The Self Sufficient Hermit

by curious2c

Tags: Romance,

Desc: Romance Story: Man discovers love again, the hard way.

Dear reader,

For another first in my writing this story has no sex or sexual content in it. It didn't start out that way, but as the story grew to it's final outcome I realized that fitting sex or sexual situations into this particular story would detract rather than add to the story. I also realize that it's been quite a while since I last posted a story online. For that I apologize to you all. Life has been ... busy and strange of late, and it's taken quite a bit more time for me to find that special zone in which I write best. Thank you for your patience.

I'd also like to thank Kanga40 for her expert and skilled editing on this one too. Any grammar or spelling errors found will be ones I missed in fixing.

It had been months since I had last been to town. Town, being what it was, wasn't much to speak of - maybe three hundred people or so. Two gas stations, one grocery-hardware type store that carried about anything the people in the area would need, and a flight service that had eight Beaver float planes in their lineup.

I had to come to civilization as it were, to get some supplies I couldn't do without. Winter was almost fully here and the first snows up high on the mountains had reminded me of some particular needs I had for the next months.

This morning as I was tying up to the finger float on the dock, I'd taken a not intended cold bath. Young Amber had come to grab my lines, helping me tie up. She is about nineteen, maybe twenty and quite a good looking young lady. She always seemed to be on the dock when I came to town and her mom was never too far away either.

While I knew Amber was friendly, I also knew that there was no way in hell I'd touch her or do anything else. Not only was she younger than me by a bit too much in my opinion, but I was friends with her father and respected the whole family too much to want to play with the fire Amber represented.

I also knew that Amber had a sort of crush on me. It showed all over to anyone who'd watch her interact with me. Jacob and Emma, who owned the store, had mentioned it to me several times, as had her parents. I wasn't sure what they thought about it, and to be honest, I felt that Amber was just too young for me to ever think about dating.

So anyway, as she bent over tying up the bow line some idiot in a huge power cruiser came blasting into the dock area running damn near full speed. As they came up to the next finger over they leaned on the reverse and drove the large boat to a quick stop.

I saw a blonde woman on the fly bridge driving the boat. She had a small group of people sitting around her as she stood behind the wheel. They were all laughing and talking to each other, mostly to the driver of the boat.

Of course all these actions took place in a few seconds and the size of boat coupled with the speed they came in at created a massive wake wave that nearly capsized a few smaller boats.

Amber had the misfortune to be bent over tying off the line, her back to the other boat, as the wave hit the finger float, causing her to go ass over teakettle into the water. She came up farther out due to the way she fell in and I could see she was having a difficult time catching her breath and staying on top of the water.

Without even hesitating, I dove in after her. The shock of the cold nearly caused me to swallow in the sea water, but I had mentally prepared myself for it and was able to force my breathing to hold steady while I worked my way out to Amber. That water was cold now, let me tell you! As I reached Amber I glanced up to see the blonde in the boat. She was laughing and pointing at us as a couple of large men in suits jumped onto the dock to tie up. Anger cannot describe my feelings at that moment.

Grabbing Amber with my arm under both of hers and around her chest, I started to drag her back to the finger float. Another guy came running up and took her under her armpits and pulled her up onto the float. I managed to use the cleat on the dock and the line that Amber had nearly finished tying up to pull my very cold, nearly frozen body onto the finger beside her. It took all I had to pull myself up onto the finger float decking as the cold water had sucked all the energy I had out of me. I could see Amber shivering and that made me aware of the basics of surviving a dunking this time of year.

You see, the water right now was around thirty-eight degrees or possibly less. Once a human got fully in it, their body heat was sucked right out of them. In this water at this time of year, not being in a survival suit, a person could die of hypothermia in a matter of minutes, even if they got out of the water into the forty degree air.

I knew that we both had to get warm and fast. The cool air wasn't helping to warm us at all. The only or actually the best way to achieve warmth at the moment was for us to hit the shower on my 42 foot Bayliner cabin cruiser. It was right there at hand and I knew the water tank was topped off

"Ben, g-g-go g-get Lacy, tell her that Amber f-fell into the water. She's at my b-boat and we'll be in t-the shower trying to warm up. Let her know that Amber n-needs a change of clothes."

