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I didn’t know how long I had been asleep when I finally woke up; actually, I didn’t even open my eyes. I lay there trying to get oriented, and I felt a dull pain in my left leg. As I became more alert the pain sharpened. Suddenly everything came flooding back. I had been asleep on the plane, but I heard a loud noise, something wasn’t right, something fell on me and then everything was black. I opened my eyes, everything was so bright. As my eyes focused I found I was looking up at palm trees. That wasn’t right, where was I? It’s funny, it’s always hard to get up early in the morning, except for when you wake up late. You are able to get up and get ready in record time. This was like that, except I wasn’t in my bed. And I wasn’t on the plane where I was supposed to be. In a hurry I tried to get up, but my legs buckled under me as I put pressure on my left leg. My eyes were watering from the pain; whatever fell on me must have hurt it. I pulled up the leg of my pants and saw blood; quickly I yanked the pants back over my leg. I hated blood; it made me sick just to look at it. Taking a deep breath I gingerly pulled my pants back up. There was a deep gash from my knee to my ankle. This time putting the pressure on my right leg and gripping a tree, I got up. As I finally saw my full surroundings it hit me: the plane must have crashed. Going into panic mode I limped as fast as I could out of the trees. When I got out of them I saw a beach, I was on an island. But it wasn’t until I saw scraps of metal across the length of the beach that I realized I was the only one who had made it. I sunk to my knees and started to cry. While sobbing I heard something, abruptly I stopped crying. I followed the noise a little ways down the beach until it stopped. What if it was a person! “Is anyone there?” I shouted
“Help!” a muffled reply came
“Where are you?” I yelled back with excitement “Keep talking I’ll follow your voice.”
I followed the voice back into the trees. I gasped as I saw that this was where most of the plane had ended up.
“Help!” I heard again
I pushed past the broken branches and saw a hand coming out from under a big piece of metal that I assumed had been part of a wing. As I walked around it, I saw a head and dropped to my knees beside it. The large green eyes opened. It was a little girl, she looked about seven.
“Are you okay?” I asked. “Sorry dumb question. Just let me get this off of you.”
“Okay” a small voice replied.
I heaved, and heaved and finally her torso was exposed. I grabbed her arms and pulled her backwards. She was out. I propped her up against the nearest tree. I looked her over. Aside from some minor bruises and scratches she seemed to be okay.
“Thank you,” she said. “I thought we were all going to die when the plane crashed, but I woke up under that, and I couldn’t move and… and” she started to cry.
“It’s okay,” I smoothed her hair “hush, calm down” but truthfully I wanted to cry with her.
“How old are you?” I asked
“Almost nine, I’m small for my age. How old are you?”
“Fifteen, I’m Zoey what’s your name?”
“Well Gillian were you alone on the plane?”
“No, my mom was with me”
“Okay well we’ll go look for her.”
Gillian and I got up and started walking around. Although I was doubtful that we would find her mother I didn’t want to tell her that. As Gillian was calling out to her mother her cries got more and more frantic.
“Gillian, what is your mother’s first name?”
“Ivy. Do you think we should split up to look for her?”
“Okay, but stay within hearing distance.”
“Ivy! Ivy!” I waited but heard no response. I was pretty sure that we weren’t going to find her, but I had to keep looking for Gillian. I was an only child but I felt very protective of Gillian. Maybe it was because she was younger and smaller than me, but I was pretty sure I just didn’t want to lose her. I didn’t want to be left alone. I walked down the beach calling for her mother, but no response came. My foot hit something, and I looked down to see it was a sand covered purse. I sat down to rest my sore leg and sifted through the purse until I found a black wallet. This woman, whoever she was, had kept pictures in her wallet. Brushing off sand I saw a beautiful woman with a little girl, the woman had dark brown hair and green eyes, the little girl has green eyes and dark blonde hair. With a start I realized that the little girl was Gillian. I was now positive that we were not going to find her mother.
“Gillian come here!” I called out. I heard footsteps getting closer and closer until finally I felt a hand on my back as she sat down next to me.
“That’s my mom” she said looking at the picture “We’re not going to find her are we?”
