Freedom From Judgment Island

November 15, 2012
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I jump on the cruise ship, eager to begin my adventure with my best friend, Emily, and my boyfriend, Justin. The boat sits docked in Boston Harbor and leaves in another couple of hours, but we do not care about the wait. As time slowly ticks away, we plan our weeklong cruise through the Spanish Islands. We want to experience everything and take tons of pictures along the way for all our friends back home. A few hours later, the boat pulls away from the dock and we cheer. In thirty-seven hours we will reach the Spanish Islands! We all quietly sleep for most of the boat ride, but the last two hours we sit on the top deck watching for the first sign of land.
All of a sudden, the ship hits something and the motor turns over and does not start. People begin running past us to the other side of the ship. We run to the other side and discover that we are stranded on an island. There are tall, looming trees for as far as the eye can see and the dark, menacing forest contrasts greatly to the beautiful, bright Spanish Islands we were promised. Since the boat still struggles to start, the first mate takes the only lifeboat and sails off to get help. We will not see him again, but at the time hoping that he finds help comforts us. Those of us left alive disembark from the boat in search of our own way to escape.

Suddenly, a black figure appears before our group of lost souls. He beckons us toward him and only a few brave actually move, including my friend, Emily. Just as quickly as he appeared, he disappears taking the brave souls with him. I subconsciously know that Emily disappeared forever. Justin senses this fact too and comes over to comfort me. Once we all calm down, the captain takes some of the men off to find food and shelter. They come back defeated by fear of the forest and tell us about a creepy bridge through the island. They decide we shall all cross over in the morning and search the other half of the island. For now, we all cuddle together for body warmth and try to sleep through all the mysterious noises of the forest surrounding us. The low growls of unknown animals and screeching of birds make sleep difficult, but most of us, so tired from the long day, fall asleep after a little while.

A few hours later, as the small sun rises above the treetops, I awake alone. Justin’s arms no longer wrap around me and as I sit up I notice the other girls shivering. All the boys have left! Then I realize the trees no longer surround us. Instead of a forest of dark, looming trees, a field of fluffy, dewy grass surrounds us. The other girls wake up and get scared. Many of them jump into the ocean and drown or run out of the field, never to be heard from again. Once all the girls have gone, I remain standing alone in the field. Wherever the boys went, I bet that they all remain alive. I remember when I was younger and my parents would take me camping. Those same survival skills could be applied to my situation again. These skills keep my spirits up as I begin to look for food, shelter, and if I am lucky the boys. I find a small cabin built on the outskirts of the field and checking inside; find no sign of anyone else. I use this cabin as shelter and now food becomes my main concern. I know that I can eat the herbs and flowers from the field, but depending on how long I remain stranded here, I will need some meat to keep up my energy. I gather some herbs and create a fire to warm myself through the long, cold night ahead.

The next morning, I decide to explore the rest of the island. I walk for two hours and then I begin to hear voices. At first I think I must be going insane, but then I glance toward the river. “The Gate of Arrival”, where all boats come to the island, slowly opens to admit a small sailboat. From where I hide in the bushes, I watch the group of five people meet the dark figure. Three disappear with him and the last two sink sleepily to the ground. One girl and one boy come out of the woods behind the stranded couple. The girl grabs both the stranded and for the first time I notice they are both girls. The boy slinks quietly back into the woods, but I follow the girl. She puts both girls over her shoulders and carries them back to the field, the same place the girls from my shipwreck were dropped. Now I understand the girls and boys get separated for a reason. I need to figure out the reason, if I ever want to get off this forsaken island.

I wait a few hours before venturing into the field and awaking the girls. I try to keep them calm and explain what I know about the island so far. I hope to make them advisories so that when I figure out a plan, I have some help completing the plan. They seem to take the news better than the people from my ship and they quickly begin making a fire and collecting a stockpile of food from the field. I wonder how they know what is safe to eat, and they explain that they live on a farm not far from the island. They learned many useful tips about living in the wild. We walk down to the riverbank and as they catch fish for dinner, I draw a map of the island, or at least what I actually know, in the sand. I remember the bridge the boys talked about before and draw it in. When I show the younger girls, they eagerly agree to come with me to explore the other half of the island that night. We head back to the cabin, make a fire, cook our fish, and try to get some sleep before our long nighttime adventure.

