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The Sara Whitaker Journals (Anew)

Tell us about your adventures, amazing stories, wow us with your wit...use your imagination, tell us some of the greatest moments in your life.

Post Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:41 pm

The Sara Whitaker Journals (Anew)

Hope you enjoy a tid bit. The story is over 11 pages and growing to book length.

Post Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:41 pm

The tall sail of the cutter was seen in the early morning hours of Cape Town. The timbers creaked as the ship slid easily into port. My journey, was both long and tiring. It is so good to be back to familiar settings. I just want to get home and sleep in my own bed again. As I began to gather my things together, my notes I put in a carry bag, the others I left in the trunk to be sent home later. The notes, well I had spent hours on the trip home, reviewing them. It made interesting reading to say the least.

My sister Nikki and my father Abraham met me at the docks when the ship was finally tied up at dock. Both helped me with my things, and father made arrangements for a friend to pick up the trunk later in the day. After hugs and tears all around, father herded us toward the family’s car and we headed back home. On the two-hour drive back, Nikki looked at my notes I had written and laughed at what I had wrote. She seemed to enjoy herself in the adventures. When we finally arrived at the family’s house, she turned to me and said, “Sara, why don’t you turn this journal into a book, one that others could read.”

I just looked at her, curious as to why she would say that. I had reread my notes, but didn’t think them of the quality of being published. She pointed to several pages and I glanced at them, “This would make a great story that you could publish, the tales of your adventure. It’s already good, just polish it and put it in story form, and call it...oh say your Journals. Her enthusiasm was nice, but I wanted to think about it.

By morning, I had made my decision. After breakfast, I told father that I would spend the next few days turning my notes into a story. He laughed a deep hearty laugh and said that would be nice. I found out later that he had read parts of it during the night, while I was sleeping. He spoke of it being very good, and he also asked about some of the people I had met, including a certain young man. This brought a slight blush to my face. That, would be a little harder to do.

So I now set out, my dear readers, to tell the tale of my adventures, I call them, The Sara Whitaker Journals.

Chapter 1

I sat in the home of my father, Abraham Whitaker, thinking of the trip I was to undertake. It was to the coast of Australia on a possible business venture. A gentleman by the name of Eric Sumpter had sent a cable inviting interest in a new concoction he had invented. He would not name it, in hopes of luring someone to come and see it, someone willing to invest some cash in it.

A friend of a friend had forwarded a copy to me, thinking I would be interested in the venture. I had come into some inheritance a year ago, but had not come to a decision as how to invest it. A business offer could prove lucrative, but I was going to be cautious.

Still, I cabled Eric back stating that I planned a trip and would arrive the last week of March. His response was, “Welcome and I look forward to our new business association.” Apparently, he took my coming there, as a possible investor. We will see, I thought, we will see. I took a last look around my father’s home before taking a coach to the sea port. The sailing trip would take a little over a week. I had wanted to fly on one of those new aircraft, a DC3 I believe it is called, but as the new airfield would not be ready for almost a month, I opted for sailing, after all, a sea trip was reputed to be good for the health and invigorating, or so I thought.

Since I’m writing all this down in my journal, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Sara Whitaker, and I am from Caledon, South Africa. It’s been my home all my twenty years, and I love it. My father, Abraham Whitaker, is an accountant and does very well for his family. Me, I seem to be the wild hair of the family. A little too outgoing as father says. But, I look at it as just standing up for myself and wanting an interesting life.

Even in school, I had an adventurous spirit about me, studying geography, history and horticulture to diverse myself. There was something that drove me, to explore, and learn new things. It never sat well with the family, who thought I should take a more lady like approach in school, then attend a university to become a teacher. That kind of life never appealed to me. It seemed too boring in comparison to what I dreamed about.

The ship, was a clipper ship, such a beautiful sight to me. Her name was The Celeste, and looked to be rather new. Father had them load a trunk and two suit cases for me. Momma had packed some provisions in the trunk for me, as she was worried that I would neglect my eating, in search of adventure. She was partly right, I did neglect eating at times of adventures, but this trip would not be like that. I planed to enjoy myself this trip, regardless of wether I invested or not.

I was able to secure a private cabin, at a bit of expense, but as I was traveling alone, I preferred my privacy and wanted to spend sometime in my thoughts. And yet there was still need for direction in my life. Adventures are one thing, but women are looked down upon for it in this day and age, where they are expected to stay home and care for their children they were expected to bare. I just guess I liked trouble. My father said I always seem to find it. I just responded, I never go looking for it, that it just seemed to find me. I smile at the thought of that. It was true that things I chose to get involved in, brought troubles or at least comments that followed the status quo.

If the truth be told, it wasn’t that I wanted to buck the traditional way of things, but rather I had a thirst for adventure, for new things to learn and see. It was a thirst that never seemed to be satisfied for long.

The first night at sea, I sat at the aft of the ship, gazing up at the stars. So many filled the night sky. It was an amazing sight. To think that God created every one of them, just to light the night sky. The ship’s crew looked at me as if I had lost my mind, but other wise left me to my stargazing. A wisp of a smile came to my face, as I thought of the people I would meet. Australians, some native born, some who had been sent there to the penal colony, Botany Bay and the aboriginal peoples as well. These I had only read about, but never had the opportunity to meet. I relished the opportunity to meet these people and learn about them.

