The Owl and the Pussycat

Simon and Julia lay back in the raft and gazed up at the stars peeking through the smoky haze. Their hands intwined and their chests rose and fell in quick rhythmic cycles as their bodies tried to recover from the exertion of the recent chaos. 

‘It all happened so fast’ Simon said as his breathing finally slowed. Julia gave his hand a squeeze and nodded. They lay there with the sound of the crackling Doulas fir hull soothing their minds as the ash fluttered down around them. The peace was shattered by screaming emanating from the sinking yacht.

In unison they turned and were bathed by the warm glow of the fire. The sky above the vessel was blanketed with smoke, as the flames danced up the mast and licked the air in a sinister aurora. Julia put her hand to her mouth and muttered ‘Someone survived. We have to do something’. Ten feet from them another raft was ablaze; with the last one tethered to their own.

Julia watched as Simon reached behind him and put on his glasses. The reflection of the scene before them veiled his eyes and offered her, a miniature 2d diorama of the carnage. As she turned away from him, they both looked on, as someone ran off the side of the yacht, not even breaking their stride to jump. 

The man flailed wildly as he tried to control the adrenaline coursing through his veins. After spluttering for several seconds, he regained his composure and started dreading water. He looked around desperately, then spotted them and began shouting ‘Over here ‘, he screamed. His voice was rough and hoarse from the smoke that coated his larynx, and he began to cough. Each one sent him into convulsions, his head dipping below the water as his whole body curled up on itself. 

‘Who is that man?’ Julia asked, with a look of worry. ‘I think it’s the husband of that horribly rude woman who was a couple of cabins down from us’, Simon replied as he cleaned his glasses with the corner of his shirt.

Simon reached over the side, cut loose the other raft, and gently pushed it towards the struggling man. The man recovered from his latest fit and spotted the raft drifting towards him. With determination he began swimming towards it, trying to supress his coughing with each stroke of his arms. 

Suddenly Julia grabbed Simon’s arm, ‘Oh no, the gasoline’, she said pointing to the red container that was visible in the other raft. ‘It’s fine’ Simon replied, taking hold of her hand. ‘There wasn’t much left, and it would’ve been such a waste to throw if overboard’. 

As the man reached the raft Simon drew a flare from a bag and shot the container, sending a fireball shooting into the air. ‘Happy honeymoon, darling’, Simon said as he lay back down in the raft and resumed gazing up at the stars. 

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