Adrift

People screaming, adults and babies alike. Everything a blur. Stomach churning, I stagger out of my room, nothing making sense apart from the fact that my life is in danger. The boat is rocking from side to side, as I am running along the corridor, I fall and hit my head against a pressure gauge. I can’t hear, everything is blotted into one indistinguishable noise. A child is blocking the exit to the deck, screaming for ‘mummy.’ I pick him up, no longer thinking for my life, but for the life of the child. It suddenly becomes apparent that the boat is sinking! I run towards the only lifeboat that isn’t already full. The boat lurches, I am falling. I press the child to my chest, hoping that I can break the fall. I crack my back against a lifeboat seat. The last thing I remember is an intense, excruciating pain in my back.

I wake up, adrift in the waters of the South Pacific Ocean. I hope. “The kid!” I say earnestly, sitting up, but I feel a harrowing pain in my back, so I flop back down again, onto the hard splintery seat of the lifeboat. “He’s fine.” Someone replies soothingly, but I notice that he looks anxious. “Look,” he says, “we think you have fractured your back.” My heart drops, I go pale. “ You can’t move, otherwise you could increase the damage.” I can’t do anything but nod ever so slightly to show my understanding, but even doing that hurts. I wait, and wait, and wait. I discover that the boy has a very serious case of Malaria. When will this end? I think to myself on a daily basis now. Surely today, next day, day after that, surely soon? After what seems months I see a vast cargo ship. I alert the other people on board. They are shouting at the top of their voices, I do too, even the boy gets up to shout. The boat draws closer. Everyone is waiting apprehensively; have they seen us, are they going to help, or are they going to turn us away? The ship has noticed us, I feel a wave of relief, both for me and for the boy as we get carried carefully onboard and are given the ‘best room on the boat.'

I am recovering in a hospital in New Zealand, the boy was cleared a few days ago. A newspaper is put on my bed, I pick it up; ‘Police still speculate over the freak accident that happened only two months ago,' writes Joseph Burn. Head of Police Andrew Coster states in his latest speech that they still have no trace of the wreck nor have any idea of what could have caused it.

I am smiling silently to myself. They are never going to figure it out, are they? I am still wondering what could have caused those many deaths and injuries. Nothing could be done about it now that it’s happened. No, nothing.

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