My eyes flutter open. I was lying on my stomach on a boat, and I’m drenched in salt water. I don’t know where I am, or how I ended up here. Then it hit me- I remember everything. The crash, our screams of agony, our hands flailing around trying to stay afloat. I remember reaching for the lifeboat. I grabbed on to it as if my life depended on it, and it did – I was on the verge of drowning.
Then I realize, none of my crew survived. I was the only one. I propped myself up on one arm and looked around. It was daytime, but there was no one, not a single soul. I was completely alone, and now that my crew is dead, they can’t go back to their family. I promised them that this voyage will only take 5 years, and that in 5 years’ time they’ll be able to see their family again. I felt guilt and sorrow and regret. I have failed them and their family. How could their children live without their father to provide for them? If I get back, how will I tell their wives and children? But what if I don’t get back? This is my fault, I should’ve kept them safe, it was my duty. Thoughts kept running and running through my head. I was frustrated, angry at myself.
I buried my face in my hands and sobbed. I couldn’t take it anymore. I scrambled up and I ran. I didn’t care where I was going, all that mattered is that I wanted to get out of here, out of this sad, lonely island. So I ran as fast as I can, faster than I’ve ever ran. For once in my life, I let my body completely control me, I let my legs carry me wherever it wants to go. It was hard for me to breathe as I slowed down. My legs were burning from all the running. But mostly, I’m broken. I leaned on the tree behind me and sank down to my knees. I curled up and cried.
The next day, I was woken up by the sounds of the birds chirping. I was a disaster yesterday. So to keep my mind off of it, I decided to find and gather piles of firewood. Besides, I’m lost in these woods, I might as well try and survive, at least for my crew. Once I’d gathered the firewood, I started to make a fire. Even though it was quite late in the morning, it was oddly cold. A spark of fire appeared, followed by a burst. I reached out to warm my hands and stared at the dancing fire. That’s when I realized that I’d been living in the darkness for so long that I really miss the light. Then I decided to make a shelter. I gathered some sticks and leaves to make a tent. Hopefully, the sticks will be enough to give it a little structure. Then I decided to search for food. This rainforest is pretty empty, so I assumed there were only plants around. Nearby, I saw a banana tree and a mango tree. So I decided I would just go with those.
5 years of living like that passed by, and I had adapted to the situation. It wasn’t easy, living alone in the woods. Minimum food, water, and other supplies. I was completely lost, but I never tried to find a way out. It was hopeless. There’s no way out, I would just go around in circles.
One day though, I saw life for the first time. It was night time, cold and lifeless. The night times are the worst times there. Not because I’m afraid something will hunt me down and eat me, but because something won’t. But that night I saw a glimmer of hope. Something glowing caught my eye. It was a firefly. It glowed in the dark, cold night, and it gave me the warmth I realize I had been longing for. So I followed it. Wherever it took me, I followed. It lead me to another bunch of fireflies. They circled around me as I walked with them. I kept walking and walking until they led me to an open place. It was the beach I washed up on. They had led me out.
A light caught my eye in the distance. If I hadn’t looked closely, it’d look like another firefly. But then I looked closer, and realized that that light that I saw, was a light shining from a house. After all that time in the woods, thinking there was no hope, there it was, right in front of me, a place I could call home.