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The Creation

An Unlikely Encounter

By Carly MariePublished 2 months ago 7 min read
The Creation
Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash

The plane touched down with a formidable shudder, a shock wave that ricocheted through the aircraft and pitched me forward onto my knees, my cheek pressed into the seat ahead of me. I waited a moment, holding my breath, listening for the screech of tires on tarmac or the purring licks of a flame to rise up around us. But there was only the familiar rumble and clatter of creaky metallic joints straining beneath the weight of our arrival. It seemed to take an eternity before the swirling blades of the propeller lagged into stillness and the plane finally came to a stop at the end of the field.

Death hadn’t claimed me just yet.

Through the finger-smudged portal of the window I could see palm trees dancing in the breeze, some almost doubled over in their surrender to the wind. Beyond the row of bowing branches the sea sparkled, a radiant glow of cobalt that wrapped itself tightly around the shore. It looked like paradise. The kind of lush and steamy refuge that tourists would flock to on their once-a-year holidays, lured there by the white sand beaches and the sun’s promise of a golden bronze tan. The beauty of it all was so overwhelming I nearly forgot why I was being brought here.

Wherever here was.

I had tried to trace our pathway through the sky, looking down at the speckling of tropical islands that spilled out underneath us and fooling myself into believing that I would ever remember where I was, that I would ever be able to recall the winding cursive course that had landed us here. I figured we were on one of those islands now, caged in by placid waters and boundless sky. A prison of splendid sunsets and lustrous coastline.

There would be no escape.

I was hauled to my feet by rough hands that lifted me as easily as a gust lifts a feather. My own arms were still tied behind me and I felt a twinge in my shoulders as I was dragged up from between the seats where I had fallen. Those savage hands pulled me backward down the aisle, both of us crouched over to keep from bumping our heads on the low ceiling. As I was thrust down the three little steps that had been unfurled dangling a foot above the ground, I thought I might actually be suffocated by the heat of the island.

Maybe that would be a better way to die.

A Jeep was waiting in the clearing and before my feet could even become reacquainted with the earth, I was swept up and bundled into the backseat, the engine roaring to life as we shuttled off through the brush. Palm fronds slapped wildly at the sides of the vehicle and each rut and bump in the road lobbed me into the air until I’d been so rattled and flipped around that I was facedown in the seat.

It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes before the tires stopped their crazed spinning and we pulled up in front of a string of tin-roofed shacks. Their crumbling frames were all I could see as I was hastily unloaded and shoved into the nearest one.

And then, darkness. Complete and total blackness.

For the first time since I’d been taken, I was alone. And if solitude could relieve the trembling fear inside of me, then I would have been relieved. But I wasn’t. Instead, I found it impossible not to become more frightened, more caught up in the terror and uncertainty of what would happen next. One moment I’d been a carefree backpacker roaming the historic streets of an exotic city, and now I was a quivering mass of hysteria huddled on the floor of a hut, no longer sure what country I was even in. I’d been snatched up, plucked away from the safety of civilization and assistance, carted off to this remote and scattered archipelago where all chances of help had been erased.

It was hard to tell how many hours passed before the door was finally reopened, my dusky cell flooded with blinding rays of sun, so that even in the light of day I couldn’t see anything around me. I was given a thermos of water and a bowl of rice. And a bucket. I wanted to take this as a sign that I was intended to stay alive. That no matter what hell - dreamt up in the wicked minds of these hooded and armed men - was to befall me, I might at least live.

There was hope in that.

The only way I could tell that night had finally arrived was by the merciful cooling of the stagnant air entwined all around me.

It was, without doubt, the longest night of my life. Each oppressive hour crept by minute by labored minute, second by second, one fearful breath at a time. I sat in the silence of twilight and listened, my ears hunting for any telling sounds in the dark, waiting for the worst of my nightmares to become real. When I was too exhausted to keep vigil any longer, I crumpled forward on my knees, pressing my head into the packed dirt of the floor. Tears streamed down my face, pooling into a murky brown puddle that inched its way toward my feet. My whole body shook with sobs.

All I could do was pray.

Not to the almighty fear-inducing Evangelical god of my childhood. Nor to the all-seeing punitive Catholic god under whose watchful eye I had been converted and confirmed. But rather to a god of my own creation. One that my mind meticulously painted in front of me, a glowing light of hopefulness and calm. Maybe not even a god at all. Something bigger than that, something more powerful than any force on heaven or earth.

“Please,” I called out into the dark. “Please help me.”

And like a whisper, a murmur carried to me on the current of this windless night, I could hear its voice answer me.

“I am here with you. You are not alone.” There was a soft pause, translucent with promise. “Even now - especially now - you are surrounded by love.”

I sniffled, lifting my eyes up to where my creation hovered in front of me. “But I want to live. I want to see my family again. I want to tell them I love them.”

“So tell them. Tell them now. Some things are too important to ever be left unsaid. Tell them in any way you can. And they’ll know.”

I pinched my eyes closed and used all of my focus and strength and heart to send love to the people I cared for most. There was nothing more comforting than seeing their faces in my mind, hearing their laughter and tenderness swarm through and around me.

My vision spoke to me again.

“And in times like this, don’t forget how much love is in the world. How much decency and grace and goodness there is. So choose to see the light wherever you can. Find the good. Always. It’s the only way forward.”

I did see the light. Bright explosive bursts of it. And smoke that unfurled up into the sky and blanketed the starry dimness in a sheath of haze. Gunfire erupted from every corner of the island, pelting showers of it that shattered down against the tin roofs. I could hear shouting and grunting woven into the din of heavy footfalls and thundering artillery.

In the chaos of the onslaught, I was grasped by powerful hands. Steady, firm hands that swooped me up with assurance and carried me out to a waiting helicopter. More hands found their way to me, wrapping me in blankets and solace, checking me with care for injuries or injustice. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening and before I knew it, the chopper took flight and we were whisked away into the budding dawn.

I looked back at the island, the sultry paradise I’d been abducted to, and watched its white shores dissolve into the sea, evaporating slowly from my line of sight. I might never know what was going to happen to me there. And that was a thought that could easily have haunted me for years if I didn’t feel so lucky, so grateful. Not only had I survived, but I’d also had the most unlikely and profound encounter of my life.

I’d met god.

My god.

My creation and my creator.

And I found out later that in the midst of the raid that saved me, my captors, too, had been called upon to meet their maker.

I could see the light.

Short Story

About the Creator

Carly Marie

Carly is a writer, digital nomad, and women's issues advocate who is currently traveling across Europe and Central Asia.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

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    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (1)

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  • Donna Foxabout a month ago

    Super engaging and wonderful read! Well done!

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