Free Story: Marooned Pt.2 (Conclusion)
Marooned Pt. 2 (Conclusion)
Stephanie stood thigh deep in the morning surf, as still as a statue with her makeshift spear clutched in a two-handed grip. She scanned the crystal clear water with her weapon poised and ready, watching, waiting.
She could feel the ocean pushing against the backs of her legs as the undertow moved back out to sea. A month ago that sensation would have sent her into a screaming panic. But that was a month ago, in late March.
A month ago she was the spoiled and wealthy wife of Johnston Alexander, a woman of lifelong privilege. But then their chartered yacht sank to the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean. Now it was almost May. She wasn’t the same woman she had been.
The stupid fish actually swam right at her. Even in three feet of water, the morning sun made its silvery scales shimmer. It was a big sucker too, maybe eighteen inches long. The fish was probably curious; maybe it thought that her brown legs represented some kind of food.
The feeling is mutual, Charlie.
Stephanie remained motionless, except for slowly drawing her spear back until her forward hand was near her cheek, the way Joshua had taught her. She waited, breathless.
When the fish was about a dozen feet away it slowed its approach, maybe more cautious now that it was close to her.
Now it was closer, maybe six feet away. Stephanie’s mouth watered as she pictured the fish gutted and scaled and roasting over their fire.
Now four feet away.
With all her strength she thrust the spear forward and down, pushing off with her legs with such force that her feet rose off the sand. The fish spun away with a powerful flick of its tail fin, but too late. The spear tip ripped through its body and into the ocean floor, impaling it.
The fish thrashed wildly, trying to escape even though it was already dying. The clear water became fouled with its blood.
A month ago she couldn’t have killed a living thing so brutally. And the sight of the fish’s thrashing, bleeding body would have sickened her. But that was a month ago. She wasn’t the same woman she’d been before the yacht sank. She was better now.
She kept the tip of her spear buried in the sand and waited for the fish to die. A red cloud of blood encircled her legs, but she gave it no consideration, other than to scan the surrounding area to see if it attracted sharks.
When the fish stopped moving she kneeled and grasped it by its tail so that it wouldn’t slip off the spear and lifted it and her weapon out of the water. The fish was heavy. That made her smile. It was big enough to provide dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow for her and Joshua. If they’d had a way to refrigerate it, it would have lasted longer. As it was they had to eat like animals. When food was available, they ate it. Then they went to find or kill more.
As she waded back onto the beach Stephanie wondered what her family and high society friends would think if they saw her right now. What would they say if they saw her walking up the beach in only her panties and halter with her freshly killed dinner impaled on her spear like some kind of savage? They’d probably shake their coiffed heads and cluck their tongues in shock and haughty disapproval.
A month ago such disapproval would have hurt and shamed her. Now, she didn’t care. She didn’t care because she was better now.
She was real.
When Stephanie got back to the shelter compound Joshua was just returning as well. He was carrying an armload of saplings to use for their fire. Proudly, she held up her catch for him to see.
Joshua grinned at her and said, “That’s a Yellowfin!”
Stephanie looked at her catch. “Is that good?”
“Yes – it’s tuna. But that’s a baby; maybe a year old.”
“This thing is a baby? It’s huge!”
“A Yellowfin can grow to twice your size, Stephanie – over three hundred pounds at maturity.”
She frowned at him. “Excuse me? How much do you think I weigh?”
She saw his eyes flick over her body, and knew that he was considering more than just her weight.
She watched Joshua put the bundle of wood down and straighten up, his eyes still on her. He was bare-chested, and wore his baggy khaki shorts. Stephanie couldn’t help but notice the way his chest and abs glistened with perspiration after having carried the heavy bundle of wood.
They’d come to an agreement that survival took precedent over modesty. So over the last month she’d seen Joshua naked enough times that it shouldn’t matter and shouldn’t affect her.
And it hadn’t affected her at first. In the early days of their isolation she’d been scared and didn’t give a damn. Whether it was having him stand guard while she took a shower, or having him stand nearby in the jungle as she made her toilet, her fear had blown her modesty and embarrassment out of the water. She wasn’t that kind of fraidy cat any more, but after a man has seen you take a dump in the woods, there was nothing left to hide. They were just two people trying not to die until somebody showed up to rescue them.
Joshua was fit in the beginning, but she’d noticed that over the past month he’d lost some weight. Now his waistline was tight. It really made his broad shoulders and chest look bigger. His abs looked like they were carved from stone, especially now, after he’d been carrying that wood and was all sweaty.
Realizing that he was watching her staring at him, to cover she said, “I need your knife so I can clean this fish.”
