Chapter 1

41 1 1

While the sea churned beneath the small boat, Captain Jones scrambled to reach the engine controls. Moments before the ocean had been placid; the perfect day for fishing. With the sun shining out of a cloudless blue sky, he’d spent the morning sprawled across the deck bench, waiting for a tug on the line.

The ocean announced its fury with a massive thunderclap. Water poured across the deck before the captain realized what was happening, sweeping his fishing rod and bait box overboard. He might have followed if he hadn’t been sitting next to the lifeline. He hooked it to his belt with record speed and clawed his way toward the cabin.

The small craft pitched dangerously to one side as he turned the engine key, ocean slick hands scrabbling for purchase on the console. He brushed dripping grey hair from his face, squinting salt-stung eyes to read the GPS and weather data.

The depth meter read shallows where they shouldn’t be. The satellite didn’t indicate an unexpected storm. The ocean rumbled as waves slapped against the bow. The engine whined as it struggled to hold the ship against the current.

“Come on,” he muttered between clenched teeth, repeating the mantra over and over. “You ken do it…”

When his sturdy little fishing vessel bobbed on a calming ocean, Captain Jones breathed a sigh of relief and lifted his gaze. It was then he saw the mountain, looming high in the distance, casting a shadow across what should be open water.

What the-

Screams drew his attention. His fishing spot wasn’t crowded, but it wasn’t secluded either. The clear, calm waters were a favorite vacation getaway. Not every boat weathered the crisis as well  as his. Without hesitation he ran for the life rings, tossing them in the proper direction before steering close enough the swimmers could climb aboard.

He pulled a family of five from the water, two of them young children; they and their mother the source of the screams. All five thanked him profusely as he turned his craft toward shore.

The engine purred now the tide returned to normal. What havoc would those rogue waves wreak on the beach? Thankfully none had been large enough to qualify as a tsunami. They’d wash away plenty of umbrellas, beach towels and plastic toys. There’d be many a ruined day but, hopefully, no lives would be lost.

Course set, he came out of the cabin to peer at the mountain receding in the distance.

“It came out of nowhere,” murmured the woman huddled in a damp blanket between two of her children, her voice pitched high toward hysteria. “It just sat on the ocean like it belonged there.”

“The mountain?” Captain Jones demanded, breathless.

“Not just a mountain.” The father shook his head. “An entire island.”

As they bobbed on the crest of the next wave, he caught a glimpse of it, green and glittering in the sun.

“Yes,” Captain Jones murmured, recalling the violent rocking of an otherwise smooth sea, “that would do it.”

*  *  *  *  *  * 

The headline: Scientists Baffled by Appearance of Mysterious Island conjured the image of people in white lab coats running in frantic circles flailing their arms. The amusing, if inaccurate, thought brought a smile to Catilen’s lips as she scanned the article.

“All right, Damian, I admit it; I’d love to know how they’re going to explain this. Conspiracy theory, maybe?” She glanced up at the professor who delivered the article. He leaned against her desk, arms crossed over his chest, a smug smile splitting his lips.

Island of Lost ForeversRead this story for FREE!