The September afternoon on Lake Memphremagog, the weather became breezy and cool. Joe Endicott turned the small diving boat more toward the west, so that he and his younger sister Jane headed straight for the opposite shore with the waves of the open lake behind them. The boat lifted and dropped with a swoop through the wind and water. Their radio played a strange song, drowning out the drone of the outboard motor. The lyrics lifted above the water:
Dispatch the immortals who give us black light,
Forever spill the blood of their sister and brother's birthright.
Eternity is gone from this earthly flow,
Infinity is no time at all, today, Magog...tomorrow.
Without letting go of the throttle, Joe reached over and tapped her on the shoulder.
He pointed south down the lake. His face showed that at eighteen, he was already toughened by the raw elements of the lake.
A silver, almost eerie-looking yacht, which seemed to glow in the grey afternoon, came quickly toward them. Foam piled up at its sharp bow, which rose and fell as the yacht lifted and dipped to the waves. An enormous brass spotlight mounted on the roof added to its sharp lines and to its air of danger.
"Why is it going so fast?" Jane called out over the noise.
He shrugged and slowed the boat, then stood and wiped his eyes so he could see better. His sturdy athletic body, and the way he stood, reflected his confidence on the water.
"It's nearly planing," he whispered to himself.
The yacht lurched suddenly in their direction.
He opened his mouth to say more, transfixed.
A steady, full-throated drone, with a suggestion of much more power in reserve, rose across the wind and above the music. The lyrics on the radio were fading out and then unexpectedly blasting loudly, but he didn't recognize either the mode of the warning or the nature of the threat.
The yacht had picked up incredible speed.
Joe sat again and gave the boat full throttle. The distance to the shore was impossible to make before the yacht reached them.
Should they abandon the boat? He couldn't decide, but it didn't matter. The yacht came even faster on their path, then with a violent keel, turned and smacked the boat sideways and left them staggering in a churned-up wake.
Their boat rocked and tipped to the surge, and then flipped violently over. Joe felt something hit his leg with a painful snap, and when he came to the surface, he saw that Jane had come up and was okay. He spun around to get a look at the yacht. His right hand held tightly onto the overturned boat: a sharp pain shot through his leg, and treading water became futile. He knew he had broken it, but his whole body seemed to be in pain as well. He half spit, half retched a mouthful of water out, leaving a taste behind best described as burnt aluminum.
At the yacht's sternpost, a small American flag fluttered in the wind, and across the stern, between a couple of powerful two-hundred horsepower Johnsons, metal letters spelled out the legend 'Newport, Vt.' The yacht sat two hundred meters away, idling now, and a few people gathered on the deck watching. For a moment, Joe imagined the yacht passengers laughing, drinking and carrying on.
Jane swam over to him. She had turned fifteen this year. She was lithe and fair with short black hair and a pretty form, but to Joe's critical eye, she was a little spindly. Nonetheless, he had become protective of her, hoping to keep the boys at bay a little while longer. She was almost as tall as Joe, and they often scuba-dived together.