Astrid Maxxim and the Mystery of Dolphin Island – Chapter 11 Excerpt

Astrid woke up to the sounds of rain coming down upon roof. It was a surprisingly comforting sound, and it took her a few minutes to figure out why. Then the realization suddenly hit her. The sound of the rain was present, but the sounds of wind that had seemed so oppressive for the previous two days, were now gone.

She got up and hurried into the main room, looking out the crack in the boarded up window. The rain was falling in torrents, but it was falling straight down, not blown to the side like it had been. Looking around the house, the girl inventor realized that she was the only one up so far, so she wrapped up in her sleeping bag and sat by the window, watching the falling precipitation.

It was past nine when Adeline joined Astrid in the waking world. The two of them began setting out breakfast, and when the other three women joined them they ate the last of their fruit, along with cold cereal and the last of the milk.

They spent the entire day indoors without power, but with the winds much reduced, the mood was lighter.

The next day, when the skies hadn’t changed, Astrid began to get antsy. She decided that she had been indoors long enough. The others seemed to feel the same way. Mid-day, they all decided to go outside and evaluate the storm damage. Adeline and Océane went to check on the boat, while Astrid and Eleanor examined the generator. Penelope was assigned to check out the house. They shared their findings when they returned to the house.

“The generator is a total loss,” said Eleanor. “It’s so old, I was keeping it together with bubble gum and hair pins anyway. But some flying debris hit it. It took out the whole top assembly. I honestly think it will be cheaper to buy a new one, but it’s going to be $4000 and probably more than that in shipping.”

“The money is no problem,” said Penelope. “We can order it online. In the meantime, we’ll shoot over to Tahiti and buy a gasoline generator to hold us over.”

“And that brings us to a bigger problem,” said Adeline. “The speed boat is completely up on the beach, and it’s upside down. It doesn’t look too badly damaged, thought it is hard to tell.”

“All right,” said Astrid. “Let’s make a list of everything we need to order online. Then we can make a few Internet calls.”

At dinner, the five young women felt satisfied that they had done everything that they could. They hand ordered a replacement generator, though it might take a month to arrive. They had also purchased a small gasoline generator in Tahiti, which would be delivered by a salvage team who would arrive to right the speedboat and return it to the water. That wouldn’t happen though until the storm had completely passed.

There were two more days of heavy rain. The ladies mostly stayed indoors and ate fruits and vegetables from cans. The following day, which was Sunday, started out just the same, but after breakfast the rainfall started to slow, and just after lunch, it stopped.

The young women quickly changed into their swimsuits and went to lie down on the sandy beach, taking in as much of the sun as the still cloudy sky would allow. Even Astrid, who generally didn’t believe in tanning, enjoyed the feeling of the warm rays bathing her body.

“Look!” called Penelope. “The dolphins are back in the lagoon! Can we swim out to them?”

Before anyone could answer, the rain started again. It was only a sprinkle at first, but the skies were growing dark again. The girls gathered their towels and made it to the house just before the downpour returned in earnest.

“If anybody had told me that I would spend all my time in French Polynesia huddled inside the house,” said Astrid, “I would have thought they were off their nut.”

Both Océane and Adeline gave her a puzzled look.

“I would have thought they were crazy,” translated Astrid.

On Monday, the skies were still full of clouds, but the rain was limited to very light intermittent showers and the wind was no stronger than that found in a typical tropical day. The dolphins were back that afternoon, and all five young women joined them.

Astrid cast a glance at the battery charge on her translation devices. The MX-360 had pretty good battery life compared to similar products, thanks to the batteries that Astrid had invented almost two years earlier. Still, they designed to be charged after use, and the ones that formed the basis of the translator hadn’t been. The reading on the one she carried was 29%. The girl inventor decided that she would use the translator as long as it lasted.

Astrid hadn’t even reached the center of the lagoon where the other young women were floating when a large grey form brushed past her.

“Alister! Alister!” the large male announced himself.

“Astrid, Astrid,” replied the girl, using her translator to produce the dolphin-like sound that she had chosen to be her cetacean name.

The dolphin made a sound that Astrid thought might be her name, but the translator didn’t indicate anything.

Alister sailed up next to her and she reached out to touch his dorsal fin. He didn’t do anything but roll over as if to make her reach easier, so she grabbed hold of it. He shot forward, pulling her through the water at tremendous speed. After about thirty feet, she lost her handhold, and Alister shot away, leaving her right next to Océane.

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