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The Shipwreck by Nathaniel Miller

A beam of sunshine cascaded down from the cloud-filled blue sky, from the many holes through the red rock that makes up the shelter above the secluded beach where two unconscious bodies lie on the reddish brown sand of the beach below. They have just survived a storm at sea that have brought them here, the same storm that scuttled their Clipper Ship off the coast of this island, when it was forced aground on the reef by the rough surf and winds during their journey to Australia. The island they had run aground upon was a legend in the South Pacific by other sailors of many other nations who spoke of voodoo, evil magic, and tempers of the sea. The island was called Skull Island. Not because the island was shaped like the human skull, but the rock formation in which wary castaways found themselves, looked like the face of a skull. It had two eyes, a nose, and a skull like jaw that sat on the beach, overlooking the reef that would attract wary vessels to their doom. Or so the legend went. As the first young woman awakened, she opened her eyes slowly, her blue eyes fuzzy, as they focused upon the interior of the rock covering them. She was disoriented by the rough landing ashore, washed overboard when a wave whipped them of the deck of the disabled ship into the rough seas. It took everything they had to swim and survive, fighting to swim to shore. When her vision finally cleared, and her head cleared a little more, the young woman managed a low gasp. She turned her head to scan her surroundings quickly and to her companion who also lies on this beach with her. Their names are Patty LeBlanc, a white plantation owner’s daughter from Louisiana and her black house slave, Carolina Banks. Both are glad to be alive and well ashore, but stunned to realize that it is on a deserted island. “Where are we?” Patty asked, and she reached over to nudge Carolina who lay next to her. “Carolina…” Patty said sternly, and the young black woman shook her head to moan as she sat up, meeting the concerned look of her mistress. “Yez missus.” The black maiden replied sharply, nodding her head. “Are you alright Carolina?” “Yez, Missus.” replied the black woman, grimacing as she stretched, and peered slowly about to their surroundings as Patty had just a few moments ago. “Any idea wherez we are, missus?” Carolina asked, and Patty shook her head slowly. “We seem to be alone here, Carolina.” Patty replied, and she managed a groan as she slowly stood up. The young white woman, Patty, for this trip was on her way to her own wedding, married to an Australian in Sydney, down under. She had hopped a clipper ship at San Francisco with Carolina and Darcy, her house maidens and traveled with them across the ocean to this rendezvous in a far off land. The only problem now was they had been pushed off course by the strong storm at sea by hundreds of miles and causing their ship to be wrecked on the beach. Patty is about twenty-two years of age, with long blond hair, green eyes, a fantastic, but athletic figure and she is the youngest of five sisters. She lived on her father’s plantation in Louisiana with her sisters, her mother and their slaves on a large settlement of land that had been in her family for several generations. She had been courted by a young man by mail from Australia, a rich plantation owner in his own right, and he had asked for her hand to marry her and wanted her to come to him for their wedding in the land down under. She had accepted and packed her stuff, taking her house maidens with her.

 

 

