Into the storm
Instead of pushing the matter further, the crew and everyone else ate in silence. Without warning, Jackson began sniffing the air. As soon as Sam nodded, the two bounced from their seats. Instantly, Jackson shouted, "Tristan, team 1 and 2, stop what you're doing and follow me. Sam get everyone else to safety". Jackson rushed out of the room, and though they hesitated, Tristan and the teams followed him.
Before they reached their positions, Jackson had already turned the helm. Suddenly, He yelled, " brace for impact!". Right as his words reached their ears, a colossal tidal wave whirled the ship. Like magic, rain began pouring from the sky, winds deafened everyone above deck, and a ravaging hurricane peered from the distance. There was no way they could have survived a disaster like this. Tristan climbed the railing to his captain. The wind destroyed most of his volume, so his shouts were rendered into whispers. "What are we going to do?".
While Jackson's smile wavered, a hurricane loomed in the distance. With all his might, he shut his eyes and yelled, " we're going to get through this!". The boat took a hard left, a perfect gust of wind threw the boat away from the storm. It was an act of God, no one could argue otherwise. Unfortunately, the hurricane followed the boat. In the distance, the two were bound to run into each other.
Everyone held on by the skin on their teeth. Below deck, The children huddled in fear, and Jason's arms wrapped around them. Everyone else maintained the mast. The conditions were perfect to propel the boat ahead. They could only hope to outrun the cyclone. Jackson maintained his smile, but even he knew, it was fake.
It was impossible to avoid. The ever-looming threat of death was personified by the cyclone. It refused to leave them be. They danced along the edge of the storm, but with every bit of progress away, the storm got closer. For the first time in days, the hungover Jerald stammered out of his quarters. The ships rocking was enough to bring any sober man to his knees, but his years traversing the ocean made him accustomed to such conditions. Walking in a storm was second nature to him, so he had no issue walking to a frantic Jackson.
The experienced captain placed his hand on his protege, yawned for a minute, then with awful morning breath asked, "what in God's good name is going on?". At the sight of the man who taught him everything he knew, Jackson threw away his false smile. With a single breath, be squeaked, " Captain! I'm so glad you're awake! We're all going to die, everyone hates me, and I dont know what to do".
The seasoned sailor laughed hysterically, "Is that all?". All Jackson could do is nod his head with wide eyes. While gently shaking Jackson, Jerald laughs, " Jacks, you are the most skilled sailor on this ship, myself included. I'm positive you can get us out of this". His mentor's belief in him cleared his mind. After inhaling a gust of wind, Jackson opened his eyes to shout, " if it's going to chase us, then let's give it a run it won't forget". With a voice filled with excitement, Jackson yelled, "Full sails ahead!". Jerald waited a moment to point out the fact that the sails were already down.
As the cyclone got closer, the helm began turning violently. It was only with the combined strength of Jerald and Jackson that they managed to hold it in place. Before Jackson could react, the fog masked the air. The storm remained, but the familiar jagged rocks added to the scenery. Without saying a word, Jerald offered Jackson a nod. Despite common sense, Jackson steered the boat directly into the cyclone.
The boat churned rapidly. Its struggle was short-lived, but it was enough to throw most of the people aboard to the floor. Below deck, a frightened child clung on to Joshua. With pleading eyes, he looked to Jason. To most, Jason was a reserved coward, but the children he was more. When he saw the children he was tasked to comfort, show such dreadful eyes, he forced a smile.
Delilah clapped her hands, " come on children, all of you huddle up in the center. Her angelic presence wasn't enough to soothe the children's fears, but it was enough to get them to move. Instinctively, they reached out for one another's hands, no one was left out. All they could do was silently hope for safety. The clashing storm was enough to bring a grown man to his knees, no child should have to suffer this type of fear, and yet they did.
Above deck, everyone capable held the mast in place, the overwhelming wind tried to throw the mast in every direction, but by the grit of their teeth and blisters on their hands, they managed the seemingly impossible. Everyone acted with total cooperation, there's nothing like the threat of death to bring people together. Despite it all, it was a beautiful scene.
Despite their grudges and prior listlessness, everyone acted in the benefit of the other. They knew it was only by listening to the words of the wise that they could survive. Sadly, no one was prepared for what came next. Not the smiling Jackson handling the helm, the teams of people operating the ropes, or the children cowering below.