Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IM’s, etc) (11/04/10)
- TITLE: Better Communication Through Isolation
By Patricia Turner
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“Where am I?”
Save for a pelican, the beach was deserted in both directions. Behind him was a stand of palm trees.
Memories came rushing back and he understood better why his head ached. The airliner had dropped suddenly in altitude, following a loud bang. It was all that he could recall.
“What happened to everyone on that flight?” He couldn't be the only survivor.
More memories. “Linda!”
His wife had gotten up and walked toward the back of the plane just before it began to dive.
Shaking, he wrapped his arms around himself and tried not to think about the obvious.
“Focus, Sam. Where am I?”
His clothes were soaked and he struggled to get the cell phone out of his pocket.
“Dead. Great. Of course it's dead. It drowned.”
He stood up and looked around. Which way to go?
A rock outcropping closed in one end of the beach with no way to get around it. He walked in the other direction, encountering nothing more than palm trees and sand until he returned to what he was sure was his original location.
“So many apps on that phone too, doggonit! I could probably...”
Probably what? Was there a cell tower within a thousand miles? Ten-thousand maybe?
“So here I am on an island. Trillions of dollars of electronic communications in the world, and I'm completely cut off.”
He sank to the ground, overcome. The salt was beginning to make him feel the cuts and scrapes. How in the world had he survived at all, apparently with no serious injuries?
He thought about the movie Castaway. Would he be stuck on this island for years with no hope of rescue?
“I am with you, always.”
The reminder came unbidden. He hadn't thought about it in ages.
“Lord, are you here? Here on this island?”
“Of course you are. You're everywhere. You knew this would happen, but...well, couldn't you have clued me in? And by the way, can you tell me where Linda is and that she's OK?”
“Guess I've been doing all my communicating on phones and IM for so long, I've forgotten to talk to you the old fashioned way.”
The sun was dropping toward the water and Sam's stomach growled.
“Darkness, the unknown, and hunger. Great combination. Tell me, Lord, that you have a purpose in this.”
He lay on his side and stared at the water, wondering how far it might be to land in that direction, and if that land had people and civilization. He fought sleep. What if a plane or a ship came looking for him?
“Yeah, and if one does, you'll just call it from your dead phone?”
He sat up. “This is a pretty pickle, eh' Lord? So dependent on these blasted devices...” he took the phone and flung it as far as he could, then felt a twinge of loss.
Suddenly he began to sob. “Over a stupid phone?”
Gradually, a sense of peace settled over him.
“Well, Lord, wherever Linda is, you're with her too, aren't you?” He closed his eyes and finally slept.
A sound woke him. The hum of a small plane overhead.
He jumped up and yelled.
Suddenly, down the beach he spotted something and ran toward it.
The sturdy yellow raft bumped against the rocky outcropping. Something large and black rested in the bottom.
As Sam drew closer he realized it was one of those old fashioned radio transmitters. It's light was blinking.
The plane continued circling overhead and Sam waved up to it, hoping to be seen, as he knelt beside the raft.
Grabbing the radio, he frantically searched it's dials and switches. There it was; a small switch that activated the transmitter.
Days later he learned that a ship passing nearby had rescued many of the passengers.
He sat with Linda in her hospital room. Both of her legs had been broken in the crash.
“The direction of the ocean current led the searchers toward your little island. They sent out the rafts.”
“I guess you were lonely there?” She touched his face.
Smiling, he replied. “ Actually, I believe I communicated better there than I ever have using any electronic device.”
“Thank you, Lord.” he breathed, once more.
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