~ Together Alone ~
by A. Tietz (Birdee)

Copyright: The characters are mine though they may resemble other fictional characters physically. The story is mine and I hold the copyright to it.
Female relationship: This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two females. If this is a prohibited form of literature in your life please do not continue.
Authors note: This is a true love story with some adventure thrown in. There are scenes of passion, but they are not explicit. I do plan on making this a 3 book series. I know what the second book will be and I am writing it. But this first book took two years to write because I have many life obligations. Therefore, I have written this book to conclude in a manner the reader can be satisfied with even if the second book takes another two years. Also, I apologize for not having time to work on the edits I received, just not enough time.
Synopsis: A yacht hits a hurricane and people become stranded including two little girls. This story follows their life and survival separated from civilization and the relationship that develops between the girls as a result.

Comments, Feedback: Please feed the bard: roamer64@hotmail.com

Copyrighted 2007 by A. Tietz (Birdee)




She kissed both little girls and squeezed Sarah tight, "Megan, don't loose Sarah, stay together. If I call you come to my voice, remember where the raft is, pull the cord and jump in if you don't see me or Matthew. Head toward that land we showed you. I love you," Corral's voice betrayed her fear though she tried to be reassuring.

"Mummie, Mummie," Sarah ran after her mum followed shortly by Megan.

Corral hugged them both and put them together back by the bed, "It'll be okay girls. Daddy is a good sailor, but I need to help him," she paused and looked at Megan, "remember what I told you honey."

Megan's mouth was a pout but she fought back the tears and nodded trying to be brave, putting a protective arm around her 7 year old playmate. The ship was tossing so violently Corral could barely make her way out of the cabin. The girls huddled together and Sarah began really crying. Megan O'Malley was almost a year older than her friend but she knew Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair were counting on her to keep Sarah safe while they wrestled to keep the ship from sinking.

"Your daddy will keep us safe Sarah, he will, your mommy too, its okay," Megan wasn't too sure she was right, she wanted to cry too and she wanted her mommy.

The girls heard Matthew Sinclair shouting out orders and caution over the violent storm, "We ?..too close?tighten that?. if?. hit??.go??girls."

Suddenly the ship seemed like it rolled completely over sending the girls rolling with it causing Sarah to scream out, "Ahhh, Meg???." as they were thrown by the motion. When the ship righted itself Megan was still holding tightly to her friend, but there was panic up above.
"Corral??..Corral?..Caracal???Nooooooooooo??God?nooooooo,???.girls?Saraaaaah??..Sar?." Matthew's voice was terrified.

Sarah rushed up to the deck with Megan on her heels.

"Daddy, dadd???."

"Ahhhhhhhhhhh," Sarah screamed as the girls were engulfed in a huge wash of water but Megan held onto her little charge as they fell back down the steps.

"Girls, Sarah, Meeeegan???.where, Cor??Coral????..Saraaaaah??.daddy's voice, Saraaaaah???" Matthew was screaming.

The girls were coughing and picking themselves up when the ship titled violently, it seemed like they could have been airborne for a moment and then there was a horrible metal crunching- tearing noise as the floor ripped open and a huge rock came slamming through the cabin almost penetrating the ceiling. The girls screamed as the force of it threw Megan into Sarah but it took only a few moments before they were scrambling over the debris to the top deck as water came spewing up into the room.

As they got to the deck they could see a huge monolithic looking rock beside the ship and they frantically looked for Matthew but he couldn't be found before another wave crashed over the vessel. They grasped the ship and held their breath. Megan looked toward where the raft was held fast and as she pulled Sarah toward it, they saw Mr. Sinclair sprawled on the deck with his leg caught up in the rope that held the raft in place.

"Daddy, Daddy, wake up?.. daddy??.." Sarah had run to her father, just as a huge wave came up under them and over the side of the ship Megan was nearest too.

It took Megan by surprise and she was washed overboard as she heard her name being screamed, "Meeeegan!!!!"

At first the momentum of the wave took Megan away from the ship and in the next moment it hurled her toward it. She was slammed into the side of the ship hitting her head and the left side of her body hard. For a moment the world was black but the next thing Megan was aware of was hands grabbing at her. It was Sarah leaning over the side of the rail reaching desperately for her friend. Megan grasped Sarah's hand enough to help her reach the railing. Just then Matthew appeared and the water drenched them all again but as the wave receded they were all still holding onto the railing. He was bleeding from his head but helped Megan back up to the deck.

"Daddy, where's mummie???.daddy you're bleeding??.daddy??" Sarah was crying.

"Come on girls, we have to get off this bloody ship," he began leading them forward wincing each time he put pressure on his right leg.

"But daddy, where's mummie, we can't leave mummie??.daddy, I want mummie??." Sarah was hysterical.

"Sarah, mummie isn't here, please we have to go, mummie wants you safe, now come on gir????.."

Another wave smashed upon them, throwing Matthew to the deck, while Megan and Sarah were washed almost off the ship again. But Megan had grabbed her friend and as they slid with the water Megan reached out for anything and wrapped her hand around a rope, which became taught almost immediately halting their progress and making Megan scream in pain almost releasing her grip, but she held on and they stayed on the ship.

Matthew was scrambling forward as well as he could, reaching the children as another round of water smashed over them washing them all off the ship. Megan wasn't far from Sarah, both bobbing in the water with life jackets. They swam toward Matthew's body that floated lifelessly, with the assistance of his life vest, but they didn't reach him before his body was thrown into a rock. Struggling against the water they continued to swim and finally reached him then began striving toward the slightly calmer waters near what appeared to be a beach. The waves, often higher than tall rocks, carried them like toothpicks but their fortune changed as a huge wave propelled them all forward enough that Megan's feet could almost touch the ground in shallower water. Matthew sputtered awake as his leg touched the ground and the pain brought him to consciousness.

The girls helped him crawl upon the shore and they eventually sloshed their way to a little alcove naturally made by some rocks at the north end of the beach partitially sheltered from some of the wind and driving rain. Matthew collapsed in puddles after telling the girls not to move, to stay put until the storm blew out. If he didn't wake up, they were to go get water and splash on his face, if that didn't wake him, they were to strip the ship of every possible item they could use and bring it to the beach.

Sarah held onto her father crying for her mummie while a stunned Megan could hardly move, especially due to the pain in her shoulder and head. She sat staring at her friend and let the tears fall wishing she was back home in Lake Hopatcong New Jersey with her mommy and daddy. The older girl was scared that Sarah's dad might die and she knew that's what happened to Sarah's mom, she got lost in the water probably when Mr. Sinclair had screamed. They were cold, scared, practically alone, and lost.

Exhausted from the ordeal, they slept fitfully through the rain that continued into the night but lessened well before dawn. It was early in the morning; the colors of the sunrise casting a faint orange glow, when Megan was tugged awake, opening her eyes to see a blonde little girl looking at her rather urgently.

"Megan?..Meggie, wake up Meggie??I've got to pee, but I don't wanna go in the bushes by myself," Sarah's Australian brogue broke through the morning cobwebs.

So a sleepy Megan followed her friend and they both took care of business. Megan didn't mention the big spider she saw in the tree she just hurried them along and back out to the beach, which was only a few feet. Megan paused, her head was throbbing and her shoulder felt like it was on fire even though she tried not to move it very much as they walked.

Noticing Megan lagging behind Sarah came back, "We should get some water for my dad, cause???Meggie, your face is big, you got hurt," she reached up and touched near Megan's left eye.

"You got blood, but it's kinda dry," Sarah said with concern.

Megan wanted to be brave even though she was hurting, "Come on lets go to the water Sarah."

They trudged across the beach to the beautiful turquoise clear waters of the lagoon. Even though the sun was only beginning its trek across a cloudy sky, it was already a bit humid and the water looked inviting so Sarah plunged in and came up quickly.

"Ow it stings my leg," Sarah was rubbing the back of her thigh and bottom, through her pink shorts, where there were some large scraps from being carried across the ship's deck by the huge waves.

Megan, also still clothed in her jean shorts, sneakers, and yellow T-shirt, slowly moved into the coolness and found the same trouble when the water hit the severe rope burn on her left hand and wrist. She took in her breath with a hiss squeezing her eyes to the sting.

"Meggie, what's wrong what happened!!!!!!!!"

"It just stings like you said Sarah. My hand hurts," she looked down at her hand, which she had clutched to her chest cause it hurt to be in any other position.

"You're hurt too Meggie, like my dad, we should go back and bring him water like he said and you can sit down."

"Sarah, I want to put my head under water and not fall, hold around my back and stomach."

"K," Sarah moved in back of her friend her chin just above the water and held on.

It stung and made Megan come back up quickly groaning in pain because of the movement. It took Sarah by surprise and she began sputtering.

Not turning around cause it hurt she said with alarm,"Sorry, you okay, Sarah."

"Yeah I just swallowed water, it's really salty," Megan didn't see the sour face Sarah was making.

They walked back to their alcove, Sarah adjusting her pace to Megan's slow movement. After not being able to wake her daddy, Sarah slipped off her white, pink pock-a-dotted T-Shirt and rang out some water on his face causing him to moan.

She bent down quickly, "Daddy, daddy, wake up daddy??..please."

"Cor??..you?come ba?..Coral???Co??."

They tried more water but the man would only mumble. He had a nasty gash in his light brown hairline caked in slightly drying blood, his ankle was swollen and his body had many bruises and scraps.

Sarah's face clouded in a deep frown and the tears started flowing, she cried beside her father with Megan's hand on her back. And though Megan wanted to be more comforting her body was so weary she fell asleep. It rained heavily the next day but only briefly and not much later they rung out their clothes into their mouths because they were still thirsty. Matthew had moaned and groaned during the down pour and his eyes fluttered but he didn't wake up. The late afternoon found them in the lagoon again because it was so hot, the rain only having made the humidity worse.

Megan looked out across the landscape searching for the ship. The white sandy beach was about 150 hundred yards long with large and small black rocks on the north and south ends. Rocks dotted the lagoon here and there but were mostly concentrated at the mouth of the tranquil waters with the deeper ocean just beyond them. There was one large rock Megan thought looked like the one she'd seen by the ship, but she was in no shape to swim anywhere. They decided to wait till she got better before trying to find where they had wrecked.

"Mummie, mummie what hap??..mummie com??.mummie, mummie," Megan woke up hearing Sarah cry out in her sleep.

Hurting, she still moved over to her friend as Sarah woke up. Sarah looked pained into her friends face and closed her eyes as if to shut out reality.

"I want my mummie, I want her here it's not fair, she should swim over here, I want my mummie!"

Megan wrapped her good arm around her little friend and let her cry. It made her sad and scared cause she knew Corral was probably dead but she wasn't sure Sarah thought so too. They fell asleep next to Mr. Sinclair but were awakened in the night by the mumbling of the injured man.

"Water, I ??water, Sarah??.girls," the words were uttered hoarsely.

"Daddy, Daddy, are you awake?"

"We don't have water Mr. Sinclair, just the ocean and it doesn't taste good," Megan wasn't sure what to do and was still half asleep.

"Ship?..water?.ship?..Meg?..swim to?.water," his eyes fluttered closed again.

The next day the girls pondered how to get water as they were really thirsty and Mr. Sinclair had made it clear he needed it.

"You can't swim out by the rocks Sarah; it's too far by yourself. We have to look in the bushes and stuff," Megan didn't look very thrilled with the whole idea.

Her shoulder hurt so very bad even walking to the lagoon. Sighing deeply she slowly got up, trying not to show the pain.

"Meggie, you stay here, I'll go look," Sarah started moving out.

"No Sarah, no???your dad???.might wake up. You tell him I went to get water," Megan's face was stern trying to handle the pain of moving quickly toward the island's vegetation.

Sarah ran after her friend, "Megan, you stay, I can go, I'm not hurt like you. Its just water, I can look for that," Sarah's voice betrayed some hurt feelings.

"Sarah, no, you might have to go find the ship if I don't find water now. So I can go this time and if I don't get water you'll probly have to swim to find it," Megan was glad she didn't have to tell Sarah about the spiders cause the girl hated them.

Apparently this made much more sense to Sarah, "Oh, Okay, but I'm gonna stand on the edge here so you can yell. I can hear daddy too I think."

Megan smiled tiredly and, not being fond of snakes and spiders either, she slowly made her way into the jungle-like bushes and trees, the progress slowed, the farther she got the denser the foliage. The ground was still squishy from the storms and her sneakers were getting all wet and muddy. Fortunately she didn't have to go too far before she came upon an area where the ground was littered with something that looked like it could be food; it was kind of round and a little smaller than a volleyball. There was one that was kind of broke open so she kicked it first, then picked it up and got wet from the water that started pouring out. She wanted to pick up more but with one good arm she only managed two.

It took some investigation and cautious tasting to find out the liquid seemed okay, only it tasted a little sweet. Megan said she'd drink it and they would wait some to see if she got sick, then Sarah could drink it and maybe they could wake up her dad.

They couldn't get the other one open so Megan went back and found another one that was slightly cracked and they had more. Mr. Sinclair did successfully wake up enough to take the water offered, but that was all. With growling tummies, they worked on opening it up more to find out what was inside. Whatever it was was white and moist stuff and it was sweet tasting. All they had to use was a stick and it wasn't easy but they were both so hungry, they worked together and got their first food in days.

The next morning Megan went out to get a few more but she didn't find any that were opened and whatever it was, it was too hard to crack. Not finding any more cracked hard round things, Megan went cautiously further into the jungle again, not too far, and found something that looked like big grapefruits. The ones that were kind of cut open had bugs on them, they were really small "see through" kind a bugs, but she didn't want to pick those up and hunted for whole fruit.

"They look like grapefruit," Sarah said excitedly when Megan brought them back.

She picked one up and stared peeling off the skin but there were more "see through" bugs.

"Ewww, spiders, ewww, ahhh," Sarah threw the offensive fruit away and started dancing around shaking her arms and scraping at her clothes.

But being hungry makes you creative, so Megan took the fruit out into the lagoon and opened them under the water even though it really hurt her arm. The "see through" bugs didn't last long and they never bit her so now the girls had a tart tasting citrus kind of fruit that they devoured between them.

Sarah was so happy she kissed her friend on the cheek, "Sorry I was so scared. I know there's bugs and I saw a spider when you were getting these, I hope my dad wakes up, he always kills the spiders. They're so crawly, I don't like em, they're creepy."

Megan was tired from her excursions; her shoulder was throbbing and on fire even more from all the moving. She was trying not to cry and was really starting to get scared they would be alone, that Mr. Sinclair might die. Closing her eyes she leaned back against the rock, which wasn't real smooth, but she was too tired to care.

Megan woke up to Mr. Sinclair again, "Water??..Sarah?.girls??where??.we need water."

"I think she went potty maybe, I'm hurt I can't swim, we found some sweet water stuff and gave you some, here we saved this for you," Megan put some fruit slices in his mouth.

As he ate, Sarah came from around the beach side of their alcove, "Daddy? Daddy!!! Daddy are you okay, are you awake now," she knelt beside him and hugged him until he groaned.

"Sarah???.girls, need water???and Megan?..more fruit. You?..get?. everything??the ship??.might sink," he was obviously struggling to stay awake.

"I can't swim Mr. Sinclair, I'm hurt. But we can try more fruit and stuff."

He moaned, "More fruit ???next time??..we must ??ship Megan??.." he looked at the girl with desperation and urgency before losing consciousness again.

Sarah insisted on coming with Megan and though the older girl was scared that either one might get bitten by something, Megan knew she couldn't do it alone. Loading themselves up with as many fruit that were on the ground they came back to the campsite. This exhausted the injured girl; she couldn't even go to the water to open the fruit, so Sarah being reassured that the bugs didn't bite did the chore. They still couldn't open the hard things but Sarah found one more that was slightly cracked.

Rain woke them in the night again, even Mr. Sinclair. He told them to use the coconut shells as drinking cups, which they did and all received some much needed water. The rain lasted quite long this time and Sarah began shivering, so she was placed between Mr. Sinclair and Megan who was also shivering. Mr. Sinclair had stayed awake longer this time trying to give the girls all the instructions his exhausted injured body would allow.

They were to both put on the life jackets and swim out to the big rock Megan thought looked familiar. Megan would just use her legs if she could and try to float on her back going as slow as she needed. When they found the ship, they needed to see if it was secure on the rocks or if it moved when they pushed hard on it. If it was underwater, they would have to wait for Mr. Sinclair. If the ship wasn't in the water and it didn't move a lot, they were to find anything made of steel, look for silverware or anything hard they could use like a knife and a hammer. They also needed to find the first aid kit; he told them to stuff their pockets with food like apples and stuff in plastic bags, but mostly bottled water. The most important chore was to find where the radio was and turn the knobs and listen for any sound. Even if they didn't hear sound they were to call May Day, May Day, Stranded SOS, many times over the radio.

It was about 165 yards out to the big rock and it took all Megan had to make it. In front of the tall column like rock they found the ship, wrecked on the smaller more jagged rocks in front of it. The ship was tilted to the port side its bow pointing north. Sarah and Megan both used their legs to push as hard as possible but the ship didn't move only creaked and moaned a little. Sometimes a wave would be big enough to splash water on the rocks where they were standing but the ship wasn't in the water at all so the girls began their search. Megan lay down for a time on a soggy bed in their former bedroom, trying to gain more strength for their return. So it was up to Sarah, and she scavenged around the ship. She only peeked into her mum and dad's bedroom and was a little frightened at how big and long the rock was that was still jutting up almost to the ceiling. She hesitated only briefly, trying not to be disappointed that she didn't see her mother anywhere in the room. And when the tears threatened she busied herself with searching the rest of the ship and helping Megan to stuff her pockets then stuffing her own. After carrying out their instructions on the soundless radio, they headed back with the supplies. Sarah carried the first aid kit, which was made to float. Megan struggled even more on the return especially with the extra burden of all the stuff they could possibly shove in her pockets and hold on her stomach while still being able to swim on her back.

She had to rest periodically and just float, not moving so she could catch her breath. Hearing the deep breaths from her friend, a worried Sarah swam as hard as she could to the beach, deposited all the stuff in her pockets, leaving the first aid kit then swam back to Megan and helped her friend get back to the beach. The taller girl collapsed on the beach as soon as she was out of the water.

"Meggie!!!!! Meggie, I'm sorry, Meggie," Sarah dropped down beside Megan.

