Dad wrote this book over 60 years ago but it’s the same news about Bermuda today … at least in the beginning of the story.
We had just been there on a family trip and it was the first time I had seen a shark in the water while we were snorkeling. That and the old shipwrecks with the cannons and anchors made for a fabulous adventure for us all.
Have you ever been in a hurricane or tornado? We had them almost every year while I was growing up in Florida. That was before there was all the local radar and hurricane tracking. Sometimes we would be “surprised” by a storm. Now we might have days or weeks to prepare, even though with a bad one like Katrina, you still can’t do much except evacuate. It’s mother nature and often you can tell a lot from how your horse or dog or the birds are behaving so listen to your mother ;) Find all the books and more @ the Trading Post.
Here’s the beginning, do you know this one?
BAT 29167 Like a giant bat the transatlantic plane flew through the night, using sensitive antennas to find its way. There was no beauty of flight, only a boiling turbulence that obliterated the stars high above and the sea down below. Red, white and green lights sought hopelessly to pierce the murk, blinking on and off. The four straining engines spoke loudly in defiance of the elements as driving rain pelted the plane’s aluminum skin. The wind grew stronger, spewing rain with explosive force against glass and metal. The engines labored a little more and the night grew blacker still. Suddenly the plane lurched, its wings slicing thickly through the heavy air. It righted itself and for a moment more held a steady course, then it shuddered again as if the weight of the air mass had become too great to bear. The pitch of its propellers changed, urgently straining, pounding, seeking to thrust the plane forward and upward. The storm fought back viciously, changing rain to sleet and hail, pummeling the plane with boiling white ice and seeking to beat it down. Beneath this attack the plane was forced to descend. In the lower air there was relief from the icy blows. But the storm did not leave it alone for long. Lightning stabbed the sky and shattered the blackness. Suddenly the plane lurched again. It was bathed in a weird light and there seemed to be a ball of fire on its nose. Propellers became whirling wheels of green vapor. What seemed like huge balloons of red, blue and green exploded everywhere in the heavens, and storm clouds took on ever-changing, fiery shapes. Directly in the center of this beautiful but frightening spectral light the plane flew unharmed. It could now be seen clearly and the name on its side read BERMUDA ATLANTIC TRANSPORT. On its vertical tail fin were the large initials: B A T There was nothing soft about this plane or the men flying it. Together they’d made one hundred and twenty-six trips across the South Atlantic—from Portugal to the Cape Verde Islands, on to Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and then, if the cargo payload warranted it, to New York. The red linoleum floor of the flight deck heaved beneath the seats of the crew and the captain said, “A couple more jolts like the last one and we’ll end up in the drink for sure.” His eyes didn’t leave the shaking instrument panel with its blurred figures. Strapped in the seat to the captain’s right was the copilot, his hands, too, on the control yoke trying to keep the plane steady. “I can take jolts better than the fire,” he said. “I don’t like it. I never did.” “Harmless. If all we had to worry about was St. Elmo’s fire we’d be sitting fine.” “I know, but I still don’t like it,” the copilot said. “But, baby, just as long as the fans keep turning …” He didn’t finish his sentence, nor did he bother to look in the direction of the propellers. There was nothing on the other side of the windows anyway but swirling darkness. The fire—a discharge of electricity combined with sleeting rain—was gone.
Met some really nice people yesterday that are working to rescue wild mustangs. It’s a big job and a huge need. I’ll tell you more about it soon, maybe even visit their Sky-Dog Ranch. Until then have a great and safe weekend!
A baker’s dozen is 13, in case you don’t remember. Why do they always skip the 13th floor and all … it’s just a #, a silly superstition. Can’t imagine anyone would take it seriously, really. There are plenty of real things to be careful of – getting thrown way out there with no one around, getting stepped on w/o good boots (or even with), your horses out in the road, swimming alone or at night, getting lost in a strange city … but 13? Why? Anyway I digress …
Here’s the next book chapter ;
The great light came suddenly, so suddenly that it made Steve’s eyelids smart before he had a chance to open them. And when he did, it was simultaneously with the screams of the mares and Flame. In that flashing second it was Flame’s high whistle that made Steve’s heart skip a beat, for never before had he heard anything like it! It was shrill but without defiance or challenge or welcome. Instead it held the worst kind of fear and terror, that of unknown peril.
Blue Valley was alive with a kind of golden light that had never before been seen there even under the brightest sun. Not even the deepest crag or fissure escaped. The light found everything and bathed it all in an awesome glow.
Steve looked up and saw the hurtling sun coming directly at him! He screamed, his terror matching that of Flame and the mares. Then he flung himself flat, his face buried in the grass, his hands pressed hard against the sides of his head.
A sun where there had been no sun. The end of the world had come!