"You bet J.W."

I watched as Ben ran down the floating dock. He was an older man, probably around sixty-five, but right now he was moving like a twenty-year old. I was impressed.

I rolled over and stood up, having a hard time stopping shivering. I bent over and picked Amber up where she was curled up in a fetal position, shaking hard. I only had a little time and I'd be helpless to move her.

I carried her onto my boat and turned on the generator as we passed through the cabin. Fortunately it only took punching a button to start it up. Getting down the stairs into the lower berth, I started the shower running and then turned to stripping off Amber's wet clothes. I left her in her bra and panties and shoved her into the shower, under the very warm water.

As she stood leaning against the shower wall I stripped down to my boxers and then joined her. I was rubbing her all over trying to get her blood circulating and kept her under the now hot water. At that moment I was thanking the Gods that I'd installed that on demand water heater in the boat.

It wasn't hot enough to burn, but it was damn hot. My rubbing Amber's body was causing my body to warm up slightly too, so I kept rubbing her back, arms, and legs briskly. It wasn't easy with two of us in the small shower stall on the boat, but I managed.

I figured Amber had been in the water for a total of about five to eight minutes while I got her out, I'd been in a very little bit less ... and I knew that the water was colder than I'd thought. I was chilled to the bone still.

After ten minutes in the shower Amber started coming around. I could feel the warmth of the water working on me too. I took a chance and stepped out of the shower to get some water heating up on the stove. We needed to drink something warm right now to help warm up our insides too.

Dripping wet, in my boxers I stood in front of the stove cussing because I couldn't get my fingers to stop shaking enough to light the damn thing up. Lacy came in behind me as I almost whined in frustration.

"Whoa ... J.W. You're damn near naked. Where's Amber?"

"Sh-sh-shower ... she's in the shower. H-h-h-ot water running ... g-g-got to get some water heated up for hot ch-ch-choclolate."

"You go get in the shower with her ... I'll get the water heating. Tom will be here in a minute too. How the hell did this happen? Never mind ... get in the shower ... we'll talk later."

I didn't even think about it. I mean, her dad and mom being right here as I stood in the shower, nearly naked, with a nearly naked Amber, their only daughter. I was just too damn cold to care at that point.

In the shower I saw that Amber had her back to me and she was still shaking. I saw her glancing over her shoulder at my boxer clad body and suddenly I felt more naked than I was.

I started to rub her again hoping that she'd realize just how much danger we were still in. It was then that I noticed her bra and panties were gone! She'd taken them off while I'd been trying to get the hot water going for the cocoa. She spun around and hugged me tight, pressing her cool and very naked body into mine.

"Your mom is right out the door ... and your dad will be here directly. Damn. Move ... rub ... we need to warm up."

"I am w-w-warm ... now. B-b-b-eing here with you like this is a d-d-d-dream come true for me. You s-s-saved my life J.W."

"I just got you out of a b-b-bad predicament ... that's all Amber."

"You saved me. You just d-d-d-dove right in without thinking and pulled me out. You s-s-s-saved my life."

"Yeah ... okay ... and I d-d-d-damn near froze to death too. Move your arms and legs ... you need to get your b-b-b-blood circulating. Your mom's making up some hot chocolate."

A few minutes later I heard Tom, her father come aboard. He and Lacy were talking. I figured it was time for Amber and me to get out of the shower and into some dry clothes. That's when it hit me ... their daughter was naked! What were her parents going to say or do? I already had an idea of sorts about Lacy ... but Tom?

As we stepped out, I put a towel around Amber first, wrapping her torso totally covering her naughty bits and then I slipped out behind her. Her mom had some clothes she was holding out for her while I went over to the compartment by the bed. I dried off my body as quickly as I could pulling on some clean jeans and a sweater I was soon respectable. As I toweled off my head Lacy offered me a cup of steaming hot chocolate.