Her eyes squeezed against the pain and as she breathed really hard she managed, "It's?..okay?.Sar??I'm okay, just??.a minute."

There were several minutes of painful deep breaths while Sarah went back out into the lagoon to retrieve the items Megan had lost. Though it truly hurt to use her arm she had Sarah place plastic cups, two juice boxes and some bottled water, on her chest where she tried to grasp them as they swam. Fortunately she hadn't lost the items until shallower water.

"Help me get my jacket off, it hurts," Megan's voice was strained.

Everything hurt her arm and shoulder except if she stayed absolutely still, only then was there any real relief.

Sarah helped her and took all the supplies out of Megan's pockets," Here have this water," Sarah lifted Megan's head to help her drink.

The dark haired girl's breathing was returning to normal and she closed her eyes. The next thing she knew, she was waking up to Sarah's sweet face, "Meggie, wake up Meggie. You have to take Tylenol Meggie," Sarah stroked the face of her friend as blue eyes fluttered open.

It was dark now, but the moon was out.

"Daddy says you have to take these," Sarah pulled Megan's mouth open and plopped two Tylenol and an anti-biotic onto her tongue and put a water bottle to her lips.

She lifted Megan's head while the girl drank, then helped Megan sit up.

"Daddy said let you sleep till sunset, then wake you up and give you these. But I fell asleep too. Sorry. Can you come back to where daddy is now," Sarah's voice was full of concern.

It was painful but Megan was recovered enough to bare it as they went back to the alcove. Sarah had brought all the supplies to their partial shelter, the girls having found all that he had asked for. The first aid kit was in tact because everything was in plastic. They had brought forks and butter knives in their pockets along with food. They put two sharp knives into the first aid kit. The food was lunchmeat, apples, two bags of carrots, fruit role ups in their plastic wrappers, a bag of sunflower seeds, and a plastic container of pudding. Sarah had also managed to carry a hammer along with the first aid kit.

"Daddy was real happy about the hammer and knives. He said you should eat when you woke up too," Sarah handed her friend a fruit role up.

Megan was almost too tired to eat but she was also incredibly hungry.

"Daddy said to eat up the meat first, cause it'll spoil. Wanna share the pudding?"

Sarah pulled back the foil and took a spoonful of chocolate pudding murmuring the yummy sound then handed it to Megan.

"I'm gonna eat the meat Sarah just save me some."

"K, I love chocolate, sgood. I saved you half."

As Megan struggled to finish eating Sarah took the time to fill her in, "Daddy said he should wake up tomorrow too, he was awake for a while today. He said he feels better maybe and the biotic would help him, you too. I gave you some. And we should use the hammer to open the coconut. He said we could use the first aid kit to keep water when it rains till we can go get more stuff. I told him it's your shoulder that got hurt. He said he wants to look at it tomorrow. He said the most important was water. And that we need to fish and we need to find food like the fruits and we need to get wood to build a fire and a shelter."

Megan had listened to the rambling recital slightly smiling at her friend knowing Sarah was also likely not feeling as bad since it appeared her father might be getting better.

But then the girl's mood changed quickly and she was frowning looking down at her hands silently, "What's wrong Sarah?"

Still looking at her hands, "I asked him about mummie and he said I had to be brave and that she couldn't be here right now and we would talk about it when he got better," Sarah began to cry.

"I'm sorry Sarah," Megan didn't know what else to say.

Sarah crawled over to her friend and sat real close, Megan put her good arm around her.

Sarah was still teary when she leaned over and whispered in Megan's ear, "He didn't say, but I, I know."

She looked at Megan so deeply with such anguish on her face and whispered again, "She's not, she don't swim here cause, she's, she's dead huh Meggie, my mummie's dead, I know?, I know," Sarah curled up in a ball and covered her head and began sobbing.

Megan had mostly kept the tears away since this ordeal had begun, but she couldn't anymore. She reached out and held her friend and they wept together. Megan wanted to be with her mommy and hug her doggie Scooter and she wanted Sarah to be there too and Mr. Sinclair. It was scary here and she just wanted to go home. She woke up in the night and found Sarah's head in her lap. The pain washed over her again and more tears fell. She wanted her mommy, but it hurt more cause Sarah didn't have a mommy anymore. Megan didn't want to move, she didn't want to wake up her sad friend or feel her shoulder hurt but she had to pee. As gently as she could she got up and when Sarah woke too they went to pee together, one to watch for bugs while the other one peed.


Mr. Sinclair didn't wake up till the afternoon. The girls had worked hard on trying to break open another coconut, but they still couldn't do it. They shared the last apple and a few carrots leaving the rest for the sleeping man. Megan took more Tylenol and they emptied the first aid kit in case it rained. They were in the lagoon sharing a citrus fruit when they heard Mr. Sinclair.

Sarah ran to her father while Megan eventually caught up.

"Hi daddy, I left you the water bottle like you said," Sarah said as she watched her father gulp the liquid.

He ate the rest of the food and told them both how proud he was of them. Striving to move as little as possible he took inventory of himself. He didn't know how long he'd be awake, but he sensed he might be getting better.

"Megan, how does your arm hurt, let me see."

After investigating and trying to move her arm even though she screamed he sighed deeply, "Megan your shoulder right here, it sits in a pocket, they call it a shoulder socket. Well that's the place its suppose to be?.here, feel mine. See, its round and doesn't bulge a lot. But yours is bulging a bit and I think it came out of the socket. Did something happen when we wrecked do you remember?"

"Yeah, I grabbed Sarah to keep her from going over and we slid and I found a rope and grabbed it and when it stopped us it hurt really, really bad ever since then."

"Your whole arm seems to be swollen; you probably tore some ligaments too. I know it's really painful, but its gonna heal badly and you won't be able to move it a lot if we don't try to get it back in the socket. When I'm stronger we'll have to try, but for now we're gonna make a sling."

He instructed the girls on what to do using things from the first aid kit; they ripped some cloth from the bottom of his shirt and used an ace bandage. The efforts made pretty blue eyes shed many tears but eventually they got her as comfortable as possible. It had really made Sarah feel poorly for her friend and she wouldn't leave Megan's side the rest of the afternoon, giving her kisses and holding her good hand and giving her water. They also used the rest of the ace bandage for Mr. Sinclair's ankle and both the injured took more Tylenol.

Mr. Sinclair struggled to his feet the next day; he couldn't bare pressure on his ankle so he hopped to the bushes to relieve himself. He put the girls, mostly Sarah, on the task of finding some long sticks he could make a crutch out of. It was the third day of his wakefulness and he struggled to sit next to Megan and his daughter.

"Remember I told ya we needed that shoulder bone to go back in its place? Well, I need to help that happen. But its gonna take all three of us, and Megan??.it's bound to hurt more than when you grabbed the rope and it stopped you."

Megan's eyes went wide and she looked up at him to see if he was really telling the truth.

"If we don't do it Megan, it won't heal and you'll not be able to help me and Sarah like you want. All of us need to get well so we can gather food and water and make a little house for us to live in. We need you to get better just as much as me. I'll not be able to swim out to the ship anytime soon and Sarah can't go by herself. We need to get all we can off the ship before the next big storm blows and that could be any day. So I'm sorry but I gotta ask you to be real brave and know it's gonna hurt really bad. It's okay if you scream and you'll probably cry. But I gotta give it a go Megan. I'll give you Tylenol first, then we'll have to give it a go, right?"

Megan swallowed hard and nodded slowly, "Right now?"

"No but soon honey."

Turning to his daughter, "I know you love Megan honey, but your daddy needs your help. It'll make her feel better so you'll be helping Megan that way. You have to be brave too my girl, okay?"

"I don't want to daddy, but I can try if it makes her better after."

Megan had a hard time falling to sleep that night but finally did. It was well after the morning sunrise when she awoke and ate some fruit, was given some Tylenol and went potty. When she returned, it was time for the painful shoulder ordeal. Matthew had reconsidered yesterday and decided to wait till morning when the body was rested and Megan was still a bit relaxed from sleep hoping this might help. Sarah grabbed hold of the girl as instructed; she was going to push as Matthew was going to pull.

Poor Megan fainted in mid scream and the shoulder still had not popped into place. Matthew didn't give up and instructed Sarah to wrap herself around the girl tightly while he pulled. This time he heard the snap over Megan's unconscious painful moan and Sarah's tears. The efforts had cost him having broken ribs, bruises and a sprained or broken ankle himself, but he was pleased.

He had laid Megan down with Sarah's help and was holding the girl's hand when she woke up and began moaning and breathing heavily. He prayed that he hadn't done more damage than good.

"How does it hurt sweetheart, please you have to tell me, how does it hurt," Matthew knew he was no medic.

"My elbow hurts most its like stabbing, ow??.ow, it hurts," Megan was crying.

"Daddy when does it stop, you said it would be better, daddy!!!!"

"It won't be right for a few days yet sweetheart. We put it back in place but we made the torn ligaments hurt more and it may swell even more afraid to say. Megan girl, it will get better, but not for a while, its gonna keep hurtin, you have to try and be still," Matthew hated being able to do nothing as the girl moaned.

The next few days were possibly more painful for Matthew than for little Megan. He was positive and caring on the outside but hating every minute on the inside wondering if she would truly heal and longing for his beautiful wife who would have soothed the child just by her presence. When Megan was sleeping, which she did a lot though fitfully, he had Sarah show him where the coconuts and fruit were. Not well enough to go far, he hated the limitation, wanting to really explore and see what could be found, knowing they needed more food, but they did bring back more fruit. He found a straight, sturdy tree branch and whittled it to a sharp point. With the help of the homemade crutch he hobbled to the lagoon with Sarah near by in case he fell on the sand but he made it and enjoyed the tranquil water that ironically had turned violent wrenching his wife away from him.

Feeling the coward he closed his eyes and let the tears fall as he dipped under water. He had heard the girls crying a few nights before and Sarah speaking of her mother. Most likely she knew, he hoped she wouldn't ask and cursed himself for hoping such. Corral had been swept away so fast and he knocked off his feet so often he could hardly believe it was real. She was there one moment bobbing in the water and completely gone the next. The only reason he was even coherent and had survived was to be there for his little girl and Megan. This brought another wave of tears and he was thankful he had sent Sarah back to check on Megan. He was responsible for killing his wife, leaving Sarah motherless, and taking someone else's child from them.

Matthew was lost in anguish when he heard his daughter return, "Meggie's still asleep daddy, you want your stick?"

The man took a breath dipped below the surface again, trying to compose himself, and came up shortly.

"I reckon, bring daddy his stick."

"Okay, now go see if there is more fruit and check on Megan again, I'm gonna try and spear a fish."

"But I want to watch daddy."

"You must be quiet and very, very still Sarah. We'll wait for these little buggers to swim near me so we must be absolutely silent."

She sat in perfect silence for a while as she was told. But it was rather boring for a 7 year old, so she got up and went to see about Megan and some fruit.

Megan improved within a week, but it was a very rough week. He hadn't speared one fish and they needed protein. He hobbled around and they found more fruit, though Sarah ran screaming from the bushes when they saw a snake. Matthew had his spear and was extremely angry at himself for missing the slithering thing. The pain for Megan was still present, but definitely not as severe so it had been hard to get the girl to stay put for a week. He did allow her to find refreshment in the lagoon on a very hot day and while they were all in the water it rained heavily for about a half hour, which it did on a regular basis. Upon their return to the alcove they found their first aid kit and the coconut shells filled to the brim. The next down pour came as a storm and they suffered through the driving rain and howling wind in their alcove. The girls were cold from always being wet and he was afraid they'd become ill but they had made it through.

During that week Matthew had had the girls, mostly Sarah; help him build two huge stacks of firewood on the beach. They had written a huge SOS in the sand and he alone had climbed/limped to the highest part of the island he could see. The north side of the lagoon was a rocky cliff that stretched from the main island and tapered into the sea perhaps 700 feet at its highest point at the mouth of the lagoon, the ship was wrecked on this side on some smaller rocks just above the ocean surface. The south side of the lagoon had a long stretch of land that sloped up getting rockier as you went about 400 feet high. The path to the top was mild only a bit rocky nearer the top causing you to have to climb over some rocks which could be done so by someone healthy without the use of hands. This brought you to a V shaped grassy area that began to fill with more vegetation as the V widened into the island and lost its shape. Facing south, his back to the lagoon, there was a much steeper and rockier descent on this side of the V that led onto a long narrow beach that was also much rockier and exposed to the ocean waves.

Matthew sighed deeply as from this vantage point at the pinnacle of the V; he could see only blue water in every direction and waves crashing onto the rocks down below. Tears came as he stared at reality not wanting it to be so. Standing on the grass, he pledged to teach the girls every possible thing he could think of to survive. He wondered if that was a blessing or a curse, but how could he look at such beautiful faces and ask them to give up. They would live here as long as God allowed and he knew they would die here unless another plane or another ship got thrown horribly off course and happened by. It was improbable but he built the firewood high anyway.

The girls noticed that Matthew would be gone sometimes very long hours. His ankle was finally well enough that he was able to get out to the wrecked ship, still secured by the huge rock penetrating the hull. The footing wasn't flat enough and he wasn't yet fit to retrieve anything, so he looked west out across the empty horizon and prayed that God would forgive him and have mercy. They were stranded with little hope of rescue and he was angry at what life he had robbed his wife, child and Megan of. He wept for his beautiful wife hoping her demise had been painless and when he returned from his long trips he was very quiet, though he noticed the red eyes of his sweet little girl on occasion and Megan's protective nearness.

Finally at the end of the week, he had Sarah swim out with him to see what could be retrieved, still unable to stand up on the rocks, he had Sarah report on what was in the ship. He was delighted that it seemed many things were still aboard. They brought back what Sarah could carry out to him and on her person as well. Upon their return Megan was surprised at all they'd managed to bring back. He and Sarah repeated the trip for the next few days, though getting Megan to stay behind was harder and harder. On the 4th trip they all went out to the ship and brought even more back since he finally was able to get up on the rocks and into the ship himself.

After another three days, they had recovered the torn raft, two large bowls, a large plastic jar which had been used on the yacht for making sun tea, lots of Rubbermaid containers emptied of soggy rice, flour, sugar, noodles and nuts. There were cups, silverware and utensils, pots, tools, plastic bags, wire clothes hangers, two buckets, fishing gear, blankets, towels, soap, toothbrushes and paste, hair brushes and hair ties, a tarp, pillows that would dry out, netting, rain slickers, more clothes, some magic markers, scissors, a tiny hand held sewing kit, a warped backgammon game, cards and pretty much every possible thing that two little girls and an injured man could bring back.

Other than the rock penetrating the hull there was no other damage so most everything had remain aboard. Much of the perishables were unsalvageable, but any food stuff in plastic like raisins, candy, granola bars, trail mix, margarine, pop corn, hotdogs (which had been in the freezer) peanut butter, syrup, olive oil, beef jerky, olives, pickles, jelly, and many canned items all made up their food supply.

It had been a yacht fully stocked with everything they could want on their three-week cruise, which had begun on June 10th the day after Sarah's 7th birthday. They had stayed in shipping lanes but Matthew longed for the open water and his ambition had encouraged the captain on a journey where they sailed his father's yacht from Australia out across the pacific headed for San Diego. They were far south of Hawaii just having left the province of Kiribati when the hurricane came bearing down on them quickly. Surprised and angered at the faulty radar, Captain Ray had headed for any land he could find but unfortunately the seasoned sailor had been the first to be lost at sea when the hurricane began bringing its full force upon the vessel. The ship continued to be propelled toward land but Matthew, though a good sailor, was helpless to prevent the shipwreck on this little lonely island somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Their flight had taken them horribly off course and lost to all rescue.

Over the next several weeks the recovering injured continued to get stronger and they made a shelter out of their little alcove, naturally shielded from most of the wind that seemed to blow from the west. It wasn't finished too soon as they had to weather another strong storm. He hadn't quite finished completely when it hit but this time it was a bit drier, though their brand new shelter got battered and he had to chase down some parts blown in the wind and make repairs and major improvements before the next storm came.

It wasn't but a few days after the storm blew out that they ate fish for the first time as Matthew was becoming more proficient with the spearing technique. Megan and Sarah were actually feeling secure enough that they would have splash wars in the lagoon, play hang man in the sand, build sand castles, they even fought over who dived the best or who was IT in water tag, they had a few fights as little girls do but Matthew would tell them they needed to make up before going to sleep, after which they would fall asleep huddled together which was the norm half the time.

The next several weeks found him at the ship, stripping it of all its value. He brought back plastic and wood, taking the cabinet doors off their hinges, what railing he could wrestle from its secured location, and the water logged worthless radio equipment. If it was screwed in he unscrewed it and brought it back. He was glad of his efforts as more storms periodically battered them, though not hurricanes, it still made living extremely difficult.

The wind often threatened to take the temporary tarp he had rigged to hang as their doorway. So he took the time and new materials to make as solid a roof as possible and secure the tarp with rope and vines. Their shelter was butted up against the rock alcove, being a structure made from ship salvage, bamboo, vines, palm leaves and branches. It wasn't enclosed entirely, but it did help keep the rain off their heads because Matthew had used as much wood paneling from the ship as he could on the making of the roof. He got the girls to help him bring back mattresses. It took all three of them and they almost didn't make it. But they were now all sleeping on three twin mattresses. The queen mattress had gone to the bottom, too heavy to manage, but they had gotten three twins to the shore, though it had taken three separate arduous trips but well worth it.

They used the sun tea jar and some Rubbermaid sealed containers to collect water during down pours and store it in the cooler jungle in the mud. The kids were learning how to make fire, spear fish or use the fishing equipment, look for muscles, dive for clams, hunt crab, and even spear snakes occasionally. They learned how to cut wood, repair the roof, cautiously explore the jungle, and be mindful of what was swimming along with them as they explored their lagoon. Swimming out to the ship and fishing off those rocks provided only about two fish every week.

One of their trips of exploration revealed a cave about 3 feet off the ground and only about 30 yards into the jungle from their camp but on the south side of the island. Matthew had the girls help him gather tree branches and twigs place them in the cave and set them on fire, not knowing what might live there, but he wanted to be cautious. It wasn't large but could fit all three of them lying side by side easily, his 5' 8" frame could stand up with quiet a few feet of clearance, and there was a natural rock wall shelf that hit below his breast bone. It had a sandy floor but was mostly a rock cave. Quite a few storms had them seeking refuge in the cave's security.

