The Raft, short story by Toini Ravola
Toini Ravola is a twelve year old girl from Finland. She lives in Germany and is currently going to school at Bonn International School (BIS). She enjoys playing with her cats and playing video games.
Up, down, up, down, the small orange raft bobbed gently forward on the calm sea. Bit by bit, I opened my eyes and rubbed the sleep out of them. The world was peacefully quiet except for the splish-splashing of the water against the raft. My clothes felt damp and uncomfortable against my skin as I got up. The space was small, only occupied by myself and a small, brown rucksack. I slowly hobbled to the rucksack sitting in the corner of the raft. What had happened? Where was I? I opened the rucksack, inside there was a flashlight, a small net, a few matches, a notebook, and an old rusty tin. Embroidered onto the inside of the rucksack was a name. Christopher. Was that my name? Next to the rucksack was a small chunk of fabric, about the same color as the raft. I picked it up and rubbed it between my fingers, it was rough and the strings keeping it together felt broken.
Suddenly my eyes flashed white. Pictures skimmed through my head. A woman and a boy, running. I was holding the boy’s life jacket tightly in my fist. We were on a boat, water surrounding us on every side. The boat swayed viciously knocking me off my feet. I flew off the boat into the cold water. Quickly, I swam over to one of the small rafts, but just as I had gotten in, a fierce wave flung a large piece of wood straight at my head. After that everything went black.
I woke up again in the afternoon. The sun was starting to set and the sky was a pink-purple color. My stomach rumbled loudly as I stood up. I sighed, how was I supposed to get anything to eat in the middle of nowhere? Suddenly I remembered the net in the rucksack. I could probably try to catch some fish with it. Quickly I took the net out of the bag and walked over to the narrow opening on the side of the raft. I looked into the water, I could see small fish swimming around. Good, I thought, at least I had something to eat. I put the net in the water and waited. It felt like an eternity, waiting there with nothing to do. The scenery never changed, the sounds never changed it was all just the endless sea and Splish-splashing of the waves.All of a sudden I felt a rough jerk almost pull the net out of my hands. I quickly pulled the net out of the water. I examined my catch. It was quite a big fish about the same size as a shoe. I took the matches, the tin and the notebook out of the rucksack. I ripped out a few empty pages from the notebook and set them on fire using the matches, I then swiftly dropped them in the tin so as not to burn my hands. Next, I carefully placed the fish onto the tin so it wasn’t touching the flames. My stomach rumbled at the sight of food. ‘Finally,’ I thought, “‘something to eat.’
As I was finishing my dinner, my feet in the water, watching the sea, I spotted a small white speck in the distance. It slowly bobbed closer until I could almost touch it. It was a pillow. I reached out to grab it, but I fell into the water. The water was freezing cold and it chilled me to the bone. I speedily snatched the pillow out of the water and swam back to the raft. As I lay down onto the flimsy rubber floor of the raft I noticed some golden embroidery on the pillow. “M.S Merrigold” I read out loud. All at once my vision blurred. I was in a bedroom, the bed was made nicely and the floor looked clean. Suddenly a loud buzzer rang above my head and a woman, the same woman from the other memory, came running in with the boy.
“Come on Christopher,” he yelled. I ran out of the room just before a violent wave caused the bed to slam straight into the wall. One of the pillows had landed near my feet, and on it was the same inscription, M.S Merrigold.
A loud honking sound woke me up in the raft the next morning. My eyes slowly fluttered open to reveal a busy cityscape. Oh my god, I thought, this was it, I wasn’t stranded anymore. I stood up swiftly and packed all my stuff in the rucksack, swinging it over my shoulder. I could see more and more people gathering to watch me in the distance. This is the moment, I thought, soon I’ll be in a warm bed, reading a book or watching TV. The raft was quickly getting closer and closer to the shore. I heard them talking, things like “someone help,” or “quick it’s a boy.” The raft had made quick progress and was now only a few meters away from the street.
I prepared myself to soon be rescued, but suddenly there was a loud pop and a low hissing noise. The raft had hit a rock and was deflating. Oh no no no no no, I thought, I need to jump. I immediately went to the back of the raft. Then, taking big steps I ran to the edge of the raft and jumped. I flew in the air, but I had jumped just short of the street and I plummeted down, smashing my head against the edge of the sidewalk. I felt myself sink into the darkness of the water and then everything went pitch, black.
I woke up in a hospital bed, my head throbbing with pain and my right arm and left leg in a cast. Outside my room, lots of people, doctors, social workers and some people who looked like the press. ”Aah!” I grunted as my entire body shook with pain as I turned onto my side. Briskly, I saw one of the doctors, a woman, turn and walk toward the door. The door made a loud slamming sound as she entered, her long black hair swaying as she sat down in a chair next to my bed.
“You’re awake!” she exclaimed flashing a friendly smile, “you hit your head pretty hard, didn’t you?”
I started to nod, but the pain stopped me.
“You should be fine here,” she said pointing at my bed.”Hi, I’m Dr. Rowe.”
“Hi,” I croaked, my voice feeling thin, inside my throat. “ I think my name is Christopher”
“Well,” said Dr. Rowe “Christopher, your ship, the MS Merrigold, sunk a few days ago while you were on vacation, we are yet to find your parents. Also a social worker has found some people you can stay with until we find your parents, she’ll be here to talk to you soon .”
“Thank you,” I croaked, meaning it with every ounce of my being.
“ Well, I should probably leave you to rest then,” she said “I’ll come back later, call for me if you need me.”
“Bye,” I said waving, but then regretting it right after.
I was finally safe. I was on land. I sighed and then slowly, I drifted back to sleep.
© Toini Ravola