Author’s note: I sort of gave up on the short story writing for last week. I just had too many things on, and reading was easier in the downtime. However, now that the Christmas play I was working on is finished up, and that the Christmas break is upon us, it’s time to knuckle down and complete a story each day for the rest of the year. The prompt for this one was the opening line.
She clung onto the piece of driftwood, praying for daylight. The water was bitter cold, and she had no idea how far she’d drifted. She didn’t know if any of her shipmates had survived. All she could do is hope there was shore in sight when the sun came up, and hope that it was land that she could make some use of.
She was starting to get tired. The adrenaline that had been coursing through her since the storm hit was starting to wear off and she was beginning to crash. She leaned her head against the driftwood, and closed her eyes, hoping that would provide enough respite and give her the strength to hold on a bit longer.
Time dragged on, and then finally, she saw a hint of gold on the horizon. And just in front of it, a small greenish-brown mound. She couldn’t believe her luck. She felt so relieved she nearly let go of her piece of wood, and caught herself just in time to avoid sinking. She’d held on for far too long for it to come to that. Slowly, she paddled herself around with one arm, and began making her way towards the distant shoreline. When she reached it, she pulled herself onto the sand and then sank down on her back, relishing the fact that she could relax.
She felt herself drift off to sleep and didn’t do anything to stop it. It felt far too soon when she felt someone shaking her awake. Grumpily, she opened her eyes. As her eyes focused, she realised there was a figure leaning over her. And as she focused some more, she realised she recognised him.
“Alec?” she said, her voice strained. She hadn’t realised how much she needed water until now.
“Mia! You’re alive!”
“So are you!”
She tried to sit up so she could embrace him, but her muscles were far too stiff, and she failed halfway up.
“Don’t try to move,” Alec said. “Here. I’ve got some water.”
“Is it safe?”
“Yes. It’s warm, but it does the trick.”
He held the flask to her lips and poured gently. She swallowed as much as she could before she started coughing. Alec put one arm behind her back and helped her sit up. She leaned over and spat out some of the water, along with any sea water that came up. When she had finished coughing, she turned back to Alec.
“Have you seen anyone else?”
He shook his head. “Not yet. Who knows where they got swept to?”
Mia looked around. “What are we going to do now?”
Alec followed her gaze. The island they had ended up on was barely more than a sandbank, with a few trees in the centre.
“I don’t know,” he said. “But we’ll think of something. We’re going to get home, Mia.”
“I hope you’re right,” she said.
“I know I am.”