Matthew was thankful no hurricanes engulfed the island again; the tropical storms were enough of a hassle. The lagoon became turbulent, fishing wasn't possible, the wind battered their shelter and each time he repaired it, he wondered if the next storm would leave him anything to repair. The beach was littered with debris and their SOS was often in need of being re- written.

Once a day he climbed up to V shaped grassy knoll to look out upon an empty horizon. The firewood stack had often been blown apart and he repaired it with little hope. The girls began taking this trip with him periodically and they used a red blanket as a flag and stuck its flagpole tree branch in the ground. Matthew didn't know how long it would last but it was color and they couldn't be on top of the island all the time.

He was putting more wood on the fire when he began missing Megan. His daughter had fallen asleep, but Megan was unusually absent. Matthew thought perhaps she had gone to relieve herself but his concern made him go looking. He found the girl by the sound of her tears on the opposite end of the beach.

"Megan," his voice was alarmed, "Megan are you hurt, honey what is it," he began searching her body thinking the worst.

"I just, I?..know we can't?..but??, I miss home. Sorry???..I'm okay," the girl could barely get through the words hiccupping along the way trying in vain to stifle her tears.

"Megan, oh Megan," he wrapped her in his arms and fought his own emotions.

"Megan, I miss home too. I wish I could take you home child. I just??..I should never have??..forgive me sweet Megan, forgive me."

He was losing his battle to remain strong.

"I like you?..and you're good and you show me all kinds?..of stuff, but I miss? my?. mom. I just??want to see her one more time and???. then I'd stay here. I know she's sad and?.. I??. want to tell her I'm okay cause???you take care of us??? I'm sorry," Megan managed through her sobs.

"Dear God child you have nothing to be sorry for. I wish I could give you back to your mum too. I wish I could get us off this bloody rock, I'm so sorry Megan??..forgive me."

"You didn't do anything bad, you help us live here. I just want??..to see her again," Megan dissolved into more tears and Matthew barely kept from weeping himself.

She finally started to quiet down and he walked back to the campsite with her in his arms. She fell asleep still in his embrace and his tears kept falling, as he cursed himself for his pride, his selfishness, his arrogance. What it had cost was unforgivable.

The next day they went about their chores, Matthew very quiet and Megan kind of sullen. Sarah tried to lighten the mood she didn't understand by tickling her best friend and she only got a mild response.

"What's wrong Meggie, did I do something bad, daddy's real quiet, is he mad," Sarah was trying to puzzle it out.

"I think I made him sad Sarah, I didn't mean to. But I miss my mo?. ahh, my family. I went on the other side of the beach to cry but he found me and it made him real sad. I'm sorry Sarah; do you think he's mad at me?"

"Did he sound mad last night?"

"No, but he thinks he did something bad, like it's his fault we're here I think. But he helped us be here and shows how to do all kinds a stuff and I told him, but he asked me to forgive him, and I even made him cry I think. I'm sorry Sarah, I tried to be quiet but he found me," Megan's face was a big pout she was trying not to cry again.

Sarah looked at her friend and kissed a sun tanned cheek, "I'm gonna go talk to him, k? I'll be back."

"Hi daddy."

Matthew turned around from his exploration of the tide pool.

"Is Megan with you honey?"

"Huh uh."

"You swam out here alone, you're not suppose to, reckon you forgot eh," he cautioned his daughter slightly.

"Oh, yeah, sorry. I just wanted to come out here with you by myself. Did you find anything daddy?"

"Well a few muscles, but I think we need to have a check on the other side of the island again and leave this one alone for a bit."

"Are we gonna go today?"

"No it's too late for that; we have to make us a bite you know."

He looked to his daughter clad in her bathing suit, which had become the norm for all of them, and motioned to get into the water.

"Daddy, can we sit here? Not long, but a little bit just you and me?"

"Oh?kay. Are you feeling okay little one, anything wrong, is Megan okay?"

She sat down on the big rock above the water and he beside her, "Well she's sad. And she's sorry she made you sad????.You aren't mad at her are you daddy?"

He took in a deep breath, "God in heaven, of course not Sarah. Why would I be mad at her?"

"Cause she said you feel like you did something bad cause we're here. And that she told you you help us and you take care of us. She even tried to cry by herself but you found her out."

He was silent a long time, looking out over the water.

"I love you daddy. And I don't want anything bad to happen to you or for you to be sad. Megan loves you too; she doesn't want to make you sad either. She just misses her??..family."

His voice broke a little, "She has every right to miss her family, so do we. I think we're all sad Sarah and??.its okay to be sad," a tear slid down his cheek and he sighed.

"I'm sad about mummie daddy, I'm sorry, but I'm sad too," Sarah started crying quietly, trying not to.

The pain was almost unbearable, knowing he had taken his child's mother from her.

"I'm so sorry Sarah," he rasped.

She sought his embrace and they both cried.

"Daddy, I'm sorry mummies not here, but I'm glad you are, I love you and so does Megan."

"I love you too Sarah and of course Megan."

There was a moment in silence.

"Can mummie see us from heaven?"

"If ever an angel?.. Oh yes sweetie, I know she can."

"Well if she can hear us too, she knows we love her and miss her right?"


"I hope it makes her feel good if she sees us sometimes we laugh and stuff. She's probably happy you showed how to do so much stuff too."

"I hope so honey."

After quite a few moments of silence while Sarah's tears lessened and Matthew struggled to gain composure Sarah asked, "Can we go back so you can tell Megan you're not mad at her?"

Looking back toward the beach he was a little concerned he couldn't see her.

"Where is she, do you know?"

"She was on the beach when I left."

They swam back and found Megan trying to wrench open a coconut.

She looked up exasperated, "This ones hard, I did like you showed me, but I just can't on this one."

"Sometimes they ain't quite ready," he smirked; cocked back his arm and threw it as far along the beach as he could.

"Reckon tomorrow we can play kick ball with it," he wiggled his eyebrows.

"But it hurts my feet," Sarah whined.

"Okay, I kick it, you two catch it, tomorrow morning before it gets too hot, what ya say?"

They both nodded and grinned.

After dinner, Matthew said, "Hey Megan you wanna hop on and go for a ride? I think I can still manage to put you on my shoulders."

She grinned shyly and climbed aboard as he squatted down. He managed to run down to the water and plunge them both in hearing a delighted scream.

"Oh my girl, me thinks you get a mite big for that much longer. You're a tall one sweetie."

"I think I grew, my shoes hurt, so I don't wear um much."

"We're gonna have to figure out what to do about that. Maybe put a rock on your head to stop you getting taller," his voice was playful.

"Nah huh, that'd hurt. I can go barefoot."

"Not in the jungle sweetie, remember we gotta watch for the creepies."

They trudged out of the water and he said, "Hold on now, lets see. Come here. Stand straight; let's see where you come to."

He measured her against him and her head came just to his arm pit.

Then he looked down at her with a smirk, "You keep this up, you're gonna pass me in a few years. And I might not be able to do this."

He picked her up and twirled her around, finally holding her close.

"I love you sweet Megan, never forget I love you like my daughter. And you don't make me sad, you make me happy, cause I get to see two of my favorite girls everyday, so no worries eh?"

She squeezed his neck and said, "I love you too and I like all the stuff we do."

Sarah got bitten by a spider on one of their excursions. Another anti-biotic was given and Matthew forced as much water as he could get into the girl. She was feverish, threw up even when there was just bile, but never lost consciousness. Megan was usually in the water daily, hours at a time if possible, but she never left Sarah's side. Matthew assured her that Sarah's breathing was fine, he checked the girls mouth, tenderly felt her throat for swollenness, took her pulse and had Megan keep her as cool as possible. Everyone felt better when it was only a few days and she was on the mend. Matthew took the opportunity to show the girls about mouth-to-mouth recessitation and CPR telling them what to do and what to look for.

Six months had passed and they had food, shelter and water, but there was always work to do on the island, even though the storms had lessened in intensity there was still the wind and water down pours to deal with. But it was important to have fun too so Matthew sat on the beach while two little girls sang him some songs and acted out the three wise men since it was approaching Christmas time. He shouted bravo and clapped energetically when they took a bow, then he attacked his girls with tickle fingers and the afternoon erupted in laughter.

Both girls had grown, especially Megan who had out grown her jean shorts and T-Shirt. The bathing suit was also too snug, so they spent time adapting some of Mrs. Sinclair's clothes. Mostly they all went without clothes except for shorts or a bathing suit; it was just too humid and often too hot for clothes.

A fire wasn't necessary everyday, but Matthew made sure he kept the girls in practice of making one from scratch. There were sometimes cuts and scraps always thoroughly washed but seldom with the rubbing alcohol or disinfectant except on a few occasions.

"Megan, this looks deep. I know its fun to play, but you can't be so careless honey. We can't have anything bad happen to you, no broken legs or arms or deep cuts like this one. You're gonna have to stay off it for several days and I'm glad we have disinfectant, but we can't afford to use it much, it must last us. If it doesn't begin healing and gets red and puffy we'll even have to use an anti-biotic pill. There's only one bottle, we can't afford to have to use it because we weren't careful and got cut," he had been addressing both girls.

They were used to his constant caution, "Don't jump from that rock, its too far to climb, watch where you put your hands, be careful not to touch the corral, watch out for jelly fish and sharks, don't run through the jungle, you could get bitten," and so on.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be bad," Megan had a downcast look.

"Daddy we were just having fun, she just went way far when she jumped off the rock, she never goes as far before. We just wanna have fun daddy," Sarah was pouting at always having to be so careful.

"You weren't bad Megan, but you should have been more careful, just remember that," he tussled her dark brown almost black locks which were usually back in a ponytail.

Later that night Sarah sat next to her friend whose foot was propped up on some blankets, "You jumped far. Better than before, maybe you grew more. I wish I was taller, I'm not growing like you."

Megan was silent.

"Hey what's wrong, does it hurt lots, you want me to brush your hair, you like that."


"Meggie, its okay, you didn't mean it. I hate that we can't do more fun stuff. I wish we could build a tree house or a dollhouse. We could make dolls. Wanna do that tomorrow," Sarah sounded excited.

"You have to help your dad more cause I'm hurt," Megan's voice sounded apologetic.

"Yeah but I have to help you too, get you stuff cause you can't move on your foot, and after we can play, maybe we can paint pictures like we did that day we mashed those tree leaves to make the Christmas tree on the rock."

"Maybe," was Megan's sullen reply?

Sarah slept close to her friend that night not wanting Megan to be sad.

They played tic-tac-toe in the sand; Sarah did brush Megan's hair and helped the girl go to the bathroom in the bushes. But Megan was right, Sarah had to do more to help her dad.

When she could walk about again Megan was extra cautious much to the disappointment of her playmate.

"Megan we can go just a little more, I think I see something shinny farther down, come on," Sarah began descending and Megan followed.

But after Sarah pointed in the direction she wanted to go she was brought back up by her companion, who was the taller, stronger swimmer.

"Why'd you do that? Come on its not too far I'll show you the shinny thing, maybe it's from the ship."

Megan was shaking her head, "Too far, we have to be careful, it's deeper and there might be sharks and stuff like your dad said."

"Meggie, you're a better swimmer and if I could do it you can, we'll be careful and keep looking for sharks and stuff, come on."

But Megan won out and a very disappointed blonde followed her back.

When they got to the beach Sarah let out her frustration, "I hate it here. Megan you didn't use to be careful. Ever since you hurt your foot we can't have fun as much. We used to and it made it better here. It's just swimming and looking for buried treasure like pirates but now you won't go far like you're chicken. I hate it, it's stupid!!!!!!"

Sarah began stocking back into the water.

"Sarah, Sarah where you going, not ??.."

"I'm just going to the tide pool and I'm going by myself," she launched out into the lagoon.

Megan's face showed her frustration too cause she was just doing like she was told and she stomped off.

Things didn't get better when Sarah got back to camp. Matthew and Megan were cooking dinner when Sarah showed up with one muscle.

"Daddy what's Megan cooking, did you get some fish?"

"No my dear, thanks to Megan's quick thinking we're dining on snake thank you very much."

"Ewww, a snake. What happened?"

"Megan saw it when she was going to the bathroom and got as big a rock as she could find and whacked it dead she did. So we've got meat finally, smart job Megan," Matthew sounded proud.

Sarah didn't say anything and when her dad wasn't looking she stuck her tongue out at her best friend. Megan made a face back at her and Sarah was pretty silent during dinner. Matthew insisted his daughter eat some protein in response to her sour face and protest.

"We need protein young lady. We'll have to get up early in a few days I reckon and go to the other side of the island to chase down some crabbing little buggers. We need to keep up our strength."

Sarah ate sullenly without looking at Megan and asked if she could be excused right after dinner.

"Hold on, I think that since Megan snagged us dinner and helped me cook it you should help with the cleaning up Sarah."

"But it's not my turn tonight, I did it last night and helped with the bloody food too," Sarah had a sour face and crossed her arms in a huff.

"Sarah!!!! You've been out there all day and Megan's been????"

"I don't give a care about Megan! We're suppose to be careful, how come she's not in trouble. You always say be careful and if you see a snake come get you. She didn't do it and you're not even mad at her. But she's careful when we play now cause she doesn't want you to be mad at her like before. She won't do anything fun very much. I hate it, I hate you, she's like your favorite, I hate her???.."

Matthew was hurting for his little daughter who had begun to cry, but she was being hurtful, "Sarah Megan Sinclair, I know its har?????."

"I hate it here, I hate it!!!!!!!! How come you can't make boats, why can't we go home? We always have to look for food; always have to be careful even when I go potty. There's creepy things and it's scary to get bitten again. I hate it daddy, I wanna go home!!!!! It's NOT FAIR!!!!"

Sarah ran to the water and swam as fast as she could back out to the tide pool to sit on the big rock even though it was just a little while before sunset.

Matthew sighed deeply with a pained look on his face and after a few moments of reflection he went out to join his daughter. His arrogance had placed them here, but he thought she had been adjusting as much as could be expected. Sarah had always been a petite little girl, not very physically active preferring to play with dolls and have tea parties and play dress up, though she did love to swim. He had always thought the pairing of these two was odd. Though Megan enjoyed dress up and tea parties too, she seemed much more inclined to be a tomboy. Due to their friendship Sarah had begun to play outside more, enjoying playing tag and skating, she had even asked for a bike like Megan's for her birthday, which was waiting at home for their return from the cruise. He cursed himself again internally as he recalled that the child had lost her mother, her home, her security and her future thanks to him, her anger was hardly out of place.

Megan had been silent through this whole affair, but the words had hurt. She loved Sarah and felt a bit responsible for looking after her when they played or when looking for food together. She didn't like being stuck here either and she missed her mommy so much. She had cried more about it but had successfully done so alone without being caught. Megan didn't want Matthew to feel bad again and she just wanted to cry cause she missed home. She hurt a lot cause she knew her mommy and daddy were sad. She didn't have brothers and sisters cause mommy couldn't have babies anymore.

Megan cleaned up dinner through her own tears then lay down and cried. It felt good to be alone sometimes so she didn't have to worry about them when she was upset, she could just cry. When she awoke in the night to go to the bathroom she saw that they had returned and Sarah was sleeping next to her father.

The next morning Megan woke up to see a little blonde sitting beside her patiently with a shy look on her face.

"Daddy's making breakfast, look I squished you juice from the fruits," Sarah held out a plastic cup of juice.

Megan sat up and took it without drinking just looking down at the cup in her hands a bit puzzled because they didn't want to waste the fruit by making juice.

"No worries, Daddy said sokay."

There wasn't a lot in the cup so Megan only took a few sips and handed it back to her friend.

"No sokay you have it, it's yours. I made it for you, do you like it?"

"Its good, but you should have some too, here."

"No Megan I don't want to, it's just for you, specially."

"But it's good; you can at least taste it."

"I licked it off my hands and squished some in my mouth. I'm still sticky a bit. I gotta go wash. Drink it and we can go together K."

Megan did so quietly and followed the smaller girl out to the lagoon. The water was cool which made a few goose pimples but it felt good. Megan scrubbed at her face; her eyes were quite puffy from having cried herself to sleep. She was rubbing her eyes when Sarah splashed her and before long there were having a water fight.

Matthew joined them shortly and they all played in the water before breakfast. After eating they went about their chores of getting more fruit, finding firewood, burying their waste and digging another waste hole. They all swam out to the tide pool and then Matthew swam farther out to do more fishing.

After they looked in the tide pool and found two muscles, Megan said, "Do you want to try and find that shinny thing in the water. If we're more careful we can. You go first and I'll swim in back and watch for sharks and jelly fish."

"Nah, that's okay, it's too far."

"But we can be more careful like you said, we can try."

"I'm sorry Meggie. We don't have to swim there. I'm sorry for what I said, I just???"

Megan watched Sarah's tears begin to flow, "I miss home. I don't like all the bugs and stuff. Only I feel better when you're with me specially when we play. I'm sorry."

"Me too Sarah, I'm sorry we can't be home. I miss Scooter a lot and my family," Megan tried not to feel so bad again.

The girls did go swimming that afternoon looking for clams, but didn't search for the shinny thing Sarah saw. Matthew didn't get any fish once again, nor did they find clams and their meal was fruit just two muscles he made the girls eat.

That night Sarah curled up next to Megan laying her head on her friend's chest. Megan drew words on Sarah's back for her to guess, which was one of their favorite ways to fall asleep. But before Sarah conked out she rose up and looked directly into sleepy blues eyes, briefly kissed Megan's lips and said, "I'll never hate you Meggie, I love you lots."

Matthew had found some banana trees on the other side of the island and avoided the family of spiders making it their home, but just barely. They also found a very small crab and a dead fish. He was the only one to eat some of the dead fish and was extremely glad because he got sick to his stomach. It didn't last more than a day, but they buried the fish.

Hunting for food and all the other chores filled most days. In their first year stranded alone, they explored the entire island twice finding impassable cliffs in one location, a grassy meadow in another, good usable bamboo, some really fat looking bugs Matthew called grubs and most of all a beautiful pond that actually seemed to be fed from an underground spring. They had a nice swim and decided to stay in the pond as they got another down pour of rain late in the afternoon.

"Come on lovelies, lets go on a hunt for good solid logs," Matthew instructed as they finished cleaning up after breakfast.