"Here ya go J.W. There's a bit of Irish in it too ... figure you both need it."

"Thanks Lacy. How's Amber doing?"

"I imagine Amber is doing just fine. She just had her first shower with a man. A man she seems to think a lot about I might add. I'll also add a man that she's seen most of too. After seeing her dropping her towel, I imagine you've seen a whole lot of her." Lacy dryly allowed.

I know I blushed. I could feel my face and body warm up.

"It was the quickest way I knew to warm us up. I didn't take off her bra or panties she did. I didn't mean anything..."

"Hey J.W ... we know. We'd of done the same thing ourselves. One does what one needs to do in order to survive. That water's damn cold. What were you in it for ... five - ten minutes?" Tom was standing right there smiling.

"Well, to tell the truth, it felt like hours. I suppose it was about eight minutes for Amber ... maybe six for me."

"Well, as low fat as your body is I'm not surprised at how cold you looked. You both came close to hypothermia." Lacy was looking towards Amber as she said that ... a very speculative once over look at her now dressed daughter. Amber blushed and looked away.

"Yeah ... glad it was close into the dock and boat when it happened. I just knew that J.W. would save me though ... he's that kind of man." Replied Amber. Her voice carried a bit of worship in it when she mentioned 'that kind of man' and it worried me.

"What happened? Ben said something about that big cruiser coming in real fast and the wake tipped Amber into the water. He said you dove in without a thought too. I want to thank you for that J.W. You saved my baby's life today." Lacy was talking fast now. We were on the verge of a proverbial awkward moment.

'Yeah ... I jumped in after Amber because I saw she was having difficulty breathing. That cold water tends to cause people's lungs and chest to react in a very bad way. Involuntary muscle spasms can't be controlled very well. She's lucky she didn't swallow a bunch of water."

"Whatever else you did, you saved Amber's life. I can never repay or thank you enough." Lacy looked serious as she spoke.

"Well, we both have that young lady to thank for the cold bath. I don't know who she is, but she drove that boat in way to damn fast. Her wake was rolling about four feet high." My anger showed through ... and I let it.

"I'll bet it's that actress. She's up here with her crew looking over places they're going to film her next movie. They've been here nearly two weeks now. She's a holy terror I hear." Tom sounded disgusted.

We talked for a bit and then Tom, Lacy and Amber left. Amber hugged me tight and gave me a very hot kiss on my lips before stepping off the boat. She tried to maneuver her tongue between my lips but I managed to break away before she embarrassed us both in front of her parents. I stepped back from her, looking up at her parents as they stared back.

Amber just spun around and stepped off the boat; as if kissing me was something she did daily.

I shrugged my shoulders, arms out, hands up. Tom and Lacy laughed.

"Looks like you have someone to think about J.W. Better be careful ... you might be getting hitched." Tom teased in an overly loud voice.

Lacy was laughing and Amber, a ways down the dock but not out of ear shot, turned to blush. I took it all in a glance. Then, they were gone.

Ben hung around talking to me about my 'heroics' for a bit as I tidied up the boat. I needed to get to the store to get some supplies ... my whole reason for being here in the first place. I was troubled with Amber's reaction. This was the first time she'd ever tried to kiss me that I was aware of ... and she'd done that exceptionally well. 'What were her parents thinking about her and me?' I wondered.

Amber's bra and panties were lying on the floor by the shower, forgotten in the moment I supposed. I picked them up and put them with my wet clothes to be taken care of later.

After a bit I headed up to the general store to fill my list of needs. While there, I heard some people talk of the Hollywood group who had flown up late in the year to 'experience' Alaska.

I was quiet, thinking to myself as I paid for the items I had picked up; "Experience Alaska? Like a few weeks here could engender knowledge of what it was like to live here. Damn people anyway, getting to be too many of them every year. I liked it how it used to be, damn few people, and everybody minding their own damn business."

