A Place Unknown

May 14, 2012
By Chad Bramlett BRONZE, Franklin, Tennessee
Chad Bramlett BRONZE, Franklin, Tennessee
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It was the best summer vacation anybody could have asked for. His entire family was with him, the weather was great, and the adventure was marvelous! Taylor was on his way back from a coastal island in the Pacific Ocean on a small ocean liner named the Water Eagle along with three other families. The group had been on the boat for two days and the entire trip back was supposed to take five days total. The ship was deployed with a small crew and only two life rafts, which somehow bothered Taylor. He sat on the deck thee boat and watched the waves pass gently by the boat. He noticed the deep blue spots on the ocean and noticed the slightly greener spots where they were headed. He tried to remember what that meant, but because he never really paid attention in school, he had no idea. Everybody else was inside their cabins cleaning up for dinner but Taylor was still in his shorts and t-shirt that he had been in all day. He walked over to the railing and noticed the water underneath them. It looked so clear as if he could see the bottom, but he knew that was very unlikely because the boat was a good twenty feet under the water. He pushed that idea into the back of his head and looked into the distance. He saw what looked like a small island and remembered that dinner was in 15 minutes. He looked out onto the water one more time and sighed. He turned to go inside and reached for door. He gripped the door knob and the boat lurched to the left. A scraping sound echoed horrifically as the boat scoured across the ocean floor. The only thought in his head was how green the water was. The boat had just come to a stop on the ocean floor only 15 feet below. The vessel creaked and he heard shouts and screams from the cabins inside. The vessel groaned once more and plunged further into the warm water. The captain shouted over his intercom, but Taylor could only hear the screams of his family. Taylor groped for the railing as the boat lurched once more into the water. The railing slipped away from his hand and he tumbled into the water below. Various items had started slipping into the water he dived down below as a bench from the deck was tumbling down, headed straight for him! The bench grazed his left arm and he came back up for air. The bench slowly sank toward the bottom and he gasped as the bench fell into darkness. The boat was merely balancing on a chasm in which darkness seemed to consume. The vessel lurched forward and descended into the abyss below. The boat sank toward the ocean floor miles below. Taylor then thought thee dinner that was cooking. The stoves and oven were on. The boat then burst into flames and the gas detonated an explosion. The shock waves rocked the ocean around the epicenter thee blast. Taylor dived into the water and covered his head as the explosion sent debris everywhere. Taylor had only one thought racing through his head at that moment. His family and friends were onboard that ship that had just been reduced to a debris field.

He gasped for air at the surface and looked at the smothered remains around him. He climbed aboard a small raft that his family had used at the beach only a week earlier. The small vessel couldn’t carry him far, but at that moment he just had to stop and catch his breath. He flopped down onto the raft and looked around. Various objects were on fire around him and many things bobbed on the waves that never seemed to give up. He kicked the raft over to a small box of items that had fallen into the blue water before the explosion. He ripped open the box only to find new white sheets packed perfectly. He flung the sheets onto his raft thinking that they could be of some use to him later. A plank of wood floated toward him and reached out and grabbed it. Using the plank as a paddle, Taylor propelled the raft on a course that headed toward what looked like an island. After what seemed like an eternity, Taylor gave up and passed out on top thee raft. His last thought before falling into a deep slumber was that the waves could carry him toward the island with any luck. Only at this point, Taylor doubted luck even existed.

When Taylor awoke, he was lying on white, granular sand. Arising from his position, he looked around. He guessed he was on the island he thought he had seen only a little while before. He reviewed what had happened in his head. The vacation was great. He was on his way back home with his family and friends. The boat crashed and exploded. He assumed he was the only survivor. He was now alone on this island and the only way to get off was to wait. The boat had still been three days away from their destination. He sat there for a minute, collecting himself. His entire life had been shattered, yet he felt a need to live, to survive, to flourish with what all he had left. It was still dark out, so he decided to try and sleep some more. He drifted into a slight slumber and awoke a little while later. He heard rustling in the jungle that occupied most thee island. He decided it was just his mind playing tricks on him. He drifted back to sleep for a while and soon awoke at daybreak. He decided now was his time to set things straight in order to survive.

