“Let me see him, I'm a nurse... Oh boy.” I hear a buzzing sound. “Did he move?”
“I’m not sure, only saw him a few minutes ago. It’s such a mess here,” a man responds. He sounds desperate. All of a sudden an enormous flash of light enters my eyes. It causes me to want to curl up in a fetal position.
My eyes slowly get used to the amount of light. I feel my head aching with every movement I register.
“Hey there,” the woman in front of me says softly. “How are you?”
“In pain,” I reply with a fake smile. “Where… where are we?” I was in the plane a few seconds ago, right? What happened?
“We don’t know. The plane crashed.”
So… that happened. “Where is my mother?”
“You can help others, Casey,” the man says. “I’ll stay with him.”
“Thank you,” she replies and hugs him tight.
The man crouches in front of me. “Try not to move, boy. My wife will return in a little while to see how you are doing, but right now there are others in need.” He waits for me to answer, but I simply don’t know anything to say. We fucking crashed! I’m in pain, even watching my surroundings hurts. I can’t feel my legs and I don’t know where my mom is. “Tell me, what’s your name?”
“So Ryan, you were on the plane with your mother?”
I nod, but immediately notice even moving my head hurts. A woman in the background is calling out for someone. I see people gathered together, hugging each other, crying. I try to move my head again, this time not to complete simple communication motions, but to look around. I want to see my mother, I want to see the crash site.
“I’m sure she will be okay. What was her name?”
The man takes a look over his shoulder. “Hey, you there!” he shouts out. A younger man looks up. “You look like you’re doing nothing. Look around and ask people for a woman named Kyra? Will you do that for me?”
He turns his attention back to me. “I’m William,” he says. “So, you were going to Aruba on vacation?”
“Yep,” I say. “She can’t be far away, right? She was sitting next to me in the plane.”
“I don’t know how far people can get separated after a plane crash. Never been in one before.”
“Ryan? Ryan!” My mother comes running to me. “Oh Ryan, my god, you’re okay!”
Casey, the nurse, walks right behind her. “Don’t touch him yet, I want to make sure he didn’t break anything.”
“You didn’t check for that already?” mom asks with an angry tone.
“He was alive, that’s all that mattered. I had to look around for people who needed my help in order to survive,” the nurse defends herself. “So, Ryan. Tell me, where exactly does it hurt?”
“It hurts when I try to move my head, but on the inside, you know? As if my brain’s detached from the inside of my skull and rotates with every motion I make.”
She laughs. “You sure have an original way of describing it.” She carefully takes my head in her hands and slowly turns my head to the left. “Does this hurt?”
“A little bit.”
“And this?” she asks while pushing my head down so my chin rests on my chest.
“Also a little bit.”
“I think it’s just a little concussion, nothing to worry about.” And with that, Casey and William walk away, looking for others who need their help.
My mother sits down next to me and puts her arm around my neck. “Not exactly what I imagined from our vacation together.”
I laugh awkwardly. “Not at all.”
“Well, at least we have a story to tell when we get back. And we should make this stay on the island as fun as possible, because it’s still our vacation.”
“Will we get rescued?”
“Of course, dear, very soon I bet. Within 2 days help will arrive.”
“What will we eat?”
She laughs. “Don’t be so practical all the time, Ryan. There was plenty of food on the plane, which we will probably find very soon. And there is a sea full of fish in front of us.”
I frown at the sight of a rough, angry sea.
“Ryan, can you do something for me, please. Try to be positive, okay? Do not question everything people ask you to do. We survived a freaking plane crash, I’m sure we can handle this island too.”
“Okay.” I’m silent, but then add: “I’m glad you’re alive, mom.”
“Me too, son, me too.” We are both quiet for a few minutes, we just look at the huge ocean in front of us. For the first time since the crash I really look at the mess that’s left from the plane. Everywhere are parts of the plane, most of them have been on fire, but are extinguished already.
There are people walking past us, obviously looking for their friends or family. People are screaming and crying. If only there was a dramatic song playing in the background, I’m sure it would feel like we’re in a film.
“I think I like this,” I say.
My mom looks at me. “You do?”
“I don’t mean the crash, but the island. Look at the sea, smell the nature.”
She laughs. “You surely have the artist in you. You see beauty even when everything is going wrong.”
“You asked me to stay positive and then act all negative yourself? That doesn’t seem fair.” I put my arm around her and pull her a little to me. Two days, that’s all. We’ll be rescued in a little while. Will we get any compensation from the flight company when we get back? I bet so!
“I’m sorry, did you maybe see an old man somewhere? He is my granddad, I’m not sure where he is.” A boy stands in front of us and wobbles from one leg to another. I estimate he is ten years old.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t really paying attention,” mom says. “Are you all alone?”
“With my granddad, yeah.” He is trying to stay strong, but behind that iron mask of ambitious toughness I see fear.
“What’s your name? Come, let’s look for him together,” my mother says. She smiles at him. She works as a chef in an orphanage, so she knows how to comfort children. She always managed to comfort me when I needed it.
“Alright Kai, my name is Kyra. Follow me.” She turns to me. “I will be right back. You can look around for someone who could use your help, okay?”
“I will. Good luck, mom.” She walks away, with her hand on Kai’s shoulder. I like it to see her like this. She always wants to help others, especially kids. I smile while she walks away and then get up myself. I brush some of the sand off my trousers with my hands and look around. Sigh, where should I start?
I find it beautiful to see how everyone is helping each other in times of need. No matter how selfish people normally tend to be, when it really comes to it, we will help each other. That’s what makes the human race a good one.
Everyone is busy… except… That family again. There they are, close to the edge of the forest. They are looking at everyone trying to help each other, but they don’t do a thing. Beh, I hate them already. I know I’m not supposed to judge them like this, but for real, we all know those types of people right? They think they are better than others.
That’s when I see Margareth, the woman who sat next to us on the plane. I walk to her. “Hi Margareth!” I greet her.
“Hey… Ryan, right?”
“So, you didn’t get hurt either?”
I shake my head. “Just a little. This nurse came by and checked me over, she said I had a little concussion.”
“My dear. Shouldn’t you rest then?”
“I feel more like helping others. I think there will be enough time to rest as we’re waiting for rescue.”
She laughs. “You are a smart kid. I was on my way to look around for the pilots. Someone said they will probably be able to contact someone with their radio equipment.”
“Can I tag along?”
“Of course, dear. Where is your mother by the way?” she asks as she walks away.
I have to speed up a little to get next to her. “She is helping a boy finding his granddad.”
“That’s great. So, I think we should ask people if they know where the pilots are? I’m not sure what they look like or where to look for them.”
I don’t need any more encouragement. I am happy to finally be able to do something. I’m devastated to see so much pain around me. I walk to a middle aged man with a beard. “Hey, I’m Ryan,” I say.
“Go away kid.”
“I’m looking for the pilots of the plane, do you maybe know where to find them?”
“They’re dead. And if they’re not, I’m sure they wish to be.”
Margareth apparently walked right behind me. “Hey, watch your mouth, will you?” The man looks up to her with a surprised look. I guess he didn’t expect that kind of reprimand from an older woman. “Yes, I’m talking to you. I know it’s probably horrible what happened to you, but we’re kinda all in a crisis here. This boy is only trying to help.”
“What’s the point? We will all die here.”
Before Margareth could respond to that, because a woman shouts to us all. “Guys, I know we are all still looking around for survivors, but it will get dark soon. I think we should try to make some shelter. We don’t know if it’ll get cold tonight.”
“It won’t,” another man says.
“And who are you?” the woman asks.
“You don’t know me? I’m the weather forecaster from SRT 1. Rick Rostley is the name.”
“Great. So why are you sure it won’t get cold?”
The man walks to her, as if that is the best spot to talk to the group of survivors. This is actually the first time I really thought about us being survivors. So people died during this crash? God, I’m happy that wasn’t my mom. Talking about mom, where is she?
“Because we were on our way to Aruba. So we crashed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s summer, it won’t get any colder than 15 degrees Celsius here.”
“Oh god, celsius. Why is everyone always talking about Celsius?” someone calls out.
“That’s 59 degrees Fahrenheit,” I hear someone behind me. I turn around and notice it was one of the rich boys who said that. Unfortunately it was the tiresome boy, not the cute one. Now I come to think of it, I never really heard the other one speaking. I’d like to know what his voice sounds like.
“So, who are you, lady?” the man I just spoke to, but who did nothing but complaining, asks.
“I’m Elisah, sergeant of the homicide department of LAPD.”
“Do we have food?” Margareth asks out loud.
“I found some,” William, the husband of the nurse says. I didn’t even notice he was here as well. I look around. In total there are like 30 people here. “It’s at least enough for tonight. Mister Rostley, how long do you think we have before it gets dark?”
I don’t wait for him to answer that. I walk away from the group, looking for my mother. I find her 5 minutes later, she is seated on a piece of plane, with Kai next to her. His head is buried in his arms. My mom hears me approaching her and looks right in my eyes. I notice she has been crying and I immediately know what’s wrong.