I recorded all my thoughts in notebooks so I could look back at them later on and remember what the adventure brought, and what I learned from it. Having thought of wanted to gather the information together, so that I could write a paper on the travels and one day, publish it. For now, I must tend to the basics.

Back in my cabin I stand looking at my face in a mirror. I reach of my bush and begin to brush out the tangles that the sea breeze brought today. My auburn hair is now down to the middle of my back. Yet it seems too short sometimes. I think back to when I was a little girl, and Momma asked us to chose how we would keep our hair. My Sister keeps hers tied back, but I choose to leave mine down and unadorned with ribbons. I knew even then, I wanted different than other girls. So I settled on having the longest hair around. Now though, it can get a bit tiresome brushing it out every evening.

Sleep came soon enough, the pitch of the ship even help to relax me. The dreams though, were not surprising, but of the trip and my ideas of what would happen. But in the middle of the dream, was the face of a man. He had short sandy brown hair. His face, well I think its called a Goatee though for the life of me, I failed to see what it had in common with a goat. His smile was wide and bright as the sun. He stood tall, taller than I was and I’m five foot nine. He was just a few years older than me, I think, but I am judging that by his face.

When I met him in the dream, we spoke and talked at length about our interest. He had many that I have and then some. My accent is that of a Dutch back ground, but his, well it wasn’t from the crown or any colonies. It was as if he had no accent. I think some have spoken of this as an American accent. I have yet to meet any from that land. It had a melody all it’s on.

By the end of the week, the Captain said we should site land by the noon hour. I looked forward to it. The voyage was nice enough, except for two days ago when a squall threatened to over take us. But by the grace of God that it turned away and let us be. “Land Ho, Land Ho” came the call from the lookout. I could just see it on the Eastern horizon. The Captain said after a few hours layover in Perth, we would continue on to Geelong on the other end of Australia. That was where I was to meet Eric Sumpter. It was to be another two days sailing, providing good winds. We sailed all night rather than dropping anchor, which helped with the timing. I knew Eric would wonder if I had changed my mind, being at least two days later arriving than I said I would.

Finally, we arrived in port. My trunk was a bit litter, and the tip to the porter help me be underway that much quicker. The Captain cautioned me about traveling the area alone, that “Men of ill repute would take advantage of me”. I smiled at this and thanked him, but said I would be fine, as my eye caught a glimpse of the one I came to see. He looked every bit the image he described in his cables. His smile and wave was warm enough. I pointed the porter towards him and the card he stood by. It looked as if he anticipated my luggage situation quite nicely.

Eric was a perfect gentleman. He gave me a short tour of the area. It had a rugged beauty all its own, even in the dry, barren areas. A quiet if you will, seemed to settle over the area as we rode. The town itself was a hive of commerce and travel and its own share of noises. But at where Eric lived, was solitude in area. Scarily any neighbors around. He informed me, when I mentioned this, that he liked his privacy and could work uninterrupted in his research.

Just before heading into his house, I noticed what looked like small wild dogs running loose. Eric explained they were dingos. They hunted in packs and could prove dangerous at time. After offering me some cool water, Eric went into his store room to return with a case of bottles. This, he said, was what he hoped to interest me in to invest. A drink he worked on to sale to the public. He called it Ginger Beer. He explained a little about it, and concluded that this type, was non-alcoholic so that it would be available for all ages.

I sampled a bit in a glass, but it had a taste that to me, wasn’t too bad, but nothing to write home about as they say. Eric explained that he could mass produce it, but needed an investor to help with the bottling and merchandising of it. I asked him to let me think it over overnight, and I would let him know. He offered me his guest bedroom for the night, and we turned in. I don’t know if it was the drink or just the trip, but I had some rather vivid dreams. The OutBack as its called and people, all walking. It seemed so real to me.

Morning came with the pleasant aroma of coffee. It was a beautiful day, sun rising to a clear sky. After refreshing myself, I joined Eric for coffee and pastries. I had come to the conclusion, that I would not be investing in this venture and explained my reasons to Eric. We was understandably down about it, but said he understood. After repacking, Eric took me to the airfield so I could catch a plane back to Perth and then a ship from, there back home.

After dropping me off, I bid Eric farewell and good luck in finding what he needed. I went into the terminal building to purchase my ticket for the flight, and made arrangement for two of my bags. I was informed that the trunk was too large to transport on the plane, but could be sent on the next ship heading to Perth. I agreed and transferred what I did not need to the trunk so that I had only one back to take on the plane. I cabled father that the trunk would be coming at a latter date and to watch for it.

The aircraft was sitting on the tarmac, and it looked like the pictures of the new DC3 airplanes. It was then that I notice others waiting for the flight to leave as well. There was a young couple sitting together, they looked like newlyweds. It struck me a little that they seemed to notice no one else around them. There were two men who seemed in a heated conversation to the point of paying no attention to anyone else. To me, they appeared to have English accents, not too dissimilar to mine.

