My name is Jonah. I live on the uninhabited island of Neverland. I suspect that it’s somewhere off the coast of the Caribbean but, truly, I don’t know where it is. My life is simple; I wake up, tend to my crops, collect firewood, build household objects, and then go to sleep. How I got to this life, however, is more interesting…
“Jonah, Jonah, come on! We’ve got to get going.” I look up to see my best friend, Walter, staring at me, frustration in his eyes. “Sorry, one minute, I just need to pack my sun screen. Have you seen it anywhere?” I ask, searching through drawers in my kitchen. “Look, here it is,” Walter says, pointing to the growing pile at the bottom of the stairs. “Thanks,” I exclaim, “now let’s go!”
We walk down a deserted path, admiring the beautiful scenery. The deep, blue ocean was clear enough to see the tiny fish, peacefully swimming. Five o’clock is the best time to come down here. You feel the soft breeze from the ocean, and see the rising sun turn the sky to a shade of rose. Ever since I moved to Hawaii, life has been much better. No more crazy city life, less responsibility and a stable job. I met Walter and we have been inseparable ever since. “Jonah! You and your daydreaming.” Walter rolls his eyes, a cheeky grin on his face. “Let’s get out there now.” We walked to the end of the pier and were greeted by our trusty yellow boat. I never even thought to check the weather news. That will always be the biggest regret of my life.
We climb onto the boat and set off, paddling in time with the waves. We must have done this hundreds of times before, never with a route or destination in mind. We only go for the serenity, for peace and, when the time is right, we turn back.
We sync our paddles, get into a rhythm and, after a few minutes, have travelled about a mile off shore. The sun is up now, the rays hitting our backs, the waves splashing on our arms. I look up and notice some gloomy clouds in the sky but tell myself that it’ll pass even as I hope to avoid the downpour.
We’ve been paddling for two hours now, with no sight of any coast. I check the compass to see that we’re still heading south-east, in the right direction. The dark clouds are continuing to loom over us, so we put on our coats and prepare for a ‘little shower’. If only.
The winds are picking up, the rain is getting heavier by the minute. We are paddling back as fast as we can, the thunder in the distance booming. We exchange worried glances as the waves become more and more aggressive. The sky is filled with sinister, dark grey clouds rumbling with thunder. A few lightning strikes later, and I’m really starting to worry. There’s no sign of the pier yet, and soon we’re enclosed in a cave of thick fog. The waves are so strong I’m struggling to fight back against them; our boat is rapidly filling up with water so, in-between paddling, I try throwing out some water.
Suddenly, I hear a roar of thunder and a sharp strike of lightning so close that I feel the electricity run through me. It hits the boat and, suddenly, we are sinking. The waves are nearly above our heads, bashing against the broken boat. We have no way of getting help – no whistle, no flare and no signal to phone anyone. We are completely lost.
The boat cracks in half, we plunge into the water, swimming for survival. I say my prayers, for both Walter and myself, while we hold onto the raft for buoyancy, treading water as fast as possible. My energy is fading, taken by the powerful ocean and angry storm.
As I watch Walter submerge under water, I’m screaming. Everything goes black.
I start choking; the light is gradually flooding back into my eyes. I’m gasping for breath and eventually I manage to steady my breathing. My eyes begin to focus on my surroundings. Confusion sets in. Where am I? Why was I choking? Why does my body ache so much? Then the memories kick in. It all floods back into my head. In panic, I look frantically around for Walter. A body. A few hundred metres along the shore. My whole body freezes. I’m paralysed with shock.