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I'm so Gullible

Story ID:8010
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Fiction
Location:Caldwell ID USA
Year:2012
Person:24-Hour Short Story Contest
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
I wrote for the Writers Weekly 24-Hour Short Story Contest this weekend.

Here is the topic and requiredf word length I recieved yesterday and my entry below that.

TODAY'S TOPIC!

~~~~~

With blistered, salty skin and matted hair, they
were down to their last sips of fresh water. A
recreational day at sea had turned into a fight
for continued existence. Slumped on the bow,
searching for any hint of a breeze to sooth her
burning face, her eyes widened when she noticed
something fast approaching in the distance...

~~~~~

WORD COUNT: Stories for today's topic must not exceed 875 words.


My entry:

I’m so Gullible

“Let’s do this!” Mark smiled at his wife. He untied the rope holding their rented cabin
cruiser to the pier. “We’ve saved long and hard for this.”

Rachel raised her hands to the sky. “Yes! Here we go!”

It wasn’t the sturdiest of crafts, but the price was right. Their honeymoon cruise around
the Caribbean, four years late, was finally going to happen.

Mark climbed to the helm. “Here we go!” He pushed the throttle forward and the thirty
foot “Lucky One” spit white water as it headed out to sea.

Rachel joined Mark at the helm. She wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed his
cheek. “I can’t believe we’re finally doing this.”

“Me either. Here we go, babe!”

The Miami shoreline grew smaller. The open ocean beckoned. They planned to cruise
the Florida keys, pass the east coast of Cuba, visit the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, sail
through the Caribbean Sea, around the western side of Cuba and back to Miami.

Mark grew up helping his father on fishing boats. He knew the ocean. “Hun, take the
helm for a bit.”

“I don’t know, Mark …”

“It’s easy. Look at the compass. I have us headed south. Just keep us in that direction.
I’ll be back in a bit. I have a special honeymoon lunch planned.”

Rachel climbed into the seat he abandoned, “You’re such a romantic. I love you, Mark!”

“More!” Mark laughed and descended into the small galley/sleeping area. “Just wait!
You are going to love this lunch.”

Rachel held the wheel and watched the compass nervously. She didn’t want to steer
them into danger.

Down below, Mark hummed happily. He pulled shrimp, oysters, scallops and tuna from
a cooler he packed earlier. He turned on the propane stove and put a generous slab of butter in a
pan.

The butter sizzled. Mark added the shellfish, tuna and garlic. In another pan, water
boiled. He added pasta to it. When both were ready, he drained the pasta, combined the shellfish
to it, sprinkled on a generous layer of parmesan cheese and stirred.

“She’s going to love this!” Mark grinned.

Below him, the older boat held a secret. The lines from the propane tank were weak.
A small amount of gas leaked from a joint. The heavy gas settled into the hull. The leaky boat
allowed enough water in to trigger the automatic pump. A spark from the switch ignited the gas.
The boat shuddered. A ball of flame engulfed Mark.

Rachel felt the explosion, ignored the wheel and ran to the galley. She met Mark crawling
up the stairs, his body burned. “Rachel, get the lifeboat.”

**************

Rachel sat in the lifeboat, listened to Mark’s moans and watched their rented boat burn
and sink. She knew Mark wouldn’t live. His burns were severe. “What am I going to do?”

She listened to the waves slap the side of the raft, tried to comfort Mark and drifted to
sleep.

Night fell.

She woke at sunrise - water calm. Mark was gone. He passed in the night. His burned and
blistered arms still held her.

Rachel stared in all directions. She saw a blue-green rolling ocean.

Two days passed. She knew what needed to be done. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
She gently slipped her love’s body over the side. A merciful breeze pushed her away from his
floating remains.

Rachel saw only the sun sparkling from an endless ocean. Her skin blistered. Salt spray
caked her skin and matted her hair. She took a sip from the remaining water of their provisions.

She stared in the direction she’d left Mark and knew she’d soon join him.

Slumped in the bow of the raft, she prayed for a hint of a breeze to sooth her burning
face. Her eyes widened when she noticed something fast approaching in the distance.

A distant storm tossed a seagull away from shore. Tired, it saw Rachel’s raft as refuge. It
landed on the side of the deflating rubber.

Rachel lay still. The gull eyed her nervously – tired but cautious.

Rachel waited.

The gull hopped along the side of the raft – exploring its new resting place.

Rachel held her breath. The gull came within her reach. Its eyes reflected the orange
setting sun.

Rachel exploded from the bow, grabbed the gull by the neck – it snapped like a dry twig.

Hunger and thirst propelled her. She ripped the head off, held its severed neck to her
mouth and sucked its life-giving liquid. It alleviated her thirst, but not her hunger. A starving
madness made her strip the feathers from the carcass and eat the raw fish-tainted meat.

Rachel slept, her cravings temporarily calmed. The rolling ocean rocked her. In the
distance a worker on a ship, who heard of a missing boat, spotted her raft.

They pulled her onto the deck.

A man with medical knowledge poured a small amount of water into her mouth. Rachel,
her eyes glazed, sat up, choked and gagged. “I’m so gullible! I’m gullible!”

A shipmate looked at the man attending her, “What’s she saying?’

“I don’t know …sounds like something
about a gull. Help me get her below deck.”

Michael T. Smith

Word count: 864