This is the continuation of the post Leaving Concordia . If you haven’t read that yet, you may want to.
I watch Tessa as she breaks up a roll into two pieces. She hands one to me, along with a bottle of water.
“Eat it slowly. This is all I could get for lunch today.” She says
I put a tiny amount of the bread into my mouth, savoring it after each slow chew.
“I’ll be at work all night.” Tessa says after a moment. “You stay here.”
I give her a not very convincing nod of consent. She looked into my eyes,
“Stay in the house Cas. Promise me?”
I nod again, this time doing a better job of it. She seems satisfied.
She stands up to go, gathering her things while finishing her half of the roll. Then she walks over, and kneels down in front of me.
“I love you Cas.” She says, giving me a hug.
“I love you too.”
She gives me one last squeeze, and heads out the door.
“Have a good day!” I call after her.
Once she closes the door I dart to the window, watching her leave. Then I run to the back of the house, where I keep my few belongings, pack a small bag, hoist it onto my shoulder, and leave through the back door, slamming it behind me.
I jolt awake. For a moment I’m not sure where I am, but then it comes back to me. I have been banished, and I am drifting in the middle of the ocean in a small boat. I rub my eyes. The water is calm and gently rocks the boat side to side, like a cradle. The sun is just peaking over the horizon, the sky splashed with hues of orange and red. Sunrises are so much more beautiful out here, I realize.
I tear my eyes away from the rising sun and look down at the bottom of the boat. The Elders have thankfully provided me with enough provisions to survive for a month. I unzip my bag, and grab a piece of bread. It’s slightly stale, but it does it’s job.
I can no longer see Concorida from here, it has faded into the horizon. All I can see is the vast blue blanket of the ocean, spread out in all directions, and the sun, steadily climbing higher into the sky. I lay down in the bottom of the boat and bite into my bread. The sky is clear. There are no clouds in sight. A bird soars overhead, outlined against the pale blue sky. It’s so free, I think. I always wanted to be free. Free from the confines of my city, from poverty, and now I have what I wanted. But it’s not at all like I thought.
“Freedom is lonely.” I say to the empty air.
I finish my breakfast and, after a while, get up from the bottom of the boat. My bird friend is gone, but there are little fish swimming along the side of the boat, their silver scales glistening in the sun. I watch them for a moment, and then decide to try and figure out where I’m heading. I have no maps, anything beyond the island is unknown, but I do have a compass, which tells me I am going North East.
“North east..” I mumble “I wish I knew where that is.”
Tossing the compass on top of my bag, I lay down once more, and slowly drift back into the realm of sleep.
I’m awoken this time, not by the sun, but by water splashing my face. I say splashing, but it was more like a bucket being dumped onto me. I open my eyes. The air around me feels heavy, and the gentle swaying of the boat has turned into more of a violent rocking. I jerk into a sitting position, and my heart starts beating faster. The clear blue color of the sky that morning, had turned to a dull grey, and parts of it is almost black. The clear calm water is now roiling and choppy. Panic starts to bubble inside of me. I stuff all of my things back into my bag, and shove it under a seat. Hoisting up the small sail, I prepare myself and the boat, for the oncoming storm.
I’m not sure how long it’s been. It’s been at least an hour. The choppy waves are massive now. They crash into the boat, soaking me from head to toe. The boat’s tiny sail is filled to bursting with wind, pulling the boat rapidly forward, up and down the mountains of water. I sit in the bottom, arms wrapped tightly around my legs. I know I should probably be doing something, like messing with the sail, or watching the water, but I can’t. I am completely paralyzed with fear. The wind whips my hair around, stinging my neck, and I can’t tell if the saltwater streaming down my face are tears or just the ocean water. The boat is being tossed around, coming close to capsizing completely, but I just sit, shaking, while the world around me rises and falls, crashes and tumbles. I feel like a coward, but I don’t want to die. I don’t want to drown, to suffocate, be pulled down into the cold depths, alone, no one to care. The thought petrifies me. But then it happens. The waves finally accomplish their mission, and my tiny refuge is flipped over. The water envelopes me. I scream, but no one’s listening. I grab onto the side of the boat, but another wave crashes over top of me, making me lose my grip. I frantically kick my feet, and manage to find the mast and wrap my arms around it. I squeeze my eyes shut, and the world falls away from me, leaving me in darkness.