I guess you could say I was a hermit of sorts. Thirty-five years old and living on my 'claim' in the wilds of Alaska. I had made enough money during the nineties to set myself up, so now I just lived off the land as much as I could.

I made things for sale on the market, mostly online, and together with what I had put by it kept me in gas for the generator, particular food items that I didn't want to go without, and some reading materials from time to time as well. My needs are not much, and I like that simplicity.

I had been burned in a relationship a couple of years ago when the girl I had proposed to dumped me about four months before our wedding. She evidently found someone who was better suited for her than I was. Poor sucker she latched onto, I felt for him.

I know, probably some bitterness coming out there, but only because I'd been there. She had gotten worse the closer the marriage date came, and the worse she got, the more I realized I may have made a mistake. Once free from her I found that I really didn't need or want any female companionship. At least so far I didn't.

The store keeper and his buddies were all talking as I came up to the counter to pay for my things.

"Yeah, she's doing a movie and its set in Alaska. They came up so she could see and experience Alaska first hand. I suppose she'll be previewing the movie up in Anchorage too from what I heard anyway."

"Didn't they leave already?" One of the guys asked. I knew that he hung around the store time to time. I didn't know his name but the face was familiar.

"Nah, they're supposed to fly out the end of the week. She has some fancy jet that they're keeping in Ketchikan at the airport. Then this spring they're going to start filming that movie."

"Hey J.W., have you seen her? Really mighty fine looking lady and she's about your age too. Never know, she may want a real man - you could fit right in there." Jacob was smiling like a cat that got the canary.

"Jacob, leave me out of your match making. You damn well know I don't need or want any woman around me, especially some movie star type. I live too far out in the hills for most of them and there are those types of women that I don't think I want around me either. Besides that, that woman damn near killed me today."

"Damn J.W. Why so testy? So you took a little swim ... no big deal." One of the bystanders replied.

"Why don't you go down and take a little dip?" I stared at the guy until he looked away. "Once you do that I'll listen to you on just how nice that damn water is. I don't like you match making for me, that's all. I'm fine. Oh and Jacob, tell Emma I don't need her worrying about me either. I know that's where it all comes from. Women are flighty creatures at best, and all one would do at my cabin is make me miserable anyway."

"Tell Emma what J.W.? You can tell me to my face young man. Besides, you do need a woman. Take it from someone who knows."

Jacob's wife had walked into the store as we were talking. She was a large woman, all serious like most of the time, but her humor was very dry, to the point of dusty as a matter of fact.

"I wish you all would quit trying to find some woman for me. I don't need one. Had one and she ran off with some young doctor type, and I realized afterward I was the lucky one by far. So, you two keep your noses out of my business and we'll get along fine."

I know I sounded quite angry and uptight. Fact is, we really do get along quite well, and I know that Emma and Jacob meant well too. They also knew that I'd get all flustered when there was match making going on and so they'd tease me just like this. You see, we all knew it was just teasing. At least, I hoped they were.

"So J.W., you got any more of those table sets ready to go?" Jacob changed the subject.

Jacob was referring to the picnic tables I made out of red and yellow cedar. I had figured a way of making some pretty attractive ones, and then discovered a market for them. I was always behind in keeping up with the orders, and it was fast becoming a lucrative business for me too. "Yeah, I have four ready to go. I'll drop them off in a few weeks if I get a chance. Paul is supposed to be stopping by in his crabber coming in from the Gulf so I'll have him drop them off earlier if that all happens."

"Paul went across the Gulf for crab again this year?" Emma stated. "I figured his wife would have put a stop to that by now. She almost lost him two years ago and I know that she doesn't like him being out in that damn boat."

Emma's concern showed in her voice.

"Its how he provides for her. She'd do well to remember that."

I felt I needed to stick up for his decision to do what he loved to do even though I tended to agree with Emma on this one. The waters in the Bering Sea are very treacherous.

"Women like to have their men alive and with them, not in some deep sea grave somewhere, never coming home again J.W., you know that." Emma stated her point of view strongly.

