Tuesday, 7 August 2012

United Friends Challenge #242 - The Return

Skyerider's Challenge
Write a short story 500-1000 words about a person lost at sea in a small boat. All the details are up to you. Does he/she get rescued? Is there a storm? Is your hero menaced by sharks? The only rule is that they have to be totally alone in the boat.

I suppose it was my fault, but no-one said to shut the capsule door when it came down into the sea. Actually it was a very neat landing. The sea was calm and I just felt a gentle splash. Looking out the window of the capsule, I decided I was home again. No empty void with a nice colourful world globe in the distance, but skies, water and land. Land? No land, I was in the middle of an ocean.

Following space control instructions I opened the door, threw out the self inflatable dingy and jumped into it. My first mistake, I missed and was up to my neck in water. Eventually I managed to grab the dingy and hoist myself in. As a welcome a passing seagull used my head as a toilet. I then remembered that I left the log book in the capsule, so decided it would be wise to get it.

Where was the capsule? I heard a soft glug, glug, glug and saw our countries emblem just below the surface of the water. It had sunk. I had travelled billions of miles to sit on the moon and watch the earth. Had conquered moon craters and plodded around in a most uncomfortable weighted suit to stop me floating upwards, although I never really got the meaning of that sentence, “
That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. They were all giant leaps as far as I was concerned and I was glad to get back on earth.

So where are the rescue teams? Admittedly the first flight was a long while ago, but you would think they would have known the routine by now; all those news films of the successful crew rescues with helicopters, ships and divers. Even the president made an appearance. They did say the country could no longer afford it and were saving funds, one of the reasons why I was sent on my own. Even the capsule was not new, a second hand one, but it served the purpose they said. Now you have the result of serving the purpose, the capsule has sunk. They said they would find me with no problem; the capsule has a radio sender. I wonder if they can find it when it is laying somewhere on the sea bed. It might even be eaten by a fish, or a whale.

Wait, I can see a ship approaching. It is enormous.

“Help, help I am here. S.O.S.”

It is coming nearer, no, it is coming too near. I don’t think it has seen me. Where are the paddles? And now to paddle for my life, it’s one of those Japanese giant tankers and it is heading for me.

“Hello, I am the astronaut that has just come back from the moon – can you hear me.” Time to go!

That was a close one. Where are the helicopters?

After two days on the open sea I decided to close my eyes and sleep. I was ready to go to the happy astronaut hunting grounds. I had given up any idea of being rescued. It was then that I heard voices.

“Senor, senor, wake up. Did you drink too much that you are sleeping on this boat.”

“I’m alive and rescued” was my first thought. I sat up in my dingy and was confronted with a small fishing boat and two Mexican fishermen.

“Where am I”

“Senor we found you drifting in the sea. Did you have an accident, what happened?

“I am an astronaut and have just returned from the moon.”

“Si senor and was it made of green cheese” and these two Mexican hyenas began to laugh.

They pulled me into their boat and took me home. No quite home, first of all I was a few days in a psychiatric clinic until they believed me. It seemed that the government had lost an astronaut and my photo was put in the newspaper, on the last page, but it was there.

I decided to retire from being a professional astronaut and now write science fiction stories. They sell quite well.

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