Black Friday

Black Friday

A Story by L.W.M.

A short story of loneliness and isolation, physically and spiritually.


       From so high up, the stones looked like a message to God. Perhaps a desperate call for help, or change, or forgiveness. Laid out immaculately in rows in the sand, they resembled some sort of jumbled Morse code who’s meaning could no longer be determined. A last ditch effort to contact someone randomly passing overhead. But they weren’t.

       There had been no calls for help.

       Instead, the stones were a calendar. Each stone represented a day the man had been alone. 12 rows ranging in length from 28 to 31 stones, for a grand total of 365. One year exactly since the man had come to this island; his purgatory.

       He sat high above the beach on the edge of the cliff that had sheltered him for the past year. No discernible expression played across his face as he looked from the stones up and out across the sea to the point where it met the sky. Although the mainland was visible from the other side of the island, he had made no attempt to be discovered. He closed his eyes and waited, as he had every day for the past year. His body was perfectly still.

       It hadn’t always been like this. On the day of his arrival, he had stumbled around the top of the hill shaking and confused. He made his way to the edge slowly, peering out across the infinite, darkening sea. The man had always been afraid of heights, and the cliff was easily 100 feet high. But on that first day he had been terrified not only from the height but from what he expected to see below. He inched his way forward until the sand came in to view. His palms dripped sweat and the hair on the back of his neck stood erect. Another step and what his heart feared came in to view: the broken rear of his personal aircraft flaming at the base of the cliff. The words Murphy SR3500 were still visible along the side, below the two passenger windows. There was no sign of escape from the four people the plane had contained.

       Now the charred frame sat covered with branches he had gathered from the beach below. Four neat, wood crosses stuck in the sand nearby. And the ruined cockpit of his plane remained on top of the hill where it had settled, the forest slowly enveloping it in its embrace. Aside from the stones, no other signs of human activity were visible.

       Every day the man had sat on the edge of the cliff and waited. At first his entire body had trembled with fear and despair. It had even made him sick, and he vomited yellow stomach bile down on to the sand and rocks. He had wept and watched as the bile slowly descended, waving back and forth in the wind.

       Now, after an entire year, he was able to sit on the edge motionlessly, waiting for God to make his decision.

The man remembered that this day was called Black Friday in America. The name sounded religious but wasn’t. Millions of shoppers descended upon department stores in order to save money on items they didn’t need. Mothers collided with mothers and tore plastic bags of socks out of each other’s hands. Children waited in line hours for video games. Had they been home, the man’s wife and children would probably have been shopping along with everyone else. Instead, they laid buried on a tiny island in the Gulf of Mexico.

       Thinking of his wife and children suddenly made the man furious. He turned his head to the sky and screamed “Now! Take me now! What are you waiting for?” He wept and buried his face in his hands. “Now, now, now… please,” he said.

       The man remained still, turning his face back up but leaving his chin in his hands. He felt the earth move slightly beneath him. A tiny trail of rock and dirt slipped under him and tumbled off the edge of the cliff. He watched it go with bated breath.

“Please,” he whispered. “Please.”

© 2011 L.W.M.

Author's Note

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Added on January 26, 2011
Last Updated on January 26, 2011
Tags: lonely, isolated, god, island, deserted



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