The Fiction of Wolf Moisan

Zuangeng Kidnapped

Zuangeng steered the boat port toward the river mouth. It turned out to be wider than the boat. They entered the mouth. Zuangeng tacked the boat, going from one bank to another, up the river. a couple miles upriver, the river became too narrow. Donato said, “Turn to the left bank. We’ll beach the boat here.”

Zuangeng did as he was told. He released the tiller and sheet. The boat hit the bank. Donato jumped into the water. Zuangeng walked to the mast. He reefed the boom up. He stuffed the sail between the boom and mast. He jumped into the water. Donato and Zuangeng pulled the bow ashore. Zuangeng took the painter and tied it to a nearby tree.

Julyana grabbed the basket. She walked to the bow. She jumped onto the bank.

Donato surveyed the area. The tree, Zuangeng used, was part of the forest. It was late evening. The sun was low on the horizon. Donato said, “It will be dark in about thirty minutes. We’re close to where I planned on going.”

They walked into the forest. They came to a cave. Donato said,, “This is the place. We’ll hole up here for the night.”

They sat at the mouth. They ate their evening meal.

Captain Garaad got up. He said, “It’s time to leave.”

Everybody stood up. They exited the tavern. They walked to Donato’s house. Captain Garaad said, “Surround the house. Let nobody escape! Remember, Zuangeng is not to be harmed!”

They split up and surrounded the house. Captain Garaad and Muse walked to the door. Captain Garaad turned the doorknob. He pushed the door open. He looked at Muse. They entered the house. They searched the house. They found no one. They exited the house. Captain Garaad gathered everybody in front of the house. He said, “They’ve fuckin’ left the house. We go to the beach, next.”

They walked to the beach. They found Zuangeng’s boat gone. They walked to their boats. Muse screamed, “Damn sails and ropes are gone!”

Captain Garaad said, calmly, “Back to the house. They are bound to return. We can wait for them there.”

They marched back to the house. Some people were out strolling. They watched Captain Garaad and entourage enter the house.

The next morning, Donato, Zuangeng and Julyana had breakfast. They headed to the boat. Zuangeng untied the painter from the tree. Julyana climbed aboard the boat and sat. Donato and Zuangeng pushed the boat into the river. They climbed aboard.

Zuangeng released the boom and sail. Donato eased the boom down this time. Zuangeng tacked the boat downriver.

They reached the sea. Zuangeng steered the boat to starboard. He sitting, holding the tiller and sheet. The boom swung to port. He pulled the sheet bringing the boom closer to the center. He tied the sheet to a post. He held the tiller with his left hand.

Donato said, “Zuangeng, put your right hand in the water. Tell me what you feel.”

Zuangeng put his right hand into the water as deep as he could. He said, “The water is cold.”

Donato said, “Can you feel how the water is flowing?”

Zuangeng said, “Yes. It is flowing behind us. That must be because of our movement. Wait! Now, I can feel a different flow. It seems to move toward shore.”

Donato said, “Ignore the first flow. It is of no matter. The flow you need to be concerned with is called a current. It is how the water flows naturally. The first is not. We are more concerned with the current. Anything else?”

Zuangeng said, “There is a third. It seems to flow away from shore.”

Donato said, “The last two are the ones we are most concerned with. The two together tell us there is land nearby. They, also, tell us which direction the land lies.”

They approached the wharf. There were boys among the beached boats. They were scavenging what they could from them. The boys saw them. One of them walked to the wharf. He stood at the pierhead. When Zuangeng, Donato and Julyana were within earshot, the boy yelled, “Donato! There are men holding up in your house.”

Donato said, “Thank you for the warning. Zuangeng, sail on. I know another place to dock.”

Zuangeng swung the boat to port. They were running parallel to the shore. They sailed on until they were out of sight of the house. They came to a grove of trees bordering a narrow strip of sand. Donato said, “Beach the boat here. We’ll tie the boat to one of the trees.”


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