Escape by Sea

Image courtesy Unsplash: Sam Moqadam

It was well past midnight as Jack glanced up at the partly cloudy sky. A crisp wind was picking up from the east, giving rise to the sea swells. No sooner had he looked at the waves than he leaned further over the railing and retched into the water again.

He had withstood the queasy feeling of the fishing boat’s rolling motion for the first couple of hours but it had finally caught up to him. The first mate, Ulf Nielsen, waited for a moment and then slapped him on the back. 

Ja, get it all out. You’ll feel better soon.”

Jack looked at him as if he were an imbecile but refrained from making a retort. He was too sick.

“The captain says we’ve cleared Bock Island,” Nielsen added. “Thanks to the incipient fog, we have a decent chance of eluding German patrol boats. If all goes well, we’ll make Denmark before sunrise.”

Jack nodded but didn’t reply. Nielsen figured Jack wasn’t keen on carrying on a conversation and headed back inside the wheelhouse. Jack forced himself to take his mind off his ill-tempered stomach and reflected on the last few hours.

Will Hilde miss me as much as I’m going to miss her? Jack wondered, with the trawler chugging further away from Stralsund with each passing mile. When will we see each other again? And what about Andreas? Would he, out of spite, harm her, perhaps betray her?

Jack caught a reflection of himself in the wheelhouse window. What he saw, made him smile as much as he permitted himself under the circumstances. Clad in grey slicks, black boots, and a yellow anorak—all supplied by Nielsen—he looked like one of the fishermen.

As if reading his mind, Jack caught a reassuring smile from Nielsen indicating that all was well. He took it as a good sign and said a quick prayer for the remainder of the trip. If only he could silence his fears for Hilde. She had risked much to help him escape, and now she would be heading back to Berlin, right into the heart of the third Reich.

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