the storm will last?” asked Adrianna barely above a whisper, her voice echoing in the dark.
“I don’t know,” said Adrian, and his face looked gloomy himself. “We knew storms would come.”
“But did they have to come this soon?” blurted out Adrianna. “We’ve only just started sailing.”
~Treasure on the Southern Moor, Chapter 4: Rough Sailing
“Listen to the trees,” said Will. “They sound eerie. Hear all those creaks and cracks? It sounds as though there were a thousand boughs all dancing in the wind.”
Everyone sat quietly for a moment as they listened to the sound of the wind from over hill and under roof and around the trees. A gentle stirring was in the air, and as Ann opened the window, they could hear the wind come softly in. It blew in their faces and ruffled their hair, and they could smell the scent of earth and wood. Yet it was also a cold smell, and they soon started wrapping in blankets to ward off the chill. Yet no one wanted to close the window. They could hear the wind, blowing the clouds together and sending threatening rumbles against the darkened sky.
Then Margaret walked over to the light switch, still wrapped in her blanket, and turned the light off. A quiet hush came over everyone, and they did not feel like stirring, yet their eyes were wide awake.
There is always a special and different feeling to be wrapped up in a blanket with the cold all around you. It is the way most people have lived during cold winters for thousands of years, and my own grandmother, whom I wish you will meet one day, said she remembered what it was like to wake up in the morning and see a glass of ice upon her dresser, when she had put it there full of regular flowing water the night before.
A great rumble came through the attic window and echoed throughout the room, and then a raindrop came. Water started coming down, slowly at first, going pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter. Then it picked up, starting to come down in sheets.
~The Williams House, Chapter 5: Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, and Nieces
If you are more satisfied with the content and style of my stories, then purchase The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor today!
Your fellow writer,