Four people stranded alone on an island learn the truth after its too late.
Four people sat in the incoming tide, waves pushing them off balance, they were exhausted. A marmalade sky hung above them, thin clouds streaking the blue horizon.
“Where did that storm come from?” Pushing black hair off his forehead Dan watched as the boat, stuck on the sandbar, was being beaten to slats. He had rented the 25 footer so he felt responsible, and he thought he was in charge.
“I knew we shouldn’t have stayed so close to shore” Kevin said to the group. Louis and Sarah looked at Dan who ignored the comment.
“Okay, here’s what we do. We find a place to set up a camp and scavenge for anything useful. Who knows how long we’ll be here. We’re in the Caribbean; we won’t be missed for days." Dan began to stand up.
Pointing a sandy finger at Dan, Kevin scowled, “And what will you do?” “Just give orders?
“What’s the problem Kevin, no hired help to savage so I have to deal with your attitude?”
“Okay, we’ll be better off if we work together here, don’t you think?” Sara stood and shook sand from her chestnut hair, her torn skirt revealing cuts on her shapely legs, she surveyed the beach. “There’s plenty for all of us to do." Dan and Kevin bickered all morning so it was decided they would break up into two groups. Sara and Kevin, Louis and Dan. Moving their things to separate areas of the beach Kevin gave Sara a devilish smile.
“Forget it Kevin” was Sara’s instinctive response. Setting up camp was a problem; none of them had any survival skills.
“Dan, I’m not going out into that surf again, I can’t swim, and I’m not going to die in this wretched place. We’ll wait until they bring in what we need, then we’ll just take it from them.” As unscrupulous as this sounded, Dan agreed to Louis’s plan. Sara and Kevin had been swimming out to the boat all day, they brought back bottles of water, a cooler with sliced ham floating in it, and a fishing pole, whatever was useful. On their last trip in they noticed most of what they had scavenged was gone. There was only one place it could be.
“What’s going on Louis?” Kevin was first to speak. Sara was fuming. “Dan can’t swim.” Louis lied, “So he convinced me to scavenge from your camp. It was his idea, I couldn’t talk him out of it, I’m sorry.”
“You mean steal from our camp!” Kevin glared at Dan.
Dan charged at Louis, “You’re a lying son of a...” The two men went down onto the sand, their arms flailing, rooster tails of sand were thrown into the warm air as the two punched and wrestled. Louis had Dan down in the sand, his hands wrapped around his neck, Dan choked and gagged, then went still. Louis slowly stood, staring down at Dan’s limp body. Sara was first to check Dan. Kneeling in the sand she put two fingers to the side of his neck, she looked up at the two sweating men.
“He doesn’t have a pulse! What’s wrong with you Louis? You knew he had a bad heart!” Sara stood, crying. “You’re a lawyer so I don’t have to tell you the trouble you’re in.”
“Well neither of you stopped me. As a lawyer I can tell you that makes you both accomplices, you’re both as guilty as I am. You’ll go to jail along with me.” Kevin couldn’t believe what he was hearing, but he was scared, he didn’t want to go to jail. “So what do we do?” He asked.
“We have to bury his body.” Louis pointed a scratched finger inland, “Beyond the tide line, where they’ll be no trace of him found. We can say he drowned when the storm broke the boat apart.”
“I can’t believe we’re actually thinking about doing this, it’s crazy, but I don’t want to go to jail either.” Sara’s voice was shaky. Louis stepped forward, “Then it’s settled, we bury the body and stick to the story when we’re rescued.” He looked out to sea and said, “If we’re rescued.”
Three narrow silhouettes sat in the sand watching the orange sun dissolve into the sea. Streaks of sunlight spotlighted powder puff clouds as they sailed south.
“I wonder how long it’s been. I wish we had remembered to mark the days when we first got here.” Sara spoke slowly, the days had become long, and there was no hurry any more.
“Yeah, well, thanks to Louis our first two days here were taken up with digging in the hard sand, with our bare hands.” Kevin looked up at the darkening sky above them. “After that it just didn’t matter anymore.” He yawned and stretched his boney arms, “I guess they’ll be no rescue today, maybe tomorrow.”
Louis looked out past the breaking waves and seemed to be thinking out loud. “It would be my luck the rescue boat wouldn't be able to make it to shore; it would be out past the breakers.”
“So what?” Kevin asked without even caring.
“I wouldn’t be able to get to it, I can’t swim.” Sara and Kevin looked at each other, their faces reddening, anger filled their eyes. Kevin began to sharpen a knife he had fashioned from an animal bone some time ago. Sara reached for a makeshift shovel she had built from boat slats.