A group of three others were in mild conversation as well. A forth was by himself, sitting at a small table with a drink in hand. He caught my attention a bit more. He had a bit of a shaggy beard, appeared to be tall, thinner than most the other men present. He looked not too much older than I am. He was absorbed in a newspaper article on the table.

I headed his way when the one of the three men in their group said a little louder than under his breath, “What does she think she is, an explorer or something?” This drew chuckles from the other two men. All three looked to be in their late thirties, dressed as business men and wearing fedoras.

I don’t know if it was the attitude, or just what was said that did it, but something in me just clicked and my anger rose. I knew I shouldn’t let others remarks bother me, but at that moment it did. I turned to look at them. You have to have been there to see the site, I put my hands on my hips and walked two steps towards the man who had made the comment. His shadow just reached my shoes where I stopped.

“Do I understand that you don’t think a woman should be an explorer?” I was just below a boiling anger.

The man who had made the comment just chuckled as he nodded his head. His next words though, were the last straw in the situation. “Women should be at home, rasing families and taking care of their husbands, not tramping though the wilderness.”

I think it must have been hundreds of stars he saw next. There was little time for him to enjoy his words as he grabbed the shin I had just hauled off and kicked. His face took on the deep red hue of a flush that stayed for a moment. He grit his teeth as he held his leg. Falling now, he landed with a thud and a dust cloud as his backside hit the ground. Just sitting there, was enough to make him a laughable sight.

I glared at the other two who held up their hands in mock surrender. Apparently, they wanted nothing to do with me and my anger. What this whole thing did do, was disturb the lone man at the table. He had walked over and while looking at the man on the ground, still holding his shin, asked me “Is everything all right miss?” When our eyes met, the sight of his soft blue eyes melted what little anger I had left. I replied that I was fine and even blushed a little . His smile was bright, his eyes shining with peace as they took in the surroundings. He apparently had seen most of what had occurred, but was still concerned about me. That thought alone was nice.

After seeing that all was well, he resumed his reading at the table. I moved away from the three men as two of them helped the third to his feet. He was to have a bit of a limp for a while, Serves him right, I thought. My anger would dissipate over time though. I was never one for holding a grudge.

“Hi, mine if I join you?” I asked the young man.

He looked up, the wisps of a smile on his lips. He slid back his chair as he rose. “By all means, please.” He pulled up another chair for me. As I sat, I noticed an amused look in his eyes, one that held a thought just short of a laugh.

This man intrigued me a bit more now. I found his presence, warm and inviting. Not like any other man that I have met before. He noticed me looking at him, and it brought a slight blush to me, yet I could not take my eyes off him. His smile broadened now, bright as the afternoon sun overhead.

“What, what is it?” he asked innocently enough. And, I believed it about him. He didn’t realize how he affected me, and truthfully, neither did I.

“Just your eyes, almost a pure blue,” I spoke, my voice dropping to almost a whisper. For the first time in years, a shy spell decided to kick in at that precise moment.

“Oh, forgive my lack of manners, my name is Jason Walker” he spoke and held a hand out to me. It was at that moment, I decided I liked him.

“Sara Whitaker” I responded. He squeezed my hand gently, but firmly. His touch was nice as well. Softer than I would have expected for an outdoors man. The sun created differing shades of color in his hair, as a breeze swirled around us. He was handsome as well and a gentleman.

“Listen up people” the aircraft personnel spoke loudly, “Your baggage has been loaded, and its time for you to board as well.”

Jason and I gathered our things and headed for the plane. The couple were already on board, and the two gentlemen who were in discussions, climbed the small steps into the plane. I was inline behind the man with the sore shin and Jason behind me. We found our seats at the rear of the aircraft and got stowed and seated.

Just as the hatch was being closed, the engines were started, throwing up a rather large cloud of dust. My view out the small window was covered until we started to move. We rolled for about five minuets, until the pilot looked back into the cabin and said, “Everyone strapped in?” Several nods and a few replies were enough for him. We started the roll for take off. My first flight, and I was a little giddy, but not scared in the least.

The flight was suppose to be a little over three hours, so I pulled a book out to read. Jason, who was seated beside me, had dosed off about two minuets after takeoff. I just looked at the serene expression on his face then turned to my book for a while.

At some point in the next hour, I dosed off. I don’t recall too much why, but took it to the fact of the motion of the plane. What woke me though, was turbulence. It would have thrown me into the floor, if I was not seat belted in. Jason was a wake now as well. There were some rather dark storm clouds outside, punctuated with several lighting bolts.

We bounced and dropped as the flight continued. The co-pilot looked back into the cabin and spoke, “Everyone, hold on tight, if the storm gets worse, we may have to ditch.”

The young couple clutched each other, panic on their faces. The two in discussion, seemed un effected and continued their discussions, as if nothing were happening. “Whoa, what was that?” I called out to no one in particular. The plane was just hit on the right side and took a deep dip and began to bank to the right.

