Stranded

Stranded

A Story by Dearantlers

The slight breeze turns into a torrent of wind, whipping my hair into my face.  Lightning flashes and thunder crashes above me, the loud booms echoing over the rising waves.  Rain pelts my exposed skin like thousands of tiny needles.  My lifeboat starts to rock wildly as the waves thrash like monsters underneath it.  The rolling waves push my little watercraft and in an unexpected moment it tips and I crash into the torrent of water.  My mouth is filled with cold, salty liquid. I thrash my legs wildly trying to reach something, but my fingers just slice through empty water. I kick my legs and wave my arms, trying to push up for one last gasp of air, but to no avail. I blow the last air out from my lungs and my body goes limp. I start to sink and my unconscious body floats almost gracefully down, down, down…

Water laps gently around my feet, sand digs into the side of my face, and everything hurts.  I can feel the sun burning my skin, the heat almost unbearable. I try to open my eyes, but am blinded by the sun and squeeze them back shut. I try to move my arms underneath me so that I can push myself up, but the movement hurts too much. Instead I slowly move inch by little inch until I finally, painfully, pull myself up and into a sitting position. I open my eyes slowly, then blink out the spots in my vision as I let my eyes adjust to the brightness of the sun’s glare. I look around in wonder. I’m staring at the ocean. At the moment it’s perfectly calm, with seagulls flying peacefully above it. It’s nothing like it was when I last saw it as I fell out of my lifeboat. The sky is a perfect, cloudless blue with only the bright orb of the sun obscuring it. I look down at my feet where my toes are digging in the sand. They look like raisins they’re so wrinkled from spending too much time in the water. My pants are torn and holey and wherever my skin shows is bright red and blistered.  It’s the same all over my body, along with bruises and cuts that I don’t know how I got them. I try to turn my head to see my surroundings, but my neck is too stiff from lying awkwardly on the sand. Instead, I groan as I force my limbs to push me into a standing position. I sway on my feet, fighting off the dizziness that tries to make me fall back down. I turn slowly around, dragging my feet and looking around in awe.  The sand gives way to a rocky area, then after that there are trees, but ones unlike anything I have ever seen before. The trunks have a slight curve to them and the leaves are each three meters long. Nestled where the leaves meet the trunk are large round ball looking things and I wonder if they’re a sort of fruit. 

I take a step forward, but my legs give out underneath me, and I fall flat on my face, my hands too slow to catch me.  “Ow!” I scream as I feel blisters pop and sand dig into my already raw skin.  My throat hurts from my outburst and I realize how dry and sand-papery it feels.

“Water,” my brain tells me. “I need water.”  I groan in reply, refusing to get up.  Instead I decide to just lie on the beach, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.

The water is what makes me finally move.  The tide was getting higher, and instead of gently lapping around my feet it was rising up, first past my knees, then my waist. The salt water burned my many wounds. Now the tide is getting uncomfortably close to my head. I push myself onto my hands and knees, and half crawl and half drag myself farther up the beach, moaning with the effort.  Once I start crawling, it gets easier as I go along, so I keep moving through the trees and I barely realize that I’m still crawling. As I keep going, I realize I’m soaking wet.  I look down in confusion and see water. I’m crawling through a small stream.  I smile in excitement. Maybe it’s not salty! I collapse in the water and just let it flow into my mouth, swallowing greedily.  I don’t taste any salt.  As the water flows into my mouth I feel like it’s flowing into my limbs, giving them back life and strength. I pull myself out of the stream and lean my back against the trunk of a tree. I feel so much better now. As I sit there, a wind comes up, shaking the leaves of the tree. It’s only a slight burst of wind, but it’s enough to cause one of the brown balls to fall from the tree. It misses me by mere centimeters, and falls on a rock, cracking it open slightly.  White liquid starts to leak out and without thinking I snatch the ball up and let some of the liquid drip into my mouth.  It’s bitter and makes me want to gag, but at the same time I kind of like it. My fingers find the crack in the ball and pry it open farther, until it breaks in half, the milk pooling in one side. It’s hollow, with an inner layer of white and then the outside layer is brown. I dig my fingers into the white, fleshy part and stuff it in my mouth. Like the milk, I both don’t like it and like it at the same time. I don’t know how long it’s been since I last ate something and I eat the whole thing.  I sit there by the tree for what I think is three days, surviving on the fallen fruit that I’ve decided to call a coconut.  Occasionally, I would crawl back in the stream to get water, but also to let it wash over and clean out my wounds.  Finally, with the help of the tree, I stand up and slowly start to walk around. I’m unsteady on my feet and I feel like a toddler just learning how to walk. Slowly, I explore my new home. It’s an island, I decide, and probably a deserted one. The only sign of life I’ve seen have been the birds.