Her house maiden, Carolina Saints is from originally Port of Spain from the Island of Trinidad and Tobago. She was taken from her home in 1846 at the age approximate of ten, and hijacked to the United States. It is currently the year 1853 A.D and Carolina is twenty now herself, educated by Patty’s family to work in the plantations newly established in the southeast region of the new world. Her sister, Darcy Saints also was taken, a tad bit younger than Carolina, and she received the same treatment, taught to work as a house slave with her sister. She was not too sharp when it came to many things, but she could cook, clean, and had skills with animals, mainly horses, and running the plantation. Now they were together on this uncharted island with no doubt unknown number of survivors who lived through the ordeal of the derelict Clipper Ship. “My land… What a rough landing.” Patty mused, glancing at Carolina who was dressed in a long nightshirt, and she glanced down at herself in alarm. Both were not exactly dressed for the island where they now found themselves. In fact, Carolina’s shirt was ragged, revealing her budding stems of womanhood through the white shirt that she wore around her, The last thing they remembered was having to abandon ship to the lifeboats when they ran aground in the reef and a torrent of water washed through the passage as they opened the door. They had barely made it out form below decks like the many other passengers and crew of the Clipper Ship to the deck. She remembered that night almost vividly as she lay in the hammock bed the crew had provided for Carolina and Darcy her house maidens next to her hammock near the bulkhead of the ship. Patty remembered how violent the storm had been, making the hammocks rock and swing violently. The ship lurched as it was blasted by the wind, thrown by the white-capped waves, tossed two and fro between the weather and waves. They could see the lightning flash through the porthole of their cabin, and hear the thunder that followed. Patty had dove into a hammock as her house maidens held on for their lives to a central beam that attached to number two mast. The waves thundered and the water hissed as they slammed against the hull of the Clipper Ship. “Wez gonna die Miss Patty!” Darcy quailed, and she turned her head to the pale faces of her house maidens, who like her were scared. She frowned as they returned her gaze, shaking her head. “Steady Darc.” Patty snapped, “Have faith, we’ll be okay, ya’ll see.” She said sweetly. “Oh sweet Jesus, hep me! We be sin’kn!” Carolina barked, as she knelt down on her knees, and felt the water that flowed by her feet. Outside the door, they could all hear shouting as men from the Clipper, the crew worked frantically as men shouted orders. Water washed under the door and down the passageway outside their cabins. There were thirty five passengers and mostly cargo bound for the land down under, being it a very long journey, under the worst conditions possible. “Secure those lines!” A voice shouted, as there was a crunch, and something struck their door. Carolina yelped as she withdrew to the other side of the room, clearly afraid for their lives. “Navigator reports a reef to the port side!” Another voice shouted. “Land Hoooo!” A voice shouted, “It just appeared there, I don’t think we’re going to miss the reef.” Suddenly the lantern lights that lit their cabin were extinguished as a cold wind whipped through the porthole. Carolina and Darcy ran toward Patty who was thrown to the deck from the hammock, and onto her knees in two inches of water that flowed on the floor. They heard a wrenching sound from somewhere below decks, as the bottom of the ship scraped against the coral reef. “Cut her to port, and try to keep it off the reef!” The Captain ordered and pointed at the wheel, as a sailor turned the wheel quickly to the left. There was a crunch as the ship seemed to lurch forward and it slowed to stop, leaning over to the right. “We’ve ran aground, we’re taking on water Captain!” A voice shouted. He puffed on his pipe for a moment and nodded. “Break out the life rafts and get all the passengers off the ship with everything they can carry only.” He ordered and a couple of sailors disappeared into the passage. A moment later, Carolina, Patty and Darcy looked up as a knock sounded on their door. “Abandon ship! Everyone head to the life boats on the deck!” A stern voice shouted. Darcy paled, as they quickly carried two suitcases and a couple of canvas bags. Water now six inches deep washed through their cabin and Carolina touched the door that flew open as a surge of water entered, throwing them back with the current. Darcy screamed in terror, as she struggled against the current. “Take my hand Miss!” A sailor said, and he grabbed Carolina, Darcy, and then Patty’s hand, helping them navigate the dark waters to the stairs leading to the deck. Here, they had their bags as they stood in the rain and waves roared as they thundered over the deck. Lightning continued to flash over them, and thunderclaps, as the roar of the waves continued to splash, whisking several over the side into the churning water. Sailors dove in with secured life lines to help them. “Get the boats to shore if possible… and…” A moment later, Patty and Carolina both found themselves in the water, whisked about by the churning waves. Sailors ran and swam for them. But they were pulled under the water by a big wave and silence seemed to fill their ears. They came to the surface as a roar of the waves washed around them. Then they lost consciousness, washing up on the beach, alone, beneath a hollow rock shell. Now they were alone on the island, sitting on the beach, listening to the lapping water, the warm rustling of the wind, and the various birds chirping around them on what appeared to be a serene scene of a beach. How they got safely to the island is a