Tuesday, 3 July 2012

#WriCha: The Island by Jean Booth

Write about being stranded on an island with someone. Write a scene for each of the following: 3 hours after the shipwreck/plane crash, 3 weeks after the shipwreck/plane crash and 3 months after the shipwreck/plane crash.

Jean used her imagination to create unusual creatures, read for yourself. This story is 2,805 words.

The Island 

"Oh my God! Chad! What's happening?" The panicked notes in my voice echoed dully in the headphones Chad and I were both wearing in the small plane. It wasn't the first time I'd asked that question and I was certain it wouldn't be the last. Chad's voice echoed in my ears but he wasn't talking to me.
"Mayday, mayday! This is Enchanted Airs, Zoolo-Four-Seven-Niner-Delta. Can anyone hear me? Is anyone listening?" Chad repeated the longitudinal coordinates into the empty airways, hoping someone would hear and be able to locate our failing plane. He continued to ignore my panicked questions.
I placed my palms against the window as I looked out again. I stared out the tiny plane window as it quickly descended toward the Pacific Ocean. The oceans' waves were closer than I'd ever wanted to see them out of a plane, and getting closer - fast!
"Oh my God!" I repeated to myself as if that phrase would change everything.
"Kaitlin, do you see that island over there?" Chad's calm voice barely registered in my head. I was getting used to him ignoring me, so it took me a minute to pull my face away from the window to look at what he was pointing at. In the distance, getting larger with every beat of my heart was a small island. "I'm going to try to angle the plane as close as I can to that island. I don't know how close we'll get, but we're going to have to swim. I need you to focus and not panic when we hit or you'll die. You can swim, right?"
"Yes," I whispered, ignoring my trembling limbs and the need to slug him in the face. I didn't need the reminder that we were about to die.
I clenched my backpack until my knuckles turned white. I couldn't blink as the plane smacked into the oceans' waves. The water rushed quickly into the cockpit, eager to devour the tiny plane and claim it for its watery grave.
Two days prior

I was finally going to Australia! I'd just graduated college with my BS in nursing, and my dad surprised me with a trip as my grad present. He said I deserved to have some fun after working so hard in school. I was the first nurse in the family. He was so proud.
My cousin, Kevin, and a couple of his friends were working on creating a private travel company and he was the last to get his license. He had to log flight hours in the planes they used to transport clients, so he agreed to take me in his private jet to Hawaii and then Australia. He would hang out with me and fly me back in a week. I resented the babysitter, but was grateful for the company.
Kevin and I grew up together and this trip would be so much more fun with him. I was meeting up with him in an hour. I finished my packing, adjusted my hair and drove out to the airport.
The drive was quick and I made it to the private hangers without difficulty. I looked for Kevin but couldn't find him or his truck. Trying not to worry, I reminded myself that Kevin was notoriously late for everything and I was still early. I sat against the hood of my late model import, enjoying the unusually hot spring day when a voice interrupted my reverie.
"Kaitlin?" A gruff voice I'd remember anywhere, asked. It still had the ability to send ripples of pleasure zipping through my veins.
"Yah?" I asked, opening my eyes and shielding them from the suns' glare to look at the last person I wanted to see.
"Kevin's not coming. He sent me instead. You ready?" Chad was the senior partner in their small company. He was the brains and the main source of their funding. I knew he didn't typically fly the planes, preferring to stay in the background and away from social interaction. Chad wasn't what anyone would call a people person.
He was six-foot two, muscular, with sandy brown hair and blue-eyes. As long as he didn't open his luscious mouth, a girl could love him forever. At one point in time I actually had a huge crush on him. I told myself it faded when I realized what a gigantic jerk he was. He was the reason I didn't want to fly with my cousin. I really didn't want to see Chad again. It'd been a few years, but dang. He was hotter than I remembered.
"Why isn't Kevin coming?" The ice in my tone could've frozen the entirety of the Pacific. I was not happy to be stuck with Chad, alone, for an entire week.
"Don't know, didn't ask, don't care. You flying today or not?" He seemed as annoyed with Kevin as I was but I couldn't figure out why.
I don't care, either, I reminded myself.
"I'm flying. Is my car okay here?" I asked, not really caring about the car but not wanting to be in anyone's way either. Finding it towed would be the perfect ending to this stellar beginning.
"It's fine. We're wasting daylight." Chad grumbled out as he turned to walk away.
I quickly grabbed my backpack and suitcase and ran after him; thankful I was wearing comfortable shoes and pants.
This. Completely. Sucked.
The plane was a small business jet engine G-5. It didn't look as if it'd be able to fly us over the ocean, but was very stylish. I'd never flown in a small jet before and was looking forward to it. I knew better than to ask Chad about anything regarding the plane. He'd get all offended and huffy at my asking, not realizing I really wanted to know. He'd think I was questioning his flying ability, but I knew he could pilot a box if it had wings. He was an excellent pilot.
This was going to be a long, quiet flight. I took a motion sickness pill after settling into my seat. I was the only passenger so I was able to stretch out comfortably. I was asleep before we reached the maximum flying altitude.

