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(_24) Ch Twenty Four

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“that night”  

Long shadows  wrapped sweeping huge waves that  boiled wickedly under a small but completely comfortable and alert tribe of wave riders. Mostly on surfboards, but  a clutch of kayaks rode downwind to help as needed.. since staying in position near the mouth of the cove was a pretty wild ride with over 15 feet at times between crest and bottom of the trough. Every eight to ten seconds the elevator ride was repeated.. and with the howling winds blowing the tops of the waves in gusts at 35 knots.. The only way to really be there was to favour  a spot about thirty feet inside the northern arm that created the wider part of the cove.. Still there were waves hitting fifteen feet hear and there and part of the wave would smash into towering white plumes and the other half keep running  through the mouth of the cove and roll off into huge surges against the southern  arm that was curled in a bit deeper. The cove was not choppy.. it was heaving with the volume of water being forced into it.

As if it wasn’t a legendary enough to see in swirling mist and sheeting rain, a sudden flash of sunlight blasted from the horizon as the sun sat on the water and looked into the Cove from underneath the driving clouds, blasting through the rain for but a moment..  revealing the howling winds ripping the tops off the still growing waves and hurling them inland.. then the rain swept still harder as the force of nature from the northwest  readied itself to reach full force.. and complete darkness reigned.

The surging waters  make it difficult for the fisherman sweeping their way across the cove with the dreadful net. But their patient efforts were being rewarded as the last of the whales were forced slowly but surely into the shrinking space within as the net made its way to the far side of the cove and was slowly moved along the side toward the main net anchors.

This was the moment Hunter feared.. where he knew the tilting forces could tip tragically. He slipped under the surface with the heavy clevis hook and short steel leader that he’d clipped to the main inner net earlier, and stroking hard reached the cove bottom, just inside the approaching net that was being dragged across the bottom. He found the old anchor there with his little balloon float and snapped one end of the leader to it. When one of the dragger skegs lurched within reach he clipped the clovis hook onto it and snapped the pin home. With bursting lungs he slithered under the deadly net and kicked to the surface for one tiny breath with only his nose showing in the glare of the lights panning the surface .As he kicked under he felt and heard the concussion of a heavy caliber bullet slam into the water. Close.. but he didn’t worry much about these things. He took one more stealthy breath a minute later far to the other side of the cove and his next breath came as he slid over the main nets and found his way to the south arm of the cove near the surfer’s path. He stayed under to defeat the heavy water action above and gave credit to the alert one with the big bore rifle and sharp eyes. From here he moved toward the watching surfboards and felt Thunderhead rising to the surface with him. He took a careful moment with the great whale as the stunned surfers and kayakers looked on.

Even one so limited as he could sense the great agitation of the whale and he used all that Jimmy had given him to convey what he knew Jimmy would say at this frightening moment. Within a ragged circle of water swimmers, Thunderhead read Hunter’s messages. Dark flashes of bright angry light kept loading  adrenaline through his system.. yet this friend swimmer was “telling” him that the hunting time was here.  Hunter let every portal of thought open to the whale with his only thought and picture being the danger of the still advancing trap net and the whales within. He punctuated his message with light taps near Thunderhead’s blowhole and then leaned  to brush his head beside the whales glistening cheek.

The whale felt this final message and dropped below the surface, turning to the trawler and bright lights. Hunter was left in the middle of the surfer tribe..

“In 15 minutes there will be explosions in the water. Do not let anyone enter the cove from this direction, please.  If you can help the woman who arrives in a kayak to hold position out here in the storm, you’ll have done a great part in ending this disaster.”

He looked at their eyes.. nodded once and kicked back to the edge of the cove where his cache of remaining explosives was hidden. The last three charges were stuffed into his belt pack and he headed once again for the main nets.

Creighton, Billy and young Kyle had their hands full. Anoneemoose and Kathy had stretched the topographical map out on Wizzy’s kitchen table and quickly pointed out how to deploy and succeed with the critical  task Jimmy had charged them with.

