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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Mystery · #2252110
AWARDED: Shipwrecked on a mysterious island Meredith and James go exploring.
         The ocean was a maelstrom of froth and fury. Green waters rising and falling all around. Chilled to the bone, the taste of salty waters in his mouth, James struggled to keep Meredith's head above water. He saw the rocks on either side as the waves swept them towards the cliffs. Fear filled his heart as he realized they were helpless and he prayed with all his might that they might find land and not be smashed to pieces. Then a final wave threw him and Meredith onto the beach. He scraped his knee on some stones but quickly rising to his feet he lifted the unconscious but still breathing Meredith up into a fireman's lift and he struggled through the surf to pull her to higher ground and then to the shelter of some trees. All this while the torrential rain and violent winds roared all around. Then he passed out exhausted by his struggles.

         They slept through the night. It was Meredith that woke first, waking him with a rough shaking. He saw the fear in her face as she asked,

         "Where are we, what happened?"

         "The storm, the boat broke...those rocks...I got you out of the water." James was still groggy from sleep and it all seemed a blur in his mind as he recalled the night before.

         Meredith turned towards the sea as if trying to pluck stolen memories from the now blue waters that might help her reconstruct the night before. But then shaking her head in defeat she realized she remembered nothing.

         "I remember only the storm, then hitting my head. It is all a blank after that. " Then looking towards James she smiled with genuine warmth in her eyes. "You saved my life didn't you, hero!"

         James looked up into Meredith's warm green eyes seeing the love and not minding at all at being called her hero. He lifted himself and her to standing. At just under six foot he towered over his brunette girlfriend. So she stood on tiptoes and put her arms around his neck stretching her young athletic body against his own. They kissed and a world of troubles faded momentarily away.

         When they broke the kiss James looked around him continuing to hold her in his arms.

         "I guess we are on an island some way off our course, unfortunately, I suppose there are thousands of these little islets all across this part of the Pacific. First priority is freshwater, then food and shelter and we need to get a fire going. Then I guess we need to explore."

         About four hours later they had found an ideal spot just 500 feet down the beach. A mountain stream cascaded from a rocky waterfall a little way inland into a small freshwater pool. They gathered palm branches into a shelter. There were trees with fruit on them and the lagoon was filled with fish which they planned to spear. James had a small pocket penknife which he used to sharpen sticks for the task. The fire proved the greatest challenge as they could not find any flintstone and rubbing sticks together was a skill that neither of them had mastered. But James discovered a firelighter in a jacket that got washed up on shore early that afternoon with other flotsam and jetsam from the wreck and so they could use that to create their first fire when they did.

         It was midafternoon when James looked up at the black mountain that dominated the heart of the island and looking at Meredith suggested,

         "I am sure the view from there will help us see the whole island. That seems a good place to start"

         "It has no vegetation on it, just black rock, do you think it is a volcano."

         "Let's climb it and find out."

         "We will start out tomorrow at first light. We need something to carry water in and we need food for the journey, so a bag also."

         They found an empty washed-up plastic bottle which they cleaned for the task and Meredith constructed a bag out of the lining of the jacket that had found earlier. The days and nights here were warm. As night fell they made love and then fell asleep in each other's arms underneath the stars.


         At first light, they began their climb. The mountain must have been at least 3000 feet above sea level. It was hard work climbing and they were glad they had brought the water with them. It was somewhere near the top where they discovered the graveyard with three graves, carved from the same black rock that they saw all around them.

         "Look each grave has a different marking. This one has a cross, this one has an upside-down Pentagram and this one has a Pentagram with the top point upwards, What do you think it means?" asked Meredith.

         James shrugged and looked around.

         The graveyard was on flat land that was shielded from the wind by a rise of rock on the ocean side and then had the mountain at its back. There were a few trees there also unlike the rest of the mountainside and even some green grass on the ground. There were no names on the graves or other clues as to who they might have belonged.

         "Let us keep going, I am sure the view from the top is worth it."

         They continued to the top finally reaching it by mid-morning. The view around was breathtaking. But the sky and sea were blue in every direction uninterrupted by either clouds, islands, or ships. The island itself was a narrow band of forest and beach stretched around a big old volcano. They stood upon the crater's rim and looked into the darkness of the caldera but could not see its bottom. But it did not seem hot or to be on fire.

         James got out his notepad which had long since dried after the storm and used a black biro to draw a map of the island on it. He plotted their base camp, highlighted streams, and marked the graveyard near the top of the mountain. Meredith helped him pointing out features that he might have missed. There was no sign of any other life on the island except the graveyard. The view was so spectacular they decided to sleep on the mountain overnight after the sun went down. The wind was a little strong however and so they made their way down to the graveyard where it was more sheltered. There they found some mossy grass to bed down for the night on, falling asleep soon after.

         James was woken by a sound in the middle of the night and shook Meredith awake.

         "We are not alone, quiet.." He stood up slowly to survey the graveyard. There was a strange mist over the graves and a glow at one end of the space. Up above the Caldera loomed ominously and the black sky was full of stars. The mist was glowing and James could see a hooded man walking. He was carrying a spear.

         He whispered to Meredith, "we need to get out of here" He held a finger to his mouth as he said this and pulled in the opposite direction from the man. Meredith knew better than to argue with him on this and followed quietly. But just as they thought they had made it out of the graveyard the man appeared in front of them, though they had heard no sound of movement.

         "Wait." The man's voice was deep bass and he had a strange accent that they could not place. A black hood concealed his face in shadow and despite the spear, he did not seem like he wanted to kill them. The man must have been seven feet tall and had a solid build and he seemed to dominate the space and James and Meredith stepped back in fear of him then froze to the spot.

         "You should not be here, this is not a place for the living."

         James was about to tell the man their story but the man held up his hand and continued speaking.

         "It does not matter how you arrived, the choice before you is where you go next."

         As he spoke three doorways opened up before them out of thin air. One was filled with light and hurt the eyes it was so bright. One was like a black hole in space and time and they felt a force drawing them to it yet at the same time resisted that with all their might. The third doorway flashed with lightning and smelt like salt. It sounded like the ocean and crashing waves.

         It was James that voiced their question,

         "Where do the doors go?"

         "To heaven, to hell, and back to your old life," said the man nodding to each doorway in turn. The well-lit doorway was heaven, the black hole was hell and the storm in the ocean was their old life.

         Meredith spoke, "Well we do not want to go to hell that is for sure." The man watched James nod also and then waved his spear at the doorway which disappeared.

         That left just heaven and their old life.

         Meredith spoke again for both of them.

         "We have only just begun our lives and we are deeply in love, We are not ready for heaven yet, though we want to go there eventually."

         The man waved his spear and the doorway to heaven disappeared. Then almost in the same fluent motion, he waved at the third door and it seemed to come at them like a giant mouth swallowing them whole.

         Suddenly the island was gone and they were in the ocean swimming for their lives with the storm raging about them. But this time Meredith was conscious and looking around she saw some floating wreckage. They swam to it and clung to it. It was four hours later that the helicopter came and picked them out of the waters. As they started to fly up into the sky James turned to the pilot.

         "Have you seen the Black Island nearby?"

         "There is no island here nor indeed for a hundred miles in every direction. You are lucky you had a transponder on your boat or we would never have been able to find you after you sent the signal."

         "But we never sent a signal, it all happened too fast!"

Word Count & Notes

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