When she came to, the first thing she noticed was the wind, whipping across her face, tangling her hair with the cowl of her winter robe.
She sat up suddenly, wiping her face and clearing her eyes with the swipe of a hand. She looked at it- the back of her hand- it was wet. Covered in dirt and blood.
She examined her face more gingerly this time, until she felt it- a gash on her cheek below her left eye. It stung at her touch, so she lowered her hand. It was only then that she had the presence of mind to look at her surroundings.
Green hills, covered in grass, ending abruptly at a precipice, presumably a cliff. She seemed to be on top of a hill of some kind, overlooking the ocean. Where had they left her? She looked over her shoulder, and her blood ran cold.
It was an island. What she saw in front of her matched the view from behind- a few miles of grass, some cliffs, and that was it. No trees, no buildings, no other humans.
Then she caught sight of the ship at the edge of the isle, pulling away into the ocean. And that’s when she started running.
It was all coming back to her now: the exploration of the Western seaboard, sailing with her husband to find a new land, led on by his brother. Then the landing, the accident. The massacre.
Her breath caught in her throat, bile welling up. She stumbled, wanting to vomit, but never broke from her run.
The image of her husband being slaughtered by his brother.
And now, she was being marooned by the man who’d murdered her husband. She knew she would die out here, alone, if she didn’t reach the boat in time.
Not that she would survive on the boat, but a quick death was better than starving to death.
When she reached the shore, the boat was already out of earshot, but she screamed anyway. Yelled. Cursed. Threw rocks into the ocean.
On the bow of the ship, she could see him, watching her, arms folded across his chest. And then he turned away.
She collapsed to her knees, then fell to her side, tears blurring what was probably the last human she’d ever see. How had it all come down to this?
Something caught in her hair. Pulling at it. Tangling into it. She whimpered and brushed it away, only to be rewarded by a sharp jab in the hand.
She sat up quickly, jumping away, afraid it was a beach crab or some other small creature. Then she saw it.
A fishing pole. Line. She reached up to her head and gently untangled her hair. A hook. A few extras.
Beyond that, a blanket. And a knife.
She looked back at the boat again, now too far away to make out details. Her anger had not abated, but the feeling of hopelessness dissolved before her.
He hated her. He probably expected the island to kill her slowly.
But he had given her a way to survive.
Source: This blog series is inspired by the book “Earth from Above: 365 Days” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Click here to read more about my Creation365 series.
The top picture is from “Iceland. Vestmannaeyjar Archipelago. Islet near Heimaey.”
Arthus-Bertrand, Yann, Isabelle Delannoy, and Christian Balmes. 2005. The Earth from above: 365 days. New York: Harry N. Abrams.