A series of Traveler Tales, short stories by me, are available on Amazon, iTunes and Kobo.
(The first one, Traveler Tales: The Other Side is here.)
The second Traveler Tales: The Mighty Zambezi, is a turbulent rafting trip down one of the world's wildest navigable rivers, the Zambezi river in Zimbabwe. How or why I didn't die on this tempestuous whitewater, I don't know. It still curls my toes thinking about it!
An excerpt from the short story:
We had time to exhale and laugh and joke and regroup before our next rapid, #5, Stairway to Heaven. Our guide Warren gave us the lowdown. “It’s the highest commercial-run rapid. The drop is 16 feet.” (16 feet?!)
He told us how to technically negotiate it which I immediately forgot, except for the very first step. “We MUST hit this dead center, and paddle HARD! and then…” Whatever, I forgot. That’s all I could retain. My heart was still slamming at 180 bangs a minute, but now the physical exertion was gone and the fear had crept back, worse than before, pounding the adrenaline out to my fingertips. This time, I'm going to die, I thought.
I jammed my right foot under the center inflated cross-tube – my only anchor – and choked down a swallow with a dry mouth.
“Here we go!” Oh, shit. We hit the lip of the second rapid, the roar becoming deafening, and when the nose of the boat pointed down that big drop, I saw a bottomless pit.
“DIG!” yelled Warren. “DIG!”
I dug, I yelled to Janet, “DIG!” She yelled “DIG!” and dug with her paddle. Down, and down, the nose of the raft pointed. It was like going over the brink of a roller coaster – down and impossibly more down while it left your stomach up top. I screeched in panic as our boat slid down into the HOLE and bucked back up through the wall of water the surface of the HOLE formed.
I felt the boat go up, and up… like it was heading over backwards. “SHIT!” I screamed at the water, and stabbed at it with my paddle. I chopped through air. I sliced again and again.
The raft objected to the whimsy of the white-water, bucking and folding in half like a piece of paper. I was thrown again, into the center of the raft. We were all hurled about, but Warren kept yelling out commands. I didn't know if he was in the human pile or if he was the only one left paddling...
You can get the rest of this story, which is available on Amazon, iTunes and Kobo (and soon on Smashwords - but sorry, Nook is not an option for the time being!) here at my website: