I’ve been eating pieces of myself. Not much, just enough. The waves are coming in and I think I see land just across the horizon. It had been there before, but I know now it’s only my imagination.
My wife is at the brink of death. We’ve been without water for five days. I’ve been drinking my own urine for the past two. With me are an empty water bottle, life vest, a rope, a knife, a safety harness, compass, binoculars, camera, and a smart phone. I am typing this on a smart phone that’s been disconnected due to the insurmountable bills we had to pay and couldn’t afford. Stupid me. It had been tucked in my waterproof backpack, and, when I fetched it, I was elated but saddened. Could a single action lead us to our death? Stupid me.
My friends, Rick and Jaime, are gone. They were with us, but are now gone. Claudia, my wife is still here, and so is her sister, Zeta. Zeta is dead. She’s been lying here at the foot of the life raft made from a floatable dinghy for a day now. The stench is unbearable.
What if I hadn’t gone ahead with the scuba diving? What if I hadn’t brought my wife along? What if she hadn’t invited her sister over? What if this, what if that. I realize there are a lot of what ifs. It’s my fault. I was the one who suggested coming out to the ocean on that day. Now, after the storm passed and the yacht had capsized and sank at the bottom of the sea, we’re left stranded.
We’re going to die. God, help us. I’m sorry for all the wrong things I’ve done in my whole life, and if I make it out of this, will promise to do anything you ask of me. Please, God, send a ferry, a helicopter, something!
I cut a chunk of my flesh. I ate a little around my scar. Ravenous, I ate more. I make another incision in my back leg, below my buttocks, and removed the meat there. Blood pumps out. I bandaged it with my clothes I had stripped earlier. The sun is hot. I need to feed my wife.
She ate it. She ate it! She ate it and licked her lips. I’m watching her now, her pale face, ashen lips, lying next to her dead sister, mumbling. Her fever is too high. What do I do Lord? What do I do? She can’t keep the food down.
Or is it still Monday? The moon is high up in the night’s sky. It illuminates the entire ocean surface, all the ripples and the waves, lapping against the inflatable rubber structure. Almost a week ago, I was talking to my friend, Rick. He’s dead now. Did I tell you that? I have no energy to move. Can’t even reach my wife lying from across from me.
Rick, I said. You there?
Sure am buddy, he said, laughing.
What’s so funny?
Remember when I told you how I shit my pants when I got the worse case of stomach flu?
Oh I remember, how can anyone forget that?
He cackled. I heard his laughter the way I heard the sound of the waves. I had gone in the water again, to see if I could catch again and soak in the cool water. The morning before, I saw fins. The same fins that took Rick. It must’ve been.
I woke up scared and shivering. I am cold. I swear I saw something move on the life raft. But what? Then I saw it—saw her come back alive. Zeta sat upright, her eyes purple and bruised. Her bloated belly appeared translucent so I could see what was swirling inside. It looked like baby sharks. Small, wriggling shadows. Her eyes opened and her pupils were black, so black, dilated, and as she opened her mouth, I saw the rows and rows of incisor sharp teeth.
I screamed, I swear I screamed.
I have no tears to cry. They’re all gone dry. The heat is incredible. I taste salty lips. I shout, Claudia, Claudia, wake up. But she does not answer. I watch her chest as it’s moving, up down, up down, just like this boat.
She’s dead. She’s dead. My wife is dead.
I ate her. Just as the sharks ate Jaime and Rick.
If only there were gulls to catch. If only there were ravens instead of gulls. Oh if, only.
I will make a break for it. I’ve seen a ship in the distance. It’s a big one. It says freedom on the side.