“Do you think they’ll come early in the summer?” Stephanie asked.
They were sitting at the picnic table in the shelter, enjoying the tuna she’d caught.
Joshua shrugged. “Hard to say. The information I read said that vacationers come in the summer. Now that the rainy season seems to have ended I think that it could be anytime – maybe tomorrow; maybe a few months from now.”
He always tried to give Stephanie hope without creating false expectations. He felt that someone would likely come to the island before the summer was over, but that wasn’t a certainty. Nothing he’d read stated that vacationers from Pitcairn came every summer. But he didn’t tell Stephanie that. Let her stay hopeful as long as she could. Her hope for rescue and her desire for revenge against her husband would keep her strong.
And Stephanie was a strong woman. When he’d first met her and her husband, he didn’t think that was the case. She seemed to be just another rich, nose-in-the-air bitch who couldn’t waste the effort to give him the time of day. She’d barely acknowledged him when they were introduced. Joshua was used to such treatment from wealthy clientele. After all, he was just the ship’s mate, a hired hand.
Joshua’s work was his choice. It was the life he wanted to live, always on the sea. When his parents moved them from Jamaica to Chicago when he was a child, he’d missed the ocean terribly. As soon as he graduated high school he’d joined the Coast Guard so that he could be on the water again. But he’d found that job to be too restrictive for his spirit. So after four years he found work as a mate on various vessels, the last being on Howard’s yacht. He didn’t like the man but he liked the work, even though it involved catering to rich and arrogant clients, clients who thought that their money made them superior to everyone else.
He’d been surprised and impressed at how Stephanie had fallen to task to help him since they’d been marooned. Rather than allow herself to be dependent on him, she’d listened and learned and become a partner in their survival. He’d taught her to fish, and how to extract salt from seawater to season fish and the birds he was able to kill on occasion. She’d become adept at identifying leafy plants they could use for vegetables. More impressive considering her background and upbringing, she didn’t fret about the lack of basic comforts.
He thought that Stephanie Alexander was an impressive woman. And a very beautiful one.
Their routine was to shower after dinner, when the day was cooler. Stephanie watched as Joshua climbed onto the shower tower to check the water level in the tanks. The rainy season had passed, and it had been four days since the last precipitation. Joshua said that if it didn’t rain soon they’d have to forego showers and save the water for drinking.
When he leapt to ground he said, “The tanks are below half full. We should enjoy our showers today, because it’ll be the last one until it rains again. You go ahead, but make it a quick one, okay?”
They went back under the shelter, and Stephanie stripped out of her halter and panties. She noticed how Joshua turned away and pretended to busy himself with sharpening his knife on a stone. After all they’d seen and been through together, he was still trying to be the gentleman. She appreciated it, but some things were more important – like water. She said, “We could save more water if we bathed together.” He looked around at her, frowning. She shrugged and said, “It’s the prudent thing to do, don’t you think?”
The shower operated with a pull cord. Pull the cord, and the spout on one of the tanks opened and water poured down. Release the cord and the spout closed.
They stood close together under the tank, facing each other. Joshua pulled the cord, and water streamed down and splashed onto Stephanie’s chest. She caught some in her cupped hands and rubbed it on her face. They didn’t have soap, so the best they could do was to rub to loosen and then rinse away the day’s grime.
Joshua tried not to be affected by the sight of Stephanie rubbing water onto her shoulders and breasts. Though the water was warm, he noticed that her nipples had hardened. He wondered if it was the water or her rubbing hands that excited them so.
He stepped closer to her and pulled the cord again, closing his eyes and leaning so that the water splashed down onto his head. He felt her arm brush his chest and opened his eyes to see her catching the water that splashed off him and fanning it toward herself. Then she slicked her hands over her flat belly.
They were standing close, and her moving hands brushed against him as she bathed herself. The fleeting contacts affected him, and his manhood responded. Joshua turned away, not because he was embarrassed, but because they needed to stand close so as not to waste water. His sudden and raging erection would prevent that.
As soon as he turned away from Stephanie he felt her hands on his shoulders, and then sliding down his back. His first thought was that she was helping him bathe. But then he felt her hands slide quickly lower, toward his buttocks, and her lips press into his back. The late afternoon was warm, but he shivered.
She moved closer, until her firm breasts and rigid nipples pressed into the small of his back. He felt the brushy hair over her mound of Venus against the back of his thigh, rubbing there. Then she moved her hands around his waist. For a moment her fingertips trailed over his stomach – a tickling, teasing contact. But then they dropped abruptly, and she grasped his erection in a two-fisted grip.
Joshua’s shiver turned into a shudder.