The co-pilot looked back and said, the wing was hit and we were going to ditch. He explained the best he could about the life vest, but had to cut the talk short to help the pilot control the plane. It was dropping at a faster pace now. I could see the sea and waves breaking on a beach to the right of us, the direction we were turning in.

The beach loomed ahead, daunting as it seemed, but what caught my attention was the boulders that also lined the beach. This, I thought, was going to be a rough landing, and began a silent prayer. It looked to me, as if we wouldn’t survive.

Post Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:42 pm

Chapter 2

After a seeming eternity, I woke. My head ached a little from striking the seat in front of me. I looked around to see the tail of the plane was gone. Torn from the rest of the plane just behind my seat. Jason was just beginning to stir as well. Moans were heard all over the craft as others began to wake.

I released my seat belt an climbed over the seat to the sand. We had stopped about twenty five feet from the sea. The front of the aircraft was wedged between two of the larger boulders. And from the looks of it, the cockpit was crushed beyond salvaging.

About this time Jason and a couple others were staggering from the plane as well, and we looked over our situation, it finally hitting us, that we had indeed crashed. The sky’s had calmed, and the rain was just about stopped. At least the storm was over, a point in our favor. After a short conversation with Jason, we started to roust the others still in the plane to get them out and began to look for baggage, supplies and any thing else we could strip from the wreck for survival.

One gentleman, Henry Marston, volunteered to look around for water and food sources. He said he was native to Australia, and would know what to look for. I and others agreed and he set off in search. The couple, Stuart and Mara Jensen, asked what they could do to help. I had located a knife by this time and handed it to Stuart and asked them to salvage all the fabric they could from the planes seats.

Jason and I had found the cargo area, a gash in the side of the plane, some of the baggage was gone, but we managed to salvaged about half of what was on board. A shrill scream from inside the plane brought three of us running. Mara had discovered the fate of the pilots and it scared the life out of her. I told Stuart to take her outside, and I would finish up gathering things from the plane. He agreed, a little shake up himself. I looked into the remains of the cockpit, both pilots were a mangled mess, blood every where. They had given there lives to get us down in one peace.

I noticed a map the co-pilot had`beside him and gathered it and a few more things, before moving back to the beach.

By this time Henry is back with two containers of drinkable water. I for one, was thirsty and partook of some. It was cool and refreshing. After wiping a little dust off my face, I noticed Angelo and Zane again in discussion, but also both seemed to be fuming about something. Neither had done any work or seemed to even be concerned about our present circumstances. I walked over and asked, How about the two of you pitching in and giving us a hand with salvage work.

Angelo glowered at me a moment, seeming to gather his thoughts, then spoke. “I say we sit still here, and wait for rescue to come for us, and not go traipsing off into who knows where.”

I just shook my head. “Who, do you think is going to come looking for us, and where do you think they will start looking?”

Fire rose in Angelo’s eyes, “Young lady, how about just being a good little girl and let us adults worry about that, hmm?” The edge of sarcasm was razor sharp, and the grin of Zane did not help the situation either.

This of course, pushed my button, but before I could unload on them, Henry Marston walked up and put a restraining hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear that I needed to take a walk and check on Jason. He said he would handle this situation. Reluctantly, I agreed and left, but not before catching the glint of light off some kind of metal tucked into Angelo’s waist band.

When I did find Jason several minuets later, his eyes lit up a bit. He motioned me over to where he was sitting. He had a running tally of all our supplies and an estimate of how long they would last. The shortest item on the list, was food. We had water available now, but with out more food, we would get a bit hungry before we got rescued.

“We’re going to have to make the priority today, of finding food as well as making shelters. “ he spoke, a calm in his voice that instantly put me at ease.

Henry walked up with a small, long carry bag. He sat as he opened it. It was a disassembled fishing rod like the type you would use to surf fish. Henry explained he was an avid fisherman, and would help to try and provide some additional food. In a side compartment, he produced a small tin of lures, one of which he attached to the line. I was very curious as to the method he intended to use. I knew from reading, that fish, like all creatures, avoided areas in times of storms, so this was going to be a challenge.

The wind was dying down some what, but the surf pounded the beach and rocks. Henry climbed up in to a string of rock that led straight out into the sea, a walkway of sorts. He stood about one hundred feet out, where the surf was merely swells, rather than breakers. He attached some sort of reflective lure to the line and began to cast out into the deeper areas.

Within an hour, he had caught about ten good size fish. They looked to be between three and five pounds a piece. They would be more than enough to feed us for a day or so. I began to gathered some drift wood pieces on the way back. They could be dried beside a fire. We had enough matches and paper to get a fire going with some slightly damp wood we found earlier. All seemed to appreciate both the food and the fire. It gave a comforting feel, on this solitary beach. The only sounds we heard, were from the sea. It seemed that little of the wild life was active near us, or else they were watching us as well.

Stuart and Mara brought each of us a small blanket they recovered from the plane. Mara also had turned the life vest, with a little help from the seat fabric, into back packs of sorts. Mara looked sheepishly as we all said our thanks. All that is except Angelo. Mara explained to us, that her mother had taught her sewing as well as knitting. It looked to me, as if her mother taught her very well indeed. I laughed and told her that I could never sit still to learn something like this. Angelo piped in with his two cents worth, “Yeah, she’s too busy trying to be a man, she is.” A light laugh arose from a couple others, then he added, “Shame you didn’t learn anything useful from your mother, eh?”

