Monday, 19 March 2012

Radio Silence - (5) Navigating


Episode 5

After successfully collapsing a satellite-blocking antenna, pilot Christopher Khouri and detective Avis Moore were chased off Great Goat Island and into the Caribbean Sea. Not before Avis was mauled by a guard dog.

“Please, no sharks,” Christopher prayed as he scanned the surface of the sea. A few feet away, Avis was struggling to swim to the cay, their best chance for survival, but the current was slowly pulling them into open water. After a lot of effort, they passed close enough to the outlying mangroves, grabbed aerial roots and hung on to rest. The water there was calm and dark and the mangroves impenetrable.   
“Eyes, eyes!” Christopher gasped. He saw a pair of dark brown eyes emerge from the swamp and re submerge. Despite his fright, he reasoned that it was not a shark…but maybe a crocodile.
“Manatees,” Avis said. If they are here there is a channel through the mangroves that we can follow. It might be a dead end, but it might just go to the other side.”
Another movement was a second manatee that had come up for air before slipping back into the murky water. Avis swum to the spot where the animal submerged and went under herself. A few seconds later she called to Christopher from behind the mangroves, urging him to follow.
Christopher, always uncomfortable in open water, realised that swamps were no less disturbing. Keeping his eyes open, he went down and groped through the roots towards a bright spot. When he came up, he had joined her in a quiet lagoon.
“How is your leg?” he asked.
‘Hurting, but I am not losing blood. Let’s go.”
The progress up the lagoon was easy and enchanting as they passed a small group of manatees quietly feeding. It terminated in dense mangroves and when they eventually got through, they were on the leeward side of the cay and a few feet away from the two parked planes. Christopher insisted that they stop so that he could rip the sleeve off his t-shirt and make a rough bandage for Avis’ wound.
“Reggie is going to set our plane on fire!  Stop him!” she hissed.
Reginald was on the airfield walking towards the taildragger with a burning torch. Christopher sprinted towards his childhood friend, confident that he was close enough to catch and overpower him.
Reginald turned towards Christopher and waited. When they were an arms length away, Reginald pulled a weapon from his waist and delivered an electroshock to Christopher’s ribs. Christopher felt a stab of pain as he lost control of his limbs and fell hard. As he tried to regain his composure, he could only watch as Reginald walked to his plane and started the single propeller engine. Goats scampered as he taxied into position, sped up and was airborne. By the time Avis reached Christopher, Reginald’s plane was receding behind the highest of the cay’s dunes.
“Reggie, our mad genius. We need you,” Christopher said; sad but confident that the nation’s radio frequencies were safe, for now.
By Gwyneth Harold

Gwyneth Harold is the writer of the young adult novel, Bad Girls in School