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Salvation

by Vernillia Burgher 2 years ago in fact or fiction
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A marooned sailor believes he's saved...but, is he really?

The scorching sun announced an imminent death sentence. The dry hairs on the lonely sailor’s arms sizzled and singed, and the skin of his salty, matted forearms were practically on fire; but the man no longer cared. He had already reached the point beyond caring days ago. Dehydration caused his eyelids to disobey its natural habit of lowering to protect his vulnerable eyes, his nose hurt as he inhaled the salty air, and his bloated tongue threatened to retreat into his cotton-dry throat. Yet, there he sat, surrounded by endless water that could never be touched, even though he knew the end was near.

How did he get here? How long had he been floating on the emergency raft he had managed to escape onto? Escape? What a joke! He would laugh if his dry throat didn’t threaten to asphyxiate him in his efforts. The last thing he remembered clearly was the loud explosion right before being jarred awake; and making the split-second decision to abandon ship. What had he been thinking, taking his small schooner out for a midnight sail all by himself? He barely had enough time to grab anything meant for sustaining his life longer than a few days.

He'd been floating on the open sea for…what? Five days? Two weeks? A month? He really didn’t care anymore. He thought about dangling his legs low enough into the salty waters so he could end it all as shark bait…but, not even the sharks were interested in him. Sea gulls hovered in circles above, and his eyes burned as he leaned his head back to study their flight patterns; but they would not be good Kevorkian aids either. They do not like to feast on human flesh. He sighed deeply. How long does a human body take to waste away? If he could only die quickly from boredom. He sighed.

Sleep came eventually, and he dreamed that he was sipping on a Mai-Tai in a coconut shell and a beautiful woman was pushing his hair from his forehead as she fed him shrimp chilled on ice. A smile crawled up his face, and his cracked lips pained in rebellion. But, suddenly, the pains took on a stabbing sensation.

He moaned and slowly rose back to consciousness, annoyed with the knowledge that shrimp should not hurt this much. Ouch! He blinked his eyes open and startled at the sight of a giant albatross pecking away at his dry, chapped lips. He screamed in surprise and waved his hands violently above his head to chase the pesty bird away, but accidentally pushed himself over the sides of the raft. Oh no! This was it! This would be his end,,,he thought immediately, and he didn't stop himself from falling overboard. He had no more strength.

But, instead of the splash of water he anticipated, he was diving face first into a sandy bank. Sand!

Realization slowly dawned on him. Sand meant land! Land! He was marooned onto a land mass!

Yippee! He was saved! Somewhere in an unknown reserve of energy he pushed himself to his feet and struggled to stand. Was he dreaming still? No, the sand felt real between his toes and he tightened his appendages around the warm, soft grains. They sifted through his toes and he sunk his feet deeper into the warm surface. No, he was not dreaming. This felt very real.

Excitement climbed from his embedded toes, up the atrophied muscles of his legs, through his skeletal torso and finally shooting electric shocks to his brain…energizing him as it climbed to his peak of awareness.

Run! The command to move was more instinct than wisdom. Yes, run…run and scream for joy! He could hardly control his emotions and he knew, rather than felt, that he was crying for joy.

He didn’t know how long or how far he ran, and how loud he screamed. He didn’t care. He was saved and he was relieved.

He ran a distance before he started taking in his surroundings. Aside from the golden sandbar that stretch for what seemed like miles, the island was surrounded by greenery. Green trees, green moss covered tree trunks and rocks, green grass…not un-normal. Right? But there was something very unusual about this type of green. The color and texture wasn't right.

Wait! Is that money? He slowed down his pace and bent down to pick one of the bills that bellowed softly in the wind. Money! Yes, money…actual dollar bills in every denomination. The landscape was covered in bills of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and even $100 imprinted on the smooth surfaces.

The castaway stood still to take in the full impact of what he was seeing and marveled at what this meant. He was rich! Probably richer than the richest man on the planet. The tree leaves hung heavily to the ground with denominations of $100, $500 and $1,000 instead of the expected palm leaves. Now, he could buy anything he wanted…fancy cars, a bigger boat…a yacht! Yes! A house1 No! A mansion! He could go anywhere he wanted to go, could even buy his own jet to fly away at a moment’s notice. Yes, he…was…rich!

He stopped suddenly when the realization of his situation dawned on him even hotter than the scorching sun burning his charred skin. He had become marooned on land…but, that was it. This small patch of land ended into nothing but water… more sea as far as the eyes could see. In fact, he had not been rescued at all. In fact, he had no real way off this tiny mangrove sandbar in the middle of nowhere. And, he had no way of spending this magical money that grew as leaves. He was doomed. He couldn’t eat the money or anything else on this island, so his relief had now become his prison…and eventually, his death sentence.

Yes, he was now a very rich man; but, in the end, it couldn’t buy him what he needed most in that moment…true salvation.

fact or fiction

About the author

Vernillia Burgher

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