Chapter 172 – Man’s Best Friend

I skim back through my memory map and find the location of the fire buckets. I run up the deck, find three pinned to the wall, tip the sand out and run back to the lifeboat.

We start bailing for our lives as the ship’s bow sinks slowly beneath the waterline, and the lifeboat begins to float. Every muscle in my body screams for mercy, which doesn’t come, and the unrelenting storm continues unabated.

The Osprey floats away to a distance of one thousand yards and slips under the surface. A distressing sight I will never forget.

I look at the two exhausted crew, “Come on lads, give it everything you have got.”

We all take a deep breath and bail with renewed vigour at twice the speed. When faced with peril, human strength finds new limits. I look at the rim of the lifeboat and see how close it is to the waterline. We need to lose more weight, and there is only one painful option left.

I turn around to Emelia, “Please, hide the children’s faces from this.”

I pick up Duke, our faithful canine companion, protector of the family, and lower him into the stormy sea. I whisper in his ear. “Swim as you have never swum before, Duke. I will see you on the other side.”

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