3 of 365: The Vessel pt.1

The first “chapter” in a short story about the discovery of a new world.


–So yes, I am putting two on today. I was a slacker yesterday and didn’t get the piece up. I’m just going to roll with it and get the third one up today–

–this kinda took a life of its own and went on further than I had imagined. I have a feeling I will return to this story a few times….–



The waves lapped against the prow of a dingy. The thick plastic canvas had held its shape despite the storm it had passed through. Now, gently shifting on the sands as the waves moved, life stirred in the raft. A weak groan rises above the orange emergency raft. Inside, Edward Damien Calliger rolled over, finally feeling solid ground below him. Prying open his salt-sealed eyes, Edward read the black stamp-print words: IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

“In case of emergency, ya got that fuckin’ right” he said to the raft. A few patches had worn thin shown dully against the otherwise vibrant orange, evidence of how close Edward had been to a watery grave. Sitting upright, rubbing the last bit of salt off his face, Edward looked out over the seas he had just survived. A dozen miles or so away, dark clouds obscured the view in an otherworldly fashion. Extending as far as his eyes could see, the storm surrounded the island he now rested on. “what…the hell..?” Ed muttered to himself. “What the hell happened?”

8 hours before landfall

The fiery debris of the now-sinking cruise liner he had been on illuminated the inky waters below and the ominous clouds above. Although he was aware of others screaming, Edward could only hear the sizzling of fire on water as the ship sunk below the waves. Once the last of the cruise had disappeared, Ed shook himself back to the present. His hypnosis broken, the fear and panic set in. A lucky break had thrown him and a tightly packed raft within arms reach, the flashing beacon calling to him. Grasping for the light, Ed felt a rope on his fingers. Securing a firm hold, he yanked the cord, opening the raft in a violent expanse. The sudden action twisted his arm at an odd angle, seperating his shoulder. Gasping from shock and pain, Edward managed to climb onto the floating raft. Around him, the storm raged on, debris burning in the rain, but his eyes were fixed on the rolling clouds above as he lay immobile, slowly losing consciousness. The last thing he remembered was watching a wave crest over him and block the sky above. Then nothing.

2 hours before landfall

It wasn’t the sun above or the subsequent heat that came with that finally woke him up. It was the dull thud that rocked the raft. The canvas moved as something large swam under it. A second collision stirred Edward. His first sensation on awakening was a painful throb around his hand right hand and left leg. Lifting his head to see the cause, a new pain rocked him. His right shoulder suddenly exploded, leaving his vision red and head reeling:a dislocated sholder. He had seen separated shoulders watching sports and movies, but this was the real deal. Gritting his teeth, he tried to remember what the shows had always done. Pulling with as much strength as he could muster, a sharp pop signaled the return of his shoulder. Tears ran down his sundried face as he gasp. Finally, with the painful part over, Ed looked back at his leg and wrist. A rope was snuggle wrapped around each.  As he was untangling the length from his leg, a third bump caused him to freeze.

Slowly, slower than he thought possible, Edward got the last of the rope off and moved to the edge of the raft. Peering over the prow, his eyes caught movement beneath the waves. squinting to better see, Ed could make out the shapes of multiple large fish. A shiver ran down his spine as he realized the four sharks that were maybe 20 feet below. The shiver turned to a gut-wrenching nausea as he saw what they were eating. Puking into the waters, his eyes stayed open just long enough to see a school of brightly colored fish. The little ones began eating his vomit as he lapsed back into delirium. If he had glanced north rather than south, he would have seen the island he would soon inhabit.


The flood of memories from the last few hours both shocked and confused Edward. Why had the cruise simply exploded? Had no one else survived? Where the hell was he? What was the deal with the encircling storm? These and many more endless questions ran noisily across his mind. Shaking his head, the thoughts silenced, Edward began thinking more clearly. Water. Water and shelter. Those were always first on the discovery channel. Shakily getting up, he fell more than stepped out of the raft. Looking at it the same as he would a loyal dog, Edward pulled it out of the surf and onto the more steady sands, the exertion draining him. His body ached everywhere and his left eye was discernably blurrier than before. Despite the exhaustion, a smile and laugh escaped him. He was alive.

“Survive that Bear Grylls, ya dick” He hoarsely whispered, lying in the sand on an uncharted island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. He knew he had to be somewhere between Florida and Puerto Rico, where he had set off from. Straining his mind, he could remember the ship moving into a small rainstorm that quickly became infinitely larger. When the deck began getting struck by blue and green lightning, all hell broke loose. Edward was only thrown clear because of his recklessness, above the galley taking pictures of the storm. When it finally blew apart, he captured the bolt of lightning strike the hull of the cruise. The flash was blinding enough to destroy his camera.

Shaking his head again, the brilliant green flash behind closed eyes, Edward stood up once more. Steady under his legs, he chanced a few steps. The strength quickly returned to him, as the drive to find shelter and sustenance pushed him on. Looking left then right, the beach curving in not far away, Edward had the impression he as on a relatively small island. Setting off in a search for clear water, Ed kept a sharp eye open for any signs of life. Although he couldn’t see any, he felt countless pairs of eyes watching him. This was the first time a human had touched the sands of the Bermuda Archipelago.

Author: Z.Randall

Graduating from Fort Lewis College December 2017 with a degree in general English. I will be doing a large amount of backpacking once I am finished with this step in life. After my various thru-hikes, I plan on assisting Puerto Rico rebuild as much as I am able to. During these times, I would like to expand my writing skills using this, get my name out into the world more, and publish a book that follows the journey that I will be taking. Ideally, I would like to write gear reviews for online magazines. This would allow me to travel and work, something I am passionate about to the extreme. I also would like to start taking photographs to further expand my publication possibilities. Until I am finished with School, the vast majority of the pieces I upload with be in regards to the various classes I am currently enrolled in.

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