Eastbound Sailing excerpt: Shame.
by Todd Foley
Life has been surreal since Eastbound Sailing released in August. It has been equally terrifying and edifying to have my work out there for people to read, discuss and assess – be it positive or constructive. As a “thank you” to everyone who reads this blog and who hasn’t yet read the story, here’s an excerpt of the novel. Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Happy reading!
Aiden jolted out of his sleep when he heard the thunder.
It was dark. His arms were stiff, his vision blurry. Ears were fully functioning as he took in the crashing sounds coming from outside the cabin. Violent winds blew small branches onto the roof. Rain pounded against the windows.
He looked at the clock. 4: 48 in the morning. He tried to get comfortable in bed.
He wasn’t comfortable.
Closed his eyes. The noise reminded him of Seattle. Different circumstances but similar volumes, especially when cop cars or ambulances would race down the street outside his apartment.
He felt his neck start to relax; slowly, his eyes grew heavy.
All his muscles were shocked to life with the sound of glass breaking in the living room.
He jumped out of bed and climbed down the ladder, wearing a T-shirt and sweatpants.
His eyes swept across the room, seeing shards of glass scattered on the wood floor and a large branch protruding into the cabin where the window used to be.
Gusts of wind blew the rain through the new hole into the living room. Aiden knew he had to act fast, but he had no idea what to do.
The hole in the wall needed to be covered up.
More and more rain blew into the house.
He needed to find a board. Had to be somewhere on the property.
He ran toward the door to put on his shoes when a piercing pain shot into his right foot.
He screamed, stopped, raised his foot and brought it behind him, grabbing it with his right hand. He turned to see what it was.
He knew he should have looked before running around.
He pulled out the glass. Winced. Threw it to the side.
Aiden hobbled over to the entrance, shoved his feet into his shoes and opened the door. He grabbed a flashlight off the counter top.
The wind and rain immediately blasted his face. He ran down the stairs and went behind the house, desperately looking for some scrap wood. Small branches and debris covered the dirt, each footstep making a squishing sound.
He found two pieces of plywood leaning against the backside of the house.
He grabbed one piece of soaked wood and hauled it back into the cabin, shutting the door behind him.
Aiden knew he would need nails if these boards were going to block out the wind and keep the heat inside.
“Where would Dad keep nails?”
He propped the wood against the kitchen counter and began opening every drawer he saw.
None in the kitchen.
He moved to the desk drawers.
His right foot burned with pain.
No nails in the desk either.
He ran to the bathroom. Found an old shoe box. Opened it, finding a couple dozen or so nails and screws. He grabbed all the nails and put them in his pant pocket.
But there was no hammer.
He needed something. Anything that could pound a nail.
Thunder resounded throughout the cabin. Aiden flinched.
He ran back to the living room and faced the broken window. Maybe there was a rock right outside?
He opened the door again and ran out, fortunately finding two large rocks at the bottom of a deck post.
He only needed one.
Grabbed it and ran back inside. His foot continued to sting. He pressed through the pain.
Aiden set the rock down and kicked the broken glass aside with his right foot, putting all of his weight on his left side.
He grabbed the plywood and placed it over the broken window. Pressed against it with his left forearm. Used his other hand to reach into his pocket and pull out a nail. Placed it in his left hand and held it in the upper-left corner. He then grabbed the rock with his right hand, centered it over the nail’s head, slowly brought it back toward his face and used all his strength to pound the nail.
It sunk the nail into the board with one movement.
He positioned himself against the board to repeat this on the upper-right corner.
The rock slid off the nail’s head and crushed his right pinky against the board.
Aiden screamed, cursed and dropped the rock. He backed away and clasped his hands together, hunched over in pain. The board swung down and was hanging by the left corner. A strong gust blew against the board, sending it to the ground with a crash.
Aiden felt his stomach sink.
He needed to get the wall secure, but he didn’t know how to.
The wind kept blowing rain onto his face.
His foot ached.
His finger throbbed.
He grabbed the board and held it against the hole with both arms.
He didn’t know what else to do.
He dropped down on his knees.
He felt helpless.
He slammed his head against the board’s surface.
Dad would have known what to do.
Chase could have secured the board in an instant.
Aiden’s knees ached.
His clothes dripped.
His arms locked.
His foot bled.
His right pinky nail turned black.
He closed his eyes.
All he felt was shame.