"See? Women would have the whole world in a huge mess if all men were tied down to 'em." I replied light heartedly.

"Damn you're more exasperating every day J.W."

"Well, women taught me well Emma."

"Don't you go blaming me or all women for your views on women. Blame that damn girl who ran out on you. She never was much account anyway."

"Yeah ... you just like me more than her, and when she dumped me you felt vindicated in your beliefs Emma. She was never that bad."

"Damn son ... you seem to be getting softer and softer." Jacob cut in.

"Just less angry." I replied softly.

"Angry? YOU?" Jacob nearly shouted as he began to laugh.

Everyone in the place started laughing out loud. I didn't quite get the joke, but I knew that I must have seemed damned mad most of the time over the last couple of years. I was embarrassed and wanted to get out of town.

"Hey, that's everything. I'll pay up now while I got the chance. Could be a long hard winter. Beaver have extra long coats this year, and the moose have been coming down early too."

"That so? You always get the weather closest of anyone I know, so I'll make sure I stock up well now while I can. Uh ... it totals up to $374.98 J.W., will that be cash or charge?"

"I said I'd pay up. How much do I have charged by the way?"

"I don't think you have any. You paid it off in July when you brought in that last shipment of those tables."

I handed Jacob the cash and spent the next half hour loading up my boat with my purchases. With what I had at home and this, I had enough to last the entire winter and then some. Hopefully I would be wrong about how hard it was going to be, but Jacob was right about one thing ... I did have an uncanny accuracy on the weather over long term.

Actually, the beaver, moose and other wild creatures told me just by how they lived, and what their furs looked like. I just interpreted what I was seeing and figured out the whys. It had been dead on accurate so far at any rate.

I ran back up to the store to pick up my mail just before leaving on the boat. As I walked in a crowd of people blocked the walkway just inside the door. It irritated me as I had to stop doing what I came for and wait for a hole to open up to allow me inside.

"I need some hand lotion. My skin is drying out and cracking. I know you won't have any good lotion, but I will take the best you do have. That should keep me until I can have something better flown into this back woods hole." The almost whiney voice carried over the group.

"Yes ma'am. We have that right over there. I'll get it for you. Excuse me."

Jacob was about falling all over in order to get something off a shelf. I stood there and laughed.

The young woman turned to look at me. Her eyes were very blue as they flashed their impatience. I was impressed with how beautiful she was, even if she was stupid while handling a boat.

"What do you find so funny?"

"Him."

I pointed at Jacob as I squeezed past her. It was an abrupt move on my part, one that could have been taken as very rude. One of her male companions stepped up as if to protect her ... but she held up her hand stopping him.

"Him? Why is that?"

"That old fart hasn't moved that fast in years. I'm surprised he doesn't have a heart attack right now. I can't ever get him to get things for me like that. Usually he just points the stuff out and goes back to whatever he's doing. You must rate up there next to royalty to get him to fall all over himself like that. Especially since you sounded like a queen ordering her minions around too. Had anyone else around here said what you did, he'd have told them to go ... well, to leave his store."

"You seem to find odd things amusing. I asked him to get these things for me and he has been serving me well. Your manners however..."

I interrupted her before she could tell me what she thought of me. Her eyes were on fire now and I thought that her head had come up a bit more. Reminded me of my mother when she'd get real angry and call me by my given name ... all three of them.

"What do my manners have to do with anything? Oh ... never mind. You'd never understand anyway. You must be that actress that's up to 'experience' Alaska. Good luck with that. By the way, you really need to learn manners and how to properly operate a boat. You damn near killed a very nice young lady today."

I noticed the guys in suits moving in closer. I guessed they were her body guards or something.

"You boys just stand back. You get closer you might get hurt." I knew what I could do with them, even if they didn't. They just stared at me, trying to intimidate I'm sure. It didn't work. I'd been rounds with guys far bigger, meaner and tougher than they ever thought of being. I'd managed to come out ahead with the others so these guys didn't worry me at all.

"How rude and if you're referring to the chick that took that swim, it was funny. Oh wait ... you're the guy that jumped in after her aren't you?"