This made my blood boil again. But before I could do anything, Jason was the one that stepped in this time. “Hers skill, no matter what they are, far exceed yours, my friend.” He stared down Angelo, but the other did not back down, even now.

“This coming from a whelp, an American at that” he paused, “You all are so uncouth that it turns my stomach just to here you talk.” He grinned a wicked grin, that it scared me a bit.

“Enough!” Came an angry retort from Henry Marston. “As long as we’re stuck here, we need each other to get out of here. This fighting and verbal assaults help no one, so put an end to it, NOW!”

Angelo just shook his head and snatched up his blanket and headed to the tree line. He spent a few minuets rigging up a hammock of sorts and promptly laid down to sleep. At least we didn’t have to listen to any more of his tirade. He surly rubbed me the wrong way.

An hour before sun down, Henry and Jason both cam and sat beside me. Both genuinely seemed o care about me. Henry spoke first, “Sara, your going to have to let what ever Angelo says, go. Don’t think that its necessary to always come back a him. All your doing is fueling his ego and that gets you nothing.” This took me aback a bit.

“Henry, thank you for stepping in when you did, but I can just let the likes of him run me down without defending myself.” it wasn’t as if I didn’t appreciate what Henry was doing, its just that I didn’t want to be treated like a child and always be protected by others. I did my best to explain it to him. He merely looked at the sand for a moment before replying.

“Sara, there’s two reasons for backing off, one is that it won’t get you anywhere with him, and the second is, his dangerous.” This stunned me for a second before he continued. “He carries a gun in his belt line. As long as he has it, you push him too far, there’s no telling what he might do. So, for me, will you please try to not give in to his tirades and let me or Jason handle him, hmm?

Jason piped in at this, “I, I care about you Sara, and don’t want to see anything happen to you either.” His face blushed a deep red, but his eyes looked into mine. Compassion was there, and something else. It didn’t strike me at that time what it was.

By this time Bob, Ed and Walt had a sizeable fire going, and had fashioned some green sticks to skewer the fish with to cook. Henry had already gutted and cleaned the fish, so they were ready to go. We had no spices as such, so they would have to go as is, and take on the cooking fire for flavor. It struck me as odd now, that the others had finally calmed down, and were working together. I picked up my blanket and found some low plant fronds and made my bedding a little more comfortable. Jason apparently had seem be leave the area and followed. Got to give him that, that he cared. I just wasn’t hungry, just tired. After setting my bed up, I lay down on my back, watching the starry night. It was beautiful, the cloudless night let so much be seen, the wonders of the heavens. Sometime after this, I guess I nodded off to sleep.

I awoke just before the sun peaked over the horizon. It was beautiful, orange and a delight to watch as if it rose from the sea itself. Dew was on the blanket, and the plants. It looked to be a good day, no clouds to be seen.

I saw Henry coming from the tree line and motioned him over. It was with a little hesitation when I asked where should I look for the bathroom. His smile was nice this early in the morning. He pointed a little off from where he came from, and said to go no further back than twenty five yards so as to not get lost. I took off for it, while he stirred the coals up to get the fire burning again. There would still be some fish from last night to tide us over for a few hours.

When I returned, Stuart and Mara were discussing the two pilots and what they could do for them. Mara thought they should be buried, but Stuart, having seen the condition of the cockpit, thought they should be left where they were; as to getting them out of it would take some machinery. They were wedged in to the metal and the seats. Mara was a little teary eyed, but finally agreed. She settled on leaving a flower she had found earlier in the morning. She set it at the entry area to the cockpit, and slowly turned to go. We all, having finished our morning constitutionals, sat and ate the remainder of the fish. It was filling, and the water was good. Henry, our makeshift leader, began to get the others organized.

We each had a pack and a small container to carry water in, and some of the salvageable supplies we would need. Angelo of course, decided he shouldn’t have to carry anything, but wanted to wait here for help to arrive. “Fine with me if you want to stay put, that makes it easier on the rest of us if you do” I spoke up. The three business men, laughed amongst themselves. Others were beginning to get a point of view concerning Angelo.

“Why in the blue blazes should we leave the relative safety here, where I might add, we can be found by rescuers, and go heading off who knows where with all the dangers out there?” He stated to us all.

“The dangers in the bush, are not as bad you make them out to be. The danger of staying here, however, is greater as no one will know where to even start looking for us, and it could be months for anyone to find us. So get off your back side and get moving, or we leave you here on your own, with no food.” Henry replied in a voice strong and passionate.

Apparently, Angelo had not considered the issue of no food, and as he seemed to be the one who ate the most, he would not likely last long with no ready to eat food available. He just gave Henry and the rest of us a smirk look, shook his head and grabbed his backpack.