Joshua tried to stay still as sometimes she stroked him, up and down the length of his erection, and other times twisted her grasp in a corkscrew motion, delivering a sensation so intense that it made him rise up on his toes. All the while she planted soft kisses and licks on his back, and rubbed her sex against his thigh. He felt moisture back there that had nothing to do with water or perspiration.
She used her forefinger to capture his leaking seminal fluid, then used it to lubricate his shaft. Then she attacked the underside, just below the head. That sensation sent him rushing toward the brink, and he spun around, pulling himself out of her grasp.
Stephanie looked up at him with hot eyes and said, “I know you need this.”
Joshua shook his head. “Not like that.”
He gripped her waist and immediately she understood his intent. As he lifted, she leapt. Then as he held her high, she reached and found him again, and guided him to her.
Joshua lowered Stephanie slowly, trying to still his trembling legs. They were unsteady not because of her weight, but because of the sweet-electric friction of her hot, tight womanhood sliding down onto him.
She gripped his shoulders and he gripped her bottom. When he lifted her she pushed up, until the head of him threatened to slip free of her treasure. When he lowered her she relaxed and took all of him, every inch, down to the root. Just as they’d worked as a team to eat and survive, they now worked as a team to feed a different kind of hunger.
Joshua’s pent up release was violent and voluminous, so much that he felt himself overflow from Stephanie’s sweetness. Still, in spite of the fact that he’d come so hard, he wasn’t satisfied. He’d wanted her for a month, and once was not enough. Still buried inside her, he carried her to the shelter and to the grass pallet he slept on.
They were going to need another shower, but that would be hours from now, maybe tomorrow.
Stephanie used Joshua’s shirt as a knapsack to carry the cabbage-like leaves she’d gathered from the far end of the island. As she headed back through the jungle she imagined that she was very much like the primitive women of ancient times. Those women had little time for leisure. The bulk of their day was spent finding food, preparing food, and sleeping. Life was about survival.
How different her life had been before the yacht sank! Before, her life had been about finding ways to not be bored – shopping, trips to the salon, lunch dates with her girlfriends, vacations. Survival wasn’t a consideration or concern, because she was wealthy.
Looking back, her old life now seemed so shallow, because she’d been shallow. There were people in the world, even in America, who didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. There were children in the world that died every day because there was no water, no water anywhere. And she’d had more money than she could spend, and had spent her days trying not to be bored. Such a wasted existence.
She thought about her husband Johnston, who thought he was such a man because he had money. But what would he do if the world ran out of oil, and subsequently, out of energy? What could he do to take care of her and protect her when his money couldn’t buy that care? And what could some thug with a gun do when he ran out of things to steal at gunpoint, when all that was left was the world and nature? Were they real men when they couldn’t survive in the real world, when money or a gun couldn’t keep them from starving to death, much less protect and care for their women and families?
No, they weren’t real men. They couldn’t survive in the natural world. But Joshua could. Joshua could survive. He was the kind of man who could make a life out of nothing. He was a real man. And she was becoming a real woman.
Stephanie thought about the previous night, and the passionately savage way they’d made love. She’d never had it that good before. Their sex had felt raw and pure, like a celebration of being alive. It felt right. Already she was looking forward to the end of the day when their work was done, when they could do it again.
As she neared the shelter compound she was thinking that she and Joshua needed to enjoy each other while they could, because they couldn’t keep doing it, at least not as they had last night. She figured that her Depo shot was good for another month at the most. She was learning to survive with nothing, but no way did she want to be on an island in the middle of nowhere and be preg—
Stephanie froze in her tracks at the edge of the compound. She looked toward the shelters, seeing, but not able to believe her own eyes. In her peripheral vision she spotted Joshua coming out of the forest on the other side of the compound, back from fishing. He stopped too, because he saw what she saw.
The man – one of a group of a half dozen people – stepped toward her and asked, “Who are you, Miss?”
The Next Day
“Captain Howard told us that the vessel went down fifty miles south of here,” the constable said. “It’s no wonder you weren’t found, though we searched for days. Oeno is eighty miles north. We were one hundred thirty miles wrong.”
Stephanie was only half listening to the constable. She was busy at his computer, trying to access her bank accounts, but with no luck. Every one of them had new login passwords.
That fucking bastard.
She blew out an exasperated breath. Joshua looked at her and asked, “Any luck?”
“He changed all the logins.”
“Let me try my account,” he said. “There is no one who would want to steal from me.”
Stephanie got up and Joshua took her seat at the constable’s workstation. To the constable she said, “Will you do this for us?”