I woke as we landed in Kauai. It was breathtakingly beautiful! There were more greens than I'd ever seen before in my desert homeland. I could feel the heat and humidity pressing in on us as we landed. I unbuckled my belt, scooting up to the cockpit to sit with Chad and watch as we pulled into the small airport. Kevin and I were supposed to hang out, have dinner, drinks and dance a bit before calling it a night and I wasn't sure if Chad would be willing to do that with me.
"It's beautiful," I whispered in awe, forgetting for a moment who my companion was.
Chad handed me a pair of headphones so he could talk without yelling.
"Yep." He replied. "Do you need a babysitter or can you manage to meet me in the morning for breakfast?"
I kept my face neutrally blank, knowing from experience that he didn't mean what he said. He didn't understand people. He was just a jerk. I pretended to be more interested in the tropical paradise than the way his words still held the ability to cut me to the core. I obviously hadn't completely lost my crush.
"I'm fine. What time do you want to meet for breakfast?" My voice returned to the glacial tones I used around him. I couldn't be positive but I thought I saw him flinch. Must be my imagination.
"Kevin said something about eight? It's not that I wouldn't like to show you around, it's just, there are some contacts I'd like to make while we're here." It was difficult to be certain but he almost sounded disappointed. However, it was the longest explanation I'd heard him make in a long time. That in its self had me wondering.
"If I remember correctly, you don't like my childish antics. I'll see you in the morning." I said bitterly, repeating the last words he'd said to me the last time we talked. I hung up the headphones and went back to my seat, effectively ending further conversation.
That night I drank and danced in paradise until I forgot about the man who broke my heart. I fell, exhausted and alone in my hotel bed and woke with the sun. The morning found me groggy and dreading yet another long flight with Chad.
Breakfast was quiet and uncomfortable. Chad actually tried making conversation but he constantly came across as degrading and rude. We quickly and mutually decided to get to the plane. The flight started like any other. I leaned back in my chair, comfortable, drowsy and prepared for a nice relaxing trip to Australia. I thought of everything I planned on doing and anything else I could think of, to keep my mind from wandering to my pilot. I was looking out the small plane window when I saw them.
Three large waves, large enough to actually see from the plane, expanded toward us. I couldn't see where they began, but the plane lurched in the air as the first wave crossed beneath us. We started steadily descending to the ocean below.
I unhooked my seatbelt, grabbed my trusty backpack, and ran into the cockpit to find out what was going on. Chad was methodically adjusting and checking things, pulling and twisting on knobs and pressing buttons, all to no avail. I put the headset on and could finally hear his repetitive mayday call.
He looked at me just before the plane hit and shoved me through the open door into the body of the plane. We tumbled to the floor with the impact of the crash, glass breaking and water rushing into the cockpit behind us.
"Kaitlin, let's go!" Chad yelled behind me, yanking me up and shoving me toward the escape hatch. I opened the door while he gathered the inflatable seat cushions. Never before had I actually believed I'd use them as flotation devices.
I had my backpack strapped securely to my back and the cushion to my chest as I frantically swam toward the island he'd pointed to. Each minute we were in the water I feared for my life. Not only could we get sucked down with the plane, but also I was certain some predator would swim up and eat us before we could make it to shore.
I collapsed, panting and gasping for air as I finally reached land. Chad lay next to me and all we could do for the next hour was relearn to breathe, watching as the last of the plane sunk beneath the waves.
"What happened?" I demanded to know as soon as I could talk again.
"I have no idea. It was similar to an Electromagnetic Pulse, but it affected the water too. I don't know how it happened, but the water's fresh." Chad replied, fear leaking into his voice. It wasn't comforting.
"What do you mean, the water's fresh?" How could the salty ocean turn fresh? Was that even possible?
Before he could answer, a strange creature burst out from the tree line behind us. It flew over our heads and dove into the water.
"Please tell me you saw that." I whispered, fear plainly evident in my voice. I stared unblinking; at the spot where the creature disappeared.
"The octoparrot thing? Yah. I saw it. I don't believe it, but I saw it." Chad was standing in a crouch, eyes darting all over, his body prepared for attack.
I couldn't help it. I giggled. My giggles quickly turned into full-belied laughs and I laughed until tears ran from my eyes.
"I'm sorry." I said when I was finished. "It's just the crash and that thing and you just looked so funny."
He grinned, understanding that if I didn't laugh, I'd wind up a mess of terrified tears. The tension in my body had to be released somehow.
"What do we do now?" I asked, reality hitting me full force.
"Now we build a camp. I don't want to stay in the woods just yet, but I'm also not sure what'll happen tonight. We need to get off the ground, preferably in hammocks and away from the rising tide. You got anything helpful in that stupid bag?" Chad lost the jerkish demeanor and I hoped it'd stay gone. I needed a partner, not a dictator. Once upon a time we'd worked well together.
I grinned in reply.
"Why do you think I worked so hard to keep it? I'd planned on backpacking in the bush for at least one day, but didn't tell dad. He'd have never let me go if he knew. I have everything in here for camping." I opened the bag so he could see my cache.
"Let's see, I have waterproof matches and a small lighter in the handle of my hunting knife, wire, sunscreen, bug spray, a small first aid kit, a few dehydrated meals, a multipurpose knife, flint and steel, underpants, three sarongs, a sweater, a small pillow, rope, a flashlight, my eReader that's now destroyed, a camera and an empty canteen." I looked up at Chad's astonished expression and laughed. "What'd you think I was going to do in Australia, shop, go to bars? I can do that back home. I was hoping to camp in the bush, see the wildlife. I came prepared."
"I could kiss you right now." Chad said in awe, rendering me completely speechless.

