Earlier chapters can be located on the Fiction Page
The island was much larger than Bruce had originally thought. After several weeks of exploring the different areas he resolved that one side was facing the open ocean. That side was the exact opposite side where he and his mother had come ashore. The beach was much rougher and the waves came in higher than the area where the shelter had been set up.
He had checked on his mother every time he made his way back to the original shelter, and every time she was in the same condition she had been in. She appeared happy and cared for with the people from that side of the island. Eventually Bruce stopped going to that side and built himself a new shelter and a signal fire in case he spotted a plane or ship.
Seasons on the island did not appear to differ much other than the nights getting a bit cooler. The days were all tropical and humid. Bruce had grown tan and rarely wore more than a pair of shorts. His feet had become calloused and his beard was quite thick. He had not seen himself in some time. He really had no idea how long he’d been stranded.
The signal fire had been lit on a night with a full moon. This was the same thing he had done on every full moon since he’d settled in. He awoke to the sound of helicopter blades above him and saw a light scanning the beach. Thinking quickly he jumped up and ran over to the signal fire and started jumping up and down and waving his arms in the air. It did not take long for the helicopter to spot him.
A rope ladder began to descend and he saw a man in a bright red suit climbing down as the helicopter hovered. Bruce’s heart began beating wildly as the noise became incomprehensible to him. For the entire time he’d been here there had been nothing but silence, wind, waves and animal noises. Nothing had been this loud and his head pounded.
The red suited man jumped off the ladder and ran towards Bruce on the beach. “Hey buddy! You okay? We saw your fire last month and when we headed back to camp we looked on the map and this island is not on any map. We decided to fly around a bit this month around full moon to see if the fire lit up again. And what do you know? It did! And here we are!”
Bruce stared and tried to smile; his lips had become so chapped from the elements that his smile looked more like a gross line on his face. His teeth had yellowed from lack of hygiene. His rescuer stared back at him and asked, “Can you understand me?”
Bruce desperately shook his head up and down and tried to say, “Yes,” but no sound came out.
The man slowly said, “Do you want to get out of here?” Bruce again bobbed his head. “Okay, great! This is what we’re going to do. I’m going to wrap a rope around your waist and then clip it onto this hook right here,” he pointed to a hook on his harness. “Then I’m going to wrap my arms around your waist and he will be hoisted back to the chopper. If for some reason I drop you, we will still be attached by the rope. Do you understand?”
Bruce nodded and tried to say, “We need to get my mom,” but all that came out was squeaking sounds. He tried again to no avail and before he knew it he was air bound. He was cold as the rope ladder ascended towards the helicopter. They were spinning around and around and he became quite dizzy. He thought that perhaps closing his eyes would help, but that did not make the situation any better. Opening his eyes he couldn’t decide if he should look up or down, neither one seemed to be any better and looking straight ahead was like being inside of a whirligig going round and round.
They had almost reached the helicopter when Bruce felt himself fall. The man had let go and now Bruce was literally dangling from a line attached to a hook attached to a man attached to a helicopter. The rope continued to move upwards and Bruce saw the man climb into the machine and then reach down and pull him up. It all happened in slow motion and Bruce felt like he was in the middle of a dream.
He had no idea how barbarian he looked. The helicopter had three men on board; the pilot, co-pilot and his rescuer. He assumed that the co-pilot had been operating the winch that pulled them up, but could not be sure of it.
As soon as he was buckled into a seat he was provided a blanket, which he quickly hugged to himself and was offered a bottle of water. He gratefully accepted the water and drank it all down in one large drink. The noise was still too much for him to bear so he hunkered down inside the seat and covered his ears with his hands. The blanket had provided enough warmth that Bruce rapidly fell into a deep sleep.