"Yeah, I jumped in after her. That water is death right now lady. It's only about forty degrees and a few minutes in it will kill. Hypothermia has a way of doing that you know ... killing people."

"I think you're over-reacting. You seem to be just fine."

"Oh yeah? Well it took about forty five minutes to fix eight minutes in that f$%king water. You damn near killed her ... and me." I angrily replied. "You should take a dip in it yourself if you don't think it's a big deal. I'd bet you'd change your mind in a heartbeat once you were in completely."

I grabbed my mail off the counter, brushing past her and her group. I would be the first to admit that I was rather abrupt in doing so. I just didn't care for those who thought a couple weeks visit gave them deep insight to my back yard.

"You are a rude insensitive jerk."

"Yeah ... have a nice day yourself Bi ... Ma'am."

I had been about to call her Bitch with a capital B, but Emma had just walked through the doorway and I would never cuss in front of her if I could help it. I didn't care for this young woman or her ways. She seemed to think she was above everything around her, and her people were obviously enforcing that concept too. She also sort of reminded me of my ex-fiancé too. A spoiled brat.

She had caught me starting to say bitch, and I could see her flushing in anger. I didn't really care though. I was against most of the people who came up from Hollywood and figured they knew all about Alaska.

That damned Treadwell had started quite a bit of it with his antics with the bears, and the bears had finally shown him what for. It was shame that because of his 'playing' several bears had to be put down too. I didn't care much for Hollywood types, and I certainly didn't watch many movies either. I didn't have the time for that nonsense.

As I walked out I overheard her asking Jacob who 'that rude man was'. I missed Jacob's response, but I'm sure he placated her well. I couldn't blame him he was after all running a business.

She had upset me a bit with her attitude but to be honest, I hadn't been around that beautiful of a woman in years. She shook me up just by being there. I wasn't used to beautiful women like her in this town. Her actions earlier with her operating the boat were too much for me though. It didn't matter how pretty a killer was ... they were still a killer.

Most of the women in town were married or way too young to be thinking about that way. There were none in my age group that were free and available, and I wouldn't have wanted to mess around with a married one that way in any event. Besides it appeared I had my hands full just having to keep Amber away from me now. Thinking about it I realized that Amber was very beautiful as well. That realization shook me up too, since I'd always seen her as a kid, not the beautiful young woman she'd become.

All the way back to my cabin I thought about Jacob and how funny he looked running around filling her order like he had. I'd never seen him look so ... boyish before. It was like she was something special. I didn't see that, not at all. I figured she was a snob. Either that or she was looking for some kind of publicity stuff.

Back home at my cabin I put away my purchases and started dinner. I looked out over the beach as my stew warmed up on my wood burning cook stove, and saw where I could pull in some drift wood here and there. I'd get to that in the morning since the tide would favor me. Some of that wood could be good for making tables if I treated it properly as soon as I could. I would gather drift logs up and they'd become either firewood or planking. If they became planking, I'd cut the best of them down later and make usable high grade lumber out of them. The lesser ones I would keep for home projects that could come up.

I have a nice shop and when the gen-set is running, it powers the house and shop all at once. My home is well set up on a low rising hill so I have a nice view of the ocean, the beach and the mountains on either side and behind me. My fifty acres is all mine, and since I don't owe one red cent on it, my living expenses are about as low as one can hope for.

I spent the next few days gathering in logs from the beach and a few that I found floating out in the water a ways. Towing half of them to the shop from the beach with my D-6 Cat, I soon had them cut into planks and firewood. In the matter of several days I had enough wood to keep me warm all next winter after it properly dried out, and make a bunch of picnic tables and accessories.

All around the eaves of my shop I've hung glass floats that I find while beach-combing. They drifted in on the tides, lost from the Japanese fishing boats I figured. Most were a green color but once in a while I'd find a deep dark blue, yellow or even a reddish type too.

I have also found lots of other strange things here and there, which also found places hanging around inside and outside, so my shop looks kind of different. Most all of it drifted up to the beach which is only a short walk away. All I know is that my shop feels like home to me, and that's all that matters.

A couple of locals had been over to my place and they've commented on the floats I have, and how cool it is the way I had them arranged. I never really thought about them being anything but something to add some color to the place.

A few days had gone by and I was up on the mountain working on getting some light branches off of some low lying brush. I used them in the making of chairs for the dinner tables. My biggest market is from those who own log cabins. The tables are rustic and natural looking and blend in well with log homes.

The weather was miserable, and the wind took your breath away. I had to get the branches though, and if a person waited on the weather to be good around here you'd never get anything done at all. My rain gear kept me warm and dry enough as it was.

I sat on a rock outcropping sheltered by an overhang to eat my lunch when I saw a white streak with black smoke tear across the cloudy sky. At first I thought it was a meteor, but a second glance proved me way off on that.

I saw a small jet with fire coming out of the tail ... where an engine had been if I didn't miss my guess. The jet was moving very fast and the angle it was coming in at proved to be nothing but bad news.

As I watched, the pilot was working to get the nose up before it hit the water. Just as I thought he was going to make it, the left wing skimmed over the water then smashed into a large breaker rolling in from the ocean.

The plane spun in tight circles and broke apart as each successive wave contacted the fuselage. From my vantage point I knew that it was going to end up on the spit. The water on the other side of the spit was treacherous as hell, and if it made it over that hump of land, that plane would be gone for good along with those unfortunate souls on board.

I left the outcropping running, and made my way down to the beach. My four-wheeler was sitting there with the empty trailer hooked up, and without a thought, I got on and started it up. Gunning the engine, I slammed it into gear and tore out to the spit.

As I pulled up along side of the burning wreckage, I thought to grab my fire extinguisher off the trailer. It was a ten pound unit, and I could see that it wouldn't be enough to put out this fire, but it might buy me some time to get whoever was on board off hopefully alive.

The rear section of the fuselage was gone, torn away and a black hole yawned before me. Dark gray smoke was billowing out and in the background I could see dark orange flames near the floor. I stuck the extinguisher's nozzle into that hole and depressed the plunger. A few seconds later I had emptied it completely.

Plunging into smoke and extinguisher filled cabin I saw a limp form in a seat. Bending over I released the seat belt and drug them out away from the plane. I went back in six more times before the flames prevented me from doing any more. I wasn't sure, but I thought that only the Pilot and co-pilot were left, and from the way the front end of the jet looked, all crushed in by the huge rock it had headed into, I was certain there was nothing more to be done for them anyway. I tried to get up and look into the cockpit but flames chased me away.

Looking back at the bodies I had laid out I realized that I had seen these people lately. It was the movie star and her group. She had been the first one I had grabbed out of the wreck. Not intentionally, since all I had been able to 'see' had been a form in the seat.

I heard coughing, and it was coming from one of the five men I had pulled out. I went to him, hoping he was coming around and would be able to help me out, when I realized his coughing was not the kind of cough I wanted. He was dying. Blood was coming out of his mouth, ears, and nose. He was desperate to tell me something.

I bent down and he grabbed my shirt, pulling me closer. It was a weak grasp, but I bent further for him.

"My wife... cough ... tell her ... I... cough ... I'm sorry... cough ... I love her and..."

The sudden silence and relaxed grip forced me to look at his eyes. He had died trying to tell me to tell his wife that he loved her. I turned to the others, and started to check them out. One of the other men had died at some point, or perhaps he had been dead when I pulled him out of the wreckage. It was one of the body guard guys. The other body guard was dead too. The fifth man I'd pulled out was dead as well.

The fourth man was badly injured, and from the looks of him I wasn't so sure he'd make it either. I did what I could for him and at one point; he was lucid enough to thank me. He wasn't looking good, and the grayness in his face worried me. I took off my rain coat and covered his torso up as best I could.

