Two-hundred twenty-two days.
Or was it two-hundred twenty-three? I’d lost count.
Didn’t matter. It had been more than seven months since my boat had sunk, since I’d managed to find my way into the dinghy. Had resurfaced on the beach.
The lone survivor. I’d searched, begged to find someone, just one. But none were found.
I shoved my feet through the grainy sand, the once seductive tropical appeal of beach life now nothing more than a daily nightmare. Clothes tattered and threadbare, my skin had developed into a hardy leathery brown to keep it safe from the sun. Beneath the constant sunburn, that was.
A foam filled wave washed across my feet and I sighed. Months I’d been here, months of fighting to stay alive. Mornings spent in the early light to catch fish, days spent scavenging for plants and fruit. Terror filled nights as I curled up in a ball and prayed none of the animals that echoed in the distance found me.
Yet not a single plane came overhead, no search parties to find little old me.
With a groan, I stood. My belly grumbled, screamed to be filled. Something it never quite was, anymore. As I walked toward the trees that lined the island, I snagged the now dull knife so I could cut down whatever fruit looked to be ripe. The one thing I’d managed to do right before hopping off that doomed voyage–secured something sharp.
Ten yards into the forest I heard a noise, something off, unfamiliar from the norm. Were those voices? I stuck a finger in my ear and wiggled it. My mind had to be playing tricks on me.
But no. I heard it again. Words, whispers, then a laugh. Someone was out here with me. Not an animal. A human!
“Hello!” I yelled, a crazed run in the direction of the sound.
“Hello?” a female voice shouted back.
Every fiber in my body vibrated now, my head in an elated spin. There were people? Was this a rescue?
“I’m here!” I shouted louder, although a lack of hydration caused my throat to close so it came out as more of a croak.
I brushed a large leaf aside, stumbled into a clearing. Two teenaged girls stood together, both in bikinis and sarongs slung across their hips, cell phones in hand.
My eyes widened. “You have phones? Can you call someone?”
“Call someone?” the short blonde said, a wary look to her friend.
“Yes! I’ve been stranded here…stuck here! You’re here to rescue me, right?”
The blonde opened her mouth to speak but her jaw remained open, a look of horror in place.
“Um…we just came from the resort,” the other girl said. “The one on the far side of the island? I’m not sure why you thought you were stranded. But…” Her melancholy gaze drifted to her friend, then back again.
“This island is inhabited. You can get rescued any time you want.”
©Laura L. Zimmerman 2016