Right as dusk falls, the girls begin the time-consuming trek across the “Bridge of War”. When we get halfway across, a giant beast jumps out of the forest and scares us so much, that one of the young girls falls into the “River of Peace” and drowns. Now, only two girls remain to find a way off the island and to rescue the boys. The beast turns and runs back into the forest and the two girls continue their journey. About ten o’clock, we find a small clearing in the woods. On the other side of the clearing, a small cabin, much like the one we were living in, emerges from the woods. When we listen, sweet music and laughter waft closer to us. We spent all our time worrying about the boys, and meanwhile they were perfectly fine without us. I do not mind the other guys being like that, but I expected more from my boyfriend. Didn’t he miss me at all?
I get my answer a few minutes later when Justin comes running up behind us and pushes us back towards the forest. Minutes later, we no longer hear the camp. Justin hurriedly explains the only way off the island; your team must win the key to the “Bridge of Freedom”. When I ask him about the key, he grimaces. To get off the island, either the Girls’ Team or the Boys’ Team must defeat the opposite team, and by defeat I mean kill. Since the “Boys’ Camp” is closer to the bridge, they waited for us girls to figure out the game and come to them. They had all survived and were much more powerful than us meek girls. They also bet that many of us were dead by now. I asked Justin why he didn’t just kill us both now and leave the island. He refused to kill my newfound friend or me. With only two of us left on the Girls’ Team, I knew it was impossible for us to ever win our way off the island. I sent Justin off to find us some food and once he was far enough away, my friend and I walked through the clearing and over to the “Boys’ Camp”. With only us left, we decided to not prolong the inevitable. The boys deserved to go home and that only happened when we died.
Just as I knocked on the door to the boys’ cabin, inviting my own death to come out and play, the other girl lit a small branch on fire and threw it onto the wooden cabin. The cabin and the boys inside went up in flames so quickly that I almost missed it. Now the only people left on the island were my ally, Justin, and I. We girls finally had an advantage, but I could never kill Justin and I could never let the little girl kill him either. Suddenly, I understood. The island never expected anyone to escape. That’s how they designed their crazy plan. I walked towards the "Bridge of Freedom” and inspected the little keyhole on the great wooden doors. Just then, Justin came scampering back into the clearing. It took him a minute to take in the burnt cabin and the two of us standing at the gate. He knew that I had sent him away for his own good. I walked slowly over to him and hugged him. He started crying with joy, because when I turned around the gate was burnt to a crisp. We were free to all just walk across the bridge to our freedom. My little ally solved a riddle that no one else ever could. No one ever had to die because all along there had been another way. Holding hands, the three sole survivors of “Judgment Island” stepped daintily onto the “Bridge of Freedom”.
I awake with a start, only to find myself in my hotel room with Justin lying next to me. I dreamed the entire adventure. The Spanish Islands awaited us and so did Emily. I ran to her room next door and knocked so loud that I expected our neighbors to complain, not that I cared. When she finally answered her door, I hugged her so tightly that I almost choked her. Once I explained my strange dream and we all got ready for our day, we walked downstairs to breakfast together. Waiting in the buffet line, I noticed a little girl reaching for a glass in front of me. I grabbed the glass and went to hand it to her, but dropped it instead. That little girl from my dreams and the one standing next to me were identical. I never told anyone else about the coincidence, there must be some reasoning behind it. Maybe I saw her on the boat before we arrived or something. The rest of our trip I refused to leave Justin and Emily alone and even though they didn’t believe my dream, they were more than happy to spend the rest of our weeklong trip walking arm-in-arm with me throughout the beautiful Spanish Islands.

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