mystery. Both seemed disoriented by the surroundings. Patty noted only Carolina was with her. “W-where’s yare sista, Carolina?” Patty asked suddenly, her head turning sharply as she scanned the beach where they had been lying. “I- I don knaw, Miss Patty.” Carolina replied in alarm, jumping up to her feet, swooning slightly as she ran to the edge of the water. The first thing she did was to quickly grab a large trunk from the water, pulling it ashore, as well other trunks and luggage that floated freely nearby. “Darcy!” Carolina yelled, “Whare ar ya sis?” Moving to a nearby hole, she peered through it, and it led to the other side to an open part of the beach and what appeared to be a tropical jungle. “It looks dis is da way out miz Patty.” Carolina said pointing to the opening and the white woman nodded. Carolina ran past the opening along a path, and she peered through smaller openings as a warm breeze and the strong smells of the jungle overwhelmed their senses. Smiling she saw the prone form of her sister quickly, but managed a frown when she noted her clothes were in disarray. A bloody body lay nearby, another white man lay with his throat slashed, and his genitals cut from his body nearby. There were marks upon Darcy’s semi-nude form. Quickly Carolina covered her sister’s dead body. A cut on her arm and a stab wound on her abdomen marked the violence on her person. The girl’s older sister knelt beside her. She had been raped by a crewman of the ship. “Did y’all find haer Carolina?” Patty asked and turning her head the young colored woman nodded her head. “Hello!” A voice cried out, “Ahoy! Anyone here?” Patty gasped at the sound of the male voice, and glanced at Carolina who was kneeling beside her dead sister’s body. “Yes right hear!” Patty replied loudly, as she hobbled toward her house-maiden and soon stood next to her violated body, managing a gasp. “Oh my God.” The white girl gasped, turning her head as she heard footsteps. “Over here!” She shouted and a moment later, a man, leaning on a y stick, clad in uniform of the ship, a couple of what appeared to be crew members, and four people clad in rags and makeshift bandages. “I am Purser John Allen Smith of the ship.” The man in uniform said, “Are you both alright?” “Patty LeBlanc, my House Maiden, Carolina Saints.” She said, making the introductions fast and then motioned to her sister. Carolina shook her head. “That was my sister, Darcy Saints, but she’s dead. It appears she was stabbed and killed after being raped by what appears to be a crew member of the ship.” There was a wince and a frown on the face of the Purser who hobbled toward the bodies and he scanned the scene quickly. “I agree, but we’d better get them in the ground like the others before we start disease to spread.” He suggested and he nodded to the others. “Start gathering up the rest of the luggage and trunks for clothing and bandages and anything we can use.” He ordered, “We’re going to be here for a while. I have a couple of scouting parties looking for more passengers from the ship, a few going to the remains of our ship to take what we can from it, and one looking for food and water.” “How many are you, anyway sir?” Carolina asked and he glanced at her. “Besides the passengers, we have myself and at least six of my brave lads. We lost many of the passengers from the storm. Many were washed into the waves, and the others we don’t know what happened to them. Total, there are eighteen of us, mix between passengers and crew. We’ll be okay if we can find water, food and survive this ordeal. Chances are good Miss…” Patty and Carolina both did not feel very comfortable with the speech he had just given, and felt that the passengers were just expendable, and if rescued were just going to be left behind. She sensed the purser was a dishonest man, and an untrustworthy man. A while later, after getting the report, the passengers who were able helped unload the wrecked Clipper ship that was partially submerged on the reef, and all the supplies were taken to an encampment the crew had built. They had found a lot of the pans and pots from the galley, food stuff from the hold, luggage from the rooms and major supplies from the hold that would hopefully hold them until their rescue. Both women had no idea when they was going to be, but at least they were not alone on this island, with help and others that in numbers would protect them from the adventures to come, if it came to any. “And God hep us, Miz Patty.” Carolina whispered, “God hep us all.” “Oh I know Carolina.” Patty whispered back, “And I hope he comes soon in the form of ship. I jus don’t like that man.” They were safe for the moment, ashore and despite the encampment and the men from the ship. Both women had no idea what is to come of them an how long before a rescue will come. They had to put their trust in that purser. “I’d keep watch, missus.” Carolina said, “I’z don’t like dose men.” “I agree with ya, Carolina.” Patty replied and they kept diligent watch and stayed clear from the group as much as they could. Something was rotten in Denmark, as the cliché went, and Patty suspected it was the purser. She was right. He tied up the passengers, Patty and Carolina hiding in the jungle watching and waiting as their suspicions was made true. The purser was a pirate and they were nothing but slaves and bounty for them to be sold on the slave trade. The young women realized that it would be a matter of time. Either they would be slaves soon too, dead, or marooned on this island. They knew help was on its way to the purser and it was not going to be the help they needed. It would be his pirate pals who would come for them with all hope lost. “Goodbye Mick.” Patty breathed, as stared into their fire and her fiance’s face a passing memory into history. They were alone.

Culled from nicestories.

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