INFINITY: Part One
By Eric Cummings
There’s nothing else to do on this boat, so all I do is look out at the churning waves, as the sunset turns them a deep orange.
I’m George Herring. I’m a twelve-year old kid who got stuck on this boring trip with my dad and my little sister Kaylee, who’s six years younger than me. My dad’s a surveyor, and he keeps on charting different land formations off the coast of Mexico that nobody found before. Boy, has he found a lot, but there’s a tiny little area he hasn’t explored yet. As much as I wonder about what might be there, I still want to get off this boat and back to my hometown so I can see all my friends again.
Kaylee’s staring out at the waves beside me. We’ve just took off, and there are tons of other boats sailing beside us. Kaylee’s six, so it’s pretty easy to expect that she’ll be excited at everything she sees.
“Look! Look, George!” she says annoyingly while tapping my shoulder. “There’s a ship! Over there! See, George? See?”
I sigh heavily. “Kaylee, in case you haven’t noticed, there are dozens of ships out there.”
Kaylee just ignores me as she waves at the other men on the boat. “Hi, sailors!” She waves happily. They just smile and wave back.
Kaylee’s blond hair and her pink jacket are flapping in the wind as we continue past the other ships. I look at the sunset. It stains the water a bright orange, and although I may look beautiful, I’m still bored out of my mind.
I walk away from the handrail and go into the cabin where my tall dad is staring at a map and marking it with a pencil. “Dad, I’m bored. Why did we have to go on this stupid surveying trip?”
“Kaylee really wanted to go. And besides, you brought your DS, didn’t you?” Dad replied.
“Yeah, but it’s on low battery,” I answer glumly.
“Too bad,” Dad answers back. “Wait, didn’t you bring a sketchbook, too?”
“Go use that.”
“Can look at your map first?”
“Sure.” Dad stands up from his chair and I gaze at the map. It’s a map of Mexico, and the vast ocean surrounding it. We’re sailing on the Pacific Ocean right now, toward some islands that Dad’s already mapped out. Northwest of those islands is another area that Dad has marked with a big question mark. That question mark looks kind of eerie to me. Dad had said he was sure there was another island in that area. He had just spotted the shoreline on a peak on one of the already-mapped-out islands. It had been enveloped in a thick fog, which makes this even more eerie. I don’t know what’s on that island, and I don’t really want to know, so I just stood back up and looked at Dad.
“Huh...it’s interesting,” I tell him.
“Yeah...I remember going back to the island I’d first seen it from. I remember a day where the fog had cleared out in one area, and I could look at that spot clearly. So, I took out my binoculars, looked over at that spot, and I saw thousands of exotic plants no one else has ever seen. I could’ve tried to look at it more, but the fog came back out of nowhere.” Dad sighs heavily, and I look at the map nervously.
“Dad...I don’t really think this is a good idea. This seems kind of scary.”
“Well, the island did look scary from my view.”
“We’re not actually going to explore the island, are we? It really doesn’t seem like a good idea.”
Dad shrugs. “Well, if you don’t want to, we can just look around and observe the outside of the island. Then we’ll take off.”
I finally feel relieved that we don’t have to explore the mysterious island. “Yeah, that sounds pretty good, Dad.”
Suddenly, Kaylee bursts into the cabin. “Daddy! Daddy!” Kaylee smiles in that annoying, excited way she always does. “Daddy! Guess what!”
“What is it, sweetheart?” Dad asks.
“There’s another surveyor outside! He says he’d like to meet you!” Kaylee exclaims. “I told him about how you mapped out all those other islands and stuff!”
“Wow, really?” Dad smiles. “Okay, let’s meet ‘em!”
He picks up his map and follows Kaylee out the cabin door. I sigh. There isn’t anything else to do, so I just follow them. I lean on the handrail next to Kaylee and Dad.
“Oh, and this is my son, George,” Dad says.
“Hey, George,” the surveyor replies. He isn’t actually on the boat, but he’s sailing next to us on another boat. He has dark skin and a smile that seems to light up the water along with the sun. “I’m John Addison. Nice to meet you.”
I smile politely and wave. “Nice to meet you, too,” I say.
“So you’re a surveyor?” Dad asks.
“Well...no, not really. Just part-time,” John answers.
“Oh...well, what do you mean ‘part-time’?”
“Um, I looked at the maps you posted on your website. I thought it would be an interesting experience to check out that mystery area you haven’t charted yet.”
I gulp. I have butterflies in my stomach. For some reason, whenever someone mentions that island, I get really nervous.
“Wait,” Dad says. “You’ve been to my website?”
“Of course,” John answers with a smile. “You’re Alex Herring! I’m a big fan of your work.”
“Yeah...so anyway, I saw the maps on your website. I wanted to check out that area, so I decided to head out. But I had no idea I would run into you here!”
“Well, nice to meet you. If I run into you on the island, I’ll be sure to help you out.”
“Dad!” I shout at him.
“Oh...yeah, I forgot. Sorry, John. I’m afraid I can’t help you out with surveying the island. Old George here is too scared to explore the island.”
“I’m not scared,” I counter. “It’s just that the stories you told me about seeing the island kind of creep me out.”
“Okay, George. I believe you,” Dad says. Then he turns back to John. “Well, John, either way, we can’t explore the island. But if we see you from our boat, we’ll wave to you, all right?”
“Gotcha,”John answers with a smile.
“Okay. I gotta get back to the cabin. Kaylee, you can talk to John a little bit more. See ya, kids.” Dad walks back into the cabin.
“Okay, Daddy!” Kaylee calls after Dad. Then she turns back to John, smiling brightly.
John turns to me. “You gonna stay, George?”
I shake my head. “Sorry, I was gonna go sketch.” I walk towards the cabin, which is where we put everything we would need for the trip. I fish around in my backpack for a little bit until I find my sketchbook. I also take a folding chair with me so I won’t have to sit on the hard deck of the boat.
Before I leave the cabin, I turn to Dad, who’s started staring at his map again. “Dad, when are we supposed to get to the island?”
“Probably by tomorrow afternoon,” Dad answers.
Okay, so by tomorrow afternoon I’ll be staring out at the island that sends a chill down my spine. Great.
I pick a spot on the deck and unfold the folding chair. I sit down, open my sketchbook, and begin to sketch. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m like a junior Picasso. Everyone who’s seen my sketches has told me I’m a child prodigy. I like to do it, I like the calmness of it, but it isn’t so calm right now with the ship rocking up and down, the mystery of the uncharted island biting at me, and Kaylee shouting questions at that John person.
After I’ve drawn two detailed sketches, I put my sketchbook back in my backpack. Kaylee stopped talking to that John person about half and hour ago, and now she’s sleeping in her sleeping back in the cabin. The sun has almost passed under the horizon by now, so I decide it’s probably good to stop sketching.
I enter the cabin, take out my sleeping bag, and lay it down on the floor. I see Dad sitting in his chair and I feel kind of sorry for him. He has bags under his eyes and I can tell he’s getting tired of looking at his map every five seconds.
But I’m getting pretty tired, too, so I settle down in my sleeping bag, and slowly fall asleep.