Post Thu May 11, 2006 2:57 pm

Chapter 3

Two hours into the walk, I spotted a stick about five feet long and straight that looked sturdy enough to make a good walking stick. I borrowed a pocket knife from Jason and began to whittle away the bark and clean it up. Jason continued to walk beside me and observe my work. An hour later, I had it to my liking and returned he knife to Jason. “Where did you learn to handle a knife that way” he asked.

“My father taught me to whittle when I was young, and it seemed I had a knack for it. I pulled out a carving I carried in my pocket. It was of a wolf head, made from a small piece of hard wood that took me two weeks to make, but was now a prize possession. I handed it to him as we walked. He nodded his head and handed it back.

“Nice work there, the detail you put in it, is a very good likeness.” was his compliment on it.

“Thanks, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, all I had was a picture from a magazine I received from America, of what a wolf looked like to work from” I explained.

“You did this kind of work, from a picture?” Jason asked, a look of amazement on his face. He had known a few artists and even a sculpturer, but none that were this good at the details. He had a new view of me now. I knew nothing of this till later on in the trip when we talked about it again.

A half hour later, we came upon a small, inviting stream, and Henry called for a water break and told us to refill our water containers. Henry also reiterated to drink our fills before leaving a watering hole, even if it meant a call of nature soon afterwards. I left my pack with Jason and wondered a bit up stream. The area was just so beautiful. I did find some trees bearing some sort of reddish fruit. I picked about a dozen and took them back with me. I found Henry and asked if they were edible, and he said yes, but that they could be a bit tart. I packed them away for later as we readied to continue the walk. I noticed the young couple lingering a bit. They seemed a bit down. I was guessing the young lady was stilled bothered about the pilots and having to leave them unburied.

In a way, my heart went out to her, but I also knew it would be a little gruesome, trying to get them out of the metal trap they were in. I wandered back to the stream, and drank a bit more water. The business men, having drank their fill, had gathered several feet away, were in a discussion about something I had never heard of. A stock market crash, they said it took place about ten years ago. All three complained they had lost fortunes, but also gained a little wisdom and hung on to the stocks they already had. They mentioned they had regain a little of what they had lost. Apparently, Ed said that several people took their loses very badly and had jumped to their deaths because they lost all.

Though I had inherited money from a long lost female relative, I still did not know what to do with it. It was to me, something you had, but nothing to die over. I wondered some days, if my living in a small corner of the world had sheltered me too much from the normal things of this world. I wanted to talk to Jason some more and get his view on it. He seemed like temperament to me, in that he saw adventure as more interesting, than possessions.

Jason was sitting on a rock, perched over the stream. He had finished his water several minuets ago, but seemed lost in thoughts. He didn’t even notice when I sat beside him. Then I saw what he was looking at, a flower that was growing on the other back, its colors magnified by the sun’s rays striking it just so. I had never seen a flower more beautiful than that. It seemed I had begun staring at it as well, because I jumped when Jason touched my shoulder. He had noticed that I had been looking at the same thing as he. His smile, still bright, took on a more inquisitory look, as if he was trying to figure me out.

Henry began to get us back together, and led us up stream about one hundred yards to shallows so we could cross in about a foot dep water, rather than waist deep. I for one took my boots off, to both protect them, and to give me something dry to wear on the other side. Angelo looked me over as I was lacing them back up. His shoes where now soaked, and would squirt water every step he took, but I knew a little secret that he didn’t. I just smiled back at him and grabbed my walking stick and caught up with Henry.

I had also taken out a couple pieces of the fruit I picked up when we started out and tossed one to Henry and one to Jason. Both nodded their thanks and began to eat and enjoy the juicy freshness. It sated any hunger for a while.

A shrill call came from over head, a predator soared over us, in search of food. It seemed this land was as harsh as I believed. The Raptor flew for several hours, following our trail, it’s shadow crisscrossing us. Then it occurred to me, that the creature was using us to flush prey out for it. This gave me a new perspective for hunters, regardless whether human or animal. Ths one, had intelligence, and learned long ago to use different means to get its food. Learning this, I continue to be hungry for new things as well. I made some notes for use later when we returned home.

I’m not sure, but watching the hunter, made me aware of prey as well. I noticed lizards, rodents, and insects, that I other wise would have ignored. Colors in their appearance, or the lack there of to blend in with the environment. This, is something we never studied in school. This, was what I longed to do, explore and discover new things.

The one thing I did not see much of the first day, were clouds. After the storm dissipated, it seemed to remain crystal clear. The blue of the sky, a deep blue so dark at times, it looked like a bottomless well. If we weren’t lost, I could all most enjoy staying here. As I walked, I became aware that someone was watching me, as much as I was watching the world. Jason moved along side of me, not saying anything, but at the same time, speaking volumes. I was growing to like his presence, and had peace around him. Others I felt ok with, except Angelo of curse. He got under my skin all the time, but Henry, he was nice enough, but it was Jason that fascinated me more. Nikki would be the one to give me a hard time about it. She would be the first to say I was falling in love. My face seemed to redden a bit at the thought. Jason noticed something was up and prodded a little.

