Thursday evening had a slight chill hanging in the air due to the cold front moving in from the hill country. Nathan had, without the consent of Lacey or her friends, asked his father for the keys to the boat rather than steal them. His father, a balding bear of a man, was a commercial fisherman and needed the boat to make the money for the two of them.
He’d been surprisingly cooperative about letting Nathan borrow the boat, even going so far as to load it with extra equipment in case of an emergency. The forty foot fishing vessel now had four first aid kits, a satellite radio and a box of condoms. The last item had made Nathan protest, but his father wasn’t going to hear anything about it.
“I remember when I was young,” he’d said with a fond smile, “and I remember taking my Dad’s boat out for a spin with some pretty girls. Just promise me you won’t man the boat while under the influence, alright?”
“Yeah,” Nathan had replied, shrugging off the idea of actually enjoying this endeavor, “I won’t.”
Now he stood at the end of a pier, the Anne-Marie floating and ready to go. So far three stoners had showed up, including John and Kevin. Kevin was a lanky guy with a thin neck and a wool beanie, a joint slipped behind his ear. John was similar to Kevin though he was Hispanic and had longer hair that ran down to the back of his neck. With them had been Craig, a chubby pothead with a vomit-green shirt and baggy jeans. They’d all brought plenty of weed, much to Nathan’s chagrin, and even a fair amount of alcohol they’d stolen from their parents smuggled in a large ice chest.
Lacey showed up wearing a hoodie and jeans, Jacob’s arm slung over her shoulder. The burly quarterback had a packed frame, almost blocky in his stature. His wiry hair was combed back and cut short, and in the low light of Nathan’s electric lamp he could see Jacob carrying a brown paper bag with him while Lacey had a bag of red solo cups in her arms.
“Your boat?” Jacob asked as Lacey climbed on board, greeting Kevin and John.
“My Dads, but yeah. He’s a fisherman,” Nathan offered the older teen, who merely nodded while looking the vessel up and down.
“She looks seaworthy man, you guys do a great job keeping it together,” Jacob commented before crossing the plank to the boat. Nathan didn’t know what to say so he merely moved to turn off the electric lamp.
Lacey stopped him before he could.
“I have three other friends coming as well,” Lacey said as she eyed the electric lamp. “Leave it on so that they can find us.”
“Jeez,” Nathan grumbled. “More people…”
His opinion changed a few minutes later when three shapely girls walked up the pier, dressed in sweaters and jeans. One was a short Asian girl that Nathan was certain he’d seen with the cheerleaders at school. The other two were bottle-blondes with curvy figures and blue eyes though he didn’t recognize them.
“This is the boat going to Blackhollow Cove right?” One of the blondes asked a few feet away from Nathan. The Asian heaved a sigh.
“Of course it is Melissa, Lacey just texted me saying to look for the guy with an electric lamp. You see any other lamps out right now?” She said.
“No need to be mean Suki, just being sure,” Melissa said.
“We brought rum!” The other blonde said, holding up a large brown bottle victoriously.
“Ah,” Nathan said. “That’s nice. My name is Nathan, and I’ll be your Captain this evening.”
“Aren’t you a little young to be called a Captain?” Suki asked as Melissa and the other blonde made their way across the gang plank onto the boat. “Clarissa and Melissa may be airheads, but I’m not; you know how to drive this thing, right?”
“Learned when I was ten,” Nathan replied. “Now just step on board. Are we expecting any others…?”
Suki shook her head. “No, we’re it. Why, not enough for you?”
Suki said this while cocking her hip, running a hand down her hip to her outer thigh. Nathan repressed a shudder and merely smiled. So this is how my night’s going to be, eh? He thought to himself as he followed Suki aboard the ship. They both ducked into the galley (after Nathan undid the mooring line and tucked away the gangplank), where the smell of liquor and weed was already prevalent. Suki let out a cry of excitement as she grabbed a filled red cup and dropped down onto one of the long seats next to Lacey. Nathan shook his head and headed through the galley to the pilothouse. He’d already turned on the vessel some thirty minutes prior to Lacey’s arrival, allowing the engines to warm up; looking at the gauges Nathan smiled as everything was a green light to head on out.
“Alright, ya’ll!” Nathan shouted into the galley, earning a moment of silence. “You ready for Blackhollow Cove?”
“You know it!” Jacob yelled while Suki whistled, Melissa and Clarissa cheering right alongside their friend.
“Well then hang on tight, because the Anne-Marie is ready to go! Full steam ahead!” Nathan said as he shifted the engine from idle to a moderate speed, the boat lurching forward as it began to glide through the choppy waters surrounding the port. Nathan dropped down into the over-stuffed leather chair in front of the panel of controls, staring out into the darkness that swam all around the boat. The lights perched above the pilothouse were bright, and allowed him to see some thirty yards ahead of him, but he still didn’t like sailing after dark. What if he came upon some rocks or something?
A sudden chill went down Nathan’s spine as he thought he caught a glimpse of a shrouded figure hanging just above the water at the edge of his light. She, as it was definitely female, was pointing back towards the port; wrapped in patchwork cloth some homeless mummy, Nathan stared into the glowing azure eyes that stared at him from across the water.
And just like that, she was gone, a mirage on the wind perhaps. Nathan shook his head and reached into his own small ice chest, pulling an energy drink from the box and popping the top. Taking a few sips, he steered the boat a bit to keep them on track.
Blackhollow Cove was less than twenty minutes away.