Looking uncomfortable, the constable said, “Well Mrs. Alexander, this is highly abnormal, to not report your survival to the authorities. Surely there are people other than your husband who would want to know that you’re alive. And he must of course be brought to justice –“
“And he will be, I guarantee that,” Stephanie said. “But he’s got money, so he’s a flight risk. If you report that we’ve been found, he’ll be gone. Let us do this our way…please, sir.”
“But how will you leave Pitcairn if the authorities don’t come for you?’ the constable asked. “There is no airstrip here. We are even out of range of helicopters. If you can’t access your funds, how will you pay for a vessel to come for you?”
From the desk Joshua said, “I’m in my account. I’ll pay for a charter to come for us. I think I have enough.”
Stephanie said, “You have enough. Whatever it costs, when this is all over I’ll pay you back.”
Holmdel, New Jersey
Three Weeks Later
Johnston lay on the lounger next to his mansion’s swimming pool, enjoying the lovely view.
One was Puerto Rican. Her name was Rita. She was twenty. Her waist length hair was dyed blonde. She didn’t have to worry about the carpet matching the curtains however, because the carpet was shaved bald. Very nice.
The other was Aleksi. She was a raven-haired Russian with violet eyes. She claimed she was eighteen. Johnston didn’t believe her, and didn’t care. The girls worked well together, and that’s all that mattered. They made a nice little pair, out here naked under the sun by his pool.
He thought he might like to add a third girl, maybe an Asian. Variety was after all, the spice of life. The next time he talked to Captain Howard he’d ask him to see about getting him a sexy Asian babe, the younger the better.
Johnston lowered his sunglasses and was about to tell naked Rita to run and get him another margarita when he caught movement in the corner of his eye. He looked around, and saw a real blonde in a business suit coming around the side of the manor, heading his way in a hurry. She was carrying a microphone.
As Johnston bolted up from his lounge chair more people came around the side of his house – an entire television camera crew, with full gear. The logo on the equipment said that they were from CNN.
Rita and Aleksi looked at him to see what he would do. Neither girl made any effort to cover her nakedness.
To show the girls that he was in charge, Johnston put his fists on his hips and bellowed, “Who the hell gave you permission to set foot on my property?”
And then he saw Stephanie step from between two of the camera crew. Glaring at him, she said, “I did.”
Johnston was stunned, but he recovered quickly. He shouted, “Oh my god! Baby, you’re alive! Oh, thank god!” and ran toward the wife he’d thought he’d left drowned in the Pacific.
The lowlife bastard was running to her with open arms like he was relieved and thrilled to see her. Stephanie ran to him, too. As she ran she gathered herself the way she’d gathered herself when she was getting ready to drive her spear through a fish back on Oeno. When she was close to Johnston she put everything she had into a slap against the side of his head.
That night on CNN, the way Anderson Cooper described the slap Stephanie Alexander laid on the side of her soon to be ex-husband’s face was that it sounded like a gunshot. The blow was so hard that it knocked him into the pool.
Cooper reported, “When their chartered yacht went down in the South Pacific two months ago, Johnston Alexander stated that he was certain that his wife was dead because she couldn’t swim and was terrified of the water. But this morning, as you see in our exclusive video, Stephanie Alexander dove into the pool after her obviously estranged husband, swam to him and proceeded to punch him repeatedly in his head. The Holmdel police had to jump in and drag her away and rescue Mr. Alexander, who was semiconscious, and take him into custody. In a related story, Fineas Howard, the yacht captain, was arrested by authorities this morning in a Taiwanese brothel. As we speak he’s being extradited to Great Britain to faces charges that include conspiracy to commit murder, the same charges that Johnston Alexander will face in the United States…”
The Gulf of Mexico
One Year Later
The 196-foot luxury yacht could accommodate twelve guests in six cabins. It featured salons on its upper deck, interior and exterior dining areas, a Jacuzzi tub in the forward area, and sound and lighting systems that could turn the vessel into a floating nightclub. Guests could control some of the yacht’s high tech functions from their iPads.
As they cruised through the Gulf, Stephanie thought about how it was funny the way things sometimes worked out. Johnston tried to kill her so that her money would become his. But because of his greed, now he was in prison, and the money was all hers. To piss him and his family off, she’d donated all his assets to charity – except for what it cost to buy this yacht.
They’d christened the yacht Lady Justice. It cost customers $500,000 per week to charter the vessel, and after expenses, all revenue went to various charities.
The yacht had a crew of six. Joshua was the yacht captain. She was his mate – in every sense of the word. More often than not, they lived on their boat.
It was hard work, running their big boat. But it was good work.
It was real.