Sunday, January 05, 2014

Chapter 1 - Welcome to the Island

My name is Lydia.  And you might say that my life took a sudden, abrupt turn.  You see, I was on a cruise ship with Mr. Schmidt, enjoying myself, when all of the sudden I got woken up in the middle of the night and found myself getting rushed into a lifeboat.  But it was dark - the ship's power had gone out - and everything was confusion and yelling and it was hard to tell what exactly was going on.  When the sun finally came up and I could see, I found myself in the middle of the ocean and couldn't see anyone else.  Or anything else, for that matter, except some debris from the ship and a piece of land off on the horizon.  Fortunately, the current soon took me to the island, but the boat must have hit a reef or something because something scraped the bottom and I barely made it to land since it started to sink.  Fortunately, I got myself and the emergency supplies out before it did, but it's no longer seaworthy.
(Lydia Schmidt:  Dog Person, Frugal, Loves the Heat, Rebellious, Workaholic)

Fortunately, the supplies included some basic survival gear, including some things like this tent that are helpful on land.  And there was a freshwater river near where I landed, so there was water, but precious little food.  I don't have any idea where I've landed or how close people might be, so I figured it would be prudent to make sure I have the bare essentials covered before I go looking for signs of civilization.

Fortunately, some fishing gear was on the boat and I've used it before.  Unfortunately, it seems like I only caught frogs at first.

Frogs and a toad...  Now, I know that they're edible, but I'd rather not, thank you kindly.  Fortunately, while I was going along the beach trying to find actual fish, I noticed signs that other had been here.  Unfortunately, that old dock certainly hasn't seen any upkeep recently, so I doubt anyone's just around the corner.  If I can get a fish to eat, though, I'll go exploring tomorrow - I should be just fine for tonight if I do.

Ah, this rainbow trout is certainly more like it!  It should roast up just fine.

Everywhere I've looked the ground is pretty steep, except near where I landed, so I went back there to cook my fish and set up my tent for the night.  Though when I got there I found some half-wild horse.  I say half wild since they seemed to actually like being nearish, though when I tried getting closer they quickly ran off.

The fire kit that was on the boat works wonderfully, though I'm not exactly used to roasting fish - I ended up burning it.  But it was still enough to fill me up even if it wasn't very tasty.

The tent worked nicely too, and I slept surprisingly well all things considered - the busy day must have exhausted me.

The next morning I found some wild onions on the ground - from the signs of it, one of the horses dug it up but didn't eat it.  Well, if they don't want it, then I do.

Next I started working my way down the beach, looking for anything interesting or useful along the way.  Well, a daisy may not be the most interesting or useful thing, but it's pretty and brought a smile to my face.

In fact it wasn't until I rounded the corner past the broken dock that I found something really interesting.  This ship has clearly been here for quite some time.  In fact, if anything I take this as a bad sign - someone had hauled a lot of crates and things from the shipwreck, but all of it was clearly very old and untouched for years.  Surely if there were others nearby, they'd have hauled most of this off?  It worried me, but I decided to move on and keep looking.

Just past the crates I found a surprise - a crow was there that didn't seem to be afraid of me.  In fact it seems to be rather tame, so I decided to bring it along since it seemed to want to stay with me.

After the next bend I came upon some ruins that look even more ancient than the shipwreck, oh and this mushroom might be edible...

And what was around the next bend made my heart sink - it's the river where I'd been getting my fresh water from.  But that means that this is definitely an island, and not a very big one at that.  I'd thought so, but you always hope...  I didn't see any other land in the distance either, except a few even smaller ones, so perhaps I'm stuck here if nobody finds me.  The current here isn't too bad, so I swam across the river to get back to my campsite.

And the first thing I did when I got there was give the crow I found a place to be.  I don't know if he'll stay, but perhaps he will since he seems to like me.  And it just doesn't seem right to cage him if he's used to being free.

And then I went to work giving my campsite a few... extra amenities that I'll want if I'm going to stay here for awhile.  The island has plenty of trees, there's the old wood from the shipwreck, and even some useful things from the cruise ship washed ashore - I was surprised by how easy it was to do in the end.  Of course, it was always my habit to fix things and make do back at home, so all of that came in handy while I was figuring out how to piece it all together.  Just because I'm stuck on this island doesn't mean I can't have basic plumbing.

I managed to catch a few catfish too - looks like I don't have to worry about keeping myself alive, at least.

