Circumstances by L. D. Bergsgaard
Excerpt from Chapter Three:
The tropical sun burned harshly on my raw face. Hungry crabs
nibbled at my toes – I’d be an overwhelming meal unless hundreds
more arrived to help the dozen that had begun to devour me. Both feet
flopped in the sea as the waves crested on the sandy shore. I’d made it
through the night and into the early morning. My bruised head mercifully
rested in the wet sand where the tide and waves had deposited
me along with thousands of seashells and litter from passing fishing vessels.
A rough hand gently shook my shoulder. “Mister Doc, Mister Doc,
I recognized that voice. Hoping that he hadn’t beaten me to heaven,
or hell for that matter, I opened one eye, just a bit, a narrow slit. A
brown man, with skin the texture and color of old tobacco leaves and
face deeply furrowed from over sixty years in the sun, bent over me. It
was Lambert who knelt at my side. He shook me more vigorously. I
turned on my side to avoid the scorching sun and his efforts to bring me
to complete consciousness. Death would be a sweet and preferable outcome.
Lambert’s dugout canoe rocked against my feet. Lambert shook
me again. He smelled of the sea and old sweat. He leaned over into my
face. “You all right Mister Doc? Where’s Doctor Gold? Your boat?”
His breath smelled of tobacco and fish. I began to retch. Too much salt
water. Too much pain. Too much adrenaline. And then the smell of
tobacco and fish. I sat up and vomited.