Gillian cried and cried into my lap until we both finally drifted off to sleep. When I woke up this time I had no trouble remembering where I was. It was bright out, and now I could see the whole island. I stayed still feeling the warmth of the sand; Gillian was asleep next to me curled up in a little ball. I got up and realized that my leg was throbbing. I ran my fingers through my short black hair, it was very greasy. I was pretty sure that bathing in salt water wasn’t the best, but I didn’t really have many options. I waded into the ocean until the water was up to my waist. It stung! I had forgotten about my gash! I got out of the water as quickly as I could and sat down in the sand. I still wanted to get in the water, but I didn’t know what I was going to do about my gash. I decided to take my jacket and tie it tightly around my leg. This time going into the water I was prepared for the sting, but with the jacket around my leg it wasn’t as painful. I washed myself as best as I could. Then I heard Gillian beginning to wake up. I watched as she sat up and rubbed her eyes, she looked around and then called out to me.
“Zoey! Zoey where are you?” she sounded panicked.
“Gillian I’m right here,” I replied walking over to her.
“I thought you left.”
“No, I’m right here.”
“Zoey, I’m hungry”
I myself had thought about that too; I didn’t know what we were going to do for food or water. “We’ll look for some food later,” I told her “let’s go see if we can find any luggage that survived the crash.”
This time we decided to stick together. Going back into the thick of the trees where most of the plane wreckage was, we found a small duffel bag, two more purses, and a very battered suitcase. Gillian and I sat down together and started to go through our provisions. In the duffel bag there was a makeup kit, toiletries, and some clothes for a young woman not much bigger than me.
“You can have the duffel bag Zoey. Most of the stuff in it will probably fit you.” Gillian said.
As we proceeded to go through the suitcase luckily we found some snacks: two small bags of chips, about ten candy bars, and the most important of all a large water bottle. We also found several large suits and dress shirts. I guessed that this suitcase had belonged to an overweight businessman. In the purses we found gum, wallets, coupons, lotion. We carried them to our spot on the beach, and sorted them into piles placing the food in the duffel bag, and all clothes and the purses, including Ivy’s, in the suitcase. Gillian went and washed herself in the ocean and I changed into a T-shirt and capris from the duffel bag. When Gillian got out of the water we looked through the clothes for anything that would fit her, but nothing was small enough. Then in a flash of inspiration I took one of the man’s dress shirts and put it on her. Just like I thought, it was a perfect dress, and after searching through the young woman’s items I found a belt that I cinched as tight as it would go around her waist. We devoted the rest of the day to building a makeshift shelter out of fallen branches, and metal from the plane. When we finished it was dark, and using my only skill I had learned from girl scouts, I built a fire. That night we dined on a candy bar a piece and each got a sip of water.
I woke up to the smell of smoke; we hadn’t put out the fire! As I quickly sat up and looked around I realized that the jungle was on fire!
“Gillian! Get up now!” I screamed.
She sat up in a hurry and quickly realized what was going on. “What are we going to do?” she wailed
“Drag the suitcases next to the water, and come sit next to them with me in the water.”
We did as I had said and watched as the fire raged on. The smoke must have gotten to me because the next thing I remember I heard a scream from inside of the fire. I looked beside me, and Gillian wasn’t there! I quickly sat up and limped as fast as I could into the inferno.
“Zoey! Zoey!” the screams came from inside the jungle.
“Gillian where are you?” I yelled back.
“Over here.” A soft reply came; I was losing her!
I followed the sound of her voice until I found her with her arm pinned beneath a large fallen branch. I pulled the branched off her arm and pulled her to her feet. She was only semi conscious. I half dragged her through the flames to the spot in the water where we had been waiting before.
“Gillian! Why did you go in there?” I demanded
“I thought I heard my mother.” She replied sounding ashamed
“Gillian, I’m sorry but she’s not in there. It’s not likely you’ll ever see her again.”
“I know that. I just thought maybe…” she broke off sobbing
Suddenly I heard a loud noise. I looked up to the sky and saw lights! An airplane! I got up and screamed and waved my arms. As it got closer I could see that it was a helicopter. A rope came down, and I heard a voice: come on up, hurry we’ve got to get out of here. Right then the fire popped as if to emphasize our time limit. I helped Gillian up the ladder, but before I went up I grabbed her mother’s purse, along with the valuable pictures inside. The helicopter was flown by a pilot from the United States; they had been searching for the plane crash and found the burning island.
“You girls can go to sleep in the back.” The pilot informed us.
I laid down next to the sleeping Gillian, and as I drifted out of consciousness, all I could think was: we’re going home!