Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 03 - "Shipwrecked"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

comparing wrecks

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Published: 2008-09-28 - Updated: 2008-09-28 - 1479 words - Complete

“So,” Justin asked, “if you wound up here all by yourself, then where did he come from?”

“Oh, Bandit was already here. I don’t know where he came from,” Max told him. “It’s weird. I never found any other cats here. Not a trace. I’ve been here for years, and I’ve never seen anything…”

They now stood among some of Max’s favorite berry bushes. Max picked a handful of berries and handed them to Justin.

“You’re serious?…” Justin eyed them warily at first, but finally succumbed to his hunger and chewed a few of them suspiciously. He paused for a moment, then munched down some more. Clearly surprised at the fact that he actually liked them. “Damn! You didn’t tell me these things were actually good!”

“Yes I did,” said Max.

Justin grabbed some more berries and sat on a fallen log, getting up for seconds, and even thirds, he was so hungry.

Finally, he wiped his mouth and asked, “So, is there anything to do around here?”

“Yeah, lots of stuff,” Max replied.

“Like what?”

“I train.”


“Yeah,” Max told him. “I run and swim and practice my fighting skills… fishing…”

“Running? What the hell kind of fun is that?”

“It’s lots of fun, Justin. I try to beat Bandit. He always wins, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.”


“Do you want me to teach you how to fight?”

Justin pictured Max using him as a human punching bag. Then he thought about it. This guy was serious. Damn! He remembered his brief battle with Max, and pictured him beating the crap out of any of the TSA’s bastards, even Trevor. And winced at the memory of that battle.

“I guess so,” he finally told Max. After a moment, he stood up and said, “It looks like I can still stand, so let’s see if anything useful washed up here.”

His steps were shaky at first, but now that he was no longer weak with hunger, Justin was much steadier on his feet.

As they made their way back to the beach, Bandit tagging along but still keeping his distance from Justin, Max asked him, “Tell me, Justin, how long did you live in the Triangle State?”

“Well… You know, I’m not really sure… about six or seven years… I think…” Justin slowed down for a moment, as if his mind had paused too. He hadn’t really thought about it much in a long time. Had discovered that, as time went by, his memories of his life before the Triangle State grew more hazy with every passing year. He remembered the ship traveled a lot, yet the destinations remained vague in his memories, just fragments that felt more like figments. “I know I came there in a ship… but I don’t remember much… I think I was left behind or something… I don’t know what happened, really…”

He paused again, a look of inexplicable irritation crossed his face, and he said, “Look, Max, let’s just drop it, okay?”

“Sure.” Max could tell something about his thoughts had really gotten to him, in a way he had neither intended nor foreseen. Of course, now that he thought about it, he still wasn’t quite sure what he was going to tell Justin. He had made a bargain: a tale for a tale. “Well, there’s what’s left of my ship.”

By now they had reached the beach, and Justin could see what Max meant. Still, he wasn’t quite ready to give up. Now they had spare parts from two vessels, so he still harbored the hope of being able to piece something together.

They then continued up the shore to where his own ship ran aground, and Justin asked Max, “So, where did you come from?” He could see Max’s boat was a TSA standard model, but majorly stripped down. His guess was Cyexians. But Max didn’t seem to know much about either of them, thought he did know enough to know the Authority was bad news, so he wanted to know who he was dealing with.

“Well…” Max found himself pausing in spite of himself. “I ended up here about five years ago… Before that, I lived on an island…”

“So do most people in the Ocean,” said Justin. “What island? You don’t look Cyexian to me.”

“I’m not,” Max assured him, thankful for Justin’s change of subject, “I just don’t remember a lot about it. I’ve been here so long…”

“You’re not from Layosha, are you?”

The stunned look on Max’s face told him all he needed to know. “So,” he asked, “You know that name, huh?”

“Yes… Yes.” Max halted again. “I just haven’t heard it in so long…” But he saw his chance to keep his battle with the Cyexians out of this. “You’ve heard of it?”

“Yeah, but hell, I always thought Layosha was just a legend.” Then again, he also thought the Isle of Paradise was just a legend, too; now he wondered if that wasn’t where Max got his name for this island. “You used to live there? Seriously?”

“Yeah. I think… The name sounds right. So what do you know about the Islands?”

“Well, for starters, I didn’t know there was more than one.” So Layosha was real… He had often scoffed at it as a myth, but secretly he had always wanted to believe it: a place— any place— the TSA and the Cyexian clans didn’t control. “What was it like there?”

“I don’t remember much, but it was very… Hey, isn’t that your ship?”

It was perhaps proof that there was such a thing as a stupid question, given that so far as they knew there were only two shipwrecks on the whole island, but it bought Max some time to figure out what he did remember. He wasn’t being completely dishonest; during his years here, the past had indeed become more and more hazy to him. He didn’t want to lie to Justin, but he also didn’t want to talk about that night, and kept picturing accusations…

“Yeah,” said Justin, “whose did you think it was?”

That one got such a sheepish look out of Max that he couldn’t keep himself from laughing. Max looked strangely uncertain for a moment, then laughed himself.

Almost, it seemed, with relief.

Unless there were some tools and supplies in that wreck, Max wasn’t exactly sure what Justin thought they could do. One look at that gash was all he needed to know it had reached the end of its voyage. Though for now he would see what his new friend had in mind. This was the chance he had all but given up hope for, the chance to see the world. And perhaps seek answers to questions that had quietly haunted his otherwise peaceful days here.

He was rather dismayed to see the growing discouragement in Justin’s face as he again examined the wreck.

“Damn it all to hell…” Justin muttered as he took a closer look at the torn hull. It was now dawning on him just how much of his earlier appraisal had been mere wishful thinking. He kicked the hull, wincing at the pain that stung his foot. “Ow! Shit!…”

“Justin…” For all his years of isolation from human contact, Max had no trouble seeing Justin’s anger and frustration. But much to his chagrin, he couldn’t figure out what to do, or what to say, that wouldn’t just make things worse. So he just fell silent.

For one jarring moment, Justin thought he was going to break down, right here in front of Max. And for a moment, he really wished he was all alone here. The strength drained out of his legs, and he fell flat on his ass. He pounded his fist in the sand and started pulling himself together before rising slowly back to his feet.

All the while, Max simply stood and watched him, unwilling and powerless witness to Justin’s troubles.

“Guess I’m stuck here,” Justin muttered, turning and gazing silently at the incoming tide that had brought him to this place.

“I don’t know,” Max finally said, hoping Justin had cooled off enough to listen to him. It was little consolation, but, “I’ve been building this raft—”

At that word, Justin snapped his head back around, demanding, “What kind of raft?”

“Well, it’s not much,” Max admitted. “I really don’t have anything to work with here… Maybe we could use some of the stuff from your ship… and… I don’t know…”

At the very least it was an idea.
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