The Journal of Professor Headonius Burroffski,
5th July 1930 (assumed). Mid-morning. Unknown Island Location.
I survived. I don’t know how, but Dear God I survived!
It has now been at least a day since I awoke, although how long I lay face down in the sand unconscious to the world around me I can not say. But wake up I did; stiff, sore, blooded and bruised but otherwise mercifully intact with all my limbs in place and all my senses functioning.
I remember, as if in a drunken stupor, crawling my way further up the beach. Lightning frozen scenes constitute the totality of that time. Trees bending all but double in the fierce wind, frozen like white claws reaching to grab and tear at me. Various parts of the Telesto picked out in monochrome moments as they smashed themselves on rocks or cartwheeled overhead. The storm raged. I drifted in and out of consciousness, unaware, numb, lost.
I awoke yesterday morning (I will take a guess that was the 4th July – I should have been in Key West celebrating with friends, not face down in sand god knows where!). It was early with the sun’s rays just edging over a now calm sea. My eyes gazed upward on a sky where platinum-edged clouds shone like white fire burning away the darkness of night. Shortly after I awoke, so did the various parts of my body that were hurting… and they awoke with a vengeance! I half-crawled, half-staggered up the beach, the sea broke gently on the rocks behind me and the palm trees of the jungle in front of me swayed in the breeze. Around me lay the wreckage of the storm; the flotsam of the jungle, torn palm leaves and splintered branches, and the jetsam of my boat, smashed hull and tossed supplies.
I had no idea where I was, I was in agony and my boat was so much matchwood bobbing in the sea in front of me or half buried in the sand around me. I was marooned.
I sat as the sun rose high above me, my mind numb to all around me. On the horizon, clouds began to gather and rise high into the blue sky. I found myself watching the small fireflies that played inside them with fascination whilst a small voice in my head, at first quiet, got louder and louder. ”Strom”, it whispered. “Storm” it said. “Storm” it shouted. Somewhere, deep in my terrified mind, something switched on and I awoke to the approaching danger.
I struggled to my feet and began to search the wreckage; I needed shelter, water, food and (as my throbbing head and body kept on reminding me) medicine. All of these things could be found on the Telesto… if they had survived.
As though moving through molasses I moved to the water’s edge and began hauling what I could onto the beach; crates with food and water, a small tent and (miracles of miracles) the boat’s first aid kit. I even found my journal half buried in the sand close to where I had come round earlier, it was a little worse for wear but, as you can see, still functional. The Telesto itself was smashed beyond all hope of repair. Its hull had been sheared in two and large sections of it had been punched through by the rocks. The mast was splintered and jammed up between two jagged boulders so that it pointed to the sky in a cruel mockery of its former life. The cabin, or rather what was left of the cabin, smouldered and smoked as it bobbed in the water, presumably ignited by a lighting bolt.
The tent, easy for a well and able man to erect, almost proved the undoing of me. I set it up as far from the shore as possible, but not within the jungle for who knew what dangers lay beyond that green and leafy border. I wanted to anchor the canvas down and it was the effort I placed into blow after blow on the pegs with a rock I unearthed from the sand that nearly saw me collapse and expire. Eventually it was up and solid, or at least as solid as I could achieve in my state. I dragged what supplies I could next to the tent, took the first aid kit and crawled inside, just as the first rumble of thunder drew near and first heavy drops fell on to the beach. I fastened myself in and rifled through the kit for pain killers. Soon, with their aid, I fell into black, dreamless sleep while once more the world around me was sucked into a maelstrom of noise and light…
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