Landon could hear the squawk of a few seagulls circling overhead as well as the gentle crash of the waves on the shore. It was so peaceful listening to the slosh of each wave rolling down the shoreline, followed by the faint crackle of the water running back out to sea before the next wave came in. He slowly opened his eyes but had to close them again quickly.
“Ow, what the hell?”
The side of his head was throbbing fiercely. He tried again by opening his eyes just a little to let some light in. This technique was a little more bearable. Looking around to get a sense of his surroundings, the memories from the storm came flooding back in. The last thing he could remember was seeing his best friend being sucked away by the angry sea before Landon had passed out from hitting his head.
“Oh no! Jason!” He moaned, looking down to see he was still hanging from the mast of his small sailboat. He had managed to tie himself off on a halyard before he was sucked out of the boat as it capsized. Luckily, the boat hadn’t capsized again while he was unconscious or he would have surely drowned.
Reaching up, he tried to grab the rope he was tied to. After a few failed attempts he managed to get ahold of it but the knots were too tight under his weight to loosen them.
“I’ll have to cut the line,” he said to himself, reaching for the small knife attached to his life jacket.
The boat was leaned over on its side on the pebble beach with the mast was holding Landon about fifteen feet in the air over what looked like about ten feet of water. There didn’t seem to be any large rocks underneath the surface so he figured it would be okay to drop in. Reaching up over his head, he made a few cuts in the rope before he cut through and plunged into the water.
Being early spring, the Atlantic ocean water was still extremely cold. Landon gasped from the shock as his head came back up from the water. “Jesus Christ that’s cold!” He screamed, frantically trying to get out of the water. He pulled himself up into the cockpit of the leaning sailboat and tried to catch his breath. Looking around, he noticed the inside of the boat was filled with water. A rock had punched a watermelon-sized hole in the starboard side of the boat but it looked to be above the water line. Leaning into the entrance hatch, he tried the radio switch but nothing happened. He tried the lights but nothing from them either. Must be a problem with the battery, he thought while looking around for any more damage. To his surprise, the boat looked in pretty good shape besides the one whole and the fact that everything was very wet. He grabbed a length of line hanging on the wall and exited the boat. Tying one end of the line to a cleat, he slid down the port side of the boat and into the water on the shallow side. The water on this side was only about knee deep but it still didn’t take long for his legs to go numb as he waded into shore, spooling out the line as he went. He tied the other end of the line around a large boulder and gave a little test pull to make sure it wouldn’t slip. All he need was the tide to come in and take his boat while he looked around. If he thought he was in trouble now, losing the boat and supplies would surely be the end of him.
Getting a chance to look around, he was amazed to see the boat had ended up on what seemed to be the only beach in a well-sheltered cove. All around him were jagged rock cliffs plunging into the ocean. There was an overgrown path leading up the bank to a grassy field. Landon climbed up the bank to see if he could get a better vantage point. Climbing up another little hill he looked around to see nothing but trees blocking his view in every direction.
“Where the fuck am I?” He questioned. He must be still on Cape Breton Island but he had no idea where at this point. He shivered as a strong breeze whipped at his back from the ocean. “I’ve got to get some shelter before it gets dark,” he told himself, glancing up at the sky. The sun was quickly falling and the wind had picked up a little, making him realize just how cold and wet he was.
“Come on you son of a bitch,” Landon swore at the pile of sticks he had piled in a neat teepee. He was striking his flint frantically trying to get a spark to catch on some old man’s beard he gathered off of some trees. The problem was, everything was still very wet from the storm.
He was shaking profusely at this point. He had managed to get back out to the boat for some shelter material and fire supplies. The lean-to was now constructed but the fire was taking too long and the cold was really starting to set into his bones.
Finally, a nice bright spark shot off the end of the flint and began to spread along the green mossy substance. It spread quickly and Landon knew he didn’t have much time to turn that into an actual flame. Giving the moss a gentle nudge of oxygen with his breath, he carefully laid some birch bark on top of it. After a few breaths, the bark began to smolder and burst into a nice orange flame. He quickly piled more bark on top and then a handful of twigs. The key to getting a good fire going was to take it slow and not try and go too big, too fast. First was the moss, then the twigs, then a little bigger sticks, then the small logs. Once those logs were on fire you could finally add the full-size logs and get the fire blazing. Skipping any of the wood sizes could end up in failure and the need to start again. It had taken a while but, it had paid off as the warmth from the fire immediately began to seep into his skin and bring his body temperature back up to a comfortable level.
Landon began stripping down his clothes, hung them near the fire, and wrapped himself in a survival blanket he had grabbed from the boat. He sat quietly and stared at the fire as he the sun dipped behind the horizon. He hadn’t had much time to think about what had happened until now.
Was his best friend really gone?
Was he close to any sort of civilization?
Was he even going to make it out of this if he wasn’t?
The pain in his head was slowly starting to abate. He started to drift off as all his worries about what may lie ahead slowly turned into bad dreams of the horrors from the day.
It was not going to be a peaceful sleep, but the exhaustion forced him to sleep no the less.