Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Magical Island

When my friend Alice flew to Seattle last year, we joked that she wouldn't have her flying partner there with her. When we went to California, we spent the entire 10 hour flight talking non-stop, watching films, playing cards etc, and it was such a fun journey. So this time, I made her a book to entertain her for the 8 hour flight. It had puzzles, jokes, random memories from our California trip, and a short story that I had written specially. So, here it is!

The Magical Island

Beyond the horizon of the deepest, bluest ocean, is an island where nothing happens. The grains of sand on the beach lay baking in the sun, the turtles stay tucked up in their shells, and the coconuts hang patiently form the trees, waiting for even the lightest wind to knock them to the ground.

After a storm, close to the strength of a hurricane, knocked a small fishing boat of course, this was the island where Francis Child was washed up, coughing and spluttering on the beach. The storm had destroyed his boat some way off the shore, and after a mile long swim through choppy water, Francis could barely move a muscle.

Like the sand, he lay frying in the summer heat for hours upon hours, blinking the salty water out of his eyes. It was his raspy throat that brought him back to consciousness. It felt like double-sided sandpaper scraping against his raw, sun burnt skin.

Though he was still exhausted, he slowly stood up, squinting against the dazzling light, and made his way for the cover of the trees. He tripped and fell every few yards, but eventually he made it to the refreshing shade. His throat was still on fire, and Francis knew that he desperately needed water. All of the vivid colours around him were merging together, and the world was swirling in front of his eyes. Francis smiled, everything was so beautiful.

The petals of the flowers were clear mirrors for the rich barks of the trees. The sand glistened as if there were tiny diamonds mixed in with the pearl sand grains. Small rock pools were dotted around the trees, each one holding resting wildlife, and fish swam effortlessly down the ribbon streams leading to the glorious and powerful ocean. It was all so bright and alive. Francis felt like he was in heaven.

A small coconut fell silently from a palm tree. It gathered its breath, then began to roll. Over and over until Francis began to follow. Its oval shape made it as clumsy as Francis. Bouncing off trees and wobbling precariously on the banks of rock pools, it steadily led the way to the very heart of the island.

The sight that Francis saw there was the most sublime setting he had ever seen. A magnificent waterfall fell from the dizzy heights of a sheer rock face. The water slithered over the edge and floated like a feather to the pool below.

Francis was amazed. Ignoring his bucking knees and furious throat, he ran laughing into the soothing water and dove head first into the ice cool waves. The small coconut watched as Francis dove and danced in the water, splashing around until he finally gave in to the protests of his throat. He gulped down the water as if it were oxygen. He crawled to the shallows, washed his cuts and bathed his bruises. After drinking so much fresh water, he lay on his back and within seconds, he had passed out, his legs still floating in the sweet oasis.

When Francis Child was rescued by a search team, roughly two days since the storm, he was rushed by helicopter to the nearest hospital on the mainland. The doctors said that he had suffered severe dehydration, and that it was a miracle he had found fresh water, as he must have been hallucinating since the moment his boat had overturned.

But to this day, Francis still clings on the dream of the magical island. He keeps the small, chipped coconut that was clutched tightly in his hand when he was found, and he tells his story to as many people that will listen.

Every summer, on the hottest day, Francis sails his new boat back to the island where nothing happens. He lays on the beach, the coconut in his left hand, and remembers the time when nature saved his life.

No comments:

Post a Comment