John rubbed a bloodshot eye as he rose to his feet and searched the horizon. All his eyes could see were a few wisps of cloud, the blinding light from the sun, and blue. Lots, and lots, of blue. A deep breath of salty air filled his lungs, as tears began to sting at the edges of John's eyes. He had wanted a change. He had wanted to start a new life. This wasn't what he had meant.
Looking down at the brand new boat. The catalyst. It was approximately 18 feet long, or so his father had said, with an outboard engine, just below a ski pole that wouldn't ever be used. The front of the boat, the bow, as Greg had named it, thinking he was a professional boatsman, had seats set into it, separated from the rest of the boat by the windscreen, often hazed over by dried salt. As much as John had so many reasons to despise the boat, he was still amazed at how lucky his father had been to win it.
Thinking of Greg, the teenager sent a glance over in his direction. The older man was lying down, on the ground, in the little shade that could be found on the small vessel, trying to sleep. So little rest had come to either of them since the other day. As much as they tried, the days were too hot, and the nights were too cold.
Seeing his father sleeping, John was reminded of his sleep deprived state. It was a constant struggle to keep his eyes open, so John made his way over to the remaining shade, and lay down. He stared up at the large rip that he'd made in the canvas-like roof and sighed. His hand was still aching, and he suspected that it would for a very long time, with scars that are going to stay there for the rest of his life.
Glancing finally around from the floor of the small boat, John rolled onto his side, carefully placing his hand as to not shoot shards of pain through his nerves. His eyes had barely even shut before John had drifted off.
Rain. Relentless rain. Continuously pounding the small, playground's roof. The wooden frames, designed for fun activities for the young, is transformed, in the wet dark, to a menacing nightmare. The sound of the storm on the tin roof echoed around John's escape as he cowered in the dark. His watch glowed in the darkness, stating that the time was a little after two in the morning. Damp hair, from both the rain and sweat from running, stuck to the forehead of the lonely figure, cowering in the dark.
So many emotions flooded John's heart and mind, and he struggled to name them all. 'Loss', 'confusion', 'betrayal'. But one word seemed to override all of them. 'Loneliness'. Rubbing the rough jacket sleeve across his eyes, and sniffling through unhidden tears, John tried to stop reminiscing.
Closing his eyes slowly, a flash of memories reawakened, and tore across the fresh cuts and wounds John felt emotionally. Opening his eyes, he saw a car pass on the other side of the park. Other than that, and the rain, there was no movement. A roll of thunder echoed across the empty, Summer night. The teenager sighed, and repositioned himself until he found a more comfortable position.
\The dark roof of the small fort that he sat in did little to restrain all of the water, but it was better than nothing.
John now questioned the wisdom of going for a walk to burn the anger that pulsed through his veins.
"Oh, you stupid girl," John said aloud, to nobody in particular.
The dry, cracked lips seemed to tear apart as John went to yawn, woken up abruptly to find himself on the boat once more. Glancing around, checking the horizon in all directions, once more, he still found nothing. Checking to see if his father was still asleep, John frowned slightly upon finding that he was. Something had just woken him up.
Though John couldn't be certain. Checking in all directions once more, to see if there could have been any possible source, he sat back down, before recalling the 'dream' he'd just had.
Smiling slightly to himself, John thought about the lack of creativity from his sub-conscious. It didn't bother obscuring reality to make a new dream. It decidedly replayed memories. Most of the time, John couldn't remember them, but found that, when awoken abruptly, it was easier.
Finding the comfortable spot he'd been in once more, John rested his head back down, and thought that sometimes an obscured reality would be nicer.
The water lapped rhythmically against the hull of the boat as John reeled in his line to see if he had any bait left. Greg was standing nearby, humming happily to himself. Finding nothing on his hook, John hefted a sigh of salty air, before glancing up as a nearby bird flew past. Watching it, he saw it dive down at the water, thirty meters away from their boat floated, before flying away with a large catch in its claws.
"I think there's more fish over there," he observed.
"Yeah, but as soon as we turn the boat on, they'll be gone," Greg replied, before reeling in his line and trying to cast it over to where the bird had been, but falling short by a fair distance.
On the distant horizon, John could just see the mainland, and as he bent down to find more bait to attach to his rod, he mentioned, "Should start considering heading back soon, yeah?"
John applied some frozen meat to his hook, straightened up, and cast once more.
Time seemed to pass quickly, and no words were exchanged between the pair. Neither of them seemed to be having much luck with the fish, either. John reeled in his line once more, to find that his bait had been removed again.
Grumbling slightly to his self, John went down to attain more meat once again. Clouds were quickly gathering in the sky, and within a minute, the sun had been blocked out. John had glanced up and seen Greg frown slightly.
