Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wake

The lurching of the world below her woke her from her slumber. She struggled for a moment to understand her surroundings. 

Inside. This was the inside of a boat. 

It rolled under her and she strained to stay upright as the waves pounded it into the shore again. Had she been alone? The night had brought storms, and with them rough waters. He had insisted on hiding below deck, both of them terrified, as the tiny boat was knocked about the chopping sea like a bit of fruit in a blender. Their reserve motor had failed, that was the last thing she remembered.

She struggled to clear the fog in her head and the blur of her vision, and to pull herself off of the floor. Where was he now? Panic set in suddenly and her head cleared with a snap as she felt her heart rate increase. She looked around the small cabin frantically. Their hastily gathered belongings were strewn all over the floor and small bench inside. He was collapsed in a heap beneath a sleeping bag.

Dragging herself up on to her hands and knees, she scrambled toward him. Reaching out her hand timidly, she touched it to his face, afraid of what she might learn. The heat of his skin was enough to calm her immediately. He was alive, and he was breathing. She pulled the sleeping bag aside carefully and checked him for any obvious signs of injury. He looked as disheveled as she must, but no clear injuries, no blood. 

Another wave struck and she nearly fell on him. She steadied herself and tried to wake him as gently as possible. Whispering his name softly, she touched his face and tried to bring him around. 

"Lief, are you okay? Can you hear me? Lief, wake up. We have to get out of here."

Another wave rocked the tiny boat and it creaked against the the abuse of the ocean. He screwed up his face in pain or confusion, she couldn't tell. He opened his eyes only slightly and grimaced. She couldn't restrain herself. Leaning over him, she gave him an awkward half-hug and pressed her lips to his temple. 

As she plunked down on the floor in front of him she tried to decide if she would count that as their first kiss. Probably not, she figured. He wouldn't remember it.

"I was so worried you wouldn't wake. I don't know how long we've been here. Are you in pain? Are you injured?" she blurted out quickly, without giving him time to respond.

"What happened? Where are we?" He was also full of questions, but no answers. She decided that must mean he wasn't injured.

They briefly discussed the last of each of their memories of the night before. Grabbing his backpack and running out the door without looking back, checking nearly every ransacked boat at the docks before finding one seaworthy, taking off into the Pacific with black clouds on the horizon.

There was no way to know where they were, or if they were safe in this tiny husk of wood, but they were both alive and that was all that mattered now. The few minutes it took to collect the remains of their supplies from around the boat and pack them back into to the bag seemed like ages. When they had the last of their provisions secured they shared a glance around the tiny wooden shell that had carried them to safety as it rocked in the surf.

"I can't believe we made it this far." he marveled. "Come on, we have to make some time and get away from here. I don't know how we're going to find somewhere safe to hole up for the night if it gets too dark." 

He grabbed her hand and they headed up the shore to a darkening wall of trees not far in the distance.

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