Just us Three
Hi, my name is Stephanie, and this is my story of how two other friends of mine and I are launched off a large cruise liner while it’s sinking. We swim to an island and have to learn to work together to gather food, start a fire, and build a shelter.
I awoke to my friend Hazel, shaking my shoulder. “Wake up! Your Mom said we could go swimming or do something out of the room while our parents go out for dinner.” I sat up and groaned, rubbing my eyes as I did so.
“What about Hayden?” I yawned.
“He’s with my brother in the other room playing video games and stuff,” she replied.
“Oh,” I said, “and where’s Alyssa?”
“She is sitting in the kitchen on her phone waiting for us, hurry up, you’re slow!” Hazel complained, poking my side as she left the room to allow me to get dressed.
I sighed and swung my legs off the bed, when I’m around friends, naps just aren’t allowed. Even if you’ve been in the hot sun all day on the deck of a nice cruise ship. My brother Hayden, is in 6th grade, just two grades below me. I live in a family of four. Me, my Dad, my Mom and Hayden. My dad is the type of guy who is big and strong and everybody looks to him for help. My mom is a small, mousy woman who is creative and wise; very useful in difficult situations. Hayden is a short, athletic kid, kind of on the nerdy side but overall cool. And then there’s me. I’m a short girl. 4,11 to be exact. Although I’m short, I am pretty fast. In track, the coaches claimed that I was the fastest girl they had ever seen. So you can guess by now that I am athletic also. That is very true.
I have shoulder length light brown hair, brown eyes and I am slightly tan from the vacation we were currently on. Anyway, I stood up and walked over to my duffel bag to find some shorts and a t-shirt to wear for the rest of the evening. I quickly changed and then slipped some flip-flops on. After a quick brush of my hair and teeth, I was ready to go. I tied my hair back and trotted into the kitchen.
“Finally! The sleeping beauty is up and ready to go!” Alyssa announced to the whole room. Hayden and Hazel’s brother, Dean looked over from their card game in confusion of what all the sudden loud talking was about. “It’s been almost HOURS!” Alyssa exaggerated loudly.
“Oh be quiet Alyssa, it’s only been 5 minutes.” I said as I rolled my eyes at her overstatement.
“It felt like hours…” I heard her mutter as she went back to texting on her phone. I shook my head and went to the small refrigerator to grab something to eat before we went out.
Alyssa is tall with medium back length light brown hair, loud and boisterous, while Hazel is quiet and collected. Hazel has bronze colored skin with black hair, and she’s just inches taller than I. Though the best part is that we all play in ours school’s band. I play the alto saxophone, Hazel plays the flute and Alyssa plays trumpet.
After my snack, Alyssa put her phone up. We strolled out of the room and headed towards the pools. Since our room was on the outer decks part of the ship, close to the lifeboats, the walk wasn’t far. Several feet away from our room was a staircase that led to the upper decks where the pool sat waiting for us. I turned to my friends and sighed.
“Guys, I don’t really want to go swimming, besides, I didn’t even put on my swimsuit.”
“Same.” Alyssa agreed. Hazel nodded.
“If you guys aren’t going, then I’m not going.” she concluded.
“Well that settles it. Outta my way people, I’m getting myself some ice-cream.” Alyssa declared, pushing past us as she spoke.
“Buy me some too!” Hazel called after her as she watched Alyssa disappear through the crowd of people around the pools.
“Let’s just go with her.” I suggested.
“Okay, let’s go.” Hazel agreed. Quickly we caught up with Alyssa.
“Hey we dec--” I began to say before a gigantic hollow BOOM sounded throughout the whole boat, followed by a screeching, ripping metal sound.
Everyone went quiet. It was so quiet you would be able hear a pencil drop.
“What was that…? Hazel whispered.
“Hazel, you just read my mind.” Alyssa said out of the corner of her mouth.
“Shush! Guys, be quiet!” I shushed my friends as a man came running onto the deck carrying a megaphone.
“NOBODY PANIC, BUT WE’VE HIT A REEF!” He said loudly through the megaphone, the man paused then continued, “EVERYBODY KEEP QUIET AND MAKE YOUR WAY TOWARDS THE LIFEBOATS ON BOTH SIDES OF THIS LINER! WE’LL CONNECT YOU WITH YOUR FAMILIES ONCE WE GET ON DRY LAND!”