And since the crow seems content to stay, I decided he needs a name.  I had a dog named Blackie once, and it seems to suit him too.  And he's a clever bird - I daresay he might be plenty to keep the loneliness away.

Still, I can't say my mood was at it's best when I retired for the night, and the rain didn't help any.  But after distracting myself by thinking up ways of making the place even more livable, I was able to sleep quite well - I'd tired myself out again.

I found myself settling into a routine - in the morning I'd spend some time looking among the old ruins and the crates by the shipwreck for useful things, in the afternoon I worked on a project, and in the evenings I'd fish.  And the next big project was to fence in my campsite - the horses are still around, a raccoon has turned up, and I think I even saw some deer hanging around.  And since I found a few seeds I want to try planting, I need to keep the plants away from the animals - I can't live only on fish, you know.

Though once I got more in the hang of it, I started getting rather good at it - I stopped catching frogs so much and now I'm able to get mostly catfish.

I'm not sure what to make of some of the things that I find by the wrecked ship, though.  Bowls, vases - some of this stuff probably belongs in a museum.  Jewels, coins - was this some kind of treasure ship?  Since I'm stuck here, none of those things are actually that helpful, though I found a seed or two along the way so I keep looking.  And some of the things I might be able to make something out of.

Because though I'm quite proud of my handiwork back at the campsite, I'm no expert and it seems like I'm always having to fix something.  Sanitation is important, though, so I keep trying.

The garden I started is going well, though.  I found a lot more seeds than this, but I thought it best to start with a few since I've never seriously grown a garden before and I don't want to risk too many seeds when I barely know what I'm doing.

Though I was in for a rude awakening when the day came that I woke up to the first frost.  This island had been so warm and welcoming when I arrived, but time has brought autumn to my door.  Suddenly I found myself worrying about getting enough to eat plantstuff to eat before the real snow comes.  Though I know that this first frost isn't likely to linger, so I'm not too worried just yet.

Though as I kept myself close to the fire that day, I found myself thinking over a lot of things - perhaps I should get these other seeds out of my pocket and into the ground.  They'll survive the winter alright.  Though my aching bones seem to be telling me that I might not.  It's easier for me to forget my age when it isn't cold, but I'm feeling it right now.

Fortunately, I was right about it warming up again and I was able to distract myself from such things by expanding my garden quite a bit.  Turns out I'd found more seeds while I was exploring than I remembered.  It's a lot of extra work, but I hope to get some actual produce out of it before winter sets in.  Though my age and what it means is still in the back of my mind.  I don't like the idea that sometime I just won't be around, and all that I've done will go to ruin like the shipwreck on the other side of the island.  And though I'm sure Blackie will manage without me, I don't like the idea of him being alone.

But then fate threw me another curveball, when a teenage boy showed up at my campsite.  Oddly dressed, perhaps, but real company at last!  He said that his name was Adrian and that he'd just washed ashore, but he seemed reluctant to say more than that.
(Adrian Babb: Evil, Great Kisser, Loves the Heat, No Sense of Humor)

He arrived while I was working on my garden so as soon as I confirmed that he was just as stranded as I am, I put him to work.  He said that he'd never worked in a garden before, but if my experience is any indication then he'll be here awhile and he'll need to know.  Besides, this is my place and if he wants to stay with me he has to earn his keep.  I told him we could talk more when the work was done.

And he wasn't around for more than two seconds before I realized that I had some other work of my own to do.  You see, while I was here by myself, it didn't matter much to me what I smell like.  But with someone else around - and him being a teenage boy who is bound to make an even fouler odor than me - my little sink is simply not enough.  So I got to work while I kept an eye on him as he worked in the garden.  Fortunately, he seems to be a very fast learner.

And I rewarded him for it by letting him be the first to try the new tub.  It was raining by them, but I don't think more water hurt things - he did manage to work up a sweat in the garden.

After I took my turn with the tub, we settled down to a nice dinner of roasted roots from the garden.  Not the most tasty things, but it seemed right to give him some of the fruit of his labor.  Tomorrow I'll teach him how to fish, then after that I'll show him around the island.  I managed to get him to confess that he was thrown off a ship, though he wouldn't say why.  And of course I asked him about the beekeeper hat, though he said that he wore it to 'keep the bugs away'.  I reassured him that I don't recall seeing many bugs on the island, but that didn't get him to take it off.  Ah, well - he seems like a nice enough young man and beggars can't be choosers if you want company here.