"There wasn't a storm predicted for tonight, was there?" John asked, and when his father didn't reply, "You did check the weather prediction, didn't you?"
At that point, a large wave, that had come from nowhere, slammed the side of the boat. Greg stumbled slightly as John fell over, the fishing hook he'd been holding sunk into his left hand.
Pain exploded into his mind, but muffled the scream. Greg was looking down at John's hand when his rod was suddenly yanked out of his hands by the sea.
"What the-" another wave smashed the side of the boat, and Greg fell into the seats at the front of the boat. John was in the centre of the boat, near the steering wheel. A flash of lightning ripped across the sky, illuminating the constantly darkening sky. Another wave smashed the small boat about, as rain slowly started to descend, before increasing in intensity.
In an instant, John couldn't see twenty meters away through the falling water. Another flash of lightning, followed by the rolls of thunder, illuminated the sea all around the boat, and John lost his nerve. Large swells were forming all around them, tens of meters high.
He dived for the passenger seat, before reaching around underneath with his good hand, looking for the first-aid kit, before checking on his father.
Greg was on his knees, in the seat at the bow of the boat, staring ahead of the boat, mouth agape. John frowned quizzically, momentarily, before another bolt of lightning lit up the sky once more. A wave. A huge wave. Heading this way.
John pulled the first-aid kit out, and started trawling through its contents.
"John!" Greg screamed over the rain and thunder, "John! Hold on!"
The son looked up to see the imminent wave, and decided, for once, to take his father's advice. John dropped the kit, and was reaching for the seat when the wave hit. The boat lurched, as the bow began to rise. John fell onto his face, missing the chair. As the boat began to climb the large wave, it became alarmingly close to vertical.
John began to slip along the boat's floor. With his good hand, he started flailing out, trying to grab anything. An esky, which had been filled with bait, and cans of drink, was on the ground at the bow of the boat. It too, began to slide. John had managed to dig his toes into the floor enough that he wasn't sliding anymore, and as the large cooler box had started to slide, he looked up at it, alarmed, and just had enough time to protect his head with his arm as it crashed into him. John was knocked backwards and, leaving the floor of the boat, found himself falling backwards, towards Earth. His back made contact with the ski pole, and this time, John couldn't restrain the scream. He was knocked around, and had almost left the boat entirely, to be lost at sea forever, when he managed to grab onto the pole, with his injured hand.
The agony was horrendous as John pushed the hook further into his hand. All his reflexes were telling him to let go, but to do that would be to fall into the ocean, where he would most certainly die.
Blood was rushing out of the wound, as the boat was being tossed around by the wind, the pole began to slip out of his grip. John, while making his last effort to hold on, looked up at his father, who, too, was falling.
Greg had let go of the front of the boat, when he had realised the boat wasn't going to make it over the peak of the wave, and was now falling on a collision course with the ski pole, and John. Greg just fit through the gap in the windscreen, and lashed his hand out, grabbing onto the driver's seat. The chair buckled under the sudden weight slamming into it, and bolts snapped from underneath, but it held. Greg's shoulder cracked as it dislocated, as the force of him stopping himself from falling took its toll on his body. Through gritted teeth, the father pulled himself into the chair, and keyed the ignition.
The peak of the wave was starting to curl, as Greg forced the engine into full throttle. The small vessel instantly picked up speed, and now had a chance of making it. John was trying to swing his other hand up to grab the pole, but all it did was lessen his grip with his other hand. Every slight movement the boat made shot pain through John's hand, as the peak of the large wave got closer and closer.
Greg inhaled sharply as the gap grew ever shorter. John slipped slightly, two of his fingers totally releasing the pole.
If the boat didn't make it over the wave, it would crash down, most likely flipping the boat, and that would be the end of it. If, for some fortunate reason, the boat didn't flip, it would be flooded out by the tremendous wave. Either way, getting back to shore would be a difficult task. The only way was for the boat to make it over the crest, before it was too late.
Greg's teeth were clenched so tight, blood had started to show at the seams of his teeth. They were going to make it.
The boat broke through the crashing water, ploughing through the water that had already started to crash down. As the boat passed over the peak, the wave continued on its journey, and moved out from underneath the boat. As the boat became airborne, John couldn't maintain his grip any longer, and slipped away from the boat. He felt himself continue upwards momentarily, the force of the boat throwing him into the air. The boat fell out beneath him as it began to fall downwards. He flipped through the air and for a few seconds, he was too disorientated to tell which way was up. He heard the boat hit the water below, and a microsecond later, he smashed through the canopy of the small vessel. John's head slammed into the floor of the boat, and he could feel the world fading away. In his last seconds of consciousness, he looked too his father. Greg was already unconscious. He had hit his head on the steering wheel when the boat had hit the water.
