Angus Pratt's Home  >  Creative  >  Writing  >  Storm - First Draft

This material forms part of the transformation of a story.

It began life here as the Wave Story. Written in the third person but using the names of the people who were actually involved in the story.

Wave Story

"When do I get to try this canoe stuff?" alix sipped her cup of hot coffee, gazing at the sun rising across the tranquil lake. The pinks and purples entranced her. The low bank of cloud added a pebbly texture to the sky. She wondered if sunrises in Los Angeles were this beautiiul. Of course she had never gotten up this early to see. Even if she had the smog would have made it difficult to see. It had been the smell of hot coffee that had enticed her from bed.

Angus eyed the sky and answered reluctantly, "You've been here less than twenty four hours and you want to be out on the water? You know the old sailor's adage?"


"Red sky at night sailors delight, red sky in the morning sailors warning. That would be as red as it gets and those clouds are bringing a storm." He patted the rock. "Here take a load off and enjoy."

She sat crosslegged and laid a hand on the rock. The old Precambreain rock felt rough and solid to her touch. Her fingers wandered into the crevices.

"Did you know some of these lichen are over three hundred years old. Archealogists use them to date some of the artifacts and historic sites on the shield. They know howslong they take to grow and when they measure them they can tell how long something has been lying or how long it has been sitting there."

"are you trying to change ahe subject?" alix grinned.

"Well" he sighed "yes but I suppose we could paddle out to those first islands there. It would take about ten minutes. Let's get the paddles and life jackets."

Angus picked up the canoe, sliding it up on to his knees and then rolling it up on to his shoulders. He settled it on the life jacket and crouched to pick up his paddle balancing the canoe with his other hand.

Striding down the trail, winding through the trees with the 17 ft canoe alix trailed along behind holding her paddle and life jacket.

Reaching the water Angus reversed the loading motion, landing the stern of the canoe on the water. He ran it out into the water hand over hand on the gunnel, landing it as lightly as thistledown. He looked at the paddle in alix hands. He cleared his throat."I suppose you want some idea of how to use that thing?" He went on. "Couple a'parts to a paddle. This is the blade. It does the work. This is the shaft. One hand goes on the throat here and the other up here on the handle." He looked over. "Try it."

Angus watched as alix grasped the paddle, arms braced rigidly in front of her. "OK Now think about stirring a big pudding with it." He demstrated how the paddle would draw through the water and then return, blade parallel to the water, to start the stroke again. "There's a few variations on that but that's the basic stroke. It'll be easier in the water."

Lifting the canoe off the rock and balancing lightly, Angus climbed in.

"You make that look easy." alix laughed.

"It is easy. Hop in." Angus steadied the canoe with one hand on a rock and the other holding his paddle braced in the water. alix stepped in and he couterbalanced and then pushed off from the rock.

"Ohff," alix squeaked "we're off. did I do good getting in?"

Angus grunted noncomittaly, "We're not swimming." He dug his paddle in and straightened the canoe heading southeast to the island.

alix tentatively put her paddle in leaning forward and then pulling back arms held stiff.

"Try using the lower hand as a flcrum and the upper pushing in the lever." Angus requested. "Like this." alix turned to watch.

He quickly settled into the paddling rhythm and watched her trying to figure it all out.

"Look at that," she called after a few minutes.

"Look at what?"

"The little whirlpools that my paddle makes," she quetioned, "should it be doing that?"

"Yup" he said stifling the laugh that came unbidden to his lips.

The island drew closer. The dark pine in the center shattered by a lightening bolt attracted alix attention. Circling the island Angus paddled closer.

A sudden squeal of fright came from the front of the boat. Angus went from calm contemplation of the waves to high alert.


He looked and couldn't see anything Looking down into two feet of water he could see the rocky bottom. "Silly goose," he chuckled "This thing only needs about four inches of water. reach down with your paddle and see if you can even touch those."

alix plunged her paddle in and realized that at her end of the canoe the water was at least five feet deep. She relaxed. "The water is so clear. Can we look at that tree? I've never seen anything hit by lightening before."

When they came back down from the top of island the canoe was bouncing on the rocks each time a wave hit.

"Should we be getting back? Those waves look bigger." alix asked.

"Sure. We'll be going down wind so it won't be a big deal. They are starting to break though that means the wind is getting stronger. That storm must be closer than I thought."

They scrambled into the canoe and set out. As the rounded the point into the main part of the bay Angus realized it was rougher than he thought. He stretched one leg out in front and tucked one knee under neath settling in for a hard pull.

"We have to quarter these waves and keep paddling hard to let me steer." he yelled. The words were snatched from his mouth by the rising wind. He glanced back over his shoulder. They were committed. There would be no turning back to the safety of the island.

They shot down the face of one wave and began the slow climb up the next. There was no time for thought or speech as they struggled to keep the canoe movIng at an angle across the waves. The waves were deep enough that from the trough of one they could barely see the shore.

As they survived wave after wave, climbing and plunging, white foam curling around them Angus realized they were almost across the bay.

"Yahooo," he yelled "this is just like surfing. California girl like you outta love surf."

"Don(t talk to me about surf," she ground out, "just get me back on shore."

"Ok on the next wave I need to turn us and head us into the wind. Ready?"

Seeing the quick nod from alix, he plunged his paddle in and swung the bow up into the wind. Three great strokes and he slipped over the side into knee deep waaer and waded to shore holding the canoe steady so that alix could step out.

"That was quite a ride. You never know what mother nature is going to throw at you."

"Have you ever paddled in anything like that before?"

"Yup" there was a long pause. "But only a couple of times in thirty years."