Stranded by Shoshana Edwards
It is day fourteen of my exile on this lonely isle. I have resorted to breaking apart my small craft to use for fire, since flammable wood is non-existent here, and the nights are getting cold. Unfortunately, I have consumed all of the bananas and must wait for more to ripen. In the meantime, I continue my search for something edible. I have constructed a fire pit with a tripod and suspended a small pot from the kitchen so I can boil water. The spring I found just over the hill is abundant and tasty once it is boiled. I also found a frying pan on my now shattered ship and a tub of lard. Now to find something to fry.
The mussels were tasty; but few and are gone. I have nothing from which to create a fishing line or a trap. I had hopes of finding cording or string in the hold but alas, there was none. Starvation stares over the horizon at me, but I shall not give up in my search for sustenance just yet.
Success! Yesterday I climbed over the hill and found slugs. I am aware that some will find the idea of consuming a slug repugnant, as did I at first. But after a quick boil in the water pot, the slime came right off. I sliced up the little bugger, melted some lard in the fry pan, and cooked him thoroughly. The taste was interesting: rather like a cross between chicken, pork and shrimp. A little chewy perhaps, but then so is jerky. Tomorrow I shall take a container and go see if I can find more.
Today’s hunt was quite satisfying. In addition to finding approximately a dozen slugs, I found a salt cellar full of salt. It was tucked into a far corner of the galley of my rapidly disappearing ship. After a full meal, I had enough strength to pull down the torn sails and create a shelter of sorts. I also made a cover for my increasing stack of firewood as I tear the ship apart. If I can keep a fire going, with enough smoke, perhaps a passing ship will spot me.
I am worried. Whilst hunting slugs today I spotted a rather large gathering of slugs and snails of various sizes, moving down the opposite hill, headed in my direction. Worried because of the sheer number of the slippery critters. I hurried back with my catch, started them boiling, and headed back up the hill with my shovel. I spent the afternoon digging a deep trench between myself and the advancing horde of gastropods. I plan to scoop them out daily, thus ensuring a steady if unbalanced diet until I am found.
The slugs appear to have some form of communication. The sea around me has begun to fill with octopi of various sizes. Although different from the slugs, these mollusks appear to have some familial relationships. It is no longer safe for me to venture into the water. I have moved my camp a bit further inland, though I will have to build another slug trap since their numbers have increased to the point of being able to crawl over one another without falling into the trench.
Today I found a substantial salt supply in the remains of the galley and have created a large salt barrier around my base camp. It has proven effective, and I am cooking the dead slugs in large quantities, more than sufficient to maintain my body mass. I have had to increase my labors in tearing the ship apart for usable materials since the octopi are increasing and have begun pulling the craft apart and carrying off useful items. I found a machete, but slicing off tentacles for dinner succeeded only in increasing the number and ferocity of these ocean dwelling gastropods. Meanwhile the number of slugs and snails has also increased. My salt barrier has continued to prove effective in keeping them out of my camp.
This morning I discovered the slugs creating a slug and snail bridge over the salt barrier. Their first attempts failed and provided me with a lovely large breakfast and lunch; however by mid afternoon their efforts appeared to be succeeding, at least in building a slug bridge base. I am getting worried.
They have succeeded. The slugs are slithering over one another and across the bridge. I am doomed.
MISSING SAILOR FOUND DEAD ON REMOTE PACIFIC ISLAND
After several weeks of searching, rescuers found the remains of George Parks and his vessel, the sailing ship Penelope, on a small island near Tonga. Mr. Parks was found covered in lard apparently from the galley of his severely damaged ship. Autopsy revealed he perished from consuming cone snails, and there were marks on his legs consistent with octopi suckers. Octopi are known to secret a toxin which, like that of the cone snail, can result in paralysis of the lungs. Rescuers are unable to explain the presence of a large salt wall Mr. Parks apparently built, surrounding his camp site, nor can they explain the message scratched in the sand next to his body which read:
“They keep coming. I am choking to death in their slime. Hundreds of them. Beware.”
Mr. Parks was severely dehydrated, there was evidence he may have consumed salt water, and doctors assume he was delirious and hallucinating prior to his death. Why he slathered himself with lard will forever be a mystery.