“How are you doing Sara, sun getting to you a bit?” He had a grin stretching from ear to ear. This only darkened my face more. I didn’t really know what to say, so I kept quiet, trying to calm my feelings down. Jason noticed and moved closer, his voice heard only by me. I didn’t mean to embarrass you Sara, I just think your very pretty, and enjoy watching you.

It was a relief, that he didn’t ask more. It gave me a moment to compose myself before turning to face him. He truly did not understand what he was doing to me. “It’s ok, Jason, my thoughts were just wandering a little.”

“Yea I noticed” he replied, that grin threatened to become a smile. My face reddened again, only deeper. His laugh was a quiet laugh and placed a hand on my shoulder and spoke in my ear agin, “Ok, I’ll leave you alone for now.” As he picked his walk up a notch and moved on ahead a few paces, I had regrets and wanted to get him to slow back down, but decided against it. I really needed time to sort my feelings. They were getting stronger, but I didn’t want our current situation, to be a lead into something that neither of us wanted.

Chapter 4

Late afternoon came quickly enough. Henry explained it would be best to stop and make camp two hours before sundown. A couple others said they wanted to go further, then risk making camp in the dark.

“Problem with that is” Henry began, you won’t know if there’s water around, nor will you have any thing to eat. I don’t know an bout you, but its easier for me to catch fish when there’s light enough to see.” He gave a wink in my direction.

We each picked out areas to bed down, and set about making the ground comfortable. I had learned a trick after the first night, to pick a sandy area, and dig out a little to create a slight rolling arch for my back, then line it with the blanket. It was laying on a comfortable sofa with a cushion under your knees. After I got mine prepared, I grabbed my stick and water bottle and went in search of water, letting Jason know I was headed straight inland. I noticed Angelo looking my way as I moved in to the brush. He had a wicked grin on his face.

Thirty minuets later, I was depressed and decided o head back to camp. I had found no indications of fresh water, or fruit. I considered the route I had followed and moved about twenty five yards over on the return trip to cover new area.
With in minuets, I heard brush breaking behind me. Turning, I saw Angelo following me about thirty feet back. I stopped to see if he would catch up or just follow me. To my surprise, he tried to come off as prince charming willing to help a lady in distress. He was unusually pleasant, which set bells to ringing in my head. I did not trust the man at all, but, as I was all alone with him, I had little choice.

A few minuets of seemingly very polite conversation, he stopped. “Listen little lady, I’m sorry we hit it off badly at the start, and I be ah offering my apology to you if you would except it.” in the deepest of Italian accents. I did not trust him, but at the same time, I was open to mending fences. We had a long walk ahead of us, and I did not relish doing it with anyone that was hostile. So, I excepted his peace offering, with hesitation.

We moved on back to camp when he spotted a tree with more of the fruit we had earlier. He picked what we could reach, but I saw several pieces just out of reach. I asked Angelo to cup his hands together and give me a boost up so I could get more of the fruit. I Should have known better when a grin formed on his face. He boosted me up and I was able to retrieve ten more pieces of fruit, and put them in my pack.

As I stood and turned to continue walking, I turned straight into Angelo’s chest. How he got this close without me hearing him, I will never know. I tried to step around him, but he just blocked my path. “Angelo, what are you doing, Let me go!” a nearly shouted. He really was beginning to scare me.

“Now little lady, is that any way to behave to a gentleman and an elder?” he asked, as he reached to take my hand. I snatched it away quickly.

“You do this, and you are no gentleman, your nothing but a piece of trash!” I said a little louder. Needless to say, my lack of tact did not help the situation. He face flushed and he grabbed my wrist and pulled hard drawing me close to him. His blood shot eyes and the smell of alcohol on his breath was enough to tell me he was drunk. But on what, I do not know.

Now he tried to kiss me, but I turned away from him and began to struggle to get free. His hold on me was tight, and I could not get my wrist free. I could not believe this was happening. Not in this day and age would a man be so forward with a woman. And, I was not about to let him do it to me either. With my other hand, I reached up and scratched him across his face, leaving three red lines where I drew blood across his face.

His rage now boiled, and roaring, he gave me a solid back hand across the face knocking me to the ground. Now, I was getting scared. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get out of this alive. Angelo reached for me and pulled me up by my shirt and slammed me into a tree. My back ached. He hauled back to take a full swing at me and caught his arm on something. He turned to see what he caught it on, and I saw Henry Marston.

The last thing Angelo saw, was Henry’s big fist coming straight for his jaw. He was out before he hit the ground. Jason was with Henry and reached down to help me up. There was sadness in Jason’s face. He reached for his kerchief and wet it with some water from his bottle and touched it lightly to my face. I winced at the touch and saw blood on it. I reached up and touched my lips, there was a little blood still on them from the blow from Angelo. “I guess he really did get in a good shot after all. Looks like I will be sore for a day or two.” I said trying to be optimistic.

But Jason looked dep in my eyes, then pulled me to him and held me close. I guess he just knew me better than I knew myself. I started crying them. He just held on whispering that it would be alright. Mean while, Henry searched Angelo and removed the gun he was carrying. He unloaded the weapon and put the ammunition in his own pocket and the gun in his waist band.

