Another morning sunrises to set sail for these weary travelers. Silent now knowing their mission, they look at the horizon with blank stares. Passing cups of warm liquids, pieces of baked goods, then switching to bottles of wine stored in the hole, the couple prepare for the unknown.
Keeping close to the coastline, they recognize certain sites as they pass. Down the Pamilico Sound, then around Cape Lookout to the Onslow Bay. Ike pointed out Atlantic Beach off of Morehead City where he had gone to summer camp. Passing Cape Fear into the Grand Strand, Ginger talked about her weekends in Myrtle Beach with the surfer boys. The Carolinas grew together then shifted to Georgia and more tales about Charleston and Hilton Head.
“Should we pull in?” Ike asked as they approached Savannah.
“No, “ Ginger replied facing the future, “ let’s push on. We have enough to get there.”
“There?” Ike pondered.
The coast began to jut out into the waves, adjusting the wind and bow route. Also the waves were getting rougher and the sky was darkening. Passed Jacksonville, the little vessel started to bob in the waves. By the time they had reached Cape Canaveral the sea was tossing the little “Dusty Rose” about straining all the lines and the strength of the tiny crew.
The supply stocks had been forgotten as the two rushed back and forth to tackle each emergency.
Ike looked forward at a wall of black clouds reaching from the heavens to the water and as far as the eye could see. “This is not good.”
Sails were lowered and the hatches battened, but the little wooden boat that had traveled so far was out of control in the waves and wind. The two hung on to each other and taunt lines as they rocked and slid through the blackness pummeled with driving rain.
Ike coughed water from his lungs as his hand reached deep in the wet sand. The rain pounded on his back like a whip, but he raised his head and wiped his eyes to view an empty beach awash with massive waves. Bracing himself up he frantically swiveled his head for some sign of Ginger.
Dragging his soaked body to a shadow, he turned over a body to see her limp and lifeless. Immediately he pressed his face against her lips.
“Hey! Bud!!” she turned her head stammering, “What are you (cough) some kind of (cough) pervert (cough, cough)?”
Surprised, then grinning from ear to ear, Ike sat up and hugged her.
“OK big boy”, Ginger replied, breaking the rapture of the moment, and then with a clinical refrain, “Where (cough) are we?”
“Over there” Ike pointed to a tall building. “ It will shelter us against this wind.”
The two staggered to their feet and started plodding toward the grey refuge, and then froze.
There on the sand, lay the remains of the “Dusty Rose”. Like a beached whale, it lay on its side with holes in the bow and stern. She had been such a faithful companion but could not withstand the final challenge.
Turning away from their transport, the two focused on surviving.
After breaking a window, a quiet spot was found in a hallway behind two doors. Swaying, the building gave shelter, but the two wondered how sturdy their new home was.
Fumbling in the dark, Ike found a flashlight, but the batteries were dead. Ginger reached into dark hole and found some. By feel they refilled the flashlight and a weak beam lit the room.
Overturned chairs, scattered magazines, and no sign of life were all that presented itself to the couple.
“Let’s see if we can find the kitchen.” Ike began wandering into the darkness.
“I’m tired and wet and cold…” Ginger began to wine.
“Me too. Look there it is!”
The pair walked past tables with white linen table clothes and silver services laid out for guest. Into swinging doors, a pristine chrome kitchen presented itself, but offered no relief for their hunger. The refrigerators were locked and the cupboards bear.
“Ike,” Ginger moaned, “I’m tired.”
“OK, lets find a place to crash.”
Just then the sound of a window crumbling against the wind filled the air.
They walked softly over the broken glass and up some stairs until they found a door to a vacant room.
“I’m exhausted!” Ginger flopped on the bedspread and grasped the pillow like a teddy bear.
“Me too.” Ike responded to the already asleep beauty, peeling off his wet cloths. He covered the spread over her, then cuddled up next to her given her warmth and him comfort.
“Tomorrow will be another day.” He faded out.