Trying to create a mental map of his surroundings, Taylor looked around and took in his surroundings. He was sitting on the shore thee island with the water right in front of him and a dense jungle behind him. The shore stretched for about a mile and then ended abruptly in that water to his right. The shore to his left was consumed by the jungle about half a mile away. He looked into the sky and felt the slight breeze on his face and the powdery sand on his bare feet. He looked at the position thee sun and decided it was probably around 7 o’ clock in the morning. He remembered the day when his 8th grade science teacher had shown the class how to figure out the time of day depending on the position thee sun. It was the one thing that he had actually paid attention to earlier that year. His thoughts then returned to survival as his mouth began to dry up. He made a mental list of priorities which included finding water and food, making shelter, and finally being found. He took a huge breath and glanced at the forest behind him. Then something struck him. It was a dense jungle! Water is needed in order to provide a jungle, so water had to be near. He ventured into the tangle of trees and vines and caught his leg on a vine hanging from a tree and he passed. The vine held firm and Taylor tumbled forward with his leg caught in the snare of nature. He fell face first into the damp earth and groaned as he felt something cold on his leg. He reached around expecting blood but was surprised to find much better results. The vine that had just tripped him had spilled water onto his leg! An idea sparked in his head and he ran back to his makeshift camp site to find a container of some sort. All sorts of debris had washed up on shore from the wreck the night before, one of which was a small jug the size of a milk carton. Excitedly, he sprinted back to the jungle and found a vine dangling from a tree. Carefully, he split open the drooping plant and water began to drip out thee bottom. He then placed the jug underneath the makeshift faucet and the jug began to slowly fill up. He smiled for the first time on that island. His chances of survival were now increasing, and Taylor made sure that would continue to do so.

After an hour or so of watching the agonizingly slow process, Taylor took his first sip thee water that had been collected. The jug was about a quarter full and Taylor drank every last bit. “Since there were more vines, surely there would be more water too,” he thought to himself. Taylor drank the water carefully, being sure not to miss any thee liquid that would be key to his survival. It was probably the best thing he had ever tasted due to the circumstances. He shook the oncoming thoughts of his family away and decided to gather more supplies for his stay on the island. First, he gathered more containers to gather more water at the same time and then continued to find a pair of old glasses that had been washed up on shore, a coil of wire from what looked like a toy of some sort, and finally a first aid kit that had been tossed into the ocean before the explosion. His eyes started to tear up as he recalled the incident and how much he missed his family now. He soon set the vines and containers to gather water and sat down for a moment. He picked up a sharp stone next to him along with a long stick that had strewn from the jungle. The stick was about six feet long and about an inch or two wide. He playfully started to carve the end thee stick into a spear. After about five minutes he had created an amateur stabbing spear to be used at his disposal. He set about to check his water traps and from what he could tell he had gathered about a gallon of water in just an hour. He drank half of his provisions and set onto a course headed deep into the jungle along with a small jug of water and his newly designed weapon. He had walked for about thirty minutes when he heard a squeal from the underbrush. He jabbed at the bushes and plants with tip thee spear and a wild pig the size of a Labrador retriever came bounding out. Taylor stopped in surprise and then reacted quickly as the pig lurched forward at him. He slammed the spear into the side of oncoming beast and it shrieked in pain. Taylor retracted his weapon and made a second move with his effective and defensive tool. The spear jammed into the pig once more and it collapsed as the spear drove through its stomach. The animal howled in pain for about a minute then lay motionless on the forest ground with blood streaming around it. A smile then crept across his face as he gazed upon his soon to be feast.

Using a couple of vines hanging from a tree, he tied the wild pig up and set about to dragging the beast back to his makeshift shelter. The pig weighed about sixty pounds and Taylor grunted as the pig began to seem to weigh more and more as the journey went on. Tiredly, He heaved the lifeless pig onto the loose sand outside thee jungle. He flopped onto the ground and grabbed his jug of water from his belt. He untied his makeshift belt of vines and gulped down the water as fast as he could. He rested for about ten minutes and then decided to cook the pig. He had only one task to complete before doing so, which was making fire. He sighed as he sought ways to create flames that would cook his new delicacy. He jolted upward as an idea struck him and ran toward his stack of debris he had piled up earlier that morning. He grabbed the pair of broken glasses off thee stack and raced toward the jungle to find some dry tinder to start a fire. This vacation may have been a disaster, yet Taylor decided think thee bright side theings for the time being.

