Prologue

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The clouds in the sky hung low as the mist created a ghostly landscape. A small commercial fishing vessel bobbed up and down in the choppy gray waves.

Crewman Jack Mueller stumbled across the deck towards the side of the vessel. His brown eyes peered over the ship's side and noticed how the entire body of water rose up and down. His stomach burned with bile.

Someone from behind bellowed. "The sea is getting to ya, eh my boy?"

Jack swallowed hard as he glanced over his shoulder to the white-haired man. "Yes, Skipper. Quite."

The tall, burly man's stature overshadowed the youngster's slender figure as he stood beside the boy. "Give it another day and you'll be swinging with the rest of the bunch!" Laughter emanated from the man as a meaty hand slapped the younger one across the back, and he disappeared into the cabin.

Jack reached for the frigid steel bar to prevent himself from toppling overboard.

Oh, why didn't he listen to his mother? She kept saying not to go, and that she felt something bad was going to happen. If he listened he'd be in Cancun snorkeling with his brothers instead of out in the middle of Lake Superior hunting fishes. For what? Money? Yeah, he wanted to buy that cherry red Mustang from his rich cousin, but he's now starting to regret that.

Using the bar, he shimmied his way towards the front  where the other two veteran deckhands worked.

"Hey junior!" Called out the balding stocky man, Chet Rynkeurst. "Grab the hand crank and hold!"

Gritting his teeth, Jack forced himself to let go of the bar, and reached down and grabbed the ice-cold lever.

"Need to secure the anchor before heading in to wait out the storm." Chet continued.

"Yah looks to be a nasty one." Jonny Thaxton, a toothpick of a man, replied as he assisted Chet with stabilizing the anchor.

"Okay, let's head in!" Chet said.

Jack gladly released his grip on the metal lever and followed the men into the cabin where they were met by the Skipper.

"Everything's secured on the deck?"

"Aye, Skipper," Chet replied.

"Good. Better hold on to something we're about to get sideswiped by a large wave."

Chet and Jonny glanced at each other.

"Base just reported a strong quake 20 miles to our east, and to expect a sizeable wave." Skipper continued.

"Skipper!" Came a male voice nearby. "Radar's now picking it up."

Seconds later, the entire crew gathered around the pilot in the forward section of the cabin. The Skipper studied the blue-green blipping monitor. "Aye and looks to be rather large. Hold on to something, men"

Jack, wide-eyed, gripped on to the grab-bar mounted on the peeling wooden wall.

"500 meters." Simon Norton replied with his eyes on the radar and both hands on the wheel.

The Skipper moved directly behind Simon and stared out of the expansive glass before him.

"300 meters," Simon said.

Jack forced himself to look out of the window. His brown eyes scanned the horizon. All he could see was water and sky.

"150 meters."

"Hmm, looks to be a good 2 meters or so," Jonny said.

"More like  5." Skipper replied.

"50 meters."

Jack glanced out again, and this time he saw the rogue wave rolling towards them.

"Hold her steady," Skipper said.

"Aye, sir," Simon said.

Under his feet, Jack could feel BlueStar swaying heavily.

The 30-foot fishing vessel rocked forcibly as the lone wave brushed around it.

"Steady, nearly over now..." The white-haired man said.

"Aye," Simon replied.

Jack shut his eyes and gritted his teeth. All this rocking was really churning up the bile in his stomach.

He felt the ship lurch upwards suddenly and then settled back in the water.

When he realized that it was over, Jack opened his eyes. 

"Well done." Skipper said as he gave the pilot a pat on the back.

 Simon stiffened, "Oh crap."  

"What is it?" Skipper peered over the thin man's shoulder.

"The radar is picking up an anomaly I haven't seen before."

"What the hell is that?" Chet said from the other shoulder. "It looks like a  black hole."

The elder man studied the roundish spot on the radar. "A vortex?" He looked out the window. "Here?"

"Look at the size of it...has to be at least 10 meters across!" Simon said.

"Oofda, enough to cause severe damage to her." Skipper placed a hand on the pilot's shoulder. "Full reverse, mate."

"Aye, Skipper," Simon said.

Jack blinked over at Chet. "What are they talking about?"

Chet's face, rigid. "There's a damn whirlpool right smack in the lake."

"W-what?" Jack shook his head and glanced out the glass again and this time he saw what they were all seeing.

Not far ahead, a massive section of foaming, rotating water appeared like a gigantic monstrous mouth gobbling everything in its path. Sucking it all down a dark hole.

The vessel veered left as the hull groaned and shuddered.

"Keep pushing her!" Skipper said.

The body of the ship cracked loudly as its stern was now facing the whirlpool.

"The current's too strong!" Simon cried out. "We're being pulled in!"

Skipper bowed his head for a brief moment before straightening up. "Keep trying, Simon!"

Fearing what may happen to them, Jack closed his eyes and thought of his mother, brothers, and his little sister. He may never see them again. Never see land, nor touch a woman. This may be his final resting place.

In one last groan, the vessel pitched violently and was gone.


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