“A reef? Where the heck is the island then?” I asked Hazel and Alyssa as people started scrambling for the sides of the ship. I gazed around over the railings. I couldn't see anything for miles all around.
“I dunno, maybe it was once a volcano that’s been eroded away?” Hazel suggested. I shrugged.
It was a silly sight, hundreds of people running around, trying to get to safety while us three just stood in the middle, watching the chaos unfold. Suddenly, the boat tilted violently, some lady who was running by me, slipped and her arm flailed out and whacked my legs out from under me as she fell.
“Whoa!” I said surprised, as I began to slide towards the middle of the boat. With some difficulty, I stood up and ran to the railing. “Alyssa, Hazel, over here!” I yelled to my friends. Hazel heard me and grabbed Alyssa’s arm, pushing her to me.
Alyssa got up and ran, I snatched her wrist and pulled her to me so she could get a good grip on the railing. Hazel went last, slipping even more than I did due to the angle of the sinking ship. As the vessel tilted even more, Hazel fell, shouting in fear and surprise as she went. At the last second, Alyssa and I seized her forearms and slowly lifted her to the railing where she could hold on.
“Thank you!” She gasped. “Your welcome!” I grunted as the ship began to snap. With a long and drawn out “errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..” sounded as the hull began to snap in two.
“Guys hold on tight!” Alyssa shouted as the bow threatened to free itself from the stern.
Then finally, the ship snapped with a deafening sound of twisting metal and plastic. I looked over my shoulder. Everyone was gone, and puttering away on lifeboats.
“Why did we have to wait till the last minute!?!?” I cried. “Don’t ask me!!” Hazel bellowed over the noise of waves, grinding metal and the huge boat motor.
Then it hit me. OUR FAMILIES! Geez, I hoped they were okay..I was ashamed that I hadn’t really thought of them before now..Instantly, I was jerked back into reality by a falling feeling. The bow was being brought back down into the water by the invisible force of gravity. SPAAAAHHHHHLOOOOSHHHHH! The bow landed. From the force of the impact, the three of us were catapulted from the railing that we were hanging on to, only to find ourselves flying, what felt like a mile high, over the ocean.
“WHAAAAUUUUGH!” I screamed as I began to fall back to Earth.
My attention randomly focused on a table that was launched into the air along with us. It looked funny just flying crazily in the air alongside us. I couldn't hear my friends but I sensed that they were nearby. I looked down, and boy, that water was coming fast. I closed my eyes and waited for the impact that would obviously be painful.
“Oomph!” I grunted when I hit the chilly water. It felt as if I had been hit by a golf cart. Dimly aware of what was going on around me, I wearily swam in the direction of the table that I had seen earlier.
“Alyssa?! Hazel?!” I called out to the watery world around me.
“Stephanie!” I could hear someone yelling.
I swam in the direction of the voice. I looked to my left, and there, perched atop the table looking traumatized and concerned, was Hazel and Alyssa. I splashed towards them. When I was close enough, my friends pulled me aboard the small floating craft.
“Thank you..” I said. Hazel nodded. “Are you okay?!” Alyssa, who was nursing a gash on her head, asked, pointing to my leg. It was bleeding and started to swell.
“Oh I’ll live, how about you?” I said, she nodded and wiped a trickle of blood that was seeping into her eyebrow. “Hazel, you good?” Alyssa asked her. “I’ve got a few bruises but I’ll survive.” She assured us.
I must have fallen asleep from exhaustion because the next thing I knew, I was laying in the table on some beach. It was dark out, and the moon was already halfway across the sky. I shifted my position and winced. My leg and body was sore. Slowly, I drifted in and out of consciousness for the next few hours until morning.
“Steph are you dead?” Someone said.
I opened my eyes and looked up, finding myself laying on my back in the table, staring at the blue sky. Slowly I rose to my feet, blanching from the soreness in my muscles. It was Alyssa who had spoken, she was laying in the warm sand several feet away, sunning and drying herself off, clothes stiff from dried salt.
“Yes.” I replied.