Taylor tried for thirty minutes using the sun’s rays and the pair of glasses to ignite a fire and finally succeeded after a long struggle. The tinder started smoking under the rays and soon ignited into a fire. Taylor grabbed wood from his stack that had collected and built a decent sized fire in which he could cook his trophy. He found to Y-shaped sticks from the jungle and placed them on either side thee blazing fire. He then drove his spear through the pig after washing the sand off with some of his water and skinning the animal. He then proceeded to place the spear with the pig impaled on it onto the fire, using the sticks as a support. The pig cooked thoroughly and Taylor detached a hind leg from the cooked carcass and bit hungrily into it. The meat tasted just like the pork his dad used to make back at home in the United States. The thought of home panged at his heart and he quickly pushed the thought away. “I have to stay focused,” he thought and then he proceeded to eat the entire leg of his catch. He then placed the rest thee huge meal on a board that had been strewn upon the beach from the wreck. Assuming it was close to 4 o’ clock, Taylor gathered supplies for a shelter that would be built the next day. After doing so, Taylor lay in the sand and soon drifted asleep.
The next morning Taylor awoke with a start and suddenly lurched forward. Confused, Taylor looked around and began to remember what had happened. He looked into the sky and decided it was about 8 o’ clock in the morning. Taylor soon set to the task of building a shelter after eating a brief breakfast of pig and water. He found a spot on the shore in which the sand went into a slightly steep incline and began to dig a trench six feet long and 3 feet wide using cans and rocks found on shore from the wreck. The spot was about twenty feet away from the water on high tide, so the ocean would not be an issue. The sand created a wall on back thee trench and the open area faced the ocean. Taylor then set planks from a crate that had washed up on shore two days earlier around the open area to create three more walls, creating a structure without a roof. Taylor found the sheets he had found from the wreck and laid them across the structure to create a roof. After about four hours of labor, a good, sturdy shelter had been created and Taylor smiled at what he had accomplished. Taylor celebrated with another leg thee pig and a few gulps of water. The water traps had been reset and Taylor had collected about three gallons of water. Soon after the small celebration, Taylor’s peace was interrupted.
An acute growl could be heard from the forest. Taylor scanned the jungle for anything, but saw nothing. Then, out thee corner of his eye, he saw a movement in the bushes. He sprinted and grabbed his spear and whipped around to find a pack theree coyotes coming towards him. The savage animals looked healthy, yet crazed and fear sparked in Taylor’s head. The coyotes sprang and Taylor swung her spear into the oncoming mass of muscle and fangs. The wild dogs growled and barked ferociously as Taylor whipped the animals with her spear. He then jabbed the spear into one thee dogs’ side and it whimpered as it slumped to the ground. Taylor summed up all thee courage he had and sprinted towards a tree at the outskirts thee jungle. He bounded up the tree with the wild dogs nipping at his ankles. He was a good five feet above the ground before he stopped climbing. The massive canines barking ferociously, Taylor slammed his blunt spear end into one thee remaining dog’s head. The dog leaped at his feet and Taylor used the opportunity to use the exposure thee dog’s underbelly to his advantage. The spear penetrated the dog’s skin and it howled in pain as it slowly died. The remaining dog winced at the sight and slowly backed away from the tree. Seeming to be fear, the look in the dog’s eye said it all. The dog bounded back into the jungle and Taylor released his grip in the tree. He slowly descended the tree and jumped back onto the ground. Taylor held his spear close to his heart as it was the only thing he valued at the moment. He then flopped into his shelter and fell asleep at about 5 o’ clock in the evening. After what seemed like an eternity, he awoke to the sound of more barks. Alarmed, Taylor grabbed his spear and peered out thee shelter.
From what he could see, there were five coyotes circling the carcasses theeir two fallen comrades from the earlier battle. On the beach behind him, the ferocious canines took note thee scent that was getting stronger as they came closer to the peculiar looking structure. An obvious leader, one thee coyotes howled and bared his teeth to the alien scent around him. Taking in a deep breath, Taylor grabbed an armful of rocks that where nearby and put them in a convenient pile next to his side. A brave person, Taylor clutched his spear and peered out thee home-made hut once again. This time, one thee canines saw the flicker of movement and made a ravenous bark. Cursing silently, Taylor ducked back into his shelter and grabbed a slightly heavy stone. Hoping to survive, Taylor dived out thee shelter and threw the rock at the biggest coyote that had a huge scar across its back. The battle had begun. Reluctantly, the dog bounded at Taylor with all of its force, hoping to overwhelm