Sea Short Story

1976 Words8 Pages
The water lapped against the side of the lifeboat and salt spray stung Pierce’s face. He wiped a ragged sleeve across his face and irritated eyes and squinted toward the horizon. In every direction the ocean stretched, blinding with sun-glare. I should have just sunk with the ship, he thought. Or just roll out of the boat now. Will starving to death be any better?
Lifting the canteen to his lips, he poured warm water onto his parched tongue and then smacked out the very last drop. With a grimace, he tossed the empty canteen to the floor. Damnit. How many days since I finished the food? Two, at least, right? How long can I go without water? He leaned against the side of the boat and glared at the leagues of undrinkable water all around him.
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But the leviathan only disappeared back into the deep blue, leaving Pierce heaving and shaking on the tiny lifeboat.
The sky reddened as evening fell and turned the surface into a never-ending lake of fire. I’m in Hell, Pierce thought as he sat up and once again scanned the horizon. Clouds shifted overhead and moved dark shadows across the water that he at first mistook for impossibly sized sharks. Still no ships… wait. He rose into a crouch, gripping both sides of the lifeboat. Off in the distance, there was a dark spot on the fiery horizon.
Pierce’s heart gave a great leap. A ship. Help. But no, it wasn’t a boat; the shape was all wrong. Maybe it was an island. Pierce coughed and swallowed, attempting to ignore the excitement he felt, the niggling of hope glimmering within him—it couldn’t be an island. “I’m just losing my mind,” he said, willing himself to believe it. His voice sounded alien to his ears. It sounded like sandpaper, deep and gravelly as compared to his usual voice. “It’s a mirage or hallucination or something.” He shook his head and laid back against the belly of the boat. “Don’t believe it.”
In the morning, he wouldn’t have to believe it. He would see it as the current pulled the boat in that direction. Sometime tomorrow the boat would reach that spot on the horizon and it would either be there or it wouldn’t. And if it’s not… then I’ll throw myself overboard, and just let the sharks have me. I can’t handle this.
Night dropped over him
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