I stretched steadily, raising my aching limbs to the sky. The gentle waves of the ocean lapping at my heels. My hands and toes were super pruned and slimey. I wiped them on my damp shirt and stared around. I could hear seagulls cawing in the distance and the waves in the gentle gusts of wind. All around me the air smelled of that fresh ocean breeze smell.
“Where did Hazel go?” I asked, noticing for the first time that my jet-black haired friend was nowhere to be seen.
“Over there by those boulders, getting a drink.” Alyssa told me, pointing to a patch of rocks and palm trees 3o feet behind her.
“Oh ok. I’m going to go find her.” I said as I walked past Alyssa to wherever Hazel was.
“Hey Hazel, where are you?”
“Over here!” was the reply.
I rounded a corner and found Hazel kneeling over a small freshwater river, washing her face.
“I’m thirsty!” I spluttered as I got down on my battered knees and began to drink as much as I could. When I was finished, I sat back refreshed and satisfied.
“All better?” Hazel laughed when she saw my face.
“No not yet. I don’t know about you,” I said, “but I’m starving.” .
“Me too, c’mon, I think I saw a fruit tree somewhere in the forest behind the beach.” Hazel remarked.
Together we helped each other up and trudged over to the tropical wood that was alive with vines, insects and other wildlife. We walked through the woodland, we searched high and low for vegetation to eat. I looked at the sky. It seemed to be getting darker every minute.
“H-hey, Hazel, is it just me or does it look like it is about to rain?” I wondered, tapping her arm to get her attention.
“Yeah, it does..” She trailed off as a single drop fell and hit her on the nose. “Yup, It’s raining.” She grinned. I spun around and started walking back to the beach.
“Where are you going?” Hazel inquired.
“Back to Alyssa, we should make a shelter before we have any food.” I answered.
“Why?” she questioned.
“Because I read somewhere that shelter is more important than food when you’re stranded on an uncharted island, the average human can survive at least a week without a meal.” I called back over my shoulder as I kept walking.
“Well okay then, smartypants,” Hazel smirked, as she followed me, “lead the way.”
Minutes later we were back where we started on the beach.
“Hey guys, over here!” I heard a voice coming from my right.
Turns out, Alyssa had the same shelter idea. She had taken a large tropical leaf and tied it around a branch with some grass creating an overhang that we could all sit under and be protected by the slight drizzle of rain.
“I’m going to make a fire. You guys dig a hole for a fire pit and collect stones to put around it and sticks and dry stuff for fuel. I am going to try and find some flint or sticks or something to start a fire with”. I said before I wandered back down the damp beach in search for anything that could be useful.
In a flash, I spotted a strange object by our table that I never noticed before now. As I drew closer, I could see that the strange thing was a small steel garden shovel. Just the perfect thing to create flint and steel. I picked up the shovel and sauntered over to the rocks where the freshwater spring was, I chose some stones that were in the area and banged them against the shovel. After several unsuccessful tries, I finally made a spark. Excited, I pocketed the flint and ran to the overhang.
“I’m back.” I proclaimed. I plopped down between Alyssa and Hazel and began to shower sparks on the small amount of dry wood they’d collected. Just 2 hits later and I had made FIRE.
“Nice job Steph.” Hazel congratulated me, clapping me on the back.
“But what about food?” Alyssa asked us. Our smiles faded when we realized we still hadn’t found anything to eat yet.
“I know this is disgusting but I saw a few lizards roaming around the woods and the rocks by the stream…” Alyssa recommended. I made a face.
“Good idea!” Hazel brightened up.
“Okay guys, I’ll stay here and tend to the flames, Steph, you go and try to catch some lizards and Hazel, I heard you say something about fruit earlier, so go and try to find some!” Alyssa directed.
Nobody disagreed so we all went about our business. Back at the rocks, I searched in tiny cracks and crevices. I found a stick and grabbed a sharp rock to sharpen it on, then I thrust it into a hole, completely catching one of the reptiles off guard and spearing him on our stick. I felt really bad. Nobody deserved to die that way..I washed him off quickly in the river, just to get all of the dirt and grime off him. I opened the small reptile’s mouth and fed the keen stick through until it poked all the way out the backside. I then sharpened two more sticks into finely tipped lizard-killers and was able to get a easy catch of three sticked lizards.