I follow the stream, searching for where it meets the ocean. It flows into a beautiful, bright blue lagoon.  It reminds me of the harbor in England where I originally started my journey. I had been so excited to leave on an adventure, knowing I wouldn’t miss life in England. As the ship set sail I looked back at all the people waving goodbye, knowing there was no one waving to me.  I wasn’t leaving any family. I’d never had a family and the only friend I’d ever had died from cholera in the orphanage. I’d run away before they’d even buried him and found work on the ship, leaving a week later. I’d embraced the opportunity to leave the home that’d never felt like a home, never once thinking that this is what would happen to me.

The loneliness of the island is depressing and I almost miss my flea-ridden bed at Saint Mary’s Home for Boys. There, at least I had a roof over my head, two meals each day and people to talk to, even if I was getting yelled at most of the time. Here, I had none of that.

I feel like I adjusted to island life surprising quickly. I’d always been good at climbing, so climbing the trees to get coconuts was never a problem. I found a stick that I could spear fish in the lagoon with, though that took a lot of practice and patience. I even found a sort of cave that I could sleep in. It wasn’t very sturdy, but it kept the sun out and stayed cool.

I liked the cave because it was dark and reminded me of my sleeping quarters in the hull of the ship. My hammock is where most of my favorite memories are. The other boys my age and I would talk and play games down there when we had spare time. That was the first time I ever actually felt like I belonged. 

But not all my memories were good.  I remember my last night on the ship.  I had woken up to shouting and had jumped out of bed to see what I could help with.  I almost fell over once my feet hit the floor because the ship was rocking so much. I knew we had to be in a bad storm.

Id scrambled up the ladder to the deck. The second my head popped out I was soaked. I shivered, amazed at the sheet of rain pummeling the deck. The wind was howling, pushing at me and making me unsteady on my feet. The waves were crashing around us, higher than I’d ever seen them. Some were even crashing over the side of the railing. I understood why the ship was rocking so much.

“Don’t just stand there boy!” someone yelled at me. “Help with something!”

I scrambled towards the mast where most of the people were working at. 

All of a sudden there was a huge “BOOM!!” and the sky lit up almost as bright as the sun. I fell to the deck in terror, my ears ringing.

There was more shouting, plus a crackling sound now too.  I looked up, blinking a few times to get my eyes to adjust back to the darkness after being blinded by the lightning. What I saw horrified me. The mast was on fire, the sails burning up in what seemed to be only a matter of minutes. A pole came crashing down, and I ran away from it with everyone else and watched in horror as the deck caught fire. I didn’t understand how the fire could be so big while it rained so hard.

“Abandon ship!!” someone screamed, and everyone turned to the lifeboats. I realized I was the closest one to them. I raced towards the nearest one, jumping in and starting to pull the ropes to let it down.  I knew people would be jumping in any second and I needed to be ready to let it down once they did. Among all the shouting as people raced towards the boats, I heard a mighty groan.

I looked over to watch just as the mast started to fall over. It seemed to happen in slow motion. Everyone stopped and turned to watch in a horrified awe as it fell.  Only once it was too late did they realize it was falling straight for them. I realized just in time that it was going to hit me. I threw myself to the bottom of the lifeboat, pressing my back so hard against the bottom that I could feel splinters digging into my skin. Seconds after I hit the floor I watched as the mast fell, the end crashing right toward me. I screamed, knowing this would be the end, but my scream was cut short when I felt myself falling.  The mast had hit the ropes keeping the lifeboat up, snapping them and making it plummet to the ocean below.  The boat hit the water with a smash, but I realized that I was OK. I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t dead! But when I looked back at the ship I’d realized I was the only one who had been so lucky. Mine was the only lifeboat that made it off the ship and I was the only person in it.

The loneliness of the island was starting to take its toll on me. I would constantly catch myself talking to things. I talked to the trees, the stream, and the birds in the sky.  I would also talk to myself, just to hear something other than the seagulls calling to one another. I lost track of how many days I’d been there, only knowing it was long enough to grow sick of eating coconuts. Life on the island was starting to get boring too. Everyday was the same.  I’d wake up, then spend the day climbing trees, spearing fish, and doing a little exploring.  Everyday, the same seagulls were flying over the ocean.  Everyday I picked the same number of coconuts and speared the same number of fish.  Everyday the sky was the same perfect blue and the sun was always shining. And then one day it wasn’t.

I woke up shivering. That was my first clue something was wrong, as it’d never been cold on the island. Second, I didn’t see the sun.  Instead the sky was blanketed by gray and there was a breeze. I had learned to be wary of storms, so I decided to quickly find food, then hole up in my cave the rest of the day. 

