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Dolphin Dreams Jules Jones This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Published by Loose Id LLC 1802 N Carson Street, Suite 212-2924 Carson City NV 89701-1215 www.loose-id.com Copyright © April 2007 by Jules Jones All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared in any form, including, but not limited to printing, photocopying, faxing, or emailing without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. ISBN 978-1-59632-383-4 Available in Adobe PDF, HTML, MobiPocket, and MS Reader Printed in the United States of America Editor: Raven Cover Artist: Anne Cain .
Chapter One Martin switched off the boat’s engine and sat back in contentment, master of all he surveyed. Not really, of course, but it was a pleasant daydream, and this early in the year it was an easy illusion to sustain. There were few boats out on the water, and all of those were working boats. This pleasant little cove was empty of any human life save himself, and the only boat visible on the open sea was a distant dot near the horizon. He’d been dubious at first about taking up Simon’s offer/request of a week or so keeping an eye on Simon’s new house in the wilds of Dorset. Yes, he’d just finished a tough job and was due a break. Martin needed a break, ideally away from home and the memories that had driven him to take on a contract for weeks of fourteen-hour days. But he’d been thinking of a weekend in Paris, seeing the sights, not a week in darkest Dorset with nothing to do but brood. “Don’t be an idiot,” Simon had said to him. “You still haven’t got over the two-timing bastard. You’ll look at all those Greek statues in the Louvre, and all you’ll think of is how you should be seeing them with him. Or ogling them with him.” Martin smiled at the memory. Simon was thoroughly straight and thoroughly promiscuous, but that hadn’t stopped them forming an instant bond on the day they’d met at university. And it hadn’t stopped Simon being outraged on Martin’s behalf when he’d discovered that his lover was a married man, the secrecy demanded not because Barry was afraid of being outed as gay but because he was having an affair. It was the deception that hurt -- and that had made Simon so angry when Martin had phoned him to pour his heart out. His friend might sleep with any woman who’d have him, but Simon had never, ever lied to any of them about it. Simon had listened to him, comforted him, and reassured him that he wasn’t being unreasonable in being hurt by Barry’s behaviour. .
2 Jules Jones Martin pushed away the memory of the scene when he’d confronted the bastard. It wasn’t worth it. Better to sit and admire the intense blue of the sea and the way the early morning light washed over the low cliff that encircled the cove. The sea was calm, with only slight ripples to gently rock the boat in a soothing rhythm. The sun was still behind the eastern cliff, but overhead the sky was a glorious deep blue, shading down to a pale eggshell colour near the horizon. It was almost silent, the only sound that of the tiny waves slapping against the cove’s rock wall. Simon had been right. It was peaceful here, the sort of quiet that gives comfort rather than an opportunity to brood. Martin could sit and soak up the atmosphere for a while and then read his book. He had an audio book as well, in case he felt like lying back and listening to someone else read, but he was reluctant to disturb the silence. Really, the only flaw in the morning was that he was here alone, because Simon was off somewhere in Europe applying his own brand of oil on troubled waters. The original plan had been that when Martin finished his contract, he’d spend a week or so helping Simon move into the new house, but the best-laid plans rarely survived contact with Simon. It hadn’t been a great surprise when he’d picked up the phone and heard Simon apologising profusely for needing to leave the day after Martin’s holiday started, and telling him to come down anyway. By then Martin had already decided that pottering around in Simon’s new boat seemed like a good way to unwind, whether in company or by himself. Looking around him at the peaceful scene, Martin felt no regrets at all. Even having to get up early this morning to drive Simon to the railway station had held the reward of a beautiful dawn. There was nothing here to remind him of betrayal. He got out his book, intending to read until the light was right for what he really had in mind today. By half past ten the light was at the right angle to pick out the rock banding in the cliffs. Martin read a little longer, finishing his book. Then he took the boat closer in to the cliff. Satisfied that he could see the general features clearly enough, he poured himself a cup of tea and picked up his Dictaphone. He methodically described the broad geological features he could see, working from top to bottom. This cliff had some nicely exposed bedding layers, and with any luck the fossiliferous bed he could see exposed at beach level actually was fossil-bearing just here. Simon had laughed at him, saying it was a busman’s holiday for a consultant geologist to go out fossil-hunting for pleasure, but it was nice to have the chance to go looking for fossils just because they were pretty. Long habit ensured that Martin recorded exactly where and what context he’d found them in, but that would only add to his collector’s pride. He’d talked to his Dictaphone for a good fifteen minutes, occasionally sipping his tea to keep his throat moist, before he realised that he had company. A smooth grey shape had broken the surface of the water in front of the boat. .