All we had to do now was roast them. Yuck. I wouldn’t do this if there were canned beans nearby, but if you’re hungry with two famished friends, you gotta go to the extreme. I returned triumphantly, waving around three dead lizards. Alyssa and Hazel looked up doubtfully.
“Oh come on guys. This is the best I could get, at least try some!” I chided them.
“Oh fine..” Hazel finally agreed. She grabbed the nearest staked lizard and began to roast it as I was doing.
“Ready? I asked when she neared the final stage of the lizard roasting. Alyssa looked up, mildly interested, waiting to see our faces.
“On the count of three!” Hazel while she pulled the done reptile out of the coals.
“One, two,” I held the reptile up to my mouth, “Three!” We bit into the flesh.
It tasted like a strange mix of fish and chicken, In general, I thought it tasted pretty good. I don’t know about Hazel though. She was making weird faces throughout the whole time, but she never spat it out.
“Blah, that tastes like fish!” Hazel implied. “And chicken!” I added. “Yeah, chicken.”
Finally Alyssa decided to have some too.
“The taste kind of reminds me of frog-legs” Alyssa said after a minute.We all laughed.
For a “Treat”, Hazel brought out the fruit she had found. I cut them open with a blunt wooden knife I had made while catching the lizards at the little creek. Later on, we discovered that they were pomegranates. And yes, I have to admit, they are way better than roasted, fishy, icky, lizard.
As the rain let up, the sun started to dip below the horizon. Alyssa put some dry leaves over the fire to keep it going, then we all laid down to sleep. Surprisingly, nobody was super homesick or just sobbing their eyes out on our first day of surviving. I guess it was because we weren’t alone, if I was alone, then yes, I would be homesick and miserable. Plus, we had a survival unit in science class so we sort of had an idea of what we needed to do.
I opened my eyes the next morning to see a big, blue helicopter sitting on the beach. It’s a wonder that I didn't even hear it. I stared at the stationary aircraft. I poked Hazel awake and pointed at the copter.
“Who is that?” Hazel wondered.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. Alyssa sat up and stared. We were clueless.
A person hopped out. Then two more. They stared around a bit until one of them noticed us three girls sitting in the sand by the edge of the forest under a huge tropical tree staring at them as if the newcomers were some aliens. They quickly hurried over to us and squatted down in the sand.
“Is this Alyssa, Hazel and Stephanie?” The shortest man asked in a gruff voice. We all nodded yes. The man smiled.
“Hi! My name is Trevor, this is Gabe and Miranda.” He exclaimed in excitement as he gestured to the man and woman behind him. He continued, “Are you girls ready to go home?”
“Well it’s about time you guys found us! Look at my hair, it is SO GROSS. All filled with sand and grease.” Alyssa exclaimed, jumping up and tugging at her hair.
“How did you find us?” Hazel asked as we were buckled into our seats of the helicopter.
“Yesterday, a local pilot was flying by when he spotted a small column of smoke. Nobody inhabits this island because the abundance of poisonous lizards here.”
Hazel and I exchanged worried glances.
“He guessed someone was stranded so he called us up as soon as possible. Plus he picked up some sort of little signal.” Gabe continued. Alyssa pulled a broken and battered phone out of her pocket.
“It still works!?” she asked.
“Apparently.” Miranda answered as she pressed the buttons on the plane's control panel.
“Whoa, I thought it was dead because of the water” She stared at her phone in amazement.
Throughout the helicopter ride, Trevor tended to Hazel’s bumps and bruises, Alyssa’s forehead cut, and the slash that was just below my knee. Hours later we touched down at a large airport.
“You leave us here. It was good to meet you kids.” Trevor said as several airport escorts came walking onto the helicopter pad.
We waved goodbye to coast guard and followed the officials through the airport. People stared at us like we were crazy. We probably looked crazy. As far as I knew, I hadn’t seen a mirror in like, 48 hours. I guessed I looked like Pi from the movie The life of Pi. Tan, smelly and crazy, or at least that’s what my friends looked like.
After what seemed like hours of walking around the busy airport, the officials stiffly opened a pair of double doors as if they had sticks up their butts. Inside of the room were three families. Mine, Hazel’s and Alyssa’s, and I swear that the day we saw our families, who were fresh and alive, was the best day of my life.