Gatekeepers he’d told them. They must detour or delay any media or other passer’s by without fail until the vehicle carrying the wildlife broker and any clients had entered the cove. Further, they were to ensure the broker had boarded the trawler  before letting anyone that in their appraisal would jeopardize the closing of Jimmy’s trap.  With the map Anoneemoose pointed out all the best places to control such a scene. Especially since the broker would be coming south along the coast road

And media would tend to come north from Uclulet.

“You must control the road to the south.. Ideally, you’ll stop every car coming south too. Yet if you have stopped someone and the broker comes into sight.. you must let him pass without raising any suspicion.”

Kathy stabbed her finger to a rectangle with cross hatches..

“What’s that Kyle ?”

Kyle leaned in surprised at being asked a simple question by an adult.

“That’s the turnaround for logging trucks.. that’s where a bunch of logging roads all empty into..”

“You can defer any media to this holding ground. Sell them on why they have to wait till you ‘ll let them through to the cove.. but stop them here at this choke point and stage them there. Out of sight of the turnoff the highway into the cove.

Anoneemoose looked with an almost imperceptible glance at Kathy with the thought in her head that this girl had tactical stuff in her!

Kathy looked at here with one eyebrow raised and Sarah nodded immediately. And so the three  had dispersed themselves in Kathy’s sedan to seize control of the intersection . Raiding his mom’s air force locker had produced large yellow ponchos with Royal Canadian Air Force in glow in the dark letters. And Kyle simply preferred to stay in character as himself, in wetsuit and his board. Disarmingly he pointed out that people might stop to help him.. and that he hardly looked like any kind of authority figure.. whereas he thought Billy and Creighton with their short haircuts looked awfully like cops! What? Maybe even pilot material!

Wizzy was long gone but might have nodded at that observation.

And so it came to pass that Billy and Creighton.. good old southern boys, perpetrated their mischievous charade.. and Kyle pulled a different but equally successful scam on all southbound traffic. In due time, the broker did roll up to the turnoff and had to stop as Kyle stumbled along  the edge of the roadway and paused in front of the big sport utility vehicle to look stunned into the glare of the headlights..

“got washed bigtime.. dude.. got sliced an ddiced.. trying to get back upcoast.. get home, eat and get restoked.. big break gonna be here this morning dude.. goin north.. could use a ride bigtime.. c’mon hey dude.. “

Kyle jumped aside alertly as the vehicle lunged forward. He gave them the finger and was already trudging on as the big piece of Detroit iron crested the sharp hill and disappeared from view downward into the cove.

Anoneemoose had slipped down into the cove with Darcy in tow.. patiently waiting as Jimmy’s uncanny vision of these events unfolded. She looked at her amazing partner weho hadn’t blinked on discovering her great deception.. Eyes locked onto marine binocs, Darcy had stepped into this wild scenario with astonishing ease.

“there.. check this out.. “

She looked through the binocs he passed her and nodded her head.. Kyle had quickly sprinted around the curve and appraised Billy and Creighton who were about to tun yet another TV crew off into the turnaround.

“Cat’s in the bag dudes.. I’m going to look for the signal.. and we get to get back with the whales in the cove.. screw this parking lot stuff.  I saw the dude man.. he was in the back with another two dudes..  just like Jimmy called it.”

He bolted off the side of the road and scaled the nearby outcropping like a light lizard.. waiting with a clear view into the cove.  Soon enough, he heard the sound of an outboard skiff being blown to him and minutes later he pegged exactly where Anoneemoose and that tall dude where positioned. The pulse of a hooded flashlight wus exactly what he’s hoped for. He rejoined the two Air Force emergency investigators who’d been stopping al traffic on the pretex of looking for nayone who’d seen landing light of a missing aircraft.. and the three of them piled inside Kathy’s authoritative looking vehicle and headed directly into the cove.

Hunter had caught the flash of headlights, counting and measuring the sense of  their entrance.. some came to him underwater as he carefully molded explosives and radio charges to the floats. Deeper in the water Thunderhead also “read” each of the headlights.. on a level more advanced than Hunter’s astonishing intuition, the great whale added to his perfect memory file the exact location of these new arrivals, their seeming attitude and intent and where they dispersed or moved to. This simple analysis was overlaid onto a flexing matri x of understanding. The whale knew to the foot where every living breathing creature was in the cove. This was hardly an effort for the greatest hunter the oceans had ever known. He’s already moved into the foot of the cove to feel more closely the movements of the first set of light and minures later read and placed the meaning of a second set. These were not the one he waited for.. but they were worth getting a good sniff of.

Slicing toward the trawler, the broker and two buyers looked nervously as something  gave their boat a little bump and deflection just as they neared the trawler. It had been a casual and not too disruptive little moment.. but it had certainly gotten their attention. Climbing aboard moments later, they forgopt their  discomfiurture as they looked at the perfect speciman warapped in his mess hammok within the tank.

“There’s five more like that yonder .. if’n we hadn’t snagged up on a rock or some wreckage we’d ave them aboard for your fance too..

With much effort, the trawler had been repositioned along with the main nets across the cove to try and pull up the net from another direction and free the snag.. but  still it held. The move had allowed more slack in the trap net to be take up and the trapped whales were now confined to a tiny dice very close to the hull of the trawler.. 

Panic was setting in..

Katherine fought her way past a cavacade of TV trucks that had exited the turnaround

And with Jimmy and Quinn banging around .. slammed into ditches and found her way past every  vehicle in her way. Quinn’s feet left the bed of the truck and he floated there  with a wide grn as the Chevy caught air pover the hummock leading into the cove.  With no sign of Kyle or Jiimy’s baseball buds guarding the southern approach to the cove Katherine knew damn well that the moment was on them and rode the gas accordingly.. Jimmy had no problem with her being an extremely cool driver..

Sliding to a stop at the edge of the cove Jimmy saw wat looked suspcisously Creighton in a big poncho and Billy .. speaking urgently with an armed man..

But it was the orientation of buoys near the trawler that took his breath away..

The dreamsense came to him and he mapped it against what he knew and thought. On another level he snapped into to all clues, big and small that collided with his “gathering”.He looked at Katherine and said.. the kayak.. the flare gun when you hear  the handclaps.. everything rides on this Kathy.. you’re  the perfect person in the perfect moment.. My dad’s in the water out there.. the whale swill be almost in shock, We will meet right herein thirty minutes.. as winners or losers.. who at least tried..

He burst from the truck and without pause hurled himself into  the dark waters. . and only the growing belief she had in all that he had shown her prevented her trying to join him.  She powered the truck around in a tight circle and  slammed to a stop as she almost ran over Kyle who’d run into the headlights. He was inside the truck in a flash yet somehow slid his board in back and brushed Quinn’s head once before doing so.

“She’s ready.. but what about Hunter ? How will we know if he’s clear?”

The grim possibility of explosives firing with Hunter nearby was frightening, but Jimmy had said with startling and intent conviction that his father would not allow a helicopter to take the air .. nor would he fail to succeed in any endeavor thathe had set his mind to. No.. anoneemoose was to trigger the charges on the agreed upon signal.. but she saw how he’d turned away with his face set .. and yet gave a little forward sag at the thought of what could go horrible wrong.

Kyle steered her to a little used rescue pathway curling behind the marina buildings and it took some doing to get past the string of TV trucks that had rolled to the foot of the cove, spilling their curious but voracious passengers.  Creighton and Billy seemed the focus point of lights that were snapping on.. and the armed men who’d confronted them on the edge of the cove were trying to melt away as cameras were turned on and pointed toward them. The blasting rain obscured events and forced everone into individual pockets of actionOn board the trawler though, the guns were still sweeping the water to stamp out any interference and the skipper though not clear about what was happening ashore would send the boat clear of the cove them moment they had these last whales aboard. He rocked the trawler forward and felt whatever was holding the net fast on the bottom release.. The donkey engine roared again and the net began reeling in.

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Written by diamondwalker

November 26, 2008 at 8:17 pm

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