Saturday, November 20, 2010
A Thanksgiving Tale of Terror--Debby Giusti
“What!” both men exclaimed in unison.
“Mr. Sirocco personally hired me to track down the Americans. He knew where they were being held but had no way to reach them.” She pointed to her brother. “Johnny can attest to my nautical ability. Sirocco realized the insurgents would never suspect a lone woman in a sailboat as being a danger to them.”
“You know where the Americans are being held?” Cranton stepped closer.
Pamela nodded. “They’re on a small fishing vessel in international waters off the Canadian coast, guarded by only a few men. Probably because the insurgents never expected the hostages would be discovered there.”
Cranton grabbed her hand and entwined his fingers through hers, sending tingles down her spine. “If we work together, we might be able to save the men after all.” His eyes were filled with hope as he gazed down at her.
“Grandfather’s boat is docked at the marina.” Johnny pointed though the window at a tiny sailboat moored in the distance. “The guy in the bedroom is tied up and won’t cause us any problems. Let’s move.”
The three patriots were soon out at sea. Pamela steered them through the deep waters. A faint outline of the Canadian coastline was barely visible on the horizon. The sun slowly set and darkness covered them just after they spotted the anchored fishing vessel and the lone lookout that kept watch on deck.
“I go in first,” Cranton said, donning a wet suit. He pointed to the guard who had failed to notice the approaching craft. “Once I take down the guard, I’ll signal you to board.”
Pamela was well aware of the danger, but whether the American service members lived or died depended on Cranton’s surprise attack. The odds weren’t in his favor, and she knew the three of them needed help.
Placing her hand on his shoulder, she felt his strength and resolve. Had they only known each other for a week? The sense of completeness that swept over her brought clarity. She had been waiting her whole life to find Cranton. She couldn’t let anything happen to him now.
“Lord,” she prayed. Her voice was husky with emotion. “Protect Cranton in this mission. Allow him to surprise the captors and free our brave military men.”
He pulled her close. “Protect all of us this night, Lord.”
Johnny touched Cranton’s arm. “It’s time, buddy.”
With a determined nod, Cranton released his hold on Pamela and slipped into the dark water. The chill of the night circled around her. “Oh, Lord, keep him safe,” she whispered.
Johnny pointed into the distance. “Looks like we’ve got another problem.”
She followed his gaze. Her stomach tightened as she spotted the fog rolling toward them. Glancing back at the fishing vessel, she watched it quickly disappear in the thick haze. “We’ll never see Cranton’s signal,” she told her brother.
“And we don’t have enough visibility to approach the vessel in this fog. Looks like Cranton is on his own.”
Pamela strained to hear anything that might provide a clue as to what was happening on board the fishing vessel, but the lapping of the water against the tiny sailboat was the only sound in the eerily quiet night.
As the minutes turned to hours, the possibility of success faded and was replaced with an ominous sense of foreboding.
Tears filled Pamela’s eyes, yet she continued to pray. With each passing hour, she knew the outcome wouldn’t be good. No doubt, the insurgents had captured Cranton, and she could only imagine what type of torture they were using to learn more about Sirocco Enterprises.
“We need to head back to the US,” Johnny finally said. “This mission has failed.”
She shook her head. “I won’t leave without Cranton.”
“That’s crazy, Pamela.” Just as the words left his mouth, a glimmer of light broke through the darkness.
“The fog is lifting with the dawn,” she told her brother. “Maybe God heard our prayers after all.” But her optimism plummeted when she spotted the fishing vessel. The empty deck caused the last bit of hope she had been holding onto to dissolve in the murky waters.
“We need to get out of here before we’re spotted,” Johnny insisted as he reached for the rudder.
“Wait.” She put her hand on his arm to stop him.
A faint rumbling sounded in the distance. “Is that coming from the ship?” he asked.
A smile spread over Pamela’s face and tears of joy burned her eyes as the sun’s rays cut through the haze and bathed the fishing vessel in bright light. Cranton stood on the deck surrounded by a group of men dressed in US Army uniforms. Their cheers rose in jubilation and spread across the water.
Pamela shouted for joy, but her gaze remained locked on the hero, who had saved the mission and the men. Within minutes, she had maneuvered the sailboat close to the fishing vessel and boarded with Johnny following close behind her.
Before she could say anything, Cranton wrapped her in his arms and pulled her close. She melted into his embrace. A lump filled her throat. “Mr. Sir…Mr. Sirocco said someone would rescue the hostages, but I didn’t think it would be my handsome neighbor from across the street.” She gazed up at Cranton with love and admiration. “The Turkey Drop was successful, after all, and the soldiers will be home in time to celebrate the holiday with their families.”
“I never thought I’d get a second chance to save them.” Cranton’s fingers tangled through her hair. “I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, Pamela, and the most important thing is you.”
He lowered his lips to meet hers, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she’d be spending this Thanksgiving and all the Thanksgivings for the rest of her life with Cranton.
Then she pulled back ever so slightly to ensure she wasn’t dreaming before she allowed him to capture her lips once again. Cranton wasn’t a dream. He was a dream come true.