The girls both looked at the mounds of firewood they'd gathered the previous day and Megan shrugged bewildered at her friend.

"Daddy we got lots, how come we have to get more," Sarah sounded puzzled and a little whinny.

"Nah, these are special. They gotta be long as me or longer really. Gonna have to cut some I reckon. Come on then off we go, but be on the look out for creepies, don't go runnin about," he rested the axe over his shoulder and pointed the way.

"What are they for daddy, are you building another shelter??..or a tree house, can we build a tree house, please daddy!!!!!"

"I'm sorry little one, told ya, too many creepies. But yeah it's to build something, it's a secret, you'll see."

During their search Matthew urged Sarah and Megan to sing the latest song Sarah had been teaching her tall friend.

"Its funny, where'd you learn it again."

"From mum and Grams, she came to the lake sometimes remember, mum used to live with her."

"Yeah, she's Benji's foster mom too, he's mean, but grams is nice. We went to her house when we did Christmas carols and she stood in the snow and clapped then had us all in for coco and cookies."

"Yeah I love grams; she sang the song to my mum when she was little. Its fun."

One daaaaay
While I was riding on the subway
My High Silk Hat, my High Silk Hat
I laid it dooooown
Upon the seat beside me
My High Silk Hat, my High Silk Hat
Harken, Harken,
Whada ya tink a dat
A big afat lady she sat right on my hat
My hat she broke it was no joke
My hat she broke it was no JOOOOOKE
Christopher Columbus
Whada ya tink a dat

This seemed to make the chore a little less arduous for the girls, though it took a while. They did have to cut down some long bamboo lengths and it took all of them to haul each log back to the beach. Finally Matthew gave them a reprieve as he judged there were enough logs. While the girls played a game of tag in the lagoon he worked on selecting long strands of palm leaves and broke out his tool box. He'd used some of the nails on their shelter but had a handful left. It wasn't enough but he would make due.

It was the second day of working on this project and Megan thought she might have figured it out, "Are ya building a boat," she asked skeptically.

"Just a raft my girl, just a raft. I think we can fish better with it, row out a ways you know and plop the line over. We can have an adventure round the island perhaps to find the best fishing. What do ya think?"

Megan's eyes were a bit round and her face was a big grin as she nodded with enthusiasm. Sarah joined them after finishing at the waste hole and they all worked on making a fishing vessel.

The third day they made a sail from one of the sheets and the girls were ready to go. But Matthew disappointed them saying it was better to wait till morning. When the morning came he could hardly get them to eat breakfast they were so anxious to set sail.

With breakfast behind them they launched the craft and erupted in cheers, shouts and claps as the raft bobbed soundly in the tranquil waters of the lagoon.

In the successive days the raft did prove to be a good way to catch fish; they definitely had more protein than usual. Not always but on the longer adventures around the island the girls would accompany him. They used the sail as they struck out to see if the could round the island to the southeast and they saw some sand among the large rocks that the raft could not reach because there were too many rocks in the way though the waters were very calm here it was almost another lagoon. Matthew felt that fishing here would be good, but on this time round he let the girls explore the clear waters some keeping an eye out for any danger from the raft. He came back to this location a few times and found his hunch was right as he snagged three fish easily.

When they tried the sea journey to the north, the current was much stronger and Matthew decided they would seek the north by way of the south. The west side of the island was their lagoon and jungle and cave, the south side was a rockier beach where they hunted for crab and found more jungle and their pond. But the north was high cliffs and their overland journeys had always been blocked by the more unfriendly terrain. Directly east had also never been fully explored because of some steep valleys they needed to cross that were too dangerous in Matthew's opinion.

The first several months was spent mastering the raft and finding the best fishing places. And then the year had almost come full circle as it was Sarah's first birthday on the island and they had a celebration. Megan made a sand cake for show on the beach and put palm stems in it for candles and as the stems burned they sang happy birthday. Matthew danced merrily with his 8 year old daughter and Megan, showing them how to waltz and do the tango, but Sarah's favorite was doing the twist while they all sang at the top of their lungs. Megan showed Sarah the tree she carved a heart in with Sarah and Megan BF (Megan being sure Sarah knew it meant best friends) written in the middle. Their treat was to open a can of peaches and take pleasure in the sweetness they seldom indulged in.

Though it often rained sometimes once a week, the storms began to increase in intensity after Sarah's birthday. So Matthew began using the cave to store the first aid kit there, many containers of water, plastic cups, some silverware especially extra knives, and some clothes. Since the hurricane rainy season was upon them again he took inventory of their food stores. There were still some canned goods mostly green beans and corn but there was still a can of yams, and 2 of spaghettios, 3 of spaghetti sauce, 5 small cans of mandarin oranges, some trail mix, 1 package of beef jerky, about 6 granola bars, 5 protein bars, 5 packages of fruit juice, 4 plastic fruit cups, a 6 pack of applesauce cups, 2 jars of peaches, 3 plastic jars of peanut butter, 1 jar of peanuts, 3 jars of jelly, 2 jars of pickles 1 dill, 1 sweet, 3 jars of olives, and 5 plastic packages of tuna.

The tin cans were beginning to show some rust from all the moisture so they would have to eat those things during the times they had to use the cave as refuge from the storms. Matthew wished he could save all the food stores for desperate times. He didn't want to admit it, but he knew it was possible he could die; it was possible any one of them could die. If it was him, he wanted the girls to have these supplies and use them sparingly. But the rust on the tin, though topical now, would soon eat away the can.

Megan's 9th birthday was celebrated the next month but it had to wait a few days after July 14th for a big storm to blow through. The previous year, since they had ship wrecked only about 3 weeks prior to her 8th birthday, it had gone mostly unnoticed as they were desperately trying to survive and adapt to the new environment. Sarah had been the only one to remember last year and had surprised Megan by presenting the girl a happy birthday picture showing them being rescued and Megan happily back with her mommy, daddy and Scooter. This year found them in the routine of hunting and working at daily chores and playing together as much as possible, but Sarah was the first to remember once again.

She had gotten up early even before her father and had put on a white T-shirt she'd colored with black spots. She returned to Megan on all fours and leaned in to lick the girls face. This brought a surprised and puzzled Megan awake quickly to find a blonde little girl with whiskers painted on her face whining at her and then barking happily when she woke up.

"Ha ha, you're funny, what are ya doing Sar?"

"Arf Arf," Sarah panted and danced around.

"I'm your pretend Scooter doggie for your birthday, Arf Arf," she licked Megan's face again.

"He'd come here if he could, so I'm gonna be here for him, Arf, Arf," she panted.

She then proceeded to bark out the Happy Birthday song, which brought Matthew out of his slumber and provided for a fun and amusing morning as Sarah remained on all fours and followed Megan everywhere licking her hand and barking.

Megan had fun feeding her doggie and Sarah even ran after the stick and brought it back in her mouth.

"Arf Arf???.," Sarah wiggled her rear end and panted.

"Ha ha, I should call you Arfy," Megan smiled and petted the hair of her new doggie and the new doggie licked her hand.

"Seems like you have a special friend Megan, but is there anything else you want to do for your birthday day," Matthew inquired pleasantly.

"I don't know, its fun playing with Arfy, but I wanna go swimming," Megan looked at Sarah questioningly not sure what else to do on the island.

"Arf Arf," the girl panted and nodded her head.

Matthew produced a map he'd drawn on some old clothing, "We can go swimming any time, why not try something new like looking for buried treasure, what'd ya say mates," he put on his best pirate face.

Megan's grin was wide and Sarah's eyes were saucers, "Daddy is there really treasure?"

"Well Lassy says so right on this treasure map, just gotta go find it now, are ya with me," he wiggled his eyebrows at the pair playfully.

Sarah insisted that they spend a few moments making themselves look like pirates. Again, out of the oldest most out grown clothes, an eye patch was made for their dad. A make shift kerchief was worn by both girls and some jewelry from Mrs. Sinclair's jewelry box.

As they painted their faces with mud and mashed green leaves, Megan announced, "Hey, let's cut my hair."

Sarah said puzzled, "What'd you mean like try to pin it up more than your pony tail?"

"Huh, uh, cut it," Megan motioned showing how far she wanted her long pretty hair that reached her mid back to be cut to.

Sarah's eyes went wide as she looked at Megan pointing to her earlobe, "Meggie, we can't. That's too much, I like your hair its shinny in the sun. And you like me to brush it."

"But Sar, it's my birthday and I wanna be a pirate and they don't have long hair cause they're boys."

"I'm not a boy, there can be girl pirates and I'm not cutting mine off. And I ain't bobbin yours off either."

"That's not fair Sarah, just cut it some, come on please???.Sarah??" Megan whined.

"What's all this girls aren't you ready yet, we've got treasure to find," Matthew was returning from the cave.

"Megan wants her hair cut too short, so I won't," Sarah pouted folding her arms looking determined at her friend.

"Megan, you want short hair?"

"Yeah, like a pirate," her tone was serious.

"Well now, some pirates had longer hair ya know. So you don't have to cut it to be like a pirate."

"Oh," Megan sounded disappointed.

"How much do ya want cut honey?"

Sarah stepped in pointing to Megan's earlobe, "All the way to here, that's too much," she looked at her father for agreement.

"Well, I'd have to agree that's quite a bit. How bout we cut it to here," he pointed to the base of her neck.

"Ooooookay, I guess," she was resigned.

"But Meggie, it's pretty, like when it's wet and it gets real dark. And it won't be as much to brush, I like to brush it, it's soft."

Megan looked at her friend who smiled sweetly with an expression that seemed to be pleading.

She smiled back not wanting to disappoint her best friend, "Okay we don't have to."

Matthew knew Megan was just backing down to please his daughter something she often did.

"Now Sarah, if its cut just to her neck you can still brush it and it will grow. It'll probably grow better without split ends if I remember the girl stuff right."

"What's split ends daddy?"

He reached out to Megan's frayed hair and said, "The hair gets all fuzzy at the bottom like this and doesn't grow as well," this knowledge from his wife made a wave of pain threaten to well up.

Sarah pulled the ends of hair from her back to where she could see it, "I got em too, so I have to have mine cut off too daddy," her question was genuinely curious. Though she looked more like her father, he saw the child's mother in the girl often and again his emotions threatened but he wanted it to be a happy day.

So he put this off and said, "That might just be a right good idea. We cut off your split ends and we let Megan get the kind of hair cut she wants, it is her birthday remember."

So he cut off Sarah's damaged hair, which brought it just between her shoulder blades.

"Okay, are ya sure just to here is right o sweetie," Matthew indicated the base of her neck.

Megan nodded and Sarah said, "Wait."

"Sarah, I thought we were letting Megan get her hair cut like she wanted for her birthday," Matthew's tone was a bit warning.

"I know but I want a hug first," she walked over to her friend.

Megan looked at Sarah puzzled and stepped a little closer, "What's wrong Arfy?"

"I just want to feel it one more time then you can cut it," Sarah reached up and put her arms around her friend's neck and snuggled her face into the girl's hair with a big hug.

Megan was a little surprised and wasn't sure why her friend was being so funny about her hair getting cut. Sarah began to release her but slowly almost as if she didn't want to let go. Then she looked up at her friend reached up once more and stroked the girls hair then looked a little self conscious and said off handily, "It just feels good on my face, its soft. I gotta go before we leave," and she took off quickly to relieve herself.

Matthew had also looked on a bit puzzled until he remembered that Sarah loved to snuggle into her mother's hair since she was a tiny tike. Some days were just harder than others and today was meant for enjoyment so they must move along to their birthday treasure hunt and he said, "So you ready Megan?"

"Yeah, but just to here," she pointed to the top of her shoulder.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, you said pirates can have long hair too, so that's enough."

They had a fun filled day following the treasure map, making sure they followed all the steps and paces. Matthew had taken some jewelry from his wife's rescued jewelry box, collected some seashells and pretty rocks and buried the treasure in a treasure chest he had made of some bamboo. The location of this buried treasure was on the other side of the island not too far and not too close to the lovely pond. While they were there, they took a swim and played water tag, they captured two crabs, which was more than usual, and returned with their loot. The girls had stocked around all day walking and sounding like what they imagined of pirates. But they were hungry and glad to get back to the beach, so they ran all the way to the shelter.

Supper was boiled crab, a can of Spaghettios, a coconut and a fruit cup for Megan, which she insisted on sharing with Sarah, after they sang happy birthday. There was a round of dancing and singing and finally it was bedtime.

Sarah snuggled up to the birthday girl as they laid down, she stroked soft hair and rubbed it with her face slightly then whispered, "Thank you Meggie, I love you," Sarah didn't see Megan's smile since her eyes were closed and her head was resting on Megan's shoulder with the rest of her curled up close.

Sarah was almost immediately asleep and Megan wasn't far behind whispering, "I love you too Arfy."

The birthday's were always the beginning of the wet season and Matthew decided he'd wait for the drier season before seeking to use the raft to venture farther east and see if they could sail around the whole island. Unfortunately, though there were no hurricanes this year, there were storms with strong enough winds to destroy the small little raft and damage the shelter all too often. It was a busy season of repairs and chores and trying to stay dry.

When December came it found them using crushed leaf pigment to paint a Christmas Tree with lights and ornaments on a big flat free standing rock face. Christmas dinner was the can of yams, two crabs, a fish and the last of the raisins. There were gifts under the rock tree wrapped in huge leafs.

"Hey good old American football. Here Megan catch," Matthew threw the coconut shell at the girls, which they had they decorated like a football and they chuckled.

Megan opened hers, "Sarah I like the flowers you drew and the yellow one best," she leaned over and kissed her friends cheek admiring the two short tops Sarah had worked hard to mend enough for them to fit the growing girl.

"It's pink, like mummies' dress. I like that one; she looked pretty with pock-a-dots, thank you Meggie! Ahhh its smooth, here feel," she grinned widely at her friend who had worked really hard at modifying a woman's dress to fit a small girl.

That night they all prayed together Sarah saying the prayers on their behalf, "God, you made it pretty here and its fun to swim. But it's hard to get food. We get wet and the creeping things can hurt us. So please help us while we're here. Don't let us get hurt and send us food pretty please. Help daddy to find it cause he tries real hard and specially don't let him get hurt. Help us see any ships you send so we can go home. And um, tell my mummie hello and I love her. Amen. Oh and thank you for the baby Jesus, Amen."

They settled in next to Matthew on the grassy knoll, one on each side with his protective arms around them and they looked up at the stars. He pointed out the Big Dipper, Orion and the North Star mentioning how the Bible said it was a big shining star God put in the sky to guide the Wisemen.

Silence came, Matthew's breathing deepened and Megan could finally cry silently wishing she was home with her mom and dad and Scooter. She wanted to see snow again, build a snow man, sit by the fire with the lights out and watch the lights of their Christmas tree twinkle, and she wanted to eat Christmas cookies, see her grandparents, use her sleigh and sing songs with grandma at the piano. It was hard here and she wasn't sure God heard the prayers cause they were still stuck even though they prayed the same prayer the Christmas before. There had been another ship far in the distance to the Southeast again, they had lit the fire right away but still no one came. She and Sarah had cried together this time while Matthew brooded and was in a foul mood for a month. Megan often privately told God she wanted to go home and thought it wasn't fair that Sarah didn't have a mommy now, but God seemed silent, unknown and uncaring about them.

It was now late in January after their second Christmas on the island when Matthew was swimming back from fishing by the ship and noticed the girls running up onto the beach from the lagoon and waving their hands motioning to stay away, by they're yelling, he thought he heard, "Shark go back it's a shark!!!!!"

He scrambled to the north side of the lagoon climbing up a rock face trying to find foot holds. When he was out of the water though barely he looked anxiously into the clear lagoon waters and saw two dolphins swim past him leisurely about 30 yards away. He let out a sigh and slowly got back in and made his way to the beach.

"Its okay girls, they were dolphins, I know it's hard to tell, but I could see they had spots on their back side. You did good to get yourself out of the water," he beamed at them proudly.

Megan smiled at the obvious approval but Sarah frowned, "Ah you mean we coulda swimmed with dolphins. Daddy???." she rolled her eyes, "that ain't fair!"

"Sar, maybe they'll come back, come on let's go back out and look."

But they didn't return and Megan spent the afternoon chasing her friend around, playing hide and seek underwater, tag, underwater messages, and doing goofy dives all in an effort to make her friend chase away the disappointment of missing the dolphins.

The second raft was built in early Spring and fishing was resumed. But curiosity was calling and they began the journey around the island right after sunrise. It took about an hour to get from their lagoon to the small lagoon like alcove on the southeast side. Shortly after the alcove they watched the shoreline get steadily higher. The higher it got the less vegetation could be seen until it seemed like it was one huge rock face that bowed out to meet the sea. It was calm this day and rowing was their only propulsion, Sarah on one side and Matthew the other. The girls took turns though Megan's turns were always in the rougher water she seemed to thrill at the adventure and challenge.

It took another hour before they rounded the corner of the tall rocky mountain covered here and there with moss. The smaller rocks in front of the big mountain side were incredibly black and blocked the way north for a bit. The mountain seemed to recede in a curve back into the island but could not be seen above the smaller rocks most of the view was still blocked. When they did put the final rock behind them they saw the tall mountain molded to the sea like the inside curve of a crescent moon.

Unlike the water round much of the island, this was much deeper. The farther the water got from the mountain and rocks on the side of their approach, the darker and bluer the water became. Being on one tip of the crescent they looked across dark waters to the other tip of the crescent and saw a small beach near more rocks. They rowed towards it and found rest on the sand bar. The water was colder here and Matthew didn't let Megan swim out very far. They had a little beef jerky and a citrus and Matthew wanted to begin the journey back. The dark water was clear and yet they could see only dark, no rocks, nothing. It felt a little unnerving so much so that he didn't try fishing. They did do a bit of swimming and fishing at the alcove on their way back so that dinner and tomorrow's breakfast was well taken care of.


It was now November, they had gone through many severe storms this year, but Matthew was crossing his fingers they would escape any hurricanes. When he looked up from his fishing perch in the late afternoon, Matthew brooded about the darkness in the distance, he had a bad feeling. They spent a lot of time placing every possible thing they could stuff into the cave with them. The storm had begun, the wind becoming fiercer and he was still trying to undo his roof and save the wood paneling that helped keep them dry. He had told the girls to stay in the cave while he wrestled to save all he could.