Almost as soon as I got back, the rain started. It was just a gentle sprinkle at first, but soon it was a full on downpour. The thunder and lightning comes next, and I jump at every boom. The wind keeps getting worse and I can feel the walls of my cave vibrating around me. Soon I can hear crashes as trees and coconuts alike come crashing down with the wind. I am shivering uncontrollably as I watch the storm rage outside. In particular, I watch a tree just outside my cave that is swaying more than it should. Somehow I know it is going to fall on me.  Sure enough, after what feels like forever, I hear it crack and watch frozen in terror as it comes crashing down straight for my cave. I know the cave isn’t sturdy enough to withstand a falling tree. There is no where to run, so I squeeze my eyes shut in anticipation. I hear the tree slam into the walls of my cave, feel them crumble around me, and…

My eyes snap open, taking a moment to focus on my surroundings. Above me is a hammock, and above that, a wooden ceiling. I hear shouting and realize that must’ve been what woke me. I shake my head, trying to erase the memory of my dream of the deserted island from my head. I hear more shouting, so I jump off my hammock to go help, almost falling over from the rocking of the ship.  There must be a storm. I regain my footing and scramble up the ladder.  I am soaked the second my head pops up on the deck, and I stare in awe at the torrent of rain around me.

“Don’t just stand there boy!” someone yells at me. “Help with something!” 

I scramble towards the mast by where most of the people are working.

All of a sudden there’s a “BOOM!!” and the dark sky lights up almost as bright as the sun. I fall to the deck in fear and that’s when I realize that all this feels eerily familiar.  I gasp in terror as I realize what’ s happening. I look up to see the mast on fire.  A fiery pole falls to the deck, starting it on fire.  Someone yells to abandon ship. I run for the lifeboats.  I am the only one to make it in before the mast falls, sending my lifeboat falling to the ocean.  I look back at the ship and see that no one else made it off. I feel hot tears start to roll down my cheeks as I realize I am alone.  But this time, it’s for real.

© 2014 Dearantlers


Author's Note

Dearantlers
I wrote the first paragraph forever ago, and then decided to continue the story as many of my reviews suggested. I did it for my English class, and had a page limit, so it's a little rushed, just so I could fit it in three pages. Maybe if I have the time, I will slow it down one day... Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think, and any and all suggestions are very welcome! Thanks!!

My Review

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Featured Review

I think it's a shame there isn't more of this. The kind of story here is one people really like to read, dealt with character development this single paragraph could be filled with so much emotion. Nicely written (though I would get rid of one of the 'little' before 'raft' - you don't need it, you mention it later.)

Thanks for sharing.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much for the review. I've started to continue it, but I don't have any time to write an.. read more



Reviews

This piece is vividly written. I can almost feel the freezing sea breeze and salty desperation. It is a pity you don't have time to continue it though...

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

Thank you!
Night

6 Years Ago

You're welcome
A great story. Nice work of painting it with words.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much!
I love your imagery, you're really great at painting a picture for the reader. It's so easy to read through :)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

You are way too nice! But thanks!
LunarSong

6 Years Ago

No, I'm being honest!
Wow! Everything's as vivid as it can be. Your imagery is strong. And I perfectly moved along with all you were trying to convey. It did not at all seem flurried over. Nice work. You are doing well on this front!!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

Thanks so much!
I think it's a shame there isn't more of this. The kind of story here is one people really like to read, dealt with character development this single paragraph could be filled with so much emotion. Nicely written (though I would get rid of one of the 'little' before 'raft' - you don't need it, you mention it later.)

Thanks for sharing.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

Thank you so much for the review. I've started to continue it, but I don't have any time to write an.. read more
I hate it when authors just leave the ending making you wonder if they live or not, but I also feel like they do that so you can decide for yourself if they live or die. But this doesn't bother me at all. It reminds me of a movie I watched once and the guy ended up on a deserted island. I think that would be pretty awesome. I like this and I think it would be great if you added more and made it your WIP. Great Job!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

Thanks for the review!! I started to continue it today, but we'll see where it goes... :)
Starscraper

6 Years Ago

I'm sure it will be Great!
Wow, does she live or not??? Please continue it, make a mermaid save her or something!!!!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Dearantlers

6 Years Ago

I might make this my WIP and continue it. Not sure though. Thanks for the review!
Alverrann

6 Years Ago

You totally should! (with the mermaid of course.)

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Added on January 16, 2013
Last Updated on August 15, 2014

Author

Dearantlers
Dearantlers

Where unicorns roam wild, dragons soar overhead, and pickles sing



About
I'm either a girl or a boy. I live somewhere. I like to read and write, though I'm sure you figured that one out since I'm on writerscafe. As of when I'm writing this, I'm 8672487 minutes old. Never m.. more..

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