A witness reported someone had fallen overboard from the Pride of Kent ferry about six miles off the coast of Dover last night.
HM Coastguard initially searched for a missing woman but later all crew and passengers had been accounted for.
The witness on board the ferry insisted they saw someone go overboard so the search involving two lifeboats from Dover and Dungeness is continuing.
I read a similar story set in the same location a few years ago. You might have noticed on the sidebar that I use small news stories like this in my Moonstone novels. This is how I do it. Liliha, a woman who wears an ancient ring, is called to random visions. I'm including an excerpt of a similar story I included in the recently released, Shattered Shells.
The atmosphere charged the air with power. Zaps and buzzes foretold a coming vision. Somehow, the sound didn't bode well. Liliha clenched her stomach as consciousness faded. Sweet ambrosia accompanied her while she penetrated the churning disparity.
* * * *
I'm standing in the dark—inky blackness ahead, but lights and muffled sounds come from behind. Legs beneath me adjust to a lurch beneath our feet. I've already merged with an intoxicated mind. Not sure if the dizzy effect comes from within or without. Where are we? The wind roars. Hair whips into my face. Her face.
Another lurch makes the surface slant beneath our feet. I tighten our muscles and whisper, 'Careful'.
"Jamie," a female voice calls. "Come inside. The sea's rough out there."
Ah. We're on the deck of a ship.
Dizzy, we lean over a railing. Goose bumps rise on the bare arms emerging from her light evening dress. She's just left two friends to get a breath of fresh air on the Princess Seaways ferry. We're in the North Sea.
The surface underfoot tilts.
We lose balance.
Topple head first over the barrier. Flail the air. Plummet below.
Hit. Swishing noises.
Our vision blurs. Can't breathe.
She's going into shock and dragging me with her.
'Wake up. Your life depends on it'. Thrash. Kick. Skirt catches on our legs. Try to reach a faint glint against the drag of downward momentum. Flaying arms take us up and up.
Head breaks into the air. Breathe one lungful after another. Glimpse hundreds of lights while waves lash our head.
Gasp. Break surface again and breathe. Movements jerky. Cold numbs our limbs.
Yell. Someone might hear over the raging storm, otherwise this holiday will end in death.
Too weak. So cold.
Keep moving. Look at the lights.
No. They're growing smaller with each lunge.
Concentrate. I must keep Jamie alive until help reaches her. Chances are against rescue. Yet, why am I here if the task is hopeless? First, give comfort, and then search for someone to help.
I breathe assurances into her mind. 'Keep afloat. They'll search for you. Never stop moving. Your chances are good. The propeller didn't suck you under. You only need to survive for a short time. Focus on the comfort of the coming rescue. Think of your loved ones'. Don't let her worry about the unimaginable.
Although regret sears me, the desperation of her plight impels me to leave her. Abandon her.
While she fights the paralysis in her chilled limbs, I disengage and soar up and over toward the lights. On the lower deck, uniformed men toss an inflatable overboard and others hold the rope firm. Commands swirl in the wind while people scramble aboard. The outboard motor roars.
In the black night, they battle the waves. The throb of the ship's powerful engines fades. Shouts from hopeless voices penetrate the raging storm.
I hover over the inflatable. Inside, the men strain forward.
I concentrate on Jamie's whereabouts because they have to decide which way to search. With my guidance and calm assurances broadcast into their collective minds, the searchers set out in the right direction despite the lashing waves. I'm relieved they picked up my message.
In a flash, I've returned to Jamie.
Numbing cold. Hard to move. Tired.
'Fight', I whisper. 'Never give up. Help is close. Kick for all you're worth'.
Why bother? Too cold.
She needs a memory to give incentive. I emerge deep into her mind and find Darren—laughing, full of life and love. She grasps the image. 'You need to prove worthy. Show how you can fight any adversity. Think of the stories you can tell your children'.
Warmth washes over her to mix with the alcohol and adrenalin in her blood. I've cheered her—for now.
One more task. Direct the men to find her in the howling sea. I zap over to the inflatable to check their position.
"She must have drowned, Tom," one man says to another.
"She's been in the cold too long."
In a flash, I've merged with Tom and read his concern. Nobody has ever been recovered alive in these conditions, if found at all. I whisper, 'On the left, between the waves. See the flash of movement?'
We train the torch in the vicinity. The swell heaves and rolls.
'Look', I whisper.
"Try the starboard, Tom."
"Wait," he says. "I think I saw something." Tom, with me inside him, focuses on an object bobbing behind the spray. "There," we shout. "Steer that way."
With a sigh of relief, I lift away.
The men head for Jamie while she bobs, sinks, and breaks surface again.
After shouts and activity, they assist her dripping body into the inflatable. My consciousness fades.
* * * *
A quick glance either way along the street assured Liliha no one had spotted her during the out of body experience. Heartbeat pounded in her ears without the raging storm to drown out other sounds. Impossible to remain unaffected after the rescue, but somehow she managed to calm her shaking limbs and continue walking. Although the odds were against a rescue, Jamie hadn't succumbed to defeat. Liliha appreciated the firm path under her feet.