It’s doable, but it can take a lot more time

By David Drum

It sounded like a good idea. My kid brother, who’s as concerned about the environment as I am, invited me to go with him via electric car from Los Angeles to my sister’s birthday party near Boulder, Colorado. From where I live, Boulder is approximately a thousand miles away, a 16-hour drive in a gasoline-powered car.

“That sounds like fun,” I said. “Let’s do it.”

My brother has been driving his electric car for a while, but he’s mostly driven around town. Neither of us had traveled long distance in an electric car, but there is a…

© David Drum

We can instantly create more than five million miles of safe, easy-to-use bike paths in the United States and it won’t cost taxpayers a cent. All that’s necessary is to pass a federal law that makes it legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk.

All right, it’s not easy to pass a law. But in this country, we do have millions of miles of empty sidewalks and they’re all empty most of the time.

Almost every city and town in the United States has sidewalks. New York City has 12,000 miles of sidewalks. San Diego, California…

London was then a sprawling metropolis with a population of almost one million people. Image: “Gin Lane,” William Hogarth

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Heathcliff steps off a ship and makes his way to the city of London, one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the world. On his first night in the teeming city, Heathcliff catches a glimpse of a beautiful and mysterious lady he is soon to see again.

© David Drum

Heathcliff arrived at the port of London with money in his pockets. …

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, the Commerce has finally arrived in Jamaica with all that’s left of its cargo of 200 African slaves.

Heathcliff has survived a mutiny, a storm at sea, and other adventures before his ship sails into Kingston Harbor. Kingston, Jamaica is the center of the British slave trade in the New World.

© David Drum

Heathcliff awoke to the sound of squawking. A pandemonium of parrots whirled low over the Commerce. As he made his way toward the head, he saw two small single-masted fishing boats making their way out to sea.


Slave castles such as this were common on the Guinea Coast of Africa

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Captain Collingwood has received word that many African slaves might be available at a notorious slave fort on the Guinea Coast called Gold Coast Castle. The slave fort has been the scene of much vicious recent fighting between African tribes, Heathcliff and the crew learn as their ship approaches.

© David Drum

As the ship passed the mouth of a small river the Englishman cried, “Gold Coast Castle’s at hand, captain! That way! Maneuver your ship into the harbour.”

Captain Collingwood took the helm, with Mr. Bugg at his side pointing the…

On the treacherous coast of Africa, Heathcliff and the first mate go ashore.

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Heathcliff’s ship is sailing the African coast when the ship is approached by African natives in canoes. After some sharp exchanges with the captain, Heathcliff is sent ashore with Mr. Coil, the first mate, look at some slaves the captain may wish to buy.

© David Drum

The sun rose like a disc of burning flame over the bow. The Guinea coast materialized into a long deep green ribbon along the port horizon. A sticky equatorial breeze shuddered out from the African shore, smelling of moist earth and vegetation. …

The busy seaport of Liverpool was a center of the English slave trade.

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Heathcliff has fled Wuthering Heights and found menial work on the busy docks of Liverpool.

Early one morning, for reasons which are not clear to him, he is sent across town to meet with a wealthy merchant who is active in the triangle trade.

© David Drum

On Saturday morning, Heathcliff walked up Paradise Street into a neighborhood of large grey-stone mansions. …

In Liverpool, young Heathcliff signed onto a slave ship and sailed to Africa. In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, Captain Collingwood assigns Heathcliff to accompany a canoe expedition up the Pongo River, where the African slave trader King Big Tucker has sent his men to gather more slaves for the English traders.

(C) David Drum

Captain Collingwood tasked Heathcliff with keeping an eye on King Big Tucker’s expedition. That morning, he found himself carrying one end of a long dugout canoe down a narrow path through the jungle that paralleled the ocean. After he followed them sloshing through…

Heathcliff helps row toward the ship during a terrible storm at sea

This chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years begins with Heathcliff discovering the body of the first mate, Mr. Coil, who has died from wounds sustained during a ferocious mutiny at sea. A sudden storm is bearing down on the ship, but Captain Collingwood insists on giving his first mate a proper burial at sea despite the storm…

Heathcliff: The Lost Years is the untold story at the heart of Wuthering Heights.

© David Drum

Heathcliff knocked on the door to Mr. Coil’s cabin. The first mate didn’t answer. When Heathcliff stepped inside, he discovered the first mate’s dead body. The…

In this chapter from Heathcliff: The Lost Years, young Heathcliff makes a fateful decision to flee his adopted home at Wuthering Heights. The day which forever changes his life ends with him trembling with emotion and riding angrily away into the teeth of a storm.

Emily Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights does not explain how Heathcliff manages to transform himself from a penniless orphan to a rich and ruthless gentleman during the three years he is away. Heathcliff: The Lost Years is the epic tale of Heathcliff’s remarkable and adventurous transformation, the untold story at the heart of Wuthering Heights.

© David Drum


David Drum Writer

David Drum has worked as a newspaper reporter, ranch foreman, a funeral director, and more. MFA from the University of Iowa, author of several books.

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