As the world turned to nothingness, John felt that something was incredibly wrong. Either it was them both being unconscious in a freak storm, or that the engine was still roaring loudly.
John awoke on the boat once more. This time, he'd awoken because the boat had rotated and moved the sunlight onto him. Cautiously, John prodded his very sunburnt skin.
His father was still asleep, and it frustrated John that his father can rest so easily. The teenager had felt on edge ever since he woke up in the remains of the canopy, in a small pool of his own blood. The pair had argued, to no limits, whose fault it had been that they had been washed out to sea. John had lost the GPS during the storm, it was probably at the bottom of the ocean, and Greg had been all too happy to say that, because of that, it was John's fault that they had no idea where they were. John had retaliated with the fact that, even if they knew where they were, they wouldn't be able to do anything because of there being no fuel, for which John also blamed his father.
After both of them had been knocked unconscious, the boat had been left to its own devices, with the throttle at full.
When they'd both woken up, there was no fuel left. Greg had then pointed out that if he hadn't opened up the throttle, they'd be dead by now anyway. John had mumbled at that briefly, before pointing fingers at his father for not checking the weather forecasts, for not packing extra fuel, an emergency beacon device. The list went on.
Neither of the pair was prepared to accept fault.
John relocated himself to where the shade moved and made himself comfortable once more. He estimated how long he'd been asleep for; approximately an hour and a half. He sighed as he lowered his head onto a makeshift pillow, and fell asleep once more.
"You won what?" John asked his father, thinking he had misheard.
"A boat," Greg repeated, "I won it from a charity raffle."
"A charity raffle? Maybe you should re-donate it to that charity, because I don't think we'd have much use for a boat."
"Not yet," Greg smiled, "That's not such a bad idea, but I want to take it for a spin at least once. So how 'bout it?"
"How 'bout what?"
"How 'bout we go out this weekend, just you 'n' me, out on the big blue, fishing?"
"Fishing?" John frowned, "I've never been fishing before."
This was all a new concept to John. His father had never been a figure in his life, just a shadow. And now, after all of these years, it takes a prize boat to change things.
"I don't think so, Dad," John mumbled.
"Oh, come on, it'll be fun," Greg encouraged.
John sighed. He really didn't want to go out with his father, of all people, this weekend, but something told him that he should say 'yes'.
John woke with a start. The noise, the same noise as before, had woken him up. He rose to his feet quickly and looked in all directions. There was still nothing on the horizon, but that wasn't what John was looking for. Something nearby had made that noise. Something real close. John stood very still, and in the few minutes that passed, nothing happened.
Shaking his head slightly, John resettled where he had been lying, and waited until sleep reclaimed him once more.
In his hand was a small device that John couldn't quite see properly.
"What is it?" he asked his father.
"This?" Greg mocked, "Why this here is a Global Positioning System."
"Oh," John breathed, before looking back at his computer screen.
"See, what it does," the father explained, thinking his son was interested, "is it tells you where you are, in the world."
"I know what it is," the son stated, "I know what it does. Now, if we're going fishing, we're going to need bait, have you thought about that?"
"Oh," Greg said, dumbfounded, "I should've thought of that."
"Yes," John rolled his eyes, "You probably should have."
Changing subjects, Greg rubbed his hands together, "Now are you all packed?"
"It's Wednesday..." John stated, "I haven't even started."
"Well, you should have. Aren't you one of the slowest people to get packed?"
"Maybe," frowning, "Seven years ago."
Looking back at the computer screen once more, John chose to ignore his father, who stood there, with a hurt look on his face, before unenthusiastically leaving the room.
The sun was getting close to the horizon when a 'thump'ing noise woke John once more. He quickly rose to his feet and made his way to the bow of the boat, stepping over his father. The teenager jumped up onto the inset seats, and stared down into the water in front of the vessel. His green eyes were piercing, relentless as they searched the dark abyss for something. Anything.
For a long while, not a muscle moved, as the boy rocked as one with the boat. John's eyes scouring the water for anything.
There was nothing there.
John had been sure that there was-
The noise echoed in John's mind as it reverberated around the boat once more, and his eyes widened in shock, his jaw dropped, and he let himself fall back off the chair, onto his feet. He spun on his heel and walked over to his father, lying on the floor, and gave him a slight kick.
Greg roused slightly, but didn't wake up until John nudged him again. His eyes shot open and looked at John.
The son just stood there, eyes wide, mouth agape, slowly shaking his head.
"What's wrong?!" Greg repeated.
"What was that?" he questioned, to which John continued to shake his head, before making his way to the front of the boat once again, his father not a step behind him. One step, John was on the seat, another, and he was on the lip of the boat, right on the edge.
"What are you doing?" The questions seemed unceasing.
Then John jumped off the boat.