Originally written for a contest. Couldn't find an appropriate one.
|I tied the note with the last shred of what served as a reminder of civilization and shoved the paper into the bottle. I stood and drew back my arm with the precision of a professional pitcher and released the glass missile out into the open sea. Luckily I picked a time when the tide would carry my desperate attempt at interaction with any other human far into the ocean and hopefully, populated shores. Then I watched the pink silk beribboned letter until the sun no longer glinted on the cystalline and the colored tie became invisible in the darkening distance.
My impatience neared its zenith after nearly a month as far as I could reckon by counting the days with stones I lined up away from the water's edge. For those 30 days, I searched the shoreline, running in excitement to examine any bit of seaweed or driftwood that could be mistaken for a return missive in a bottle or metal cigar tube, anything my imagination could fancy that a sender might use for a makeshift envelope. It was the seventh day or, rather, the day I assigned as the seventh day. I considered it my Sunday, my day of recollection.
This day, this Sunday, I reflected on how I had come to be on this small, barely liveable island just below the South Pacific. My small plane had sputtered and burped unevenly until in abject fear I searched for the nearest place to put down. I managed a ragged landing in the low brush that grew in the center of the island on its tiny peak. My plane was ravaged, broken into shards of metal and engine parts and I felt surprised that I was alive. I was even more surprised that I had flown so far off course and so far that detecting me by radar was impossible. I had survived on a spring and fish I had managed to catch with parts of the wreckage. To my amazement there was an orange tree and a banana tree. It was spring when I crashed, it was summer now, and soon fall and winter would come and I did not know if the trees would still produce the fruit that sustained me.
As Sunday became Sunday night, I looked out over the water without expectation. I had no idea how long it would take for the message-in-a-bottle to be found nor how long it would be before someone would decipher where I was and find a way to locate me. In my loneliness, I would have been thrilled just to receive a response of any type. I laid my head down on the seat cushion pillow and counted the stars until I fell into a deep sleep.
Around noon I woke up, stretched, and sought out my water and fruit breakfast. After I had eaten my fill, I strolled casually along the beach, marveling as I did every day, at the pristine, turquoise colored water. I looked out to sea, loping along when my foot struck something that did not feel like seaweed or shells. I looked down to see a bottle with a message inside. I stopped breathing for a moment, hardly believing my eyes.
At last! My letter had been received, an answer had been given. I picked up the bottle and ran laughing back to my small 'hut' of sorts, dropping down onto the sand under the two palm trees that gave me shade. I laughed again and shook the bottle watching the note fall back and forth. I wondered who had answered, their sex, their lot in life. I savored the moments turning the bottle this way and that, smiling at the sun through the glass.
Finally, I undid the cork and pulled out the note. I tugged at the ribbon, tossing it away without thought in my eagerness. Unrolling the message, I was stunned upon reading it.
"Help! I have crashed my biplane on an island in the South Pacific and am stranded here! Please send help!"
Below the message was my name and identification.
The pink ribbon lay next to the bottle now discarded and ignored on the beach.