In response to Finish It!! #39 I know, I know it’s been ages, but such is life on 3rd world internet connections. I wanted to write this the moment I saw the prompt. It reminded me of a night me and the chief were watching ‘Naked and Afraid’ held on his native Dominica. We giggled all the way through, because the poor survivalists were so lost on what to us was familiar ground, and we just couldn’t relate to their struggle given what we know about the island. But then when we sobered, we had to give credence to the fact that it was all just a matter of perspective.
All he could do now is hope that someone out there, some crew member of a ship or a plane, would see the fire or the message they left in the sand. He looked at the fire and then overlooked the island. From where he stood he could see the entire island. The luscious bush and the beach, where they found themselves stranded. He was wondering if she knew. She probably did by now. He so wanted to let her know that he was okay. That the horse was fine too. He had to go back. The others were trying to build a shelter for the night. One of them was injured. Hopefully someone would be here to rescue them soon…
…That was two weeks ago, and he had long since lost hope of rescue. The group tried to hold on to hope, someone kept the fire lit, and someone was always watching the horizon but nothing was ever there. They had stuck to the beach, hoping to spot a plane or a boat, but the pickings were slim here. Despite the reek, the fishing was poor, the fresh water was a half mile hike in land, and the few coconut trees that littered the beach has been picked clean already.
He knew that they had to move soon. Further inland, maybe over those mountains to their back. Maybe there was better hunting to be had there, more fruit trees, maybe even more air or sea traffic. He thought, or maybe it was his imagination, that he heard a small twin engine coming or going sometime in the wee hours. No one else had heard it, everyone had dismissed him. Getting them to move, especially with Frank’s leg being as it was, would be touch. He knew he had a lot of convincing to do.
He had to try, he knew he had to make this better, to give them any chance to get back home, to her. Every time the horse whined he saw her, the look on her face, the way she beamed whenever she rode. He wasn’t ready to give that up, he wasn’t about to sit tight, holding dear to a narrow hope, when moving might be just the thing to get them home.
They were moving, tonight. He had made up his mind. They didn’t need to follow, he would send back for help if they refuse, if they survived out here alone.
He was prepared to tell them all this, the sum of his brooding. As they sat around the fire, huddling for warmth, on the cool tropical night. Just when he had gathered his courage, he heard it.
A rustling, a shifting in the underbrush. A predator? A boar maybe? A wild cat? The faceless thing in the darkness was surely some evil thing, some wicked thing geared to end them, to thwart him getting back to her. He grabbed the rough spear he had fashioned, though he wasn’t sure how much courage he had left to wield it.
The others herded behind him, and in his chest he felt the bile of his fear rising. This would be a defining moment, as this thing grew closer, and the rustling became more vigorous. This would be the thing he had to survive to get back to her, to them.
He tightened his grip, hefted the weapon, ensuring his aim, just a dark figure broke the tree line, not 15 feet from their came. He breathed in a someone shrieked, someone let out a desperate battle cry.
Two startled eyes met his.
“Ah wha de?…”
The intruder looked more shocked and amused that threatened by him. The leader of this rag tag bunch, all torn clothes, tousled hair, and the scent of bodies cleaned only by broad leaved and sea water. Clutching his chest the stranger let out his startled breath then burst into laughter.
When he had wiped the tear from his eye, he told them between fits of laughter that there were villages just over the ridge. That the people here lived in fishing communities along the eastern coast where life was abundant enough to drive business and commerce. he hold them he would lead them back come light, when the rest of his friends had caught up and rested.
They would take them back, then they would go home.