TITLE: Northwest Wind
GENRE: Adult Crime
Tom’s in trouble. Winnie’s eyes flew open. She tore out of bed, ran to the window and grabbed the binoculars on the ledge. He’d left their cottage a few hours ago, in the darkness-before-dawn, before the bay heated up and the whitefish ran for the bottom.
Focusing the binoculars, she turned her head as he’d taught her, keeping her body steady, scanning in sweeps near his favourite shoal.
The bent jack pine by their dock announced a growing north-westerly.
Follow the wind, she heard him tell her, the wind decides everything. She scanned again, searching further east.
Then she saw it, just as she’d seen it in her dream—his sailboat illuminated by a ghostly light from the bottom of the bay. Even in the running waves, every detail was sharply focused: the overturned hull, dove-grey with white trim, the waterlogged sail, the tiller sticking up like a twig. No one clinging to the hull. Her eyes frantically swept the water. No life-vested swimmer kicking for shore.
She rushed to her cell phone, telling herself to call the cops.
No! You’re culpable. You chased Tom out there.
In the bay now, every wave was wearing a whitecap. Tom’s skiff was almost out of sight, beyond Cameron Point. There is a day and an hour, her father used to say. What about a minute, she’d wanted to ask him, a split-second? The empty skiff told her that she’d found it, the split-second that dictated her life was ruined.