“He won’t be needing it for a while. I now have to figure what to do with him. It’s not like he’s going to be a repentant sinner, and his attitude towards you will only get worse.” Henry scratched his head and then opened his water bottle and poured it over Angelo’s face. This brought the man to, sputtering and swinging his arms. He sat up and just looked around for a moment. He wiped his face and then looked up at me. No love lost there that I could see.

We walked back into the camp, the others wondering what had happened. Zane helped Angelo over to their area and sat talking for a while. Mara came over, bringing some of the first aid supplies. She opened the small bottle of iodine and dabbed a little on the cut to my upper lip. I winced a little and I think she did as well in sympathy to me. Her expression betrayed a little fear as to what happened. Henry had not said any thing as of yet, so I waited as well, to see how he wanted to handle it.

“Listen up every one, it seems we have had an incident. Angelo went out, without telling anyone where he was going. From now one, no one goes any where with out telling someone, so if there’s a problem the rest will be able to help find them if they get hurt or lost.” henry said eyeing everyone.

Zane chose this moment to speak up. “I don’t have to tell you or anyone else where I go, it’s none of your business.”

“Well, that’s fine by me, but if you turn up missing when its time to move on, we leave you behind if no one knows where you went to. It’s not like anyone going to follow you when you go to the latrine, its for safety’s sake if you were to get injured attacked or just plain lost. Sara was good enough to let some know where she went, and after Angelo disappeared without telling anyone, I got curious and went to find her, and sure enough, she was in need of help and we found her right where she said she would be.” Henry said, looking straight at Angelo.

“What happened Sara, did you fall to get that busted lip?” Mara asked now worried a little.

“No, this injury came at the hands of Angelo, he attacked her and tried to have his way with her. When she tried to fight him off, he back handed her. He received a fist to the face for his efforts as Jason and caught up with him at that moment. And will now be dealt with as well.” Henry explained and turned fully to face Angelo. “You every try that again with either Sara or Mara,.....I may take you apart myself!” Anger now rising to the surface in Henry. Up till now, I never really saw him get angry.

Angelo slowly got to his feet, shaking off the effect of the punch now, looked Henry in the eye. “You don’t tell me what to do, now or any other time. Now, give me my gun back, or I’ll take it from you!”

“In your present condition, you are a danger to others, and giving you the gun back only increases the chance of an incident happening. When we’re rescued, or make it to help, then I will consider giving it back, but not until then.”

Zane grabbed Angelo’s arm just as he started towards Henry. A hushed few words and Angelo shrugged off Zane’s hold and turned and walked away. After looking a both Henry and I, Zane went to follow Angelo. I wasn’t sure what was said, but it at least got him calmed down.

“Henry, you know you and I are going to have to keep an eye on him from now on, don’t you?” Jason asked reluctantly.

Henry shook his head and replied, “I was hoping he would come to he senses and at least act rationally, but now, I just don’t know. Either way, he isn’t getting the gun back”

“Why can’t you just toss it into the sea when he isn’t around?” I asked, the pain in my face was still throbbing and making me see cross eyed for a second.

“I would in a second, but we don’t know what dangers are ahead of us in the bush” Henry explained, “We might just need it for something more dangerous than Angelo.”

That did little to cheer me up. Bob, Ed, and Walt came over and sat down. They had seen the actions and reactions of Angelo as well and had concerns.

“Can the two of you handle that guy?” Bob asked.

“Yea, look, we’re sorry Sara got beaten up, but we’re just business folk, we have no survival training or skill to deal with a nut case.” Ed stated, he was close to hyperventilating. Jason just shook his head at the situation. Here, were three able and strong men, afraid of a confrontation. Jason just smiled to himself.

“Look, we’re stuck here with him, till either we’re found, or make our way out. Isn’t there some way to get along until then?” Walt asked, his voice a little more morose than the others.

“Henry, the man is a liability, true, but he is also a human being. We can’t just leave him here to die.” Stuart spoke as he walked up. “We have to be more civilized than that.”

“It comes down to this, either he behaves himself, or we will leave him here” Henry spoke softly, “He can not be allowed to behave as he has done, and if he chooses not to go along with the rules, he’s out and will have to make his own way. I will not risk the life of another person, for him.”

Henry turned to Jason and spoke for a few minuets. Jason then gathered up the other empty water bottles and motioned to me to follow. I needed the distraction, and could use another drink of water as well.

The local birds were chatty today, either they didn’t like the interruption, or our presence just gave them something to talk about. They did help a little, I forgot about my injury. The walk to the spring was quiet. I had expected Jason to lecture me about going off alone, but surprisingly, he didn’t. I still can not put my finger on it, but there was something about him, that I loved to be around.

I knelt at the spring and began to fill the bottles. Jason took out a canvas bag and began to pick some purple fruit growing on a bush near the spring. They looked like a cluster berry, blackberry I think I read about once. He handed me one and I tasted it. A slightly tart taste, but pleasantly flavorful as well.

I pulled out my writing pad, there wasn’t much light left to see by, and wrote a few quick lines down. After putting it away, we gathered fruit and water and headed back to camp.

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