A Sudden Crush(7)

By: Camilla Isley


I don’t move. Even if I wanted to, I don’t have the strength to do it. I hear some other distant sounds of wood being smashed, and five minutes later the caveman is back with me. He hands me an open coconut shell.

“Drink the juice inside,” he orders. “It’s nutritious, and you won’t risk dehydration. Then you can eat the pulp.”

“If I didn’t know better, I would say you were being nice to me,” I tease, summoning some of my usual witty spirit from the depths of my derelict―literally―soul.

“Don’t get used to it,” Mr. Ogre retorts sharply. “When you’re done eating I need you to get your act together.” He squats down to look me in the eyes. “The situation is not the best, and I don’t want to be stuck on this island with you any more than you do, but if we want to survive we have to work together. So get whatever it is you have to get out of your system, and come join me when you’re over it. We have a lot to do before it gets dark.”

I’m tempted to reply “Aye, aye, sir!” but I’m not sure he would appreciate the humor. He doesn’t leave me the time to say it anyway. As soon as he’s done speaking he gets up, turns away from me, and goes back to his makeshift workbench, leaving me alone to deal with my demons.

Oh Liam! I hope you’re safe.





5


Day 1


“I think we started off on the wrong foot,” I announce.

After Mr. Ogre left me alone to finish the coconut and deal with my emotional breakdown, I took about half an hour to have a good cry and let some of the tension ease out of me. Now I feel a bit calmer, or at least I’m trying to stay on the positive side of things, and I’ve joined him in the shade at the edge of the jungle. He’s knuckling down on some other coconuts with a makeshift axe.

“Let’s start fresh,” I continue. “If we’re stuck on this island together, we might as well be friendly with each other.”

Mr. Ogre barely lifts his gaze to look at me and keeps working on the coconuts. He’s peeling away the outer shell of the nuts, amassing the fibrous straw on one side and the inner, ready-to-be-opened-and-drunk shells on another heap. His sole acknowledgment of my presence is a single grunt.

I choose to ignore his hostile attitude and keep my friendly one. “I’m Joanna Price, by the way, but everyone calls me Joan or Jo. Nice to meet you.”

“Do you mind if I go with Anna instead?”

That’s a weird question. “Um…no, I guess,” I say, a bit taken aback.

“I’m Connor Duffield. Nice to meet you.”

Mmm, Connor Duffield the caveman.

“That’s useful,” I comment, pointing at the axe. It’s made with a sharp metal sheet—from the plane, I assume—and a piece of driftwood. He bound the two together with a brownish vine.

“Yeah, we need to re-use everything we can find. Coconuts are good for now, but we need to find a fresh water source if we want to make it.”

Fear bites again.

“Do you think we will have to stay here for long?” I ask.

“I have no way of knowing that, do I?” He lifts his gaze toward me again, and throws me a look I can’t read.

“But surely the rescue teams will be looking for us…”

He gives me that look again, and adds a shrug afterward.

“What? Why are you shrugging?”

“I don’t want to lie to you—our odds aren’t good,” Connor states grimly.

“Explain to me why. Please?” I sit next to him while he keeps working.

“We were sucked out of a plane in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The chances of survival are basically zero—”

“But we’re here. We’re alive.”

“Yeah, but nobody knows that. And in case you haven’t noticed, we’re in the middle of nowhere. If they arrange a search team—and that’s a big if, considering the circumstances—the probability they will find us are again close to nothing. We are the classic needle in the haystack.”

“So why do you even bother to try to survive if that’s what you think?” I’m on the verge of tears again.

“Because I hope sooner or later a ship or the yacht of some rich vacationer will pass by this island and find us.”

“Liam will not give up on me. He will find me.” I refuse to think I will die on this island with this man as my sole human company for the rest of my days. I have to be strong and wait for Liam. He will come for me. That is, if he’s not just on the other side of the island. I haven’t given up on the idea that the rest of the plane could be somewhere not too far away.

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