Monday, February 12, 2007

The Island

[Second of my submissions to the Caferati contest]

He was walking by the shore when he saw the bottle, green wink of glass amid the jostled crowd of the waves. He had to wade out to get it, trousers rolled up to his knee, seizing it as it eddied at the edge of the turning tide, as if hesitating to commit itself to the reach of the land.

It looked like something out of a dream, or a book of fairy tales. A green bottle, label free, with a slip of something white inside. For a while he tried to uncork it, but the salt water had caused the cork to bloat and eventually he had to break the neck of the bottle against a rock to get to the message. It hurt him to do this. It felt like ingratitude.

Inside, on a ragged scrap of paper were the words “HELP ME! I’M STRANDED AND ALL ALONE. PLEASE HELP!”. The writing was poorly formed, as though written by someone whose strength was ebbing. Something dark and a little runny had been used for ink. Possibly blood. Possibly shit. There were no coordinates, no other information that could help pinpoint where this message had come from.

He stood on the shore and stared out at the horizon. Where in this whelmed and restless expanse of the world could he be – this soul crying out for help? After a while he threw the scrap of paper aside. It didn’t matter anyway. He himself was stranded, marooned on this island of his own, awaiting a rescue he knew better than to expect. Even if he knew where the message came from, there was nothing he could do to help.

9 comments:

Ricercar said...

hey congrats on the indi blogger thing :)

nice story ... will you continue it?

Revealed said...

Hmm. A little ordinary.

Veena said...

The Gabriel one was okay. But you wrote this? Really?

Supremus said...

mmmh, not quite the falstaff standard.

"He was walking by the shore when he saw the bottle, green wink of glass amid the jostled crowd of the waves. He had to wade out to get it, trousers rolled up to his knee, seizing it as it eddied at the edge of the turning tide, as if hesitating to commit itself to the reach of the land."

-- But this one paragraph was just brilliant.

Gorilla Bananas said...

A nice story spoiled by a sterile and pointless ending. At the very least, he should have pissed in the ocean to relieve his frustration (and his bladder).

jj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Black Mamba said...

I am with gorilla bananas on this one. It seems like the story is waiting to be completed. I suspected something like -

a thousand and one islands in the middle of the ocean, with thousand and one guys, one stranded on each of them. Each sending out these bottles in hope.

Or, perhaps this as a commentary on solitude that creeps into everyone's life - every man an island, etc.

Or, even the man who receives the bottle crying out in despair after having broken the bottle, he could have sent out the note.

Or, people slowly getting on to the concept and starting to communicate using these bottles and messages...

Or, someone on mainland sending out this message as a joke... only to be received by a stranded man on an island.

or, the guy who receives it starts playing mind games with the sender - by sending back messages of hope and completely ignoring the irony of it all.

Or, am I missing something... ok, that must be it, its 1am...

Revealed said...

I liked the someone on the mainland sending it out as a joke one that BM came up with.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe like that french movie we saw (La mustache?) the note doesn't really exist. And maybe the guy doens't exist either. Although he thinks he does. And all this non-action takes place on an island off Hong Kong.

n!