His face unnaturally pale, Steve lay motionless, waiting for the end to come. In quick successive mental pictures he saw his mother and father, his home and Pitch and Flame. Then a heavy black curtain fell and he saw nothing at all. Seconds more he waited, perhaps minutes. From the smell of the earth he knew that he was conscious. He forced himself to use his ears, to listen. He heard the distant rush of the mares’ and Flame’s hoofs. Then he opened his eyes.
Blue Valley was as it had been … how long ago? Minutes? A lifetime? Had he imagined all this? No, of that much he was certain. He had only to look at the band and Flame to know. The mares had directed their suckling foals into the middle of a small tight ring they had formed; their heads were toward the center, their hindquarters ready to fling strong hoofs at any attacker. Outside the ring stood yearling colts willing to do battle but trembling with fear. Flame encircled the whole group, his eyes constantly shifting in every direction, his every sense alerted to the responsibility of defending his band. But he too was afraid because he could not see what threatened them.
Trying to catch up from the weekend … funny how fun can cost so much – here’s the next book / chapter … maybe you’ve already read it but take a look, it’s my favorite; The countryside through which they were now driving was heavy with green fields of tall cane, but occasionally there would be open pasture land with lush grass upon which cattle, goats and horses were grazing. Steve had thought it best to wait awhile before mentioning his desire to visit Azul Island, but the sight of the horses caused him to consider bringing up the subject at once. What’s the sense of putting it off? he thought. I like Antago all right, but only as a place from which to get to Azul Island. I’ve only a little over two weeks, and I might as well find out now if Pitch knows how I can get there. Pitch had been quiet for a while but now he turned to Steve. “Steve,” he asked, “are you still interested in horses? I remember that as a youngster you sold me about ten subscriptions to a magazine I never wanted just because you were going to win a pony.” Pitch’s tone was hopeful again, as though he was still striving to find something of real interest to Steve. “Yes,” Steve replied, “very much so. I’ve ridden a lot during the past year.” “Good,” said Pitch. “I was hoping you would be.” He paused a moment and Steve noticed an intentness in his pale blue eyes that hadn’t been there before. “I’d like to tell you something,” Pitch went on, “that’s been of great interest to me of late.” He paused again, and Steve waited impatiently for him to continue. “Yes, Pitch,” Steve had to say finally. “What is it?” “Do you recall the picture I sent your father several weeks ago? The one of our rounding up the horses on Azul Island?” Did he remember it! “Yes, Pitch, I do. That’s why I …” But Pitch interrupted with evident eagerness to tell his story. “It was the only time I’ve been to Azul Island,” he began. “Oh, I’d heard about it, of course; Tom spoke of it occasionally. And before I arrived here he had written me once or twice about wrangling horses on a small island not far from Antago. But,” and Pitch smiled, “you know I’m pretty much of a greenhorn about things like that, and I never really understood any of it. That is, not until I went to Azul Island with Tom and the others.” Pitch paused and glanced at Steve. Then, as though pleased with the boy’s obvious interest, he went on: “I remember that we all looked upon our visit to Azul Island as very much like a day’s outing. And we spent the time there imagining ourselves as cowboys. I couldn’t help thinking, as we ran after the horses, how strange we’d look to any people from our western states. All of us, of course, were wearing our shorts and had on our sun hats because the day was extremely hot. We had no trouble chasing the horses into the canyon, because the island is very narrow at that point; and twenty of us, walking about thirty yards apart, I would say, easily forced the horses into the canyon. Tom was in charge because he was the only one who knew anything about horses. The rest of us were plantation men, laborers, fishermen and the like with no experience whatsoever in this business of wrangling horses. However, as I’ve said, there was little to it, because Tom told us what to do, and it was he who selected thirty of the most likely looking animals to take back with us to Antago.” Pitch stopped, thought a moment, then said in an apologetic tone, “I must tell you, Steve, that the horses are small, scrawny beasts and not very much to look at, really. But if you’d seen the desolateness of that small bit of the island, with the sparse grass and only the few, meager fresh-water holes, you’d wonder that they’d survived at all.” Pitch paused again before adding with renewed enthusiasm, “But they have, Steve! Their breed has survived for centuries on Azul Island!” His words came faster now. “It was on the way back from the island, with the animals crowded into the barge we towed behind our launch, that I first learned of it. I was sitting next to the photographer of our weekly newspaper, and I mentioned that I had been surprised to find so many horses on Azul Island. He mentioned, very casually, that these horses were believed to be descended from the ones that the Spanish Conquistadores rode centuries ago! I tried to learn more, but that was all he knew. His editor had told him, he said. It was just an assignment to him. He wasn’t really interested. It shocked me, actually, because I’ve always been so very much interested in Spanish colonial history that I suppose I assumed everyone else would be. To think that here was a breed of horse the Conquistadores rode, and which had survived all these hundreds of years, and no one—not even Tom, who knew of my interest—had thought it important enough to tell me!