The waves in the lagoon were being hurled upon the beach so much so that he was almost standing in knee deep water as he finally recovered the paneling. He raced back to the cave and felt ridiculous for not realizing the breadth of the thing was too big to fit into the caves entrance. He resigned to breaking it up some.

Looking for his hammer he realized he'd left it back at their battered shelter. He wedged the paneling as best he could; it was too dangerous to have the girls outside the cave because so much debris was being blown in every direction. Making his way back to the shelter he dodged tree branches and fell twice. He had just cleared the jungle and was on his way to find the hammer when a bamboo pole from their shelter hit him square, making him lose his balance and stumble, then fall backward against the rocky mountain side striking his head badly.

After waiting and waiting for Matthew's return, Megan told Sarah to stay put that she would go look for her dad. Sarah refused and they both attempted to go outside the cave and barely made it back inside because the wind was so terrible.

Sarah cried out her fear, "I want my daddy, Megan where is he, Daddy???.why isn't he back, daddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!," she continued to yell at the mouth of the cave.

"Maybe he's hiding by the rock on this side before the beach. He might have to stay there cause the wind blows so bad. It's okay Sarah. He's okay. We can't go, it's too hard. But he's okay. He's strong and he can hide by the rock," Megan wasn't as sure as she tried to sound.

"But he's bigger, how come he can't run here. He's strong and the wind's not so bad on him. I want him back Meggie????."

Megan listened to the howling wind continuing to try comforting a distraught friend and they finally fell asleep. When they woke it was barely light outside, but the storm was subsiding, and before Megan could rub the sleep from her eyes Sarah took off in search of her father.

"Daddyyyyyyy, daddyyy????," Sarah was the first to see her father lying on the ground.

He was indeed by the large rock Megan spoke of; he had crawled there before losing consciousness. The back of his head was bloody. Megan used his training to find a pulse and determine he was breathing while Sarah cried hysterically.

"Sarah, Sarah, watch me, he's not dead. We have to help him so come on, let's go get some stuff. Come on, Sarah???."

But Sarah wouldn't leave her father. So Megan got all the supplies from the cave she could manage, the first aid kit, a blanket, some of Sarah's clothes that were too small, water.

She did the best she could to clean and bind the wound on the back of his head, made a pillow out of the clothes she hadn't used on his wound, covered him with a blanket and tried to get him to drink water.

Sarah had watched Megan as if scared to touch him herself, but when she was done the girl huddled by her father pleading with him to wake up. Megan tried to comfort her, but Sarah's hazel blue eyes looked miserable and she just put her head on her father's chest, held on tight and cried.

It had been one night and almost two days when Matthew struggled to consciousness, took an anti-biotic and Tylenol Megan had ready, looked at his desperate daughter and managed, "I..?.love you?. Sarah," and was out once again.

It was another day and Megan was trying to get her sad, scared friend to eat, "You have to eat something Sarah, you have to. Your dad wants it, if he was awake now. Come on its corn, you'll like it it's good. Come on Sarah, please."

Since Sarah hadn't eaten in 3 days, hunger overcame her pain and she ate the whole can. She was even persuaded by a watchful friend to take a dip in the lagoon while Megan stayed with Matthew.

While Sarah was gone, Matthew came too briefly.


She gave him water, "You can have another pill, here."

He refused, "How long?"

"Your head's hurt for 3 days. You need more water Matthew please, here," Megan was fighting the tears.

"Sor..ry?.Meg???remember, care?..ful. Don't eat???just canned??.use cave??." he was out again.

Sarah had come back right before Matthew lost consciousness again, "Daddy??..Daddy?..no daddy, no wake up daddy???daddy!!!!!"

Megan had tears in her eyes she couldn't hide from her friend this time and it was too much for Sarah, "NOOO, nooo, Meggie, he's okay, he'll wake up, he will?..did you give him more medicine, he'll be better?." Sarah was frantic and began sobbing again.

It had been a hard night, Sarah was so upset and Megan was having a hard time trying to be brave. The morning came and was hot before the sun even rose. It remained extra hot for 2 days and Matthew's fever increased severely, so they were busy trying to bath him with water and keep him as cool as possible.

Megan had left Sarah for a moment saying she needed to gather more wood. Going as far away from them as she dared, she lost her resolve and cried out some of her frustration. She hated this, it wasn't fair. They needed him, they couldn't do it without him, they were just little girls, she didn't want to be so grown up and worry so much. She wanted her mommy back. Megan walked out to the lagoon and plunged in wishing it would all go away. But worry wouldn't let her stay away, she had to try and help Sarah, she had to go back and wait with her friend.

When she got back the girl was asleep next to her father and she let them be. She wasn't hungry, but she ate knowing its importance. In the next hours as the sun was setting Megan bathed the shivering man and prayed God would make him better.

It wasn't long before he barely opened his eyes, his body began twitching, "Meg?.." Matthew clutched at the girl then opened his eyes wider and looked directly into hers, "La??.lagoon??take me?,f..far??..let me go??.too?too many germs??.far Me?gan??passed ship."

"Daddy? Daddy??..here have more water daddy?."

"I Love?.you??..," Matthew reached for his daughter's face, he turned his eyes back to Megan, "You too??.careful Me?gan?.." his look was pleading then he turned back to his daughter lovingly and slowly closed his tear filled eyes mouthing, "Forgive me."

"DADDYYYYYYYY???nooooooo??.DADDYYYYYYYYYY??Meggie?.?Help??Daddy?..nooooooo," Sarah's eyes were wide with terror pleading with Megan.

Megan checked for a pulse and did CPR as she'd been taught, but Matthew Clarence Sinclair the 3rd was dead.

When Megan stopped, tears streaming down her face Sarah flew at her father, beating his chest, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO??....Daddy, Daddy, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Megan, do it again, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" her scream was gut wrenching and Megan's heart clenched she hurt so bad. Megan sat in shock for a moment trying to comprehend this, asking why when she asked God's help to heal Matthew he immediately let the man die.

Megan tried to hug her but Sarah wouldn't have it, she wept clutching her dead father pleading with him to wake up. And Megan, still in deep shock feeling utterly lost and hopeless, sat and just stared at a dead man and an agonized little girl who now had no parents, they weren't just far way like hers, they were dead. Distraught and bewildered unable to even comfort the one person she loved more than she understood, the tears fell as she wept out her own agony hugging her knees and rocking back and forth. She wondered when they were going to die and if it would hurt, would it be her or Sarah first or would Sarah now just die of pain.

She woke up to the dark but her investigation told her Sarah wasn't clutching her father any longer she wasn't there. Megan thought perhaps she'd gone potty, though they usually did this together at night, but she didn't find Sarah.

Her heart began to race, "Saraaaaaaaah, Sarah????Saaaaaaaraaaaah," she yelled at the top of her lungs looking on the beach frantically, but it was dark, no moon and there was no fire.

"Saaaraaaah, Please, Please???.Saaaraaaaaaaaah. Where are you Saraaaaah," Megan's panic became tears.

She felt so alone, what if something had happened to Sarah too. Breathing rapidly desperately and frantically looking into the dark, it was all too much, where would Sarah go, where could she possibly go in the black. She dropped to her knees in the sand and screamed again, Saaaraaaah???Saraaaaah, Please come back!!!!!!! Saraaaaaah!!!! Don't leave me Sarah??.don't, please?please, "and the sobs overwhelmed her.

"AHHHHHHHH," Megan screamed when she felt a touch on her shoulder.

"Sorry," was a whisper.

Megan reached out for her friend and held her tightly, though Sarah seemed stiff and limp in her arms at the same time.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't find you, I just want you okay Sarah. I was scared; I can't los?..Where'd you go?"

"I walked up to the flagpole. It's gone now I think," was Sarah's flat report.

After a long silence and a long embrace by Megan she began, "I'm sorry Sarah, I don't??I wish??I??.."

A little hand covered her mouth, "Let's go back to where the flagpole was it feels better up there."

Sarah was numb and Megan was worried. They each struggled with the desperation of their circumstance quietly, Sarah's smaller hand held by Megan, as they sat side by side watching the sunrise from their high vantage point. The colors of dawn were no more and the humidity of the day was already beginning when Megan became aware of a terrible thirst.

"Sarah, let me go get us some water," Megan's tone was a question to which she received nothing, Sarah was just staring at an empty blue horizon.

Sarah was standing fairly close to the edge of the cliff blonde locks flying in the wind when Megan returned. It wasn't windy on the beach but she realized it was almost always breezy or windy up here. Not wanting to startle Sarah she sighed heavily and made as much noise as possible putting down the sun tea jar. It had a spigot on the side of it and Megan had drunk her share before coming back.

"Sarah you need to drink some, come on," she took the girls hand bringing her gently back to where she deposited the jar.

Megan held the jar up in the air; Sarah put her mouth under the spigot and drank quite a bit. It was hot, there was no shade on this mountain top Cliffside.

"Let's go swim Sarah," Megan wanted relief.

Sarah's face clouded, "Huh uh, I'm not going," Sarah turned around and went closer to the cliff's edge.

"Its hot up here Sarah, you don't have to see???."

Sarah shook her head.

Megan came up to her friend, took her hand again and tugged but Sarah resisted.

"I just don't want you that close to the edge Sarah, please, you don't have to go anywhere, just not so close is all."

Sarah was led back to a more secure distance. Their vantage point took in every direction. There was a trail to the lagoon on one side and on the other a more difficult passage to the south side of the island.

After a moment standing hand in hand looking to the ocean, Megan knowing they needed food and that Sarah didn't want to go anywhere near her father suggested, "Wanna go see if we can find a crab?"

Sarah didn't agreed or disagree but just followed in a zombie like state. They hadn't ever gone this way without Matthew so Megan carefully and slowly led them down the path to the other side of the island. The beach on this side was dotted with a lot of rocks and was a prime crab hang out. Megan wasn't successful in her crab grab because she had no container or tools; the supplies were still in the cave. She did retrieve some muscles from the tide pools and made their way back to the mountain top. Megan made a supply run to the cave and returned with a blanket, a pot to cook the muscles, and a coconut and had found the hammer by the shelter that was partially still standing.

It took quite a while to make a fire pit and a fire; the sun had already set while the muscles were just starting to boil. Megan couldn't get Sarah to eat anything but one muscle and drink some water. They had hardly spoken all day, just going through the motions. Tonight found Sarah almost in a fetal position lying on her side and Megan, not knowing if she could touch her, cautiously reached out and stroked the girl's hair and when Sarah sighed she lay down behind the girl, put her arm around her devastated friend, feeling much the same, and they fell asleep.

Before the morning fully dawned Megan was down at the beach. The trail back to the beach from the mountain top made it impossible to avoid Matthew's body so Megan ran by as fast as possible and out onto the clear sand. She went over to the battered shelter and began picking up as many scattered parts as she could. Remembering the paneling, she went back toward the cave, it had been broken into a few pieces in the storm, but one piece was still fairly large. It wasn't heavy just awkward so she tugged her way to the beach haltingly.

By this time the sun had risen and was beginning to heat the day once again so she took a much needed dip in the lagoon and thinking of Sarah she decided to go check on her friend. Megan grabbed a few citrus fruit first and ran by the body again with her eyes shut and at the top she found the blonde picking around the fire stack.

"What ya doin Sar?"

"We need to make another flag pole and put up another flag," Sarah said through a yawn.

"Oh,??. let's eat first, come on, you pour the water and I'll open the fruit."

Megan was still hungry after the fruit but Sarah who had hardly eaten said she wasn't. It was decided that the flag would be one of the sheets that was no longer used on mattresses. The mattresses had been disgarded within months after they had been retrieved due to mildew and bugs. In the afternoon Sarah worked on the flagpole at her mountain top retreat while Megan tried to spear fish down in the lagoon.

The breeze had increased during the late afternoon and Megan could smell something foul coming from the direction of Matthew's body. As she tried and tried and tried to spear an illusive fish, she puzzled how to get Matthew's body into the water knowing she had to do it, but not knowing how, especially by herself. The breeze had really picked up and was blowing around some of the shelter parts she had gathered up. So she quit her futile efforts and went to secure the parts again, just catching the paneling as it slid across the sand almost into the water.

After doing her best to stow everything in the alcove, she took another coconut, water, and two fruits back up to Sarah noticing the smell was getting worse as she ran by the body. Sarah ate one fruit and though Megan scarfed down the rest she was still hungry but said nothing.

'I'm sorry I didn't get a fish, maybe we should try on the other side too. We can bring the net and the pack to try for a crab," Megan suggested.

"Yeah, if you want," Sarah sounded uninterested.

They put up the flagpole together then Sarah looked in all directions as if a ship would appear magically, after a few moments she sighed deeply and lay down on the blanket. The sun had barely set but Megan was tired from the days efforts and joined the girl again as they slept another night in the same position as the previous one.

The beginnings of dawn's light found Megan once again at the beach. Her heart was heavy as she wrinkled her nose at the worsening odor knowing she had to do what he told her. She tried to motivate herself by thinking of her friend knowing Sarah would never come down to this side of the island again unless his body was gone.

Reluctantly, Megan brought the paneling over and placed it beside the man's body. The tears were almost as much from the smell as from the gruesomeness of the task no 10 year old should ever have to be responsible for. She struggled to roll his body on the paneling and finally accomplished it. The effort made her hot even though the sun hadn't broken the horizon. She went to the cave and retrieved more water that was running low having had no rain since the hurricane. Taking another gulp and a deep breath she walked to her task practically dragging her feet, she had to do what he had told her, she knew about germs, she knew practically everything she knew because of Matthew.

It broke her heart that he wasn't here anymore and that Sarah had no parents now, neither one of them did. She'd never see hers again unless a boat came close enough to see them. In the whole time they'd been there, there had been two very small dots in the distance spotted on the southeast side of the island. Matthew had lit the fire and they had all prayed, but they knew no one had seen them. At the first one when no one came she'd never seen him so angry, he had swum out to the boat after a week of waiting and she heard him screaming and beating the ship. It had scared Sarah and it was all she could do to keep the girl from swimming out to him. The second failure to be spotted made for a very mad and moody Matthew who yelled uncharacteristically and scared them both. They had gone on their first tour of the island shortly after that, which is when Sarah got bitten by the spider. The worry in his face had made Megan very upset even though he kept being reassuring, though he hardly slept. But he had taken care of his stricken daughter, having Megan keep her as cool as possible; he gave her medicine, prayed and kept giving her water until Sarah had gotten better.

Now the man that took care of them, their security, their father, was gone and she had to take his dead bloated body far out passed the ship. She swallowed hard trying to be brave though heart broken, she bent to her task noticing how off color he appeared and the smell almost made her be sick. She closed her eyes and tugged and pulled and pushed hating to touch the cold body of this man she loved. She'd been struggling for about 15 minutes making a small amount of progress so she sat down and used her legs shoving as hard as she could almost rolling him off the paneling. Now Megan was just getting mad, grunting and groaning as she worked at the arduous ugly task, she finally screamed out in frustration and redoubled her efforts using the fuel of anger to help. It had taken the poor girl so much effort and time to get him just across the sand but he was near the water now.

She was already exhausted and she plunged into the lukewarm lagoon to regroup not noticing a small little girl standing on the mountain top looking on as the colors of sunrise were giving way to full daylight. Megan prayed a silent prayer that God would help her do the rest of this terrible thing. She hadn't noticed the tide coming in and found that his body was closer to the water now than when she had stopped shoving. So she managed to get him the rest of the way and thankfully his swollen, discolored body floated. She drank some water before starting the next phase sighing heavily.

It was a long swim alone much less pushing a dead body with you but Megan had finally made it farther passed the ship than she would have been allowed to go if he were still alive. She didn't know why, but this was the hardest part, she gave one last shove with tears streaming down her wet face and swam back to the ship.

She yelled out loud to a God that didn't ever hear you anyway, "I don't like you, you're mean. You take away people we love, people we need. Why do you hate Sarah, why!!!!!! She's nice she is so nice, she loves me and she loved her mummy and daddy and you took them away. Why does both her mum and dad have to be gone? Why don't you just kill us too? What do I do now, why don't the ships come closer, why don't they see us, why are you so mean, why??.why? I can't make it better for Sarah, Sarah????.., poor Sarah????" the tears began falling rapidly when she said the girl's name and Megan wept out her anger, her pain, her dismay more deeply than she had since they'd been stranded. Rocking herself back and forth on the rocks by the ship until the tears slowed down and she knew she had to get back.

Suddenly wondering if Sarah was awake, she looked up to the mountain top and saw her blonde little friend looking toward where Matthew's body had gotten hung up on some rocks. She had started this early in the morning almost before light hoping Sarah would sleep and she could just report to the girl that this was done and over. Angry, worried and sad, she dove back in the water and swam as fast as her tired body and soul could take her back to the beach.

Sarah was there, pain etched deeply on her tear streaked face and they collapsed together both weeping for the man they both loved as a father. They sought the waters of the lagoon again to help them recover from being hot and exhausted, it helped their bodies but not their souls, there was time unaccounted for as they both just stared at the water.

Regardless of grief, Megan had spent so much energy in the last few days, she was famished, so they decided that they were too tired to hunt for food, and opened one jar of peanut butter and one jar of grape jelly. Megan looked longingly at more food but said nothing after they ate half the jar of peanut butter and jelly between them. It would be tomorrow morning's meal as well regardless of the diarrhea it caused since their bodies weren't used to processed foods as the normal diet. They spent another night on the mountain top, Sarah still needing distance from the truth. The parentless girl lay on her side and Megan extended a protective arm and molded her body to the girls form once again and let slumber be their escape.

The next several weeks found them both engaged in the hunt for food since Matthew had been the major provider and now they knew it was up to both of them. Megan seemed to have better luck fishing on the south side with the fishing gear than spearing anything, though the weeks turning into months found a much improved spear fisher. It had taken a few weeks after Matthew was gone, but they were sleeping under the shelter again having spent many, many hours making repairs as best they could. The storms had lessened and the rain wasn't as frequent so more trips were made to the pond. The girls decided to make a shelter near the pond, not wanting to have to trek back and forth all the time.

The shelter was nothing more than a lean to butted up against a rock face. It did a fairly good job of keeping the rain off, but they were usually at the shelter by the lagoon when it rained making sure the containers were open gathering much needed water.


