Desert Island Communications

As well as providing wonderful support to authors, book bloggers can be the source of inspiration for new stories. Some time ago, Neats Wilson of The Haphazardous Hippo blog mentioned being stranded on a desert island with just a laptop. It’s taken a while, but here’s my story;  😀 

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‘Ladies and gentleman. Please listen to this important announcement. In five minutes you will hear the ship’s emergency siren. There is nothing to worry about, but under maritime law we are obliged to carry out a demonstration of emergency routines. Please make your way immediately to the reception area on the main deck, where our crew will provide you with further information. I repeat. There is no cause for alarm but your attendance is compulsory. Thank you for your co-operation.’

After the bust up with Greg, I’d been in two minds about cancelling the cruise altogether, but my best friend, Jill, had agreed to step in and take his place. It seemed a pity to waste the opportunity as everything had been paid for, but at the last minute she had been struck down with measles so I was on my own.

We had been sailing for about an hour, and rather than stay cooped up in my cabin, I  decided to explore the ship. As I was already near the reception area, I was one of the first to arrive, and was selected as the volunteer when they demonstrated the life-boat drill.

‘Yes, you madam. The lady clutching her laptop. Could you step forward, please? Normally we would insist all personal belongings are left behind, but on this occasion you may bring it with you.’

Great. So much for my idea of keeping my head down and enjoying my own company. There was some hilarity amongst the other passengers as I maneuvered my way into the vessel, and was lowered onto the bobbing sea. At least I was wearing jeans and a sweater- my face would have been puce if I had changed into a skirt, but in a real emergency that would have been the least of my worries.

An almighty bang nearly tipped me into the water, followed by the sound of the hoist crashing onto the deck as the chain swung wildly, narrowly missing me in the small boat. Screams and shouts rent the air as, far above, I saw people peering down at me from the side rails. Another explosion tore through the liner as the resulting wave pushed me away into the open sea. I watched in horror when the red glare lit up the deck as I frantically tried to start the outboard engine. Giving thanks to my naval uncle who had shown me the ropes as a kid, I headed as far away from the sinking ship as quickly as possible, before it sucked me under.

At least it was daylight, and I assumed it was on a major shipping route. My confidence began to ebb as hour followed hour and the never-ending sea was my only companion. Perhaps it was my mind shutting down from the trauma I had witnessed, or the warmth of the sun seeping through my bones, but unbelievably, I slept. The slight bump as the boat rocked onto shore woke me, and I looked around in disbelief. I’d no idea how big the island was as I hadn’t seen the approach, but beyond the long stretch of golden sand the rough grass rose to the top of a steep knoll.

‘Well, this is a fine mess you’ve got yourself into.’ I spoke out loud for comfort, but the silence when I stopped made me realise it was no time for jokes. The lifeboat had been equipped with bottles of water, blankets and emergency rations, and I dithered whether to take them with me or reconnoiter my surroundings first. Eventually I compromised by dragging the raft up to the shoreline, and tying it securely to one of the large palm trees littering the area. As I was hunting for the rope, I came across my laptop, still in its case, and seemingly unharmed.

‘Great, now I can post photos on social media of what I’m having for dinner,’ I thought hysterically, but that didn’t stop me throwing the strap of the computer bag over my shoulder as I began the steep climb upwards.

It was now about mid-afternoon, and I was sweating by the time I reached the top. From my high vantage point I could see the island was about a mile or so square, with what looked like a wooded area to my right, and the beach where I had landed to my left. The boat was visible but what I hadn’t noticed before was several beach huts further round the bay. At least I would have some shelter for the night, but first I needed to make my presence known to any search parties. There was an abundance of logs and twigs lying around, and I set to composing the words HELP as best I could.

It was hard work and after looking around to make sure no one was watching, I stripped down to my underwear to cool off. How crazy was that? If there had been someone there, I wouldn’t have been standing on a hill top trying to write letters. That thought reminded me of my laptop, lying close by. It was a long-shot but I opened it up, switched on and watched the screen gradually change from black to blue. What should I write? As I sat on the grass, feeling the gentle breeze flowing round me, I wondered whether to compose my story so anyone finding it would know what had happened.

No sooner had I begun than a screen popped up giving me the option to connect to various Wi-Fi sites. Most were encrypted or needed passwords, but one called Desert Island Paradise accepted my join request. This was ridiculous. Robinson Crusoe didn’t have Internet. Who should I contact for help? Should I send an email to Jill? She might not read it if she was still ill in bed. Post on Facebook? They would probably think it was a wind-up. Could I dial 999 on WhatsApp?

‘She seems to be coming round.’

‘Hello. Can you tell me your name? Do you know where you are?’

‘Anita. I was on a cruise ship but then it caught fire and I was on a desert island. Did you find me on Facebook?’

‘Not quite. The spotlight while you were volunteering for the lifeboat drill made you jump, and you slipped and banged your head. You’re in the sick bay and were delirious for a while. All you were worried about was gathering sticks and someone called “Lapto.” From our records you are travelling alone. Is there someone at home you wish us to call?’’

‘Where’s my laptop? Is it working?’

‘Ah, that explains it. Everything’s fine. You’ll find it in your cabin and we’ve even charged it up for you. Rest for a while and you should soon be well enough to enjoy the rest of your cruise.’

The following day I was back to my usual self, forgot about my weird dream and enjoyed the rest of the holiday. Once I was home, I took out my laptop to browse my holiday photos. Amidst the usual sights, pictures of people I had met and videos of the ship’s entertainers, were around a dozen I couldn’t see clearly. I wondered if they had been taken accidentally when I had the accident.

Blowing them up to full size I stared in amazement. There was the lifeboat, taken from the top of the hill, the far view of the beach huts, and even the twigs showing my help message.

Do laptops dream?

© Voinks January 2019

Thanks for joining me on my blog. If you enjoyed this short story, you might like to check out my published books which you can find here:

Amazon author page UK
Amazon author page US

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