I awoke; there was a crash on the upper deck. I heard a thunderous crackling from my head above. I ran up the stairs and what I saw devastated me. The small wooden boat was completely coated in billowy flames."Help, help, somebody please!"I slowly moved towards the sound being careful to dodge flames as much as possible. The smoke was choking me. I could see a faint outline of a face across the deck. It was Tom, my lifelong friend and companion. He was completely surrounded by the bright flames.
"Tom are you okay?â I asked.
"Yeah, but the fire has me surrounded!" he shrieked.
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"Tom jump overboard, hurry!"
"Do it quick, hurry!"
I hit the surprisingly cold water with a crash. I swam through the sea illuminated by the flames to find Tom.
"You okay buddy?" I inquired.
"Yeah the flames were everywhere and I wasn't sure what to do."
"Well you did the right thing Tom."
Finally he was beside me riding over the waves. We found a large board that supported our weight and we began to circle the destroyed vessel. I began to feel weary from inhaling so much smoke. Everything was going dark and before long I couldn't hold on.
When I finally woke up, I had no idea where I was. All I could feel was rugged sand all over my body and in my mouth. Land! We had washed ashore! Then I remembered fully what had happened last night. I began yelling for Tom, "Tom, Tom, where are you?" There was no sign of him anywhere. Then I saw the footprints in the sand. I knew they were his because I had never seen a bigger pair of feet in my life. They were going towards the lofty trees ahead of me that lined the boundary of the seaside. I followed them and found him lying against an aged tree trunk. I went around to confront him and discovered he was passed out. Blood ran across his face and down his sandy chest. He must have hit a rock when the waves crashed him against the shore. I began to panic and I hurried to find something to cover his wound. I took a portion of his torn pants and wrapped his forehead up in it. He awoke with a scream of pain and looked around frantically trying to figure out what was going
"Tom are you okay?"I questioned.
"Umm yea, I guess!"he replied.
"We were washed ashore and you probably hit your head on a rock."
"Well it sure does hurt but, I guess I'm all right."
We finally calmed down and we began exploring to figure out where we were. There seemed to be no signs of life so we ventured inward following a small stream of fresh water. The few palm trees began to form an amazing rain forest as we traveled deeper and deeper in to this mysterious place. We came to a small clear pond, it was a spring.
"Here Tom, this water is just what you need for your cut."I told him.
"Great, I can wash out my cut, it really hurts!"he exclaimed.
"Here" I whispered as I splashed his forehead with the cold fresh water.
I knelt down and began to drink the cool clear water. It soothed my salty and sore throat. We decided we needed something like a shelter to stay in. We carried sticks and leaves to a group of trees near the pond and before long we had a semi-efficient hut. I was cold after leaving the sun into the cool rain forest so I tried building a fire. After patiently striking a piece of flint against my pocket knife, a flame shot up from the pile of brush; before long I was as warm as a sweating dog on a hot summer day. This wasn't exactly how I planned on spending my vacation in the Caribbean. I thought we would be taking it easy cruising across the rolling waves for two weeks. We had no idea where we were, and we had no idea how long we were going to be here.
The next morning we began to venture inward. We were cautious not to get lost. By scratching trees and drawing in the ground we made sure we could find our way back again. It was amazing. There were birds singing, monkeys swinging in trees, and wildlife everywhere. This rain forest was so much cooler then on the beach. The sun couldn't shine down with the ferocity it would anywhere else.
"Did it just get hot, or is it just me?"Tom questioned.
"Well it's not you, it just got hotter Tom!"I responded.
"Why is that?"
"Really, to tell you the truth I don't know."
We walked for what felt like forever; we were hot, tired, and stiff. I rested to get a drink. Ouch! The pain was astounding. The water was boiling hot! I looked down at my hand and saw blisters and bloody skin.
"What happened to your hands?"Tom inquired.
"I....I don't know, I just placed my hand in the water and......."Tom took a closer look and yelled "Phew, this water stinks like rotten cheese!"
He looked at me then at the stream. With a puzzled look on his face he took a tree branch and stuck it in the pool of water. Before our eyes we watched as it bubbled and the stick disintegrated before our astonished eyes. The water was acid, but why? Ah! Yes! It all made sense. The heat, the acid, we were on a volcanic island! We stood alarmed for quite a while until I heard a sound that made me turn pale. A growl, a flesh hungry growl from behind my back. An animal ready to tear me limb from limb. I turned in an instant and backed up to Tom's side. It was a panther, as black as death itself.
