We ran a portion of this last week and it is from our spunky little friend Lia Ditton. "What the hell", you ask? It is part of a dramatized series that she is writing, entitled Red Sea Smack. More to follow…
For a split second, I managed to register that the lower half of my body seemed to be draped over the edge of the cabin steps with my feet lying somewhere awkwardly below. I gasped, panic-struck and a feeling shot through me that brought a brilliant white light to my eyes.
Along with some metallic-tasting saliva, I blew out a piece of stone. I couldn’t make out anything in the darkness. I dared not move, but it was already too late. My whole upper body was burning again.
For how long had I been in this way? Where was Bill Biewenga, Monish, Dora? Why wasn’t anyone helping me?
I heard the slapping of the water against the hull first, so I knew we weren’t going anywhere fast. Time to move Lia. Time to move was a resolution, which took a long time to action. Yes, the pain was less, but by barely moving at all I could almost fantasise that it was a figment of my sick imagination, that I wasn’t actually lying in a pool of my own blood.
I was not prepared for what I saw next. A very slight upward push from my left wrist was enough to clear my head off the floor. A shriek like the death-cry of a wild animal pierced the silence. It had come from my own throat. I had been stabbed, for sure, because the pain was as if a sword had been plunged into my shoulder and was being plunged in once again. Before me, face planted on the veneered floor and spread eagled, was Bill.
I took stock, tried to breathe. Gritting my teeth, or at least most of them, I pushed myself up further onto my elbow and slumped against the edge of the saloon couch. Was Bill still alive? ‘Bill! Bill.’ I hissed. Nothing. I peered at his body. His T-shirt was soaked in Burgundy and there seemed to be a massive laceration in the middle of his back. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
When I last saw Dora she was… I looked to the nav station where her body was still stretched out. Poor Dorita had been seasick from day one since we left Port St. Francis and South Africa on our passage up the Indian Ocean to Mauritius. ‘Dora wake up!’ I implored. No reply. ‘DORA!’ Oh no. Please no.
Where was Monish? The laptop was gone, the Satfone, the chartplotter, VHF handheld from its charging seat; the fixed VHF had been ripped out and gaping holes remained where the H3000 B&G were previously installed. What else was missing? The autopilots? How was I going to get the boat back to Mauritius by myself?
“Ms Valerie Schaeublin, East and Southern Africa Regional Coordinator of the Overseas Security Advisory Council at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security in the US Department of State says that there was a further suspected pirate sighting following an attack at location 01:47.2S 056:07.1E.” Bill turned to me.
“What?” I snapped.
“Yes, all ships transitting east and south of Somalia/off Kenya/off Tanzania/off Madagascar and off the Seychelles are advised to maintain a distance of more than 600 nautical miles off the coastline. Would you like some tea?”
“No, thanks. So the plan is to assess the damage tomorrow? I’ll go up and cut the lashing so that we can drop the remains of the Solent and erect a jury rig in lieu of the starboard diamond?’
“Yes, but only if the weather calms down.
Enjoy your watch.”