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Hunting Muskie: Rites of Passage – Excerpt from “Hurricane Ike”

“Gibra! Gibra!” Gibra awoke to Ike’s urgent voice amidst the roar of wind and rain. “She’s coming and she’s a bitch. We’ve got to get onto the roof.”

She heard a high pitched whine in tune with the wind.

“It’s a siren, Ike. Help is coming.”

“No, Gibra. That’s the wind. It’s blowing through the gates of hell out there. The roof is our only chance.”

“Ike, the window.”

As she pointed at it, the glass appeared to bend as if it was made of wax paper. A crack raced horizontally from one side to the other.


Before Ike could finish, the window shattered inward showering them with glass. Wind rushed in with a ferocious groan driving a sheet of rain that drenched them. Tex, their Jack Russell Terrier, yelped and jumped into Ike’s arms.

“Go! Go! Go! There’s no time to waste!”

Ike dragged Gibra through the house with Tex tucked under his arm. As he reached for the front door, it blew off its hinges careening over their heads. The wind slammed into them and water rushed in over their feet. Ike wrapped his free arm around Gibra and herded her to the side of the house where he had the extension ladder tied up.

“Up, Gibra, as fast as you can! We have to get onto the roof before it hits.”

At the top of the ladder, as an immense flash of lightening illuminated the night, Gibra looked to the south and froze in terror. A raging, twelve foot wall of water was surging toward them. Ike pulled her down onto a wooden object she could not make out as the water swept them away. She tried to scream. But Ike’s arm wrapped tightly around her trapped her breath. She heard Tex barking and caught a glimpse of him clinging with all his might to Ike.

The surge tide drove them forward as an ungodly wind threatened to wrest their makeshift life raft from beneath them. Gibra realized it was the picnic table they were riding on as it spun in tight, dizzying circles. Thunder crackled and lightening burst through the darkness. Blue black clouds were spinning maniacally above them. The deafening roar and electric whine of the wind lodged in her brain like an evil presence.

“Smith Oak Woods!” Ike bellowed in her ear.

She saw the branches of the great Live Oaks above the water. Yes, she thought, Smith Oak Woods. But of what consequence was that now?

“I’ll come back for you! I promise! Go!”

Ike’s mighty shove propelled her toward an approaching Oak. Gibra grabbed hold of a large branch, wrapped her arms around it and held on for dear life.

“Ike! Ike!” Gibra screamed. But in an instant he was gone. She clawed her way upward to a fork in the branches and wedged herself firmly there. Lightening flared, giving her one last glance of Ike in the distance, before darkness closed in again.

Hang on and survive until Ike can return, she told herself. No other earthly soul would have a chance. But Ike, who came into her life when hope was nearly gone, would surely find his way back to her.