The second person I had pulled out of the plane was a young woman. She'd been with the actress that day I remembered. She was staring at me, her eyes showing a bit of fear and a lot of pain as well. I saw that her arm was definitely broken, and I was pretty certain that the Coast Guard would have to work on her before they flew her to the hospital.

I was hoping that the Coast Guard would be able to fly out too. The weather was picking up and from a glance around I knew I'd be lucky if they'd be able to fly or even get a cutter out here today.

I turned to the first person I had pulled out. It was her. Miss snot-nose spoiled brat bitch. She was from all appearances, unharmed. Shook up, and some small cuts and bruises on her face, she did have a cut on her head that was bleeding pretty badly, but otherwise she looked okay. I was hoping that she'd be some help for me at that point.

"You hurt anywhere seriously?"

"My arm and back are sore. Other than that I think I'm okay though. Sam ... how's Sam?"

"What's he look like?"

"He was wearing the chinos and flat top loafers. Uh ... he had glasses too."

"Oh ... he didn't make it Miss. He was hurt pretty badly. He did manage to tell me to tell his wife that he loved her though."

"Oh no. OH NO! Sam ... Oh God ... What about the others? Janice and Paul ... Jim ... um ... the pilots ... Don and Bill my body guards?"

"Miss, you need to lay back and rest. Janice has a broken arm ... we may have to do something about that later ... not sure with the weather and all. Which one is Paul and which one is Jim?" "Paul, he's tall, blonde..."

"Okay, He's hurt very badly. I don't know but I don't want to get your hopes up ... he may not make it unless we can get him to a doctor. Jim and the pilots ... and your body guards are ... gone."

"Oh God. NO ... no, no, no. You have to get help. Paul ... he's my only lifeline. You've got to do something now. NOW."

"Look, I can't move him. I'm afraid that we'd injure him more. If you feel well enough, go sit with him and talk to him. Janice too. I'll go make a few calls and then get some supplies and come right back. Should only take fifteen minutes. Okay? Do you understand me?"

She looked shell shocked and I was worried she was going to pass out. She nodded her head and stood up slowly. I held onto her arm until she had her bearings. When she saw the bodies laying there on the ground I thought she was going to faint, but she steeled herself and started to make her way over to Paul and Janice. None of them were dressed for the weather, probably figuring that they'd be in L.A. by lunch time.

I got on the four-wheeler and drove back to the cabin. I put in the radio call to the Coast Guard and got the bad news first hand.

"We can't fly out until probably day after tomorrow. Hell, we may not even make it then. We've got seventy-five knot winds gusting to over a hundred and zero visibility. The inside strait is running up forty foot seas right now too, so the cutter is out as well. Even if we could get out through the strait, we'd never make it around Prince Of Wales and the open ocean to your place. This here is the big hundred year storm bud. Nobody is flying or boating in this. Weather service is saying it could last a week or possibly more. You're going to have to make do J.W."

I knew the Chief and if he was telling me they couldn't make it, the weather was rough. Real rough. I was desperate though. Totally out of my element and I couldn't stand to watch someone die and not try something.

"Can you get someone dropped off here to help me? Anything at all? I don't think the one man will make it ... he really needs medical help."

"What about the pilots and others on board?"

"Pilots are dead, four other men are dead. One woman has a broken arm ... the other just got cuts and bruises. The one man though ... he has something really wrong internally ... I can't help him. He's not quite lucid ... eyes are weird too ... one pupil is larger than the other..."

"Concussion for certain ... if it's not something more serious. Look, I'm really sorry J.W ... but we just can't risk it. You'll have to make do. If it will help I can get the surgeon to talk you through some stuff ... might be able to do something for the guy and that woman too."

"Chief, I'm not a doctor or a paramedic. Hell, I can barely keep myself out of deep shit here. There's no way I can doctor these people like they need. I don't have anything but the basics out here."

"J.W., I know you. You can do what needs to be done, and all that can be done. The Surgeon will talk you through what he can, and we'll be out the first break in the weather we have."

"What should I do with the man? It's getting colder and the rain isn't helping much either."

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