It had now been about 8 months since Matthew had passed away. Both girls had completely out grown any clothes and Mrs. Sinclair's were still too big, so much of the time they went without any. It was Sarah's 10th birthday and they spent much of it in the lagoon, splashing each other, diving and racing to see who was fastest.

"You?..let??me win?..cause it's my birthday. You?.can win me any??time cause you're tall," Sarah lunged at the girl and they fell into the water again giggling.

"You're getting faster silly, you won," Megan insisted.

"Nah uh, you're just being nice," Sarah's eyes sparkled at her friend.

Grinning broadly, Megan hadn't seen such a look on Sarah's face since her father had died.

"I'm not nice, I'm mean, RAAAAAAA," Megan growled and lunged toward Sarah playfully.

"Come on; let's see how far we can go under."

It was one of their favorite games to swim underwater as far as they could without coming up for air. Pretty soon they would be able to swim all the way to the ship underwater, but today wasn't the day they would first do that. Sarah was out of the lagoon first with Megan following when she screamed, fell and clutched at her ankle. Realizing it was a very small shark still attached to her flesh; she ignored the pain, grabbed it before it got away and threw it onto the beach.


"Come on, lean on me?.." Sarah started for the shelter.

"No go get the hammer," Megan groaned.

Sarah looked at the girl as though she were crazy, "Megan I can kill it, we have to stop the bleeding."

"I don't know if you're strong enough and I don't want you bitten too, go get it Sarah."

"Meggie I don't care about that bloody thing, we have to stop the bleeding," Sarah's face was a picture of fear.

Knowing the small shark was much needed meat Megan insisted, "Sarah, we need it and it's too close to the water, it might flop back," Megan's voice was urgent and authorative.

Sarah's fear turned to anger and before Megan could react Sarah had kicked the thing twice farther away from the lagoon looking back at her friend with the anger still flaring in her eyes. They got to the shelter and cleaned the wound, bound it and Megan took an anti-biotic. The whole time Sarah hadn't said a word and Megan knew she was in deep trouble.

"Sar, I'm sorry, but I just??."

"I'm not a baby Megan, I can do things too. You're taller, you're stronger but I help. I can kill it you watch!"

Sarah grabbed the hammer, walked out to the poor flopping shark and took her anger out on the half dead thing. She stomped back still a bit miffed and threw it near the fire pit then went about making the fire, cutting up some coconut and citrus fruit not even caring about the bugs, and working on getting the shark into the pot. Not able to cut off any part of the thing, it was so tough skinned, she finally just let it boil with its head sticking well out of the pot.

While they waited for the shark to cool enough for them both to work at cutting it up Megan asked for help getting her throbbing leg elevated. While the girl was close Megan put both hands on her face and looking earnestly into pretty hazel eyes still slightly smoldering, "You're right, I'm sorry. You're not a baby. You're my best friend I could ever get and I'm bloody stupid, sorry."

"You're not stupid Meggie, you're my best friend too," she quickly kissed a surprised blue eyed friend and said, "You can't stay hurt, you gotta get better, it's more important than food even."

A remorseful face frowned and let a few tears fall, then nodded agreement.

Sarah wiped the tears away kissing a cheek and tried to lighten the mood, "Ya reckon it tastes like fish then?"

Megan shrugged, "But we have to eat the bugger even if it tastes bad."

It provided 3 full meals and it tasted okay. Megan's foot kept her from doing anything, she even needed help getting up to go to the bathroom and needed Sarah's steadying hand when trying to squat on one leg. But Sarah enjoyed taking care of her friend, humming while she went about the various chores smiling often when she looked at her friend who always seemed to be watching her. Sarah would smile back with a warm feeling inside, she felt needed and loved being able to do things for Meggie; it made her feel so good.

"I'm sorry you have to do everything Sarah, I'll be better soon I reckon, I can almost walk on my own now," she looked at the healing wound and flexed her leg.

"I like doing all the stuff Meggie. Glad you're getting better, but it feels good to help you, makes me happy. But sorry I'm not good at fishin."

"Fishing's hard; I don't do good all the time either. Thanks for doing stuff, but I want to get better, it's boring."

They shared a hug and another quick kiss when it started to rain. The storm wasn't too bad so they weathered it at the shelter, singing songs, cutting off the split ends of the each others hair, brushing and braiding, playing 20 questions, drawing on each others back and finally falling asleep, with Sarah snuggling close her face almost buried in Megan's hair.

"AHHHH," Sarah exclaimed as the spear missed the fish just barely.

The bite was healing with only little puffiness and Megan escaped any fever or illness, she was almost better. So Sarah had helped Megan to the lagoon and she was sitting on a partially submerged rock and quietly encouraging her small friend, urging patience.

"I'm not as quick as you Meggie, I can't do it," Sarah pounded the water in her frustration with a few tears.

"Sarah, I can't do it quick all the time or we'd eat more. Its hard Sar, you're doing better, that was soooo close."

She had swum/crawled over to her friend and gave the girl a hug and kissed the top of her head.

"Snot fair, your muscles are stronger," still in the girl's embrace Sarah squeezed Megan's arm looking up at her friend with a not fair expression.

"You could catch fish too on the other side; I'm just scared for you to go by yourself. You can do it cause you're not a baby, but it's not good alone Sar."

"I know Meggie, but we haven't had meat in 5 days since the shark. There's no muscles, I gotta go to the other side I'm thinkin. I could help you to the top and you could watch me."

"But what if you fell, my bloody ankle isn't better enough to come get you and help. Same with me, I don't wanna go alone even when I'm better because it's steep to get down and we've slipped already."

They sighed and floated on their backs a while. That night they opened a bag of tuna to eat along with their coconut. It was only a few more days, then Sarah went fishing on the other side with Megan watching from the mountain top and they had fish for dinner again. Not long after that, they were both back to being hunters and food gatherers though Sarah refused to allow Megan to hunt for snakes. And the tall girl wisely didn't push the issue knowing Sarah was fearful of the danger and the worst case scenario, neither wanted to take the chance.

Megan's 11th birthday was better given there was no shark bite. They splurged and washed their hair even though it wasn't time yet. The regime of shampooing once a month and washing with soap a different time during the month had left them 2 and a half shampoo bottles where there had been 4, 2 and a half bottles of soap where there had also been 4. Wash days were always fun, they'd swim out to the ship then stand on the rocks and have a shampoo, washing hair first then using the rest of the lather to wash the body. It was too rocky in this spot to dive off, but being all soapy they'd get in the water and swim back to the beach. Matthew said being out by the ship nearer the waves would help keep the lagoon from getting contaminated by the chemicals in the soap. On body soap wash days, they would go to the other side of the island where the waves broke onto a partially sandy but rockier beach, the more turbulent waters quickly carrying away the suds.

It had only been two weeks since they last washed but Sarah had said it would be fun to smell good and clean on Megan's birthday so they finished washing then played tag in the lagoon for a while. Later that day Sarah asked the birthday girl to stay at the shelter while she did an errand and a puzzled Megan complied.

"Okay Meggie, close your eyes," Sarah yelled before she was in eye sight.

Megan had a look of anticipation though her eyes were shut when Sarah knelt in front of her.

"K, open," Sarah said with a smile.

Megan opened her eyes to find Sarah holding a bunch of flowers with a wide grin splitting her face.

"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Meggie, Happy Birthday to you," Sarah leaned in and kissed her friend missing her lips and getting her nose.

They laughed.

"Here," Sarah placed a flower stem behind each of Megan's ears.

"Now you do me."

Megan put the white blossoms in Sarah's hair the same way.

"Now we smell pretty and we look pretty, let's dance," Sarah took Megan's hand and started singing as they danced with each other, but they made up their own dances, leaving the memory of the waltz, the tango and the twist with Matthew this year.

This time it was an applesauce cup they opened and shared then they lay on the grassy knoll of the mountain top and watched the puffy clouds go by as the sun began to paint the sky flaming gold and dip into the water.

"It's a bird, its big, look at the wing, see on that side."

"Haaa haaa, I thought it was a surf board with a big head, look," Megan giggled and pointed out the shape.

"Hey that one looks like Tele Tubbies, look," Sarah grinned.

"I don't like Tele Tubbies, it looks fake."

"They're not spossed to be real Meggie, they're funny. Like the one they flew to the moon. Their space ship was tin foily."

Megan sat up looking across the whole sky for the moon, but it wasn't out. So they built a fire as the breeze began to grow and they huddle together falling asleep until the rain woke them extinguishing their fire. They cautiously felt their way to their shelter in the dark and spent the remainder of the night huddled together in a dry spot with a blanket, which they decided needed a bath when it stopped raining.

The rainy season had started again, they had left most things in the cave since Matthew died but they had brought some clothes out for using as pillows, the real pillows having gone the way of the mattresses, some utensils, some water jugs, and some tools. Each time a storm came, more than the normal rain, they would pack all these things back to the cave with them and wait out the harsh wind, rain and waves.

It was unusual for a storm to last more than 3 days during which they had playing cards and dice and a warped backgammon game, which Matthew had taught them to play. There was usually a week or several days between real windy storms so they were able to use as little of the food stores as possible spending hours making sure they caught fish, crab, or occasionally trying their luck at diving for clams.

November came and it was their first day out of the cave in 4 days so they went swimming in the lagoon and fishing out by the ship. Megan was going about getting set up for fishing and dropped the line in the water catching one fish almost immediately. It had been almost about a half hour waiting for another fish alone cause Sarah had disappeared into the ship. She did that sometimes and Megan usually let her be, but this time was different. Megan headed for the master bedroom knowing that's where she'd be due to the knocking sound. When she first heard it she had shouted to see if Sarah was okay and the girl said she was fine, she was just hitting the rock in the bedroom. Megan thought this strange but had kept fishing. Sometimes the sound was faint, sometimes loud, sometimes silent like now.

Megan saw the blood first, "Sarah!!!!!!"

"Sokay, snot too bad," Sarah dropped the rock she'd obviously been using to hit the large pillar rock that had kept the ship from slipping away all these years.

They had stripped the ship of everything and there was nothing to help stop the bleeding, "Come on we gotta get back," Megan was alarmed.

Sarah's gaze went from her hand back to the rock several times with a frown deepening by the moment, "Bloody ROCK," was the angry shout before Sarah dashed out of the ship, plunged into the water and headed toward the beach leaving Megan puzzled and still alarmed.

Depositing their dinner by the fire pit Megan went searching for the injured girl and heard crying as she approached the cave. Sarah was sitting on top of her father's clothes that she had obviously tossed in the middle of the cave floor.

As Megan approached her cautiously Sarah's tearful eyes looked pained into her own and Megan struggled to keep her own emotions from overwhelming her. Sarah was still bleeding, not having paid any mind to her hand. Megan took an old shirt of hers, a bottle of water and gently began working on the hand.

But Sarah jerked her hand away, "It doesn't matter, it's just a stupid cut. I don't care, I hate this place. Bugs and snakes and stupid rocks, stupid, stupid rocks and stupid boats and stupid water. Maybe I'll die too, before another stupid storm. It'll come bad again and we might die, you watch. It'll happen again, it will, it took mummie then daddy and??maybe, maybe it'll take ???.I don't care, I don't wanna be here," she was screaming at the ceiling of the cave.

She used her injured hand to repeatedly beat the man's old clothes muttering the word stupid through the pain and tears. Megan was bewildered and scared and not knowing what to do she watched the girl feeling helpless. Sarah stopped after a short time clasping her injured hand in obvious pain; she'd just made it worse.

Megan took the opportunity to shove an old shirt into the girl's hand before Sarah started hitting something again then quickly pulled the overwrought girl into an embrace and held on saying nothing. At first Sarah resisted, but quickly dissolved into deep sobs and Megan held on wiping away her own tears occasionally as the pain of her friend made her heart feel really bad.

When the girl was calmer Megan led a dejected friend to the beach and, in silence, cleaned the wound. She kissed the back of Sarah's injured hand, put her cheek on the hand and didn't move, then kissed it again and her own tears fell upon Sarah's skin. Megan wiped them from Sarah's hand with a caress, though tears still fell from blue eyes. She placed the injured hand gently back in the girls lap and looked into red eyes not knowing what to say or do. They shared the same pain with no words still looking at each other when Megan's stomach voiced its hunger to them both so the tall one set about making dinner still in silence. Sarah sighed and let her head fall back to rest on the log closing her eyes.

Megan finished cooking and brought both fish with her, sitting close her friend. She ate her fish, not disturbing Sarah who hadn't moved. Finally with a sigh Sarah raised her head and found Megan sitting opposite her. Tears were falling silently from the dark haired girl as she picked up a bite of fish and put it to Sarah's mouth eyes pleading for Sarah to eat. The smaller girl took the offering and chewed with closed eyes repeating this for several bites as the sun began its journey into the sea. Sarah would only eat half her fish and Megan kindly making no protest. She saved the fish for tomorrow morning and cleaned up dinner.

After stoking the fire, Megan sat quietly beside her friend who was staring out at the horizon, the bright colors of sunset now fading into the ever darkening twilight. When Sarah's head rested on Megan's shoulder with a sigh Megan gently readjusted them both putting herself behind Sarah using the log as a back rest. Secure in the long arms of a quiet friend Sarah leaned her head back on Megan's chest and closed her tired eyes.

Before long Sarah's breathing was a little shallower and thinking it was safe Megan kissed the blonde head and whispered, "It matters to me Sarah, it always matter to me."

After the 4 days in the cave, Megan fished at the ship and Sarah gathered fruit and picked up a few missing parts of their shelter. She also covered the waste hole and decided to wait for Megan to decide where it would be next.

Megan had caught two fish quickly and was about to give up on a third as she sighed looking out over the horizon to the sun hanging above the water with the beginnings of sunset when she froze. It was a dot on the horizon but it was a ship, that's all it could be.

Screaming for Sarah she quickly swam back to the beach met half way by the blonde.

"Sarah, Sarah it's a ship!!!!!!! I?.I saw it, its far?..but lets go!"

They scrambled to the mountain top feverishly trying to get the fire going, not able to use the setting sun and the mirror to start the flame; they labored the hard way to get it ignited. Sarah saw the distant dot to that had made its journey to the northwest though the light was fading. By the time they were able to get it caught and a blaze going, the sunset had faded and it was almost fully dark.

They looked at each other silently then Sarah looked forlornly at the 4th flagpole missing its sheet from the latest storm. They had chased it down 3 different times over the last month since it was their last sheet. It was gone and so was the speck on the horizon.

"Maybe its better at night Sarah, they can see the flame I hope," Megan tried to be positive she hated the sadness in her friends gaze.

The following days were quiet, both girls daring to hold to a thread of hope that they were wrong and the flame had been seen. But not wanting to raise the others hopes or even admit their own, not many words passed between them. Neither one would say it, but they knew it had been too late, the ship too far, no one would be coming for them, they were still alone.

Megan reached up to scratch her nose, but stopped herself, knowing she needed to be sure it was Sarah's hair and nothing else tickling her. She slowly opened one eye holding her breath, but it was only golden hair splayed across her face. She moved it, which caused Sarah to sigh and just snuggle closer. She smiled and stroked dirty hair not wanting to move though she really needed to go to their waste hole.

Her mind wondered to their recent days, it had been sad again, they still were alone, it was still hard and they still got hungry and had to always work. They hadn't even celebrated Sarah's 11th birthday and they needed to have fun. She gently rubbed Sarah's back then tickled her neck slightly. Sarah's sleepy eyes looked at her friend and knew without a word they needed to go potty. Again no words were spoken as they went about their morning's routine of potty, having a dip in the lagoon to clean off the waste splashes and preparing something to eat.

"Let's wash our hair, come on," Megan took Sarah's hand and they swam out to perform their normal routine. From the ship, it was a race back to the beach underwater to see who made it first. It was Sarah because Megan got distracted when she dropped the shampoo bottle and went to retrieve it. Unknown to Sarah, she picked something else up off the bottom.

"You let me win again, I know???cause you're way slower than me?. this time, don't lie."

"I dropped the shampoo, but you're getting faster, you grew I think."

They measured and Sarah, who was usually a head shorter than Megan, had caught up by about 2 inches.

"See told ya," Megan reached out and wrapped her friend in a big hug and started to hum.

"Snot my birthday anymore silly," Sarah said content to let her feet dangle off the ground.

Megan kept hold of the girl and gently twirled them around picking up the pace as she burst into a round of her own version of the happy birthday song, "Happy Happy Happy day, Birthday day, to Arfy, Happy Birthday to you now cause its not raining, Happy Birthday to My Arfy so she can smile, Happy Birthday My friend Sarah, Happy Birthday to you."

Dizzy from the spin they fell on the sand laughing. Sarah's smile got broader over the course of their day as they built sand castles and they buried each other in the sand except for the face, Megan put the smaller growing girl on her back and they jumped off their favorite rock into the lagoon, and Megan sang Sarah another birthday song underwater with only going up for air twice.

This birthday the treat was applesauce and a granola bar they shared by the fire. It had cooled off this evening, which happened sometimes. Megan sat on a big fat log that had washed up on the shore after a storm last year, not too far from their shelter, with Sarah on her lap. They watched the fire a while and then Megan brushed Sarah's hair which made the blonde fall asleep against her friend sitting on the sand leaning back on the log now. Megan let her be for a while then picked her up though it was a struggle and went to their shelter.

Sarah snuggled close and said through a sleepy yawn, "You always make me feel good, n smile, love you."

Megan snuggled back enjoying how soft the shampoo made Sarah's hair, thrilled she had made Sarah smile all day. It almost felt like old times. That hadn't happened since before Matthew died a year and a half ago. Megan sighed and held the sleeping form in her arms a little closer while her mind thought of the past year and a half, how different Sarah had been. How hard it was to get her friend to smile, to laugh and be happy. In the weeks and months since they lost him Sarah had been sullen at first, numb, they both were. Then they went about the business of surviving not talking about his death. They were on their own, trying to beat the odds. No grown ups to look after them. They had both turned more serious and become more consumed with their plight, Megan especially mindful of all Matthew had taught them.

Sarah had always been the one looking for fun, games to play, things to pretend, enjoying life as a little girl, someone's child. Smiles seemed easy for Sarah, they always had, she was a sweet, friendly, happy girl. But now she worked hard along side Megan following the girls lead much quieter than the normal chatty girl. It was Megan who was the one to suggest play now, or initiate it. And though they did play some Sarah was different, not as carefree, not as innocent. There was always a wariness now. It made Megan sad; she missed the old Sarah, her fun loving happy friend.

