Message in a Jar
A faint glimmer on the horizon swelled from a line of light into the burning disk of the sun: the dawn of another morning.
Warihu was already awake, sitting on a log at the edge of the tiny island’s forest and watching as the sky turned first indigo, then velvet, then the warm hues of fire that lit the water with a billion brilliant sparks. He had long ago given up hope that any seafaring vessel was likely to come across him and Koraia on the island they now called home, for here, hoping only interrupted surviving.
The shipwreck he still remembered foggily: Their small sailboat had been tossed and turned about so many times by the storm, and so much time had slipped by without notice, who could know where they were? They had no dependents to mourn their losses, only a few casual acquaintances who had never understood why a pair of Onu-Matoran would take to the waves, anyway.
He took up a stick, looked over it indifferently, and drew circles in the sand between his feet: the Matoran letter for S, followed by O and then another S.
He only let it sit a moment before scuffing the sand with his right foot, casting the stick from him, and standing to stretch.
Then he saw the glint of glass on the border of water and sand.
* * *
“Koraia? — have we something to write a message on?”
Koraia shifted on his bed of leaves underneath a leafy overhang. He showed about as much inclination to answer Warihu’s question as the trees surrounding the Onu-Matoran campsite.
Again Koraia shifted, but this time he offered a response muffled by drowsiness: “Nn — what?”
“Do we have anything we can use to write a message?”
Koraia opened his eyes and looked blankly at Warihu, who was digging through the pile of items salvaged from the shipwreck. The pile was small but disorganized: Neither Onu-Matoran had bothered to sort it in the week they had dwelled on this island.
Warihu continued: “Tablets — anything.”
“Oi — what? Why?”
“Because a jar washed up on this shore. Here” — Warihu halted his search and hefted the jar for emphasis — “it has a lid; we could stick something inside...”
“So? Throw it out.” Koraia appeared to think the same of the conversation, for he turned over to face away from Warihu.
Warihu didn’t relent. “So, we can send a message. For help.”
The question gave Warihu pause. Half a minute passed in silence before Koraia’s breathing again became slow and heavy. Warihu inhaled deeply to calm his nerves and resumed his search.
“To whomever,” he responded.
* * *
The firewood, engulfed in flame, crackled and popped from heat. The faint halo it cast reached outward a couple meters in a rough circle. Warihu sat just within the light’s perimeter, his legs tucked against his body, his right hand holding a piece of bark whilst his left carved Matoran lettering onto its surface.
Koraia sat on the opposite side of the fire, the center of his face illuminated by the amber light while shadows wrapped around the rest of his head and gathered above his brow like a second mask. His yellow eyes watched as Warihu worked.
HELP — SHIPWRECKED ON ISLAND BETWEEN SOUTHERN CONTINENT AND XIA.
“You think anyone’s going to come?” Koraia suddenly asked.
Warihu paused. “Probably not.” A chance in finding one star out of a million, he added to himself.
“Then why bother?”
Warihu glanced to the sky. “Because there’s a chance it will.”
Koraia acquiesced, but hesitantly, turning his gaze first to the night sky and then the flickering patterns of flame as if looking for a satisfactory answer. He must have found none, for his lip twisted slightly, and he remained silent.
Warihu finished his message on the opposite side of the bark:
PLEASE SEND ASSISTANCE.
He stopped. His message was brief, but he could fit no more of worth onto the small piece of bark, and bark of bigger size wouldn’t fit within the glass jar.
Koraia looked up just as Warihu closed the lid over the message.
“I’m going to send it off,” said Warihu.
Koraia nodded, though his focus seemed to be elsewhere.
“You can come with me if you’d like to.”
Another absentminded nod. Warihu, assuming his friend meant to remain by the fire, stood up to leave.
Koraia stood up, too.
* * *
Warihu checked the jar’s lid twice before he began wading into the water. Koraia stood on the shore, not offering to help but also not returning to camp. Both Matoran were silent.
When the water reached Warihu’s waist, he reared back and threw the jar. It somersaulted through the air and landed with a splash some meters out to sea. A second passed before its glassy glint was again visible, bobbing atop the water like some strange marine creature. Warihu watched it go. Then he turned and half walked back to shore, half let the waves carry him thither.
“We’ll make sure the jar didn’t wash back in tomorrow,” said Warihu.
Koraia nodded. Warihu waited for him to say something, but he seemed too tired to speak. Thus silenced, the pair trekked back to the periphery of the inland trees as, behind them, the tide drew nigh over the shore like a blanket tucked over the chin of the sleeping island.
* * * * *
I have nothing to say apart from the title of this story being blatantly uninspired because I was blatantly uninspired. Constructive criticism is welcome.
Edited by Legolover-361, Mar 25 2013 - 07:28 PM.