Shipwrecked Home

This prose fiction is a narrative based on the creative prompt that a group of people are shipwrecked on an island.

I sit with a cigarette hanging loosely from the tips of my fingers, daring to catch into the wind and sink down in the blue sea from the ship I, along with 8 others, sail on. I scope my surroundings and add pieces onto the profiles I’m making in my mind for each passenger. A woman with comically large sunglasses and one of those fur shawls that look like old Hollywood glamour. A boy sits next to her, preoccupied with a phone. How old is he? I didn’t get my first phone until I got my first job… 

  A shout rises above the sound of the motor and I absentmindedly let go of my cigarette to lean forward in my seat to see who’s shouting. 

 “Didn’t I tell you to check the weather before setting sail, boy!?” 

I wince at his tone of voice and see the crew member fumble with his instruments that probably tell him the projected weather conditions. 

“I swear it was cloudless for the next 24 hours!” He tries to defend himself. “That patch of rain came from nowhere!” 

“Thanks to you, Timothy, your mistakes will cost us our lives!” What I now assume is the captain of the ship says through clenched teeth. 

Publicly having this conversation with the passengers on deck isn’t exactly the best idea as the chatter around me picks up. A girl that seems my age looks sick to her stomach and begins to pace the deck while running her hands through her curly hair. An elderly woman dressed in pale yellow sits perfectly still on a nearby bench, as if she either didn’t hear or heard and paid no attention to the matter at hand. Sitting in front of me is a man, forties’ I’d say, with graying hair. He sits watching the Hollywood lady with me as she starts to frantically fan her face with a magazine.

“DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAID?” She looks around for someone, anything to comfort her as she locks her sunglasses on me. 

“You.” She points her Vogue magazine at me. You seem like a smart young lady, we’ll be alright, yes?” She holds her arms out as if it’s expected. 

I glance down at her son who’s still tapping away. 

“I’d check for you if you’d like?” I offer. 

The girl with the curly hair stops pacing to look at me with her brown eyes wide with panic. 

“Yeah… Yeah! That sounds like a genius idea, go do that-“ 

“Andi.” I respond with my name before she decides to call me something else. I clear my throat, “My name’s Andi.” 

She blinks, registers my name and says, “Right. Andi, go to that before something else goes wrong.” 

I blow my black bangs out of my face and stand to head inside the bridge where the captain and his crewman disappeared. I notice that the door is open so I walk in without introduction. The captain clutches a hand held radio in his hand as he curses the static coming through. The crew member, Timothy I remember, is attempting to do the same. Timothy looks up first and gestures for me to look at the weather instruments. 

“There’s no way we’re going to be able to get in contact with any larger ships to pick us up before the storm hits.” 

I step closer to the dash and feel the hardwood floor squeak under my boots. 

I cross my arms, “ So, basically there’s no hope for us?” 

Timothy raises his eyebrows at me. “Now I didn’t say that, Cap here can get us through but it’ll be rough.” 

We both turn to look at the Captain who’s now standing right outside the bridge waving his radio over his head in any attempt to get a connection. 

“When does the storm hit?” I ask, eyes still on the captain. 

“3, 4 hours if we’re lucky.” Timothy responds. 

I slowly nod my head and close my eyes as I turn back to face him. “Okay, well then that’s 3-4 hours to prepare, right?” 

He nods. 

“Alright, then we got to get the rest of the passengers below deck while we still have time to do so.” I reply. 

He looks at me a second longer before heading back outside to announce our current state. 

I rejoin the group outside and what I see outside is much different from the sky I saw just 5 minutes before. Dark, ominous clouds hang low in the distance, the sun’s light now beginning to fade. I watch the passengers as Timothy begins to show them the small stairwell down under the deck and into the galley. The little boy that was on his phone is now in utter tears as his glamorous mother pulls him along. The man with the silvery hair lingers to speak with Timothy and I happen to catch some of the conversation as I head down. 

“And you’re sure we’ll make it back?” He adds nervously. 

“I’m quite sure, sir.” Timothy puts his hand on his shoulder and leads him after me. 