Dolphin Dreams 3 It rolled slightly, and an eye peered at him. Martin jumped. Then he realised that he was looking at a dolphin. Two dolphins, in fact, for there was a whistling noise behind him, and he turned to see another of the animals at the side of the boat, looking up at him. All thoughts of fossil-hunting went out of his head. The cliff would be there tomorrow. Dolphins were another matter. “Hello,” he said and immediately felt foolish. They couldn’t understand him. And yet the dolphins were clearly curious about him; if he talked to them, it would at least indicate interest back. “What do you two want?” The dolphin next to the boat whistled at him again and grinned. Martin knew that bottle-nosed dolphins had a permanent “smile” that wasn’t a real expression, but this one was definitely grinning at him. It was the cadence of the whistle. It sounded as if the dolphin was imitating human laughter, and together with the open mouth it gave the impression of a real smile. “Are you laughing?” he asked, mostly in fancy. To his surprise the dolphin gave him a brief whistle and dipped its head. It couldn’t have understood exactly what he’d said, but it had obviously been hanging around humans enough to have picked up some body language. “Well, this is an interesting conversation, but we’re not going to get very far on body language and tone of voice.” The other dolphin whistled at him. No, at the dolphin he’d been talking to, judging by the flurry of whistles back and forth. They shifted position, ending up side by side next to the boat, both looking up at him. Only then did Martin realise just how large they were, as long as the small boat he was sitting in. He was abruptly reminded that dolphins were the smallest members of the whale family. They were very small whales, but even a very small whale looked quite big when two of them were this close to him and his now fragile-seeming boat. Though they didn’t seem at all hostile, just curious. Perhaps they were hoping for a snack; if they’d had much to do with humans, they’d undoubtedly encountered people trying to feed them. He edged closer to the side of the boat. “I’m sorry, I don’t have any fish. No fish.” There was a mournful whistle from the one he’d first seen, who clearly understood “no fish”. Then it nudged the boat with its head, swung around to point its beak at the cliff, whistled, and looked back at him. “You want to hear more about the fossils?” Martin asked, wondering if he was dreaming. The reply was a whistle that sounded like a yes. Well, whether they’d actually understood anything of what he’d said, or whether they just liked the sound of his voice, .