There had been plenty of tears since Matthew had been gone, a lot of sorrow, especially for the one who had lost the most. Megan didn't like the change in her friend, it hurt, Sarah just wasn't the same. It even seemed like Sarah didn't want to care about anything but she helped anyway, always following, always there to lend a hand. But Sarah would also seek time alone it seemed. The blonde would sometimes wonder to the flagpole without telling her friend and Megan would find her just sitting staring out to sea. Megan was at a loss and would watch the small form from a distance, not sure what to do, other than make sure the girl was safe and she near by in case Sarah needed her. Once Megan found Sarah sitting in the middle of her father's clothes in the cave in silence. She hadn't disturbed the girl but she waited near to the cave, looking for food watching for snakes and even catching one. When Sarah returned to camp finding Megan cooking the meat she didn't ask what it was, her face was a mask of sadness. And that night had been one of several where Megan held on as Sarah wept.

The tall one's 12th birthday was celebrated in much the same way as Sarah's 11th and the subsequent days and weeks were filled with chores, hunting, sometimes races, a few games, explorations, rain, storms, and even another close call with being found.

They were on the east side of the island hunting crab when Sarah's sharp ears heard something out of the ordinary, "What's that, you hear it?"

Megan's right ear had always had a slight hearing loss, shaking her head she looked at her companion puzzled.

"It's not close, but its sounds different."

Both sets of eyes looked toward the water's horizon as far as their beach vantage point allowed.

"Come on, lets go to the top," they scampered as quickly as caution allowed up to their perch, the sound growing a bit louder.

Megan heard it barely, thinking it was a ship and told Sarah to look while she ran down to the cave to get the mirror. Upon her return Sarah was squinting up at the sky, which was covered intermittently with a thin layer of very high clouds.

"Hurry Meggie, it's a plane, it came closer than now, I shouted and waved," Sarah was excited and grabbed the blanket Megan had brought up.

Megan looked at the retreating plane and quickly aimed the sunbeam at the target. The mirror was quicker than friction but it still took the sun's rays time to get a smoky smolder and finally a flicker of flame and the plane and sound had started disappearing already when the fire was finally beginning to flame.

Sarah was still looking to the northeast jumping and waving the blanket, she followed her gaze but Megan's eyes weren't as good as Sarah's.

"Do you see it, where is it Sarah," Megan said as she blew upon the flame, "Sar, wave the blanket this way so it fans the fire, yeah."

She couldn't hear the sound anymore and Sarah wasn't looking at the sky, the girl's excitement was fading, and she didn't know whether to hope or not as she said, "It wasn't real close but not too far either, it was small, not a big, big one and it was white. I threw dirt in the air cause I didn't have anything."

"You waved the blanket even though it was leaving, I don't know Sar. We did our best, they maybe saw the smoke," Megan's voice didn't sound as optimistic as her words tried to be.

They silently went back to work each in their own thoughts and as the days wore on; the only thing spoken about the close encounter to rescue was that they needed to be more aware of the ocean, the horizon, the sky. After burying the mirror up on the mountain top near an unusual shaped rock, Sarah seemed far away in the days that followed this. Not seeking Megan's embrace at night, wondering to the mountain top often and staring for hours. She was often there beside Megan as she fished watching for unfriendlies, but the girl was extremely quiet. The offer of racing or playing games was usually turned down and Sarah would just sit and stare usually asking to be alone. A few weeks were consumed this way making Megan's heart heavier each day.


They hadn't had protein in about 5 days when Megan speared some fish farther out than she'd been before on the south side. The days after her birthday were spent inside the cave during a really big storm that they thought might have been a hurricane. The shelter had been as battered as when Matthew died and the waves had been so huge it had caused some earth damage to the north side. The cliffs were high and rocky on that side and one of the rocks jutting out from the Cliffside about 6 feet above the surface of the lagoon had fallen into the water.

Their last protein meal had been courtesy of the storm waters and some dead fish that had been caught in some rocks that didn't usually receive the lagoon waters in normal times, the girls found them the day they had immerged from their hideout. Trying to conserve they had munched on some peanuts so far this storm season and had shared a package of tuna, but had tried to eat only coconuts, citrus and bananas to keep the food stores for a more desperate time. Megan was often hungry and just knew Sarah was too, though her small friend never admitted it. So the tall, strong girl spent more hours in hunting than anything, while Sarah, gathered wood, got water, or rinse out the clothes they used as their pillows and mattresses.

Another few weeks had passed and they were digging another waste hole when Megan jumped back suddenly trying to pull Sarah with her, "Sarah, watch out, it's a??..sn," but she was too late.

"Owwwwwwwww, ahhhh, Meggie," Sarah clutched at her friend as Megan drug her away.

Megan was so mad she whirled around finding as huge a rock as she could and hurled it at the snake still slithering out of the whole they'd dug. It dazed the thing and Megan slammed it again and again in her anger.

She looked terrified back at Sarah and sprang into action. She took the girl to the shelter practically carrying her all the way.

"Stay here and breathe slow, remember like your dad said, breathe slow Sar, don't panic. I'll go get what we need, here," she handed the girl a hefty stick and sprinted to get the supplies.

"Here's his belt, I have to put it tight," Megan wrapped it above Sarah's left knee even though the girl cried out that it was too much.

Sarah swallowed the anti-biotic and obediently guzzled water as Megan worked.

Sarah yelled in pain as Megan cut the snake bite on her ankle with a knife and poured some anti-septic on the wound, then wrapped it up.

Megan had been feverishly busy trying to remember everything they'd been taught mumbling to herself the steps to take, checking them off.

She started on the list again breathing heavily, "I think we did it all, yeah, keep drinking, lots. Okay, I ahhhh, I'll get more water, a blanket, some containers, the fishing net, we need wood, and??..okay, I'll be back as soon as I can Sar, breathe slow Sar, real slow???." and before Sarah could stop her Megan was off on her errands.

When she returned she looked at Sarah who weakly smiled trying to be brave and went about making a fire. She set out more containers for water gathering, a jar of olives next to them; made sure the water was in arms reach and finally looked at Sarah who had her eyes closed.

Megan caught her breath, was she unconscious already, "S?Sar?." She reached out to stroke blonde hair when Sarah opened her eyes.

Hazel blue eyes filled with tears as she looked at the fear Megan was striving to hide, "I'm sorry Meggie, I tried to move, but didn't really see it, I??"

Megan was shaking her head, "It'll be okay, we did it all, it'll be okay Sar. You got the medicine, you breathe slow, it'll?...." Megan clinched her teeth together and frowned hard trying to keep the tears at bay.

They sat for a while not looking at one another both trying not to cry too much, trying to be brave but the tears fell from Megan's eyes and she wiped at them angrily.

"I got water, and food and I'll keep you cool, I won't leave if you?..go to sleep?..I'll stay, I?.I should have seen it Sar, I should have saw it next to those rocks, it was stupid, why??" the tears were flowing freely, Megan was so angry and so scared, she was trembling.

Sarah reached out and tugged at the girl kneeling before her and crystal blue eyes looked at her in agony and fear. She realized how desperate Megan was, how scared and it hurt to see. Sarah was at such a loss looking into those eyes. She felt a twinge of guilt realizing she almost wished she would die. It would finally be over, it was probably gonna happen anyway, it would kind of be a relief. She would be back with her mum cause that's what happened, you got to go to heaven and see other people who already died. But what would happen to Megan, she would be alone and it was something she hadn't really thought of before. It pained her deeply and she felt the fear rise within her, there was nothing she could do, the snake bite was there, it was poison and they were alone. Her face was a mass of emotion, "Meggie, Meggie I'm??sorry. I??I?. didn't?.I love you Meggie??.I.."

Megan saw the shock and helplessness written on a pained expression and she didn't want Sarah's heart beat to rise so she put on her best face and tried to be optimistic, "Don't, don't cry Sarah, its okay. We'll make it. I'm here. Hey, lets watch the stars come out, it's gonna have pretty colors tonight," the sun was beginning to set and the girls curled up together.

Megan tried to steer their minds to happy times, "Remember the day we found Scooter. He was barking at the tree, it was funny. And we had to take him to the lake to wash him off he was so dirty. He's a good swimmer. But remember when he popped the lounge chair your mom was sitting on in the lake cause he tried to climb up. Your mom's new hairdo got all wet, haaahaaa," they reminisced.

"Meggie, I'm getting real tired, it's harder to stay awake," Sarah sounded scared.

"Come on, lets sing, Doe a dear a female dear, Ray a drop of golden sun, Me a name I call myself," Sarah sang with her friend but was losing ground.

"Meggie, I?..I don't want to sleep, I don't want to??go??.I love you," Sarah was crying.

"I love you too Sarah. Even if you sleep, you'll wake up, the medicine will work, it'll be better, it will, I'll keep you cool Sar. You'll wake up later, you will, I can't, I?."

"If I, I'll try Meggie, I promise I'll try, I'm sorry, I love you, I want to stay???" they both cried.

As they held each other Sarah finally lost her battle to the slowly spreading poison. Megan stayed awake watchful of shallow breathing praying that God wouldn't take Sarah away unless she could die too. And the morning dawned slowly on a 12 year old who had finally fallen asleep with an unconscious friend in her embrace.

She tried to wake Sarah in the morning light but the girl was completely out. Megan quickly went potty in the old place realizing she'd killed the snake but letting it be not caring if it was food, nothing mattered but Sarah. The tall legs quickly dashed to the lagoon with two containers and returned to a girl who was already sweating with fever. She bathed her friend pleading with Sarah to wake up.

The fever raged all day and Megan was helpless to stop it. She finally managed to pick up her friend, with desperation giving her strength and carried the smaller girl to the lagoon while there was barely still light and the waters were cooler. Megan stayed much longer than she should, but she reasoned that if she got stung by a jelly fish or bitten by a shark, it didn't matter if Sarah was going to die anyway.

Night found the snake bitten girl thrashing about in her fever while Megan desperately tried to calm her, holding on tight, stroking her hair, kissing her face, "Its okay Sarah, its Meggie. I'm here, you'll be okay, don't move Sarah, be quiet, you're okay Sar, I love?.you Sarah. Please stay quiet, come on, shhhhhhhhhh, please, please!!!!!"

The night was sleepless until the wee hours of morning when Sarah calmed down and Megan finally couldn't remain awake. Another sunrise came and went with the exhausted Megan still slumbering. The sun was high in the sky and Megan, not sure what woke her, but with her arms wrapped around the girl she first thought Sarah wasn't breathing.

"Sarah? Sar, Sar?..noooo, Sarah, no, you can't leave Sarah, no I need you, I love you, nooooo Sarah, don't, NOOOOOO!!!," Megan was holding Sarah's head desperately dismayed that it was really gonna happen, Sarah was gonna die.

Megan cried even harder when Sarah took a stuttered breath then gasped. The labored breathing continued for several hours with Megan praying to God, "Why do you want her too? I wanna die too if she does. Please God don't take her to heaven yet. I'll be good. I'll do whatever you want, I won't be mad at you any more I promise, I'll pray more and I'll sing Sunday songs and Sarah will too. Please God, Please, Please, I love her. Please don't let it happen. Make the poison stop, I'll do anything," she was rocking back and forth while holding the only person that mattered.

Again she managed to take the girl back into the lagoon and hold her there all afternoon and again after sunset. Sometime Sarah's breathing was almost normal but sometimes it seemed she had taken her last breath until she gasped again as Megan pleaded with her, "Sarah, please don't leave me, I love you, I don't want you to go to heaven yet??..I know?..you miss your mummie?.but??I know its hard here, I just don't want you to go ??????????.only I guess??..it's better in heaven with your mum and dad probably, but?????..?..I, I don't want it Sarahhhhhhhhhhh???????" the sobs were frantic.

Somehow she found the strength to leave the lagoon with the small one in her arms and settle back in the shelter for another night dreading the inevitable event.

The days had exhausted her and she could barely stay awake but the fear of the last breath kept her vigilant. Finally Sarah sighed and she thought that was it until there was another breath after what seemed forever. Megan let out her own breath and a groan and with a heart that broke Megan kissed her wonderful friend's lips, held the tired body close and whispered, "Sarah, Sar, you can go to heaven if you want, I guess. I won't be mad. S'okay Sar, S'okay. I'll make a raft. And I'll go out as far as I can, and if they don't find me, then I'll come to heaven too. Then we can have fun again, we won't be hungry any more cause they said in church it's nice in heaven and you're safe and happy. When you get there, please tell God I'm sorry to be mad, I just don't?.., I wish you could stay, but you don't have to????????you can go see your mum and dad. I?.. I love you, Sarah, you're the best friend ever.!!!!! Don't forget about me K," the lonely island was filled with the wailing of a pain not many can fathom.

Exhausted beyond limit she didn't have the strength to hurt anymore when she kissed her friend some more and held her close as she closed her tearful eyes and hoped she could build her raft quick so she could take Sarah out with her and then let her go like she did Matthew. Sleep finally and mercifully took her into dreamless bone weary slumber.

Sarah's coughing woke her up the next day and she was shocked when the coughing subsided a little and tired hazel eyes looked up at her.

"Sarah? Sarah, Sarah, are you?..you're here??Sarah," Megan was stunned, she couldn't believe her eyes, Sarah was awake, or her eyes were open.

"I'm?.thirsty, wa?."

Megan quickly supplied the water and Sarah drank and coughed, drank and coughed, while Megan checked her skin and found no fever.

"Your fever's gone. I took you to the lagoon, you want me to take you now," Megan was still so surprised, she wondered if she was dreaming.

"Noooo, I'm tired. How long??" she coughed again.

"Three nights and two days. You had a fever, and?...you kept moving and jerking the second night?..you didn't??? breathe??um, right and I??.." the tears where falling and when she looked back Sarah's eyes were closed.

"Sarah, Sarah, don't go, I??, you need more water Sarah, I love you," Megan was angry she hadn't said that while Sarah was still awake thinking the end was still to come.

Megan's head jerked up relieved when she heard, "I love you too, I'm tired, but I can drink some."

Sarah drank more, as much as her weariness would allow and felt herself drifting off again but she was still scared to close her eyes.

"No fever??..means maybe I'm??better, maybe. I'm??trying Meggie????.I love???y?..??.." she couldn't keep the sleep from taking her.

Megan kissed Sarah whispering, "I love you too Sarah??..I always do."

After watching a more normal breathing pattern she dared to go relieve herself, dash to the lagoon with containers, find brief refreshment and return to the sleeping form to brush the brow of a pale looking friend. They both slept for most of the day and Sarah was the first to wake still wrapped in the arms of her friend.

Sarah's movement brought Megan out of slumber, "Sarah? Are you, are you awake?"

"I gotta go I think, I gotta move, but it hurts."

"What hurts, I can carry you, I already did it, I can do it now, here."

They didn't go potty in the lagoon if they could help it; usually it happened if they waited too late and were out by the ship or too far to make it back to the waste hole. But Megan couldn't bring herself to go back to the waste hole with Sarah; she never wanted Sarah near the bushes and rocks again, though she knew that was impossible. So to help with the weight distribution Sarah straddled her friend and they made it to the lagoon where Megan helped Sarah out into the waters till Sarah's chin was just above water and tired hazel eyes closed as she let herself release what little water had made it to her bladder. She closed the short distance to her friend and Megan helped her back into shallower waters. Sarah was tired but looked at worried and watchful blue eyes noticing Megan's breath was rather rapid.

"I think I'm getting better Meggie, s'okay now maybe," Sarah reached out to cup a face that was desperately trying to hold back tears, "Its okay, its okay Meggie,"

"I?..know??.I, do you feel bad, do you hurt, can you breathe okay, you want probably need water??come on???um??."

"The lagoon feels good can we stay for a little?"

Megan nodded.

"I can breathe okay Meggie, just tired. My leg hurts, I don't think I can walk on it much, but it hurt more where the belt was."

"Oh???..I??.I um, took it??..off, I thought you weren't gonna??.. breathe more, so, so, I??..took it off so you could???..if you??so?..cause I?..?.." the sobs couldn't be withheld.

Sarah was straddling her friend again and held her close to her chest and let Megan weep.

"I love you Meggie, I didn't want to stop trying, I remember trying Meggie, I heard you some, I felt you I think, I don't know??.but when I closed my eyes the first time I asked God to help me, to make me better. I don't want you alone Meggie, never, ever???." Sarah was crying too but pulled Megan's face to her own and kissed the girl firmly on the lips. It was desperate, not passionate, but a product of emotional turmoil, dread, fear, hope, and need.

From this point forward, the bond was closer; the hugs more frequent and firm as if reassuring that each person was still there. The hope, fear, dread, and reality caused more kisses for comfort and more reassurances that they would face this together, work hard, be excruciatingly careful and for a while, neither of them would be alone.

When Sarah could walk well and swim Megan decided she needed to give Sarah what she had found, knowing it belonged to the girl. But she didn't want Sarah sad so she did the best thing she could think of.

After swimming to the ship for hair washing day and after Sarah brushed her hair Megan suggested, "Um, I think we should have a wedding."

Sarah smirked her puzzlement, "Huh?"

"You know, we can make dresses, well a dress for you and I'll wear the man's clothes if you want. And we can put flowers in our hair and we smell better now, and we could sing and pretend we have a preacher. Yeah, lets make a preacher guy and we can stand him against the rock by the shelter and yeah, we can have a wedding, it'll be fun," Megan looked at her friend with a question in her eyes as well as excitement.

"So you mean we get married like grown ups, like that?"

"Yeah, it's just pretend and its fun. I wanna pretend and make it happy."

Sarah raised her eye brows pondering the idea with a smile appearing on her features as she warmed to it, "Yeah, yeah, we could make my pock-a-dot dress bigger for me and you could um wear some of dad's clothes maybe if that's okay."

Megan smiled wide, happy with the new light-hearted task, "Yeah come on."

So they busied themselves with the preparations. The preacher was made from a log and tree branches, old worn out markers and clothes and propped against the shelter to wait for all other things to be ready.

Megan's pants were way too big and were rolled up at the bottoms with the belt notched in a hole they had to make themselves. She rolled of the sleeves of the long sleeve white shirt also way too big.

They used a marker to paint a mustache on Megan's upper lip, "Ow, you're pressing hard."