I whispered, "Tom, what should we do?"
"I don't know but he sure looks hungry!"
"Okay, when I say go lets run as fast as we possibly can. Ready..........GO!"
We hurried but, it was the kind of death run where you know you were doomed. The panther was right behind us, it's claws tearing up our footprints. One wrong move and he would be ripping us up. He ran us on to a cliff; we turned to face him while he slowly walked up to us. I looked into his eyes and I could see victory; he knew he had won and he wanted us to know. He shifted his legs getting ready for the pounce. Suddenly there was a great blast, it shook with tremendous force! I grabbed a small tree beside me and Tom grabbed my leg I looked up ready to see the pale evil eyes of the panther but I saw nothing. Where was he? The shaking has slowed and I looked over the edge. He had fallen; his corpse lay motionless on the rocky ground below. Tom quickly averted my attention to the sky, smoke rose above the trees nearby and a thick smell of acid was in the air. The ground breaking open and now lava spewed from the islands insides. It was burning with remarkable speed, worst of all it was headed straight for us!
"Run, Tom run!" I ran as fast as I possibly could towards the beaches. Tom was just ahead of me. I ran as fast as I could but the pain was intense, my hand was nothing more than a bloody limb. I was
slowing as Tom ran faster. Suddenly I found myself on the ground. A sharp pain ran across my side and down my leg. I tried to move it but I couldn't. I began to choke; I felt blood run down my face and on to the hot shaking ground.
"Tom, Tom, help me...help!"
"Don't worry I will get you out of here!" He ran up and grabbed me, threw me over his shoulder and carried me towards shore. I almost passed out as the agonizing pain engulfed me. I forced myself to stay alert and alive. He trudged on as the wind blew the scorching heat across our bodies. It was getting hotter and the smoke of burning rain forest began to cover the mysterious island. Finally we reached the beach and he placed me under a palm tree while he began to make a raft. He gathered driftwood, vines and branches together. The heat was getting worse and the lava was getting closer. The faint crackling of fire could be heard; the same evil, laughing crackling of flames that destroyed our boat and caused this disaster only a little while ago. He finished using all the supplies from around us and the raft he had made had to do. He carried it to the water and then carried me to it. He balanced it against the thundering waves as I dragged myself on it. I got on and then he waited until the next wave passed before he jumped on. Without warning I was under water. Salt filled my throat as pain ripped through my body as I was tossed by the waves like a rag doll. I felt a tug on my neck as Tom hauled me toward the surface. I coughed and spit trying to clear my throat of salt and sand. Tom placed me on the raft and again tried to get on. Once again I was thrown into the water as soon as the waves hit. I had no way to hold on, or to swim. With one arm and one leg I was at the mercy of Mother Nature. We returned to shore and I knew we were running out of time.
"This is not going to work, what can we do?"called out Tom.
"I don't know Tom!âl exclaimed.
I saw the panic in Tom's eyes and I knew what I had to do. With tear filled eyes I said, "Tom, leave without me!"
"I can't leave you, thereâs no way that will happen."
There was no way I would be able to stay on the raft and even if I did I knew I was dying. I asked him to put me under a palm tree facing the rain forest because I knew I couldn't bear to watch him leave.
"Bye...bye Tom."I sobbed.
"Bye, buddy. â he wept.
I watched him out of the corner of my eye as he slowly walked away sobbing. I couldn't take it and I began to cry, tears streamed down my face. I knew it was the right thing to do but it was so hard. Eventually the waves overpowered his sobbing screams. I was left, alone, to die a slow death.
But then, out of the distance, appeared a sail boat with two men. â¶Please help me!âДI tried to get their attention but it with worthless. I then saw Tomâ¶ls flare. Why didnât we try that before? I quickly grabbed the flare and shot. They didnât see me. I shot again. Hopefully that worked because there werenât any shots left. Luckily, it did and the boat headed my way. After they pulled me aboard and covered my wounds they asked me why I had been on the island. After telling them my story and about my brave friend Tom, the men informed me that they had picked up a man right before they saw me and he was down below. I jumped up and hobbled down to see if it was my lost comrade, and it was! At last, we were both saved! As we finally made it back to civilization I thought about how fortunate I was to have a friend like Tom and my next vacation will be spent deep in the pages of a good book.
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