4 Jules Jones they obviously wanted him to go on talking. So he settled back down on his seat and told them about the local fossils. They were certainly one of the odder audiences he’d had, but at least they were attentive. After a while Martin almost forgot that they couldn’t really understand the details, and dropped into lecture mode, putting together a basic script he could use next time he gave a presentation at a school. The dolphins were still listening to him by the time he’d come to the end of it, apparently quite happy to be used as a test audience. He stretched and said, “That’s it for now, I’m afraid. I need to spend some time collecting specimens to go with it; then I can fine-tune it.” They whistled at him again. Martin recognised a thank you when he heard it, even if it wasn’t in English. He glanced at his watch. The dolphins had been with him for an hour or so, and he was surprised at their patience. “Thanks for sitting around listening to me. It’s easier to bounce ideas off an audience, even if they don’t understand me. Actually, you two have much better attention spans than most of the kids in the schools I’ve spoken at.” More whistling, sounding like laughter again, making him wonder just how much the pair understood. He made a mental note to look up dolphin behaviour when he got home, though he suspected the more interesting data would be classified. He’d heard of naval experiments using dolphins. Maybe they would understand very simple sentences. “I’m going to move the boat. Move boat.” He pointed to the engine. To Martin’s relief the dolphins dipped their heads and moved away, just far enough that he stopped worrying about them getting caught by the boat when he moved it. He wasn’t confident of his ability to control the boat with any great accuracy, even though it was designed to be easy for a novice to manage. Boats weren’t his thing, and Simon hadn’t had much time to instruct him after he’d arrived. He still managed to get the boat up onto the small shingle beach at the back of the cove without too much difficulty. This was what the boat was meant for -- pottering around the coves, getting on and off otherwise inaccessible beaches. It was a slightly odd-looking craft, built to order for Simon. Simon’s hobby involved looking at still-living sea life, and the boat was built with an amateur naturalist’s needs in mind. Plenty of waterproof storage space for notebooks and binoculars and the like, yet small and light enough for one person to handle on a beach with no quay or ramp. So long as that person didn’t mind getting his ankles wet, of course, but a pair of Wellington boots dealt with that little difficulty. Martin picked up his tools and set off along the beach to where the fossil bed dipped within easy reach. To his delight there was a nice ammonite on a freshly exposed surface right in front of him as he approached the cliff. He photographed it, then tested it carefully. It was loose enough to justify removing it before the next storm came in. He gently freed the ammonite from the surrounding rock and carried it back to the boat to wrap it in padding. He still had his audience, the dolphins as close in to the beach as .
Dolphin Dreams 5 they could probably manage without risking beaching themselves. It surprised him that they were so interested in what he was doing. But since they seemed willing to stay with him, he encouraged them by explaining in a loud voice what he was doing. He spent another half hour or so examining the fossil bed, finding several more nice specimens, though none quite as fine as the first. Satisfied with the morning’s work, he went back to the boat for lunch. He pulled the boat off the beach and moved it out into deeper water where the dolphins would be comfortable, then put on his audio book. When he’d first arrived in the cove he’d been alone and reluctant to disturb the silence. Now he had company, and company that liked the sound of a human voice. The audio book might keep the dolphins with him while he was eating. They didn’t pay much attention for a minute or two. Then they hurtled over to the boat, stopping just short of bumping into it, and positioned themselves either side. One of them whistled at him. “All right, I’ll restart it.” He did so. Only then did it occur to him to take a photo of the dolphins. He’d been so startled, then enchanted, by their initial appearance that he’d quite forgotten about his camera. After that he’d been concentrating on the fossils, keeping both himself and the dolphins amused. He took out the camera and ran off a few shots. One dolphin rolled an eye at him, but seemed unperturbed. The other was too absorbed in listening to the book to pay even that much attention to the camera. The dolphins seemed content to listen to the book as Martin ate his lunch, with no begging for food. It was only when he brought out a chocolate bar that he got a reaction. One of the dolphins lifted high in the water and whistled. “No. Chocolate’s poisonous to some animals, and I won’t risk it.” The dolphin whistled more loudly and leaned its head on the side of the boat, making it tip down alarmingly. The dolphin hastily retreated and whistled again. They hadn’t bothered him for food until now, so someone must have given them chocolate in the past, giving them a taste for it. For the first time Martin regretted that the dolphins didn’t really understand more than very simple English. How could he make them understand that chocolate might make them sick? Well, if he was right about them having had it before, they should be all right with a small amount. And it was a small bar, so they wouldn’t expect more if they knew that that was all there was. He held it where they could see it and broke it into three pieces. The one who’d asked for some promptly opened its mouth, and he tossed it one of the pieces. He turned to the other one. “What about you?” Another open mouth, and another piece tossed. Martin put his own piece in his mouth before anyone got ideas about a second helping. He didn’t mind sharing; it was a small price .