Earlier chapters can be located on the Fiction Page
Intent on at least looking semi normal, Bruce began to start the arduous task of getting rid of his beard. Monica had him provided with a pair of scissors, a razor and shaving cream. He began by cutting away at the length of the beard. That ended up being a more difficult project than he had anticipated. The hair of his beard was coarse and all the hairs seemed to be entangled in each other.
He sat down to rest after two hours and began to contemplate his many choices. But then he wondered if he really had any choices. Was he being held captive with these people or was he free to go?
Thinking about that he returned to the mirror to continue his project. He had just gotten the hair short enough to start with the razor when Jack came in.
“Hey Bruce! How are you doing today?”
Bruce put down the razor and turned to Jack and replied, “Gud.”
“Very good,” Jack responded. “You have obviously been practicing.”
“Do you work now, or would you prefer if I came back later?”
“N..,” Bruce tried to say.
“Ok,” Jack said, “let’s go outside today and see if we can have a simple conversation.”
Bruce grabbed the towel that was next to him and wiped his face. He took a quick glance in the mirror. There was a small improvement, but he still wasn’t very happy about the face that stared back at him.
The two men left the room and Jack led the way. Bruce looked around as they walked, but it appeared as if he was in some sort of hospital; although there did not appear to be any other patients or staff. The corridor was long and devoid of windows. There were several doors, all of which were closed. The dull grey shade of paint was neither appealing nor appalling. It just was. At the end of that corridor they turned right into another similar corridor. There were several more turns before Bruce saw sunshine.
Blinking vigorously as he gave his eyes a chance to adjust to the light, Bruce took a deep breath and smelled the ocean. As his eyes adjusted he realized that he appeared to be on another type of island. Bruce turned to Jack and asked, “Wh r e?”
Jack smiled, “I am assuming you just asked me where we are?”
Bruce nodded and smiled.
“We are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhat in the South east corner.”
Bruce’s eyebrows furled as he tried to ask, “S th s a il d.”
“No this is not really an island; it is a floating laboratory. We do have an engine and can relocate anytime we want. We have been commissioned by the government to catalog and locate all islands in this region. There are literally hundreds of them and only ten percent have been charted.”
Bruce nodded as he scanned his surroundings. There was water everywhere he could see. This vessel did not appear to be near any islands. He turned around and saw there was a helipad, but no helicopter. Bruce had so many questions.
“Why are you here?” he managed to ask, although it was quite a struggle.
“I am here in case we run into any indigenous tribes and I need to translate. I am a linguist.”
“N a speech th p st,” Bruce tried to ask.
“Not really a therapist; however knowing the basics about speech patterns I offered to help you get your speech back.”
“Ow mny pepl,” Bruce managed.
“There are just eight of us, well nine counting you. Monica is the lead for the project. She has a doctorate in oceanography as well as geography. She was given this grant in order to provide a more viable chart of this region. We have a chef, an engineer, two helicopter pilots and two people who do the charting. We started the venture in May and have been given two years to complete it. Finding you was really just a stroke of luck. Unfortunately we found you at night and the pilots really have no idea exactly where the island is. We have the general coordinates; however have not yet been successful in pinpointing the exact location.
“Do you have any recollection at all of where you were when you became stranded?”
Bruce shook his head. Slowly he tried to communicate. “We dri ted for weeks, th storm.”
Jack asked, “You drifted for weeks and then a storm came?”
Bruce nodded vigorously.
“Do you know which direction you drifted in or what the approximate date of the storm was?”
Bruce shook his head.
“Okay, we’ll have to track it another way. You left through the Gulf of Mexico in July of 1992, right?”
“How many days before you lost power?”
“Ten,” Bruce stammered out.
“And you were going around the world, is that correct?”
“Alright so if we chart a course for ten days out of Texas and then plug in current charts and storms in late summer 1992 we should be able to estimate where you were when the storm hit. After that we will need to do some more current analysis. Did the boat sink?”
Bruce shook his head.
“But it has been seven years. I will also have them check for any recovered ships. The oceanographers should be able to figure out something, but it might take several days.”
“Okay,” Bruce said.
“I think that is enough for today,” Jack said. “You are really making good progress. Now I would suggest that when you are alone you think out loud. That way you can practice voice control and sounds.”
Bruce nodded and the two men went back into the door they had exited from and followed the same path back to Bruce’s room.