We spent the next three days exploring the small island. After the first day we realized something strange had happened. Either we were the sole discoverers of an uncharted land with unheard of creatures, or we weren't in Kansas any more, so to speak.
The octoparrots were eight tentacled, colorful birds that nested in the trees yet hunted in the water. They were also delicious cooked over our fire.
There were other strange things on our island as well. Berry bushes held berries the size of apples yet tasted of a blue-raspberry combination. Other hybrid creatures had been spotted; some so strange I couldn't even come up with a name for them. Throughout our exploration, we didn't find a single sign of human life.
We kept our fire burning day and night, afraid we'd lose the one thing that reminded us of civilization. I only had so many matches and had no idea how to use the flint and steel. We hoped someone would spot the campfire and rescue us.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and before I knew it, three months had past. Chad and I learned to live on this strange island in peace. We hunted, gathered fruits and berries, and made a shelter out of fallen logs and leaves sown and secured to bamboo.  It was strong enough to protect us from the strange creatures on our island, as well as the elements. We learned the patterns of the island life and the habits of our prey.
We were only able to hunt and gather during the morning and evening hours. The middle of the day, when the sun reached its zenith, we had to stay under the cover of our shelter or in the forest or we'd burn. Night brought the high tide and the strange island predators. There were six-foot crawfish that crawled out of the sea to scavenge, strange, half-pig, half-snake creatures that burrowed during the day but hunted at night, three-foot long, three-headed centipedes that fought the oversized flying spiders and other things that left me shivering in fear each night. We were safer inside our small hut where the light of the fire and our sturdy walls deterred most of the nighttime creatures. For those that persisted, well, my knives had come in handy more than once.
After three months, I no longer found myself shivering in fear; Chad's arms wrapped protectively around me at night, offering safety and security he normally avoided, but found myself being held by him for completely different reasons. Over the past few months we renewed our old friendship and with it our old camaraderie. I definitely had more than a crush on him now. Chad confirmed that he'd shared my feelings and had for a long time. He suppressed and denied them, pushing me away because he was my cousin's dear friend and didn't want to risk that friendship. Secretly, I hoped we'd never be rescued. I never wanted to lose what we'd gained on this island.
Life on the island wasn't easy. But with Chad's arms around me at night, our comfortable conversations during the day, and our easy partnership while hunting, it was worth it.

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