Welcome to the third chapter of Stranded! I hope you enjoy it! See Stranded: Part II to get caught up!
Lightning flashed high in the sky and kissed the earth just a few miles from Kellen’s “hut”. The wind howled, the rain poured down, and the thunder simply added a crescendo to the already deafening roar from the storm. Kellen never anticipated getting any rest but he never said he wouldn’t accept it soaking wet body and all. He started to feel like the sun would be rising soon but in all reality it was barely eleven p.m.
Tossing and turning he continued to fight the storm and his sleeplessness. Second after second, moment after moment, loud crack after loud crack the night passed by. The storm only strengthened in its visceral ferocity further soaking Kellen to his core. Setting up camp near the shore of the island seemed like a good idea at first. Maybe a boat happens to pass by and notices his camp? Wishful thinking, sure, but life depends on the thinking of the wishful in this mess. Unfortunately, the power of the storm was throwing the ocean water on top of his dainty shelter. He knew he couldn’t stay there anymore so Kellen decided to make for the forest.
He picked himself up from his sandy bed and ran as fast as he could. Mother nature certainly showed no regard for his current situation as she only quickened her assault on the island. Lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and Kellen found himself tripped up; not only from the wet ground but from the now throbbing pain in his wounded leg. As he picked himself up, lightning struck not but 20 yards from his position, supercharging the soaking wet sand. The jolts slammed into his body throwing him into a tree on the edge of the forest. As he slipped into unconsciousness, his mind could only envision the smiling face of his wife and hear the sweet, innocent laughter of his daughter.
28 Years Ago
The door slammed and Kellen felt his 16 year old heart jump out of his chest…Dad was home. Anytime the door slammed it was usually followed by a flurry of swear words and the stumbling from his drunk father; just another average night spent in the Lassetter household. Kellen found himself mentally directing himself to his closet where he could hide until the morning. As he put down his book and got up from the couch, a beer bottle went crashing into the wall just a few feet in front of his face.
“Where do you think you’re going?!” His father shouted.
“I have homework…” he replied softly.
“It’s about time you did something productive…” Kellen’s father mumbled as he tripped over a table. “Speaking of productive, how’s that girl of yours?” He asked chuckling to himself.
“It’s none of your business…”
He knew that as soon as those words came pouring out of his mouth that he had set his father on fire.
“Excuse me, none of my business? Who put a roof over your head? Who constantly brought home food for you? It certainly wasn’t that waste of space you call your mother when she was alive! It was me! Me! Me! ME!” His father was now fuming, but the angrier he got, his drunkenness proved to get the best of him.
His father continued to advance towards his son and Kellen knew exactly what was coming his way…he was ready. Ever since his mom died at the hands of her husband’s drunk driving he had been preparing for the night he would stand up for himself. Stumbling, mumbling, and fumbling his way through the house his dad continued to pour out his drunken wrath on his innocent son.
“Who do you think you are kid? A big shot? C’mon, take a swing at your ole man! Put it right here!” He pointed to his chin mockingly.
The anger swelled up in his heart…All the years of watching his mother take beating after beating…All of the years of mental and physical abuse finally came down to this. He knew that if his father took one more step he would end him. Kellen positioned himself to a corner that showcased a wooden bat. He grabbed the weapon and hid it behind his back simply waiting for his pathetic excuse of a father to take one more step.
“Your a piece of garbage, you know that kid?” His dad screamed. “You got that side of you from your mom. But that’s ok, I can make you a real man…either that or I’ll show your girl what a real man is!”
Kellen couldn’t take it anymore. He pulled the bat out from behind his back and took a wild swing. He instantly made contact, shattering his father’s jaw. Pure rage and hatred overtook his heart and he began to pummel his father. Blood, tears, and screams rang from that house that night…All of the feelings of hatred and desires for vengeance were brought forth and released…His mother died because of this man’s drunken stupor…Why should he continue to live? Why should either of them continue to live?
“Son! Son! Please, please stop!” His father screamed as the blood ran thick. “Kellen, it’s me! Your dad! Please! Stop!”
You could call it an act of God, or just a simple feat of restraint but Kellen threw the bat to the side and left his dad in a puddle of his own blood.
Kellen awoke the very next morning still lying at the base of the tree, his head pounding. For an instant, he found himself thankful for the lightning strike for giving him a few hours of peace but the pain in his head reminded him to think otherwise. He spent the next few moments trying to re-gather his bearings…As he did so, he looked around to see what had become of the beachfront. The storm had ravaged all that he could see. His shelter had been torn to pieces, trees and bushes lay ripped from their roots. It was almost as if a tornado had screamed through the island, killed everything in sight, but left Kellen alive to suffer.
He eventually sat up and used the tree for a backrest as he thought of what exactly he needed to do. His stomach and dry throat told him that they needed to be thought of and not as a last priority. He stood up and started to scavenge the beach to see if he could locate any fruit (or any substance for that matter) that would serve as sustenance. He obviously had no way of boiling water so the ocean was out of the question. Any juice from fruits or coconuts would have to suffice for the time being. He knew that at some point he would have to venture away from the beach to find the body of the plane for supplies, food, etc…With the growling in his stomach and the pain in his leg he knew it would have to be sooner than later.
He scaled the beach and located a plethora of fruits and began to gather them for present and future use. Being a Sergeant certainly taught him a myriad of survival, combat, and life skills but they never taught him how to open a coconut. Had it not been for survival shows on TV he may have never known how to accomplish such a task. After a few knocks on a rock the juices flowed and his mouth finally found satisfaction.
“You know, for a place that reared it’s ugly head last night it sure is nice out here.” He said out loud chuckling.
For a moment he stopped and wondered if the lightning strike had fried his brain more than he thought but he was all alone, right? So who cares if he talks to himself?
Unbeknownst to Kellen he wasn’t as “alone” as he initially thought.
Check back for Part IV on Saturday!