by Drima Waye
This is the story of John's redemption. Part Two.
Immediately, John felt a surge of pain pass through his head. That damned Voice again. He shut his eyes in agony and irritation. He had no idea what was going on, but it hurt too much for him to do much else but cradle his head in his arms. What now? He thought.
I can’t stand all this water! Shut your eyes until I tell you to.
Just keep talking, man. Just keep talking and I’ll close my eyes in sleep forever, John thought bitterly. He felt it sneer, and when he raised his hands to his burning lips, he was surprised to find that his upper lip was raised in a snarl.
The next few moments were bewildering for John who felt as though he had lost control of his body. He knew his palms were gripping the edge of the hole, he felt it push his weightless body up and over the rock; but it took him no effort at all, almost as if he was detached from his body and controlling it with a joystick. He could see what was happening even without opening his eyes.
He felt something retreat inside his mind, and cautiously, John opened his eyes. He was on the beach again, as if he had never gone inside that hole. As if I had never woken up. His clothes were dry and his wallet was still in his grasp. He got up and wiped his sleep-drool on his sleeve. Looking across at the unchanging strip of sand, John wondered again when he was ever going to get out of that place.
Oh well, first step to everything. He continued to walk away from the rock, and realised that the sun was already in the midday position. He hastened his pace as fast as his headache would allow. He did not realise just how far he had walked until he suddenly lost his footing from hunger. He glanced back and was pleasantly surprised to discover that he had lost the rock behind him. His shadow though, was still a small mass of darkness at his feet. Every time is like any other time.
He brushed off the dust from his pants and moved on. He soon became bored however, and was resorted to watching his shadow grow longer and finally elongate to his left. He glanced up and came across the all-too-familiar sea again. He felt a familiar raging thirst rising in his throat. His fever was slightly abated, but it was still there, waiting. John mourned for his fate. Miles and miles of water and not a single drop to drink!
Hey Johnnie- look!
Irritated at the condescending tone, John delayed looking to where the Voice was directing him. Some round objects were floating on the water but the glare of the sun made it hard to see. Shading his eyes with his right palm, John dragged his feet across the sand and into the water. As the objects in question floated towards him, John saw that they were round, slight pointed at two ends, and with a fibrous husk. He had no idea what it was, but he thought it could not be a fruit; there were no trees for miles round.
John brought back some of the objects to shore and started to scrape the fibres away from the shell. Oh God, you’re pathetic. The Voice told him to take out the set of keys from his pocket, and grasping the shapeless mass in his fist awkwardly; John brought it down to the round unknown object and was surprised when liquid squirted into his eyes. He tentatively tasted some of it and was delighted to find that it was sweet. Finding hidden strength in his arms, he tore apart the round thing and gulped down its juice. He finished too the white flesh in the fruit, for it was a coconut, but John had never seen a coconut before.
He ate two more and decided to leave the rest for later. He was feeling a little bloated and high from his findings, but these past two days had forced down his throat the lesson of salvage. (Salvation) He bundled them up in his shirt and tied it to his waist. A surge of hope rose with John as he stood up.
“Thank you, Master.” He had been taught early in life that a few words of prayer go a long way in salvation. He thought it was strange he still remembered about his Master even though he was in a place completely unknown and deserted. He wondered for the first time if he was the only person there. No. I’m here, always. It wasn’t your Master- it was ME who found them. Remember that, you scum!
Anger rose in him, but John reined it back. It was unwise to go against someone who could mean the difference between life and death. When John realised that it was blasphemy to be thinking what he did, he pushed the thought aside and continued to talk to the Voice. What is your name, Stranger? He was wondering about that ever since he first heard it.
In the clear and present danger
You will chance a Stranger
In ascending a steep slope
Yaw, this Stranger gives hope
In this other remission of sin
Who am I, asks Naradin?
“Well, whatever your name, I know I’m sick of your arcane prophecies. I’ll just call you Naradin, then,” John thought out loud.
End of Part Two
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