Hours pass as we feel the rock of the boat begin to sway each minute more violently than the last. I’m not sure what happened next because when I try to recall what happened after a certain tussle of the ship I draw a big blank and I’m left up to here. 

I’m sitting in a pile of water that’s leaked through one of the potholes in the wall and I hear the sound of waves lapping against the hull. I try to sit up and a huge wave of dizziness forces me to lie back down, my long hair splayed out on the floor. My head hurts terribly and I gently turn my head towards the pothole to look outside. A sandy beach, people walking, rocks. 

I close my eyes again and before you know it, it’s dark outside. Shoot I fell asleep. I get up a little uneasily and climb up the stairs. My worst fear, which is why I postponed sailing for so long. We’ve been shipwrecked. 

I step onto the shore and see a fire started up some distance away. I approach my fellow estranged passengers rather staggeredly and slump down on the ground. 

“Andi!” I hear the girl with the curly hair exclaim as she jumps from her seated position to look me over. Everyone gets up in a small huddle to look at me struggling to speak. 

“I forgot to tell you, my name’s Elaine.” She nervously says. 

“A pleasure.” I manage to groan out. 

The captain steps forward from the group and reaches a hand out to help me stand up. 

“We’ve been looking all over for you, kid!” He claps me on the back. 

Everyone decides then to go for introductions since there’s no other bonding experience than a shipwreck to get us rolling. I learn that the silver haired man is Roberto, the dressed up woman and her son are Regina and Daniel, but the elderly women I learned had passed away by the time they found her earlier on. Almost immediately, roles are assigned so that we might make an escape off the island. Regina with her nose turned up, considered herself above all degrees of work and she refused to let her dear Daniel anywhere out of her sight. None of us knew her well enough to argue so we simply let her be. Roberto was quite the opposite. Compassionate and eager to do whatever it took to rescue ourselves. Elaine quite surprisingly also seemed eager to help as she pulled back her curls, now huge from the humidity of the air, back into a ponytail. I seemed to be the only invalid in the group and the captain insisted that I just tend to the fire. Timothy appeared a bit bitter about the treatment he seemed to be giving me compared to the treatment he received from him. But I wasn’t complaining. 

A little after a week of being stranded here, we’ve gone through our supplies from the remains of our ship and we’ve found enough canned food for at least 2 weeks before we have to go on to find our own. It’s at this point that I began to feel a bit homesick and a little useless given the fact that I was certain I had a concussion. There isn’t much for us to do except wander the beach, too afraid to enter the trees behind us, and speak of our past. 

As the days turn into weeks, I find myself surrounded by the most unlikely of people that have now become a family of sorts. I notice changes in the manner in which we laugh, speak to each other, and carry out our duties. Regina, although much to her dismay, finally ditched the horrendous fur shawl she so loved and created a makeshift pillow for Roberto, who grew ever so close to her. Daniel’s phone ran out of battery perhaps within the first hour of arriving on the island and in return he’s been given a rather enlightening experience outside of his screen. I often like to play I Spy with him and a spark that wasn’t there before now shines brilliantly within him. I think they’d make a rather cute family. And to think that under different circumstances, they would’ve never met. 

Elaine, who seemed like such an awful control freak when I first met her, is actually quite lovely. She loves to dance and hums mindlessly to pass the time when we’re picking fruit and carrying water in baskets back from a groundwater stream. I don’t mind her humming, it’s nice and it seems to put Daniel to sleep most nights. I haven’t forgotten of Timothy, or Timmy, as I like to call him now. Rather sarcastic fellow I came to learn. His humor is unparalleled anywhere else among our ranks. 

As I’ve come to find my place among these people I realize that when exposed to the elements and our personas from society get to relax, we are faced with rather pleasant versions of ourselves. I reflect on myself as well on this island. How much it’s allowed me to embrace others and rely on them as well. To be frank, our original tactic of getting off this island that we’ve now dubbed “home” affectionately has now faded into a concern of the past. Letting go… moving on… it’s all a part of life. Our lives here now on our island.