Fear of the Unknown

May 22, 2013
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Fear of the Unknown
By Emily

The sunlit daggers stabbed at her crusty swollen eyes repeatedly, blinding her. Croaking, she tried to roll over, but her body jolted with pain. Without warning, her head rolled back onto her shoulders, where the side of her sunburnt face hit a hard grainy surface with a wet thump. Her feeble limbs shuddered from impact. Raising a chaffed hand against the sun, she painstakingly lifted her shoulder out from under her, slowly uncurling from her fetal position, propping herself up on one elbow. Lifting her head, she blinked slowly, bloodshot and unfocused eyes assessing her surroundings.

There it was. It was the sound of the island and her lonesome existence mocking her, again. Her mouth tasted like gravel, and her lips were peeling and bleeding. With a dull type of horror, she realized that she was slowly wasting away.

She used to love sunny days with a passion, marveling at the way the golden shine filtered through the long strands of her hair, the way it brought to her face a rosy blush, the way it made her feel like a blessed beauty. Now her days were spent crouching under a scraggly bush, hiding from the burning sun. Her filmy gaze wandered up to the bright, cursedly empty skies. There was nothing she could do to save herself. She had thought of trying to float her raft out there again, but there was the fear of the unknown. She tried to persuade herself, each day, that she had a better chance of surviving if she stayed on the island, instead of dying out at sea.

She had counted the days that trickled by. Sometimes, she didn't know if she was awake or dreaming. But she could always rely on the harsh, blazing light of the sun and the languid beams of the moon. Maybe tonight I'll fall asleep but wake up in my bed. Or tomorrow I'll see a helicopter flying above me and- It was a mantra she repeated each day (or at least when she was conscious).

When had she found this island? She only remembered her cruise ship sinking and how she had leapt and laughed with joy after arriving in a raft that held no promises. She had nothing but her ragged clothes and the raft itself. It had only been a few days, but her mind was fuzzy with hunger and the way her throat scratched.

If only I could fly, she thought to herself. If I could channel that joy I find in singing and writing poetry, maybe I could learn to spread my wings and fly far away from this horrible lonely existence...I don't believe anymore, she realized. Belief...but how could she believe when she could barely remember the last time she had a decent meal? When had she last seen her loved ones? Whenever she was with them, she felt like she was flying, like she was an untouchable figure in the sky, laminated and strung up for all to see. When would she be able to dream again, to sing and write and know in her heart she was flying beyond imagination, beyond life and death itself? A slight rumble pulled her back to where she was.

I hear...something...she savored the silence, tasting it, testing it for any sound, any sound at all. Yes! There it was! She heaved herself to her feet, and searched the horizons eagerly. There it was, a little dot, in the distance. A helicopter. It grew bigger, larger, life-like, until it passed over her island, its shadow fleeing over her island. She waved her arms at it, screamed till her voice was hoarse, but it was no use. Unless ...

Desperately, she searched her mind. What can I do, what can I do? Think! Her arm slowly dropped. "I know...I know what I have to do now." Her voice, seeming to clash with the incompatible silence, vibrated in its doubt. She inhaled deeply, gathering all her hopes and dreams and tucking them away for what must come.

There were long winter nights where the night tapped at the windows and her pen scratched away and she sipped hot cocoa (exactly two marshmallows in a cup) contentedly. I want that, she realized. I want to be young and free and untouched. But only...only if I try. Try for survival. Although her body shivered with fear at the very idea of setting out into the hazy ocean, she now knew what to do. Dreams can only become yours if you reach for them. And I will, she thought with reinforced determination. I have been given a choice- to shy away from this one opportunity like a coward, or to reach out with all my might- and touch the stars. Like she was flying.

Yes, flying, feeling alive, finding her heart and courage, just being...it was as easy as snapping her fingers. Her life was built out of love and laughs and feelings, and dreams and nothing but moments, and so she swept her arm and knocked it all down.

The sun turned its back on her as she dragged her hastily patched up raft. It was her journey now, and she would take the lead and float away, diving deep into dreams and hazes and smoke. She would spirit herself away.

With a final glance behind her, she pushed away from the shore and set out into the lit seawater.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

booklover said...
Jun. 17, 2013 at 11:45 am
Talented writer! Can't wait to see your next piece.
Site Feedback