A storm. A plot. And a rivalry that spans generations.
Unfurling the Sails
A Grey Shima Adventure
by Sarah Branson
Genre: YA SciFi Adventure
**Only 99 cents!!**
These winds are picking up fast. We need to heave to, get a sea anchor out, and put the storm sails up. And we needed to do it an hour ago.
While I won’t say it to Darvin, I’m actually a bit surprised that the storm developed as quickly as it did. If I had known it would blow in with such intensity and speed, I would have stayed on deck. But I wanted to finish the chapter I had begun last night at bedtime, and I really had to pee. Another swell strikes the boat, and water rushes over the deck. I reposition the tiller, trying to keep the bow pointed toward the waves, but we are moving too fast with both sails up.
I mutter to myself, my words slipping into the wind, unheard, “I’d have been ready for this storm. The sky was red this morning, and the pressure’s been dropping.” It’s not the first squall I’ve managed on the Fascination in the past two weeks, and it won’t be the last before we make port back in Haida—that’s just part of sailing the ocean.
Lots of people like to take a boat out on a nice day when there’s just enough breeze for a pleasant sail. Those folk never lose sight of the shore. And that’s fine–for them. Me, I like the wildness of the open ocean, its unpredictable character, the way it spreads in every direction as if there is nothing else on the planet except for blue water and you on your little boat. To be sure, the sea is unforgiving, but it is fair. If you respect it and have the skills and understanding of how it functions in all its moods, you’ll do fine. But there are no guarantees and that’s the thrilling part. To sail the open ocean, you have to be prepared for storms, for rogue waves, even for sea life, like whales. All those things can upend your ship and drop you into the depths.
Of course, during the race there were always watchers sailing near–especially for the under-twenty crews. Now, the watchers are gone, and we are on our own. Adrenaline pulses through my body making me vigilant and somewhat anxious. I glance up. The mast stands firm. The storm will likely only last a couple of hours. Maybe Darvin will be proven right, and we can sail out of it sooner. Maybe.
Darvin reefs the sails, and I find the tiller a bit easier to handle as the boat slows a bit. He turns and points a See? I was right finger at me and grins. He starts to say something, then turns his head toward starboard, his face wrinkling and his mouth dropping open to yell, but I don’t hear whatever he is going to say. Instead, there is a groaning and crunching that fills my ears, and the huge hull of a yacht slides in front of my face. The smooth, white side looms at me like some behemoth of the deep, and I know for certain I am going to be crushed and killed until I feel my feet come up, and I am tossed backward off the stern into the churning, foaming waters of the Great Sea.
* * *
Sarah Branson, an award-winning author and experienced midwife, weaves thrilling tales of action and adventure with airborne pirates amidst a world transformed by fires, floods, and pandemics.
Sarah first started conjuring stories of pirates when her family hopped a freighter to Australia when she was seven. She has since grown up, traveling the globe, raising a family, and teaching science and history to middle school and high school students in the U.S., Brazil, and Japan. Her diverse life journey inspires her storytelling.
A Merry Life, her debut novel, received prestigious honors. It is the first book of her Pirates of New Earth series that has captivated readers. Unfurling the Sails is her first novel written for teen readers.
Sarah and her husband call Connecticut home. She firmly believes the strength and resiliency of the human spirit combined with the power of badass women will create a better world for all.
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