Being inspired, maybe – 20

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

And, then, the words:

When I went to sleep, it was in a bunk on a sailing boat having ended my watch, having weathered the storm, and everything had been under control.

I was exhausted and was out the moment my head hit the pillow.

The first thing I noticed was the lack of movement of the vessel.  Or the comfort of the bunk.

There was the strong smell of the ocean, and, very clearly, the sound of waves, the sort of sound them made when crashing on the shore.

I opened my eyes and immediately saw sand.  And felt very wet, the water lapping up to my knees, then my stomach.

Not on the boat, but on a stretch of sand.

I lifted my head.  Rocks.  Ocean.  Sand.

Rolling over was difficult, painful, and getting into a sitting position more so, as every part of my body felt like it had been used as a punching bag.  Through what was left of my shirt I could see the bruising, and it was bad.

Breathing was painful too, and I had to lie back down again, but not before I looked inland.  I was on shore, and there were palms further up the beach, but no sign of life.  By the last bearing taken, we had been a long way offshore, so this had to be an island.

But, if my memory served, not one that was on the map.

I thought about all the jokes about being alone on a desert island.

It was impossible.  There were fourteen others on that boat with me.  Surely at least one or two had also survived?

It took half an hour to get to my feet, and another half hour to not fall down when I took a step.  I headed away from the rocks, to further along the shoreline, heading towards a point in the distance.

I kept expecting someone or a group of people to come out from behind the palms, but there was no sign of life other than the birds.

Then, in the distance, I saw an object half in half out of the water. I resisted the urge to run, but slowly and steadily moved towards it.

It was another person, one I was not sure I recognized.  A man, prone on the sand, his legs rising and falling with the tide.

I turned him over after checking for signs of life.  He was cold and I couldn't find a pulse.  The reason was immediate as he rolled onto his back.  A bullet hole between the eyes.  This man had been shot.

And he was not one of the crew.

© Charles Heath 2018


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