CHAPTER TWENTY SIX- And hello to oblivion.
The rest of the week was a wild ride for all concerned- with the possible exception of Barbara Meadows. She was released the following day and after a smooth, quiet ride to her parent's home, was managing a rapid recovery in relative obscurity. Steve Vaan, on the other hand, felt as though he owed someone a big E ticket for his thrill ride to England. It was like Splash Mountain meets the Tower of Terror. The Adalynne pulled out of port in Bermuda, intending to outrun the hurricane. It did, but just barely.
The toughest part was the first part for the private freighter: Getting around the island and pointing its nose toward Europe. Following his spectacular entrance on that free-swinging gangplank, Steve introduced himself as the replacement for the two crewmen that had been arrested on shore (more on them in a moment), and retired below deck to help where he could. Within five minutes, virtually every hand on board was strapped to something to keep from flying. The first couple of hours were a nightmare of loose flying objects below deck and nothing but water above. Luckily, the water-tight doors remained so, and after their turn to the northeast, the rough and tumble subsided to merely rough. The storm was moving north at ten knots and the Adalynne could make twenty to the east. Every hour they were under way put them further from the storm and further into calm waters. By dawn, Steve could go out on deck to greet the day. The crewmen left behind on Bermuda were not quite so lucky.
Their plan had seemed sound- if a bit stupid: Get arrested. The jail had to be well built, and the prisoners had to be fed. And, truth be told, the jail was very well built. It had to be, out there in the middle of the Atlantic and all. And yes, the prisoners were well fed. No one was about to abandon them in the face of a hurricane- leaving them to go hungry for a couple of days. Only one problem: These two couldn't get arrested. And they tried. They just tried too late. By the time they walked out of that little cafe by the docks, there was no one out and about to harass, mug, or even insult. Everyone was locked up safe and sound in their homes. There were no stores or buildings to vandalize or rob, since every last one of them was covered in impenetrable storm shutters. By the time they thought to return to the cafe for a bit of criminal mischief, the cafe owner was also long gone and the cafe was locked up and dark. They considered simply finding a policeman and slugging him, but that seemed a bit harsh. It was also impossible. They hadn't even seen a policeman since they left the cafe. It was another fine mess they'd gotten themselves into.
Now it was getting dark and wet and the wind was howling well above gale force. Larger objects- tables, chairs and bicycles- were flying just above the pavement on the open streets. The power was out and they were running out of ideas. They were soaked to the skin, their food was ruined and the jars of tea were left behind. All they could do was find a place to hide between the buildings for the next twelve hours and hope for the best. This had not worked out as planned. Their only consolation was that they were in fact on more or less dry land- and not on a ship at sea. And certainly not on the Bermuda Star.
The Star had steamed out of port ahead of the storm, with her crew knowing full well that she couldn't outrun the hurricane. They were, however, hoping for a flanking maneuver. The storm was headed north and they were headed west. The storm would lessen as they went. Wouldn't it? Yes, it would, but only after it got much worse. Hurricanes are huge systems, hundreds of miles across. It would sweep over them for hours before the effects would begin to lessen. By then, what the Englishmen had predicted nearly came true: With tailwinds of over eighty miles an hour, the ship was barely under control. The crew had to keep her stern pointed directly into the wind or she'd be heeled over into the