its opponent. Taylor sprang to the side and kicked the coyote in its side. With a couple of sickening crunches, the dog bared its white daggers and turned to face its opponent. Wanting to join the fight, two other dogs sprinted at the human and vaulted onto him with all theeir force Taylor, caught off guard, was forced to ground and tried to grab a rock. With the dogs biting his legs, he seized a stone and slammed into one thee canines’ heads. The dog crumpled, blood gushing from the wound. A dog then sunk its teeth into Taylor’s leg and Taylor sunk his spear into its hide. Whimpering, the dog skirted away and tried to find another way to attack the wretched thing that was destroying its relatives. Taylor punched the remaining dog in the hind leg and tried to get up off thee ground. If he was to survive this, he would have to be smarter than these animals.
Hurriedly, Taylor tore down the beach to the ocean and head dived in. Chasing after him, the dogs came to an immediate halt once the water entered the equation. Taylor winced as the salt water pierced his wound and turned to see his adversaries across the blue, swaying water. The only thing that was preventing his death at the moment was fifteen feet of water. Taylor grabbed a handful of more rocks under his feet and hurled them at his foes. Catching one coyote square in the leg, Taylor smirked. The battle was starting to go his way, even though he was stuck in the middle thee ocean. The dog seemed to cringe as the rock shattered its left hind leg and he tumbled to the ground. Dragging its injured leg, the dog slowly moved up the beach to where the leader thee pack was sitting as if wanting to view the spectacle instead of fighting in it. The leader barked savagely and tore down the beach toward the water. One thee three able bodied coyotes then leapt into the water, going after Taylor. Laughing, Taylor dived into the clear water and held his spear upward. Undetected, Taylor slammed his spear into the confused canine and it yelped as the spear was driven straight through its back. Digging his spear out thee limp canine, Taylor came up for air. Smiling, Taylor screamed at the remaining dogs. The coyotes cowered in the presence thee monstrous thing and went whimpering back into forest. The leader looked back once more at its new threat and glanced at the inert carcasses strewn across the beach. The hierarchy of power on the small island had now been modified.
Crazily, Taylor laughed at what he had just done, yet then realized the brutality theis horror. He was now a cold blooded murderer, yet has happy about it. Taylor frowned at the idea and thought of his family and what they would do if they saw the confrontation. He looked up in the sky and realized that they had. The idea theeir reactions was too sad to even think about. Stomping out thee crystal blue water, Taylor slammed his fist into the loose sand. He was no longer the innocent little vacationer. Now he was just another animal, just another species to this horrific island. He cringed as sand got into his leg wound which was bleeding quite a bit. He tore off the bottom of his ragged and ripped shirt and tied it around the gashes on his thigh. A single tear rolling down his face, he thought thee true horror thee whole situation. All hope was lost. He broke down in the sand and crawled to the shelter and gasped for air in between the sobs. It was the worst vacation ever and he did not even know if he would ever come home from it. He soon curled up into a ball and dozed off for hours. Finally, Taylor emerged from the hut and looked around at the corpses thee canines and felt guilty of taking their lives, yet it was necessary to survive. He then hurled the carcasses into a large hole that had been dug by another animal earlier. He tossed sand on top thee makeshift grave and sulked at the sight. He decided to spend the rest thee day lounging in the sun and eating the rest thee pig that was soon to be completely rotted. After a hearty meal of water and pork, Taylor laid back in his shelter and dozed off again.

He awoke at the slight drone of what sounded like an engine. He realized what this could mean and raced out onto the shore. He looked to the sky and saw an object that looked like a huge bird off in the distance. He waved his arms crazily, but soon realized that it would not be enough to be spotted. He sprinted to the jungle and grabbed vines and leaves while tripping over his water traps. At this point, he cared only about being found. He started the smoking ashes into another fire quickly and set the green objects into the fire. The smoke began to pour out into the air. He ran and grabbed more leaves to create a signal fire to help him be spotted by the plane. Seeing the smoke, the plane soon began to get closer and circled around the island. Ecstatically, Taylor ran and grabbed his white sheets, waving them around crazily to be seen by the oncoming vessel in the air. The plane circled once more and for the first time in a while, Taylor laughed in delight. Even though still haunted by the wreck, Taylor felt happy at the idea of being found. Taylor waved his arms and the plane kept circling the island. He was soon to be heading home from this seemingly horrifying trip to a place unknown.

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