"Sorry, its cause the marker doesn't work good anymore, you can barely see it. But that's good. Now I gotta put on my dress, oh and the jewelry, what should I wear?"

Megan picked out silver earrings with pink crystals and Sarah put them on with difficultly, "Ow, I didn't take these out for a long time, they might be stuck," she wrestled with little heart shaped earrings Megan had given her for her birthday right before they had left on their cruise. They had to apply anti-septic when one ear began bleeding, so Sarah could only wear one earring.

The dress was short, but they made it fit and were finally ready for the ceremony as the sun was setting. Megan grabbed Sarah's hand wanting to get to the pretend part and started toward the preacher.

"Wait, um we gotta put flowers out and then I walk on em," Sarah was trying to remember what happened at the weddings she'd been taken to.

So the flowers were placed in Sarah's hair only, cause Megan was the man, and the other pedals were strewn in a path up to the preacher.

"You make the music sound," Sarah instructed as she stood at one end of the pedals with Megan at the other.

"Um I don't know the music sound, what's it like," Megan was at a loss.

"Oh, like um?.Dah?Dah.. DAH DAH?.Dah?Dah?.DAH DAH," like that I think.

So Megan Dah Dahed while Sarah walked on the pedals.

Sarah faced her friend with flowers in her hand, "Um you gotta hold my hands I think, like this," she stashed the flowers with the pretend preacher, faced Megan and they held hands.

"K, the preacher says, uh??Do you want Sarah Megan Sinclair for a lofty wedding wife and you say yes, or I DO, like that."

Megan made her voice deep and spoke out of the side of her mouth that was nearest their preacher, "Do you want Sarah for a lofty wedding wife?"

In her normal voice, "Yep I DO."

Sarah giggled a little, "I can't sound as good as you so the preacher says, "Do you want Megan Sarah O'Malley as a lofty wedding husband?"

Returning to the deep voice, "K, Do you want Megan Sarah O'Malley as a lofty wedding husband?"

Sarah looked up at the crystal blue eyes and smiled wide, "Yeah, I DO, Uh Huh," she said with enthusiasm nodding her head vigorously.

"Now he says to kiss the bride," Sarah ducked her head amused.

Megan needed to work the ring part in, "No, doesn't he say um?..well the ring, you gotta put the ring on the finger."

"But we don't have a ring Me???"

"No, Sar, uh, we sorta do. See I know its fun and I know we like it. You're all pretty and we did flowers and its fun, but well I got a ring. Um, its, I??see, when we were swimming before, you almost, the snake, um we, I saw something. You know at the bottom of the lagoon. I dropped the shampoo and it went down cause it's full and stuff. And then I saw the shinny thing and I grabbed it too with the bottle. Then when I looked it was, well, its aaaaaaaa, a, ring. And and it's okay, cause we're having fun, and this is happy and??.and you should, well its??yours, cause it has ta be. You know?..cause I think maybe???it might come from???.you know. Its her??well it's a???maybe."

"Meggie, let me see," Sarah knew it was likely her mother's ring.

"Sarah, I?..you should have it you know. But it can be good right; it's supposed to be happy. People are happy, they dance and stuff at weddings. And we can dance and????" she bit her lip not wanting to make Sarah sad. But she pulled the ring from her pocket and placed it in the smaller hand.

As soon as she saw it, she knew, it was her mum's. Sarah wanted it and she didn't want to be sad for Megan's sake, but she couldn't help the tears.

"Sarah, Sarah, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have, I didn't want to make you sad, I know it is, but??awwwww I'm sorry," Megan's head slumped back looking up at the sky, irritated at herself wishing she could have done something better.

"It's a little sad Meggie, I'm sorry. But it's good too, I promise. Now we can do the ring part here," she handed the ring back to her friend, "Now he says um, no?..you say it, with the ring we wedding, no?..we wed, yeh, we wed. If we're rich and we're poor, and Megan," she waited for Megan's eyes to reach her own, "if we're sick and if we're well, even if we die, forever and ever, Amen. See you say that when you put on my ring."

"Ooookay, uh, that's a lot."

"Here we'll say it together ready," their eyes held each other especially since Megan couldn't really remember what to say and sometimes she looked at Sarah's lips to figure out what was coming, "With the ring we wed and if we're rich and poor," both of them looked hard at each other at this point, "even when we're well and even when we get sick and when we die, forever and ever Amen."

Sarah looked down at the ring, which was loose on her finger. They tried it on all fingers, even on Megan's, but they both still had the fingers of children.

"Maybe we can make it a necklace; you know, oh, the fishing line, some of it maybe?."

"Huh uh Meggie, we need the fishing line. And even when we weave the palm leaves they get old and break. We might have to put it somewhere in the shelter or the cave, so we don't lose it. But when I get older, I'll wear it, K."

Megan screwed her lips in a frown but nodded reluctantly.

"Oh, um we're not done," Sarah said in the twilight.

"The preacher says, I pernounce you married, you can kiss, hahhaahaa," Sarah looked at Megan's wide eyes with a grin.

"Uh, okay, here."

Megan smacked her on the lips quickly almost getting more of her nose than lips.

"Meeeeegan, silly, no you gotta kiss me harder and longer too. That's what they do and it's just pretend."

So Megan tried again, and was rewarded with, "Ow not so hard like that. Just longer I guess."

Megan rolled her eyes and stared widely at Sarah obviously frustrated that the girl was insistent on getting it right.

"I'm not gonna kiss you all mushy like I seen sometimes Sar," her expression clearly displayed her you're outta you're mind face.

"It doesn't have to be mushy, here I'll doooooo it," Sarah resigned that getting this right was up to her.

So she stretched a little to reach and placed a soft only slightly lingering kiss on the lips of her pretend husband, "See like that, that's not mushy you silly," she playfully pushed Megan.

And her new husband pushed back and before long they were tickling each other and giggling happily. Finally out of breath Megan looked at her bride, "Was it fun, it wasn't too bad right Arfy."

"Yeah but we gotta walk back on the pedals and then we're done, here," Sarah slipped her arm into Megan's and sang the Dah Dah song as they walked down the isle.

"Um, I want outta the dress, its kinda warm."

"Me too," Megan made short time in stripping.

"There's wood, lets make a fire then we can eat and after let's dance."

"Yeah, sounds fun," was Sarah's whole hearted reply.

The dancing turned into a long lingering hug as two growing girls were leaning on each other both being tired for the day's events.

As they lay down embracing one another in a normal sleeping hug Sarah reassured her new husband, "You did make it fun Meggie. I'm glad I got it, I am. I think mum made you find it maybe, maybe she asked God to put it there."

Sleepy hazel eyes looked into loving blue eyes then kissed Megan again softly and only slightly lingering, "I love you Meggie and I'm glad we're married. Mummie called Daddy husbny, or husby, yeah husby; you're husby now, Ha ha. But you still have to cook too."

"Huh uh. I gotta have a job and stuff and you have ta cook, you're the wife," Megan was being playful.

"Hey, husbands cook too, like my dad. And I gotta find food with you, you know that silly," she pushed Megan's face softly.

"I knooooooow, but I'm gonna dig the waste hole not you."

Only Sarah insisted on helping with the waste hole, "We'll be careful, but I don't want to not do it together Meggie. We do it together, it has to be, we have to help each other, that's how we do it especially now that we got married, we have to do stuff together," Sarah's last statement was very matter of fact as though that was exactly how it worked.

But Megan often volunteered to go fishing alone, to go to the other side of the island alone, to take all the risks, not voicing it but still afraid that something would happen to Sarah and wanting to forestall that as long as possible.

But Sarah reasoned with her protective pretend husband, "I'll watch, I promise and you watch too. But we have to dig waste holes, we have to swim by the ship for washing and fishing, we have to walk to the cave together and all that stuff. We have to Meggie, it just is. And I promise I'll be real, real careful, and YOU, YOU have to be careful TOOO!!!"

Over the next months as they hunted and went about daily living, the gravity of this reality was not lost on either. They were children in many ways still, but children forced to face life as a game of survival and grapple with the inevitability of the harshness of death. It was unspoken, but both of them knew, no matter how careful, a snake bite, a spider bite, an accident would happen again, and one of them would die leaving the other to greave and seek a quick end themselves.

The storm season passed and the year wore on as had the days, months, and years before. And though they sometimes were going about chores alone, they were ever conscious of where the other one was, what the task and kept their ears attuned to any noise that would sound an alarm that something had happened to the other while keeping vigilantly aware of their own surroundings to forestall the inevitable.


Their bodies were growing; it was shortly before Megan's 13th birthday and Sarah's 12th when the older began to show signs of puberty. Sarah hadn't said anything about the curly hairs growing where none had been before. There weren't a lot but what appeared seemed fine though curly and very black. She didn't know why this was happening but it didn't seem like there was anything wrong with her friend, no signs of illness or weakness so she said nothing. But curiosity got the better of her and when Megan was asleep she reached out and lightly touched the hairs wondering that some seemed course and some seemed soft. Megan moaned but didn't wake and so Sarah inspected herself. She showed no signs of the same and she wondered if she and Megan were somehow different.

When the hairs got steadily darker and more plentiful Sarah couldn't help but stare and was embraced that she got caught once. But Megan said nothing, though she didn't ask Sarah to go to the bathroom much and that worried the blonde. She'd only touched them once when they first started to show up. But now it was a rather thick patch and she just couldn't resist feeling what they were like so she risked another touch while Megan was sleeping. Again the girl didn't wake but she did moan, so Sarah was cautious not to move too fast. She only wanted to feel what they were like and didn't want Megan to be mad or embraced. The girl seemed self-conscious about it and would sometimes wear some of her mum's pants she had made into shorts with the belt notched tight. Sarah thought that was stupid cause it was hot, but she didn't say anything. The hairs felt coarse and kind of all bunched up together and Sarah was most fascinated that they were curly and especially shinny when they were wet.

It was a hot day again and Megan had those shorts on still, she even wore them when sleeping now. The tall girl was often in the water and would take them off to swim then put them on again when getting out.

Sarah thought that was dumb and couldn't help herself she said something before she thought, "Meggie, it's hot, you don't have to wear those stupid shorts, you have to use a belt and it looks tight. You must be hot, don't put em on, it's no big deal."

"What do you mean," Megan's reply was quick and almost accusing.

"You just, you don't have to wear em. You don't feel bad right, you don't hurt or well, you're okay right," Sarah's voiced betrayed a little concern.

"No, I don't hurt. I just, I don't know, we're not, its just better to wear em."

"Do you think I'll get hair too? I saw my dad, even though I didn't want to, but we had to and he well, he looked different, but his was brown kinda I think, I didn't look a lot," Sarah's face reddened slightly.

"I just don't like it. It's not the same, you don't??. I don't like it."

"If it doesn't hurt what's wrong? If you feel okay then its okay, right?"

"You don't got it. It feels funny cause I have it now and I don't know what I did. Maybe you do get it; I think my mum had some. I don't know."

"I don't know either, but you don't have to wear dumb shorts, it's too hot."

"It feels weird that you don't have any, I looked when you slept I'm sorry. But you don't have any. Why do I?"

"I looked too, but maybe only some people get hair there. S'okay, it just looks different than me, but that's okay right? Does it make it hard to go potty? You don't let me know when you're going sometimes."

"Noooo, it don't hurt. But it drips more, it's weird. You're there when I do big potty most times."

"I know. But you don't have to feel bad just cause I don't have em too. I don't care. It doesn't make you mad at me does it?"

"Noooo silly."

"Then if you're hot don't wear the shorts. Come on lets go look for muscles."

They were both relieved that they were still the same when Sarah also began sporting curly hairs about a month and a half after Megan's 13th birthday. Megan wasn't as stealth as her counterpart because she got caught investigating if the hair felt the same as hers when Sarah woke up, "Hey, what are you?.."

Megan snatched her hand away as if it had been seared looking up into sleepy eyes and seeing no malice but still very self-conscious. She even stood up quickly and wanted to dash away, but stuttered, "I'm?..sorry, I?.I shouldn't, I just, I'm sorry. I only wondered??.sorry I won't???."

"S'okay Meggie. It feels thicker than my other hair, yours does too."

Megan's eyes went wide and Sarah realized what she'd just confessed, "Oh I?.I just?.I mean??okay I did it too. When you were sleeping. I'm sorry too. But I just wanted to feel it, to see what it was like, cause it's curly and looks different than your hair??on your head. Please don't be mad, I didn't hurt you, I don't think, you just moaned a little. It was more when yours got real curly and dark for the first time. Now we're even I guess."

"Yours doesn't feel as thick as mine and it's not black, its more light brown I guess."

"Mine is thick, well more than my hair. Yours is more than your hair right, I didn't touch it in a long time," Sarah was genuinely curious.

"Oh well mine is really thick, more than yours. I found one, one time, that came out and its real curly, when you stretch it, it curls back quick."

"Oh??.I, I thought it was the same. Can I?."

Megan's frown made her stop and they went about the mornings chores.

That night as they lay down Megan announced, "Okay go ahead, it is thicker."

Hazel eyes looked puzzled at her friend but then brightened in understanding, "That's okay, I'm sorry."

"No s'okay, you can feel it go ahead, then feel yours, mines thicker."

"Hey that tickles," Megan slightly chuckled.

"Sorry, I pulled it a little, I wanted to see it curl back, did I hurt you?"

"No it tickled," Megan reached down to return the favor and Sarah chuckled.

She felt her own hair, and then Megan's again, "You're right, it's thicker. Humph. Wonder why? I think it got thicker than before when I touched it."

"Maybe, maybe yours will too."

"We're the same again, I'm glad husby," Sarah said matter of factly.

"Me too Arfy," replied Megan.

They were both fine with their investigation happy that they were still the same, that' nothing was wrong, and they drifted off to sleep in their normal posture. Megan's arm around her friend, who still cuddled into Megan's long black locks, that she always took out of the ponytail while sleeping.

It was only a few months after their investigation of one another's new curls when another part of puberty appeared. But no one had prepared two little girls who had lost mothers at a young age as well as Sarah's father.

She'd been complaining of her back aching for several days and they decided that Sarah would do the fishing for a while, maybe Megan had hurt herself. Wanting to improve on her spearing skills Sarah had insisted on long hours in the lagoon instead of fishing by the ship or other side of the island. Megan sat quietly watching for predators while Sarah concentrated on spearing. Her efforts were productive after hours in the water and they got out to go cook dinner as sunset was only about an hour away.

"Megan!!! Megan, did you get bit, what's wrong!?."

Sarah had thrown the fish on the beach as Megan turned around puzzled to see Sarah staring at her pee pee. She looked down and saw nothing.

"No! Turn around, it's in the back, you're bleeding I think, did you get cut?"

Megan couldn't see what Sarah could obviously, though she peered over her shoulder. She didn't feel like she was cut and certainly hadn't felt getting bit by anything. So Megan quickly went to the shelter and lifted up her leg, when she did Sarah got a view of more blood.

"Megan, Meggie what's wrong, what happened!?"

The taller girl was also alarmed, there was now a little blood where she sat, and so she did some probing of herself around her legs, Sarah right there helping to look. And their investigation made them think it was coming from her pee pee.

"It doesn't hurt, I didn't get cut, I woulda felt it right?"

"I think I gotta look Meggie, I gotta try."

They were both alarmed and used water to try and clear the area for better viewing and Sarah even had to probe a little and it felt weird to Megan, "Here Sar, let me, maybe I can feel a cut."

So Megan probed and she found her opening, she knew she had one and it was something she couldn't remember what her mum called it, she felt inside as best she could. They looked at each other with foreboding and tears where forming in Sarah's eyes.

"I don't feel anything and it doesn't hurt down there."

"But, but your back, your back doesn't feel good," Sarah's face was beginning to really show fear.

"It's sore some, but it doesn't hurt, it just aches a little, not always though. It kinda ached a lot before we got out."

They shared a fearful glance again and after a painful silence Megan offered, "Maybe I ate something my tummy didn't like, I don't know. You feel okay right?"

"Yeah, I was hungry, not now Meggie?..Meggie?..I??what happened?"

"I don't know, Sarah its okay. I don't feel bad, like it doesn't hurt bad just a little in my back like I said, not much. It'll be okay Sar, it will. We ate the same things."

"Maybe you got a bad muscle, we don't eat the same muscles cause we usually wait and have enough. I don't know Meggie, I'm scared, I love you Meggie," she threw her arms around her friend.

Sarah cried and Megan reassured the girl. Sarah clung to her friend; putting her head on Megan's chest and it took a lot longer for slumber to take the worried blonde than it did Megan.

The next morning there was more blood and this time a few tears escaped Megan who was trying hard to be brave. She insisted she didn't feel worse. Her back hurt a little more but she didn't want to tell Sarah. They had gotten old cloth and tried to stop the blood, but no matter how hard they pressed it didn't stop. The next day was the same and though they had decided Megan wouldn't eat for a while, she was starving on the third day and they ate fruit and coconut and more fish.

"Meggie, Meggie I love you. I, I??."

Megan kissed the girl firmly several times and they clung to each other and shed more tears. Sarah was afraid to sleep; she didn't want Megan sleeping either. So they sang songs but both grew weary and when Megan fell asleep, Sarah wasn't far behind her but fear motivating her to remain vigilant she tried to wake Megan which wasn't hard.

"What, I, did I fall asleep. I'm tired Sarah, sorry. But I'm only sleepy, not bad feeling. I'm trying," she looked at fearful eyes.

Reaching up she wiped away tears, "I love you too Sarah, I don't feel that bad. I breathe okay, I don't hurt anywhere but my back some. I think I'm just sick, maybe I won't, I just don't feel as bad as you feel when you're bad sick and you're gonna maybe, you know. I don't feel that bad, I'm just sleepy. Like we always get sleepy," as if to emphasize her point Sarah yawned.

"See you're sleepy. I don't have a fever, I don't know????.."

Sarah kissed her friend and snuggled close, "I'm listening to you breathe even if you go to sleep Meggie, and if it's different I'm waking you up," Sarah announced her intention with her ear plastered to Megan's chest as they lay down.

They woke up relieved that Megan felt the same, maybe even better as her back wasn't as sore today. They also noticed that the blood was less but they were still worried. Megan hadn't been in the water for all these days fearful that blood would draw sharks, but with it lessening they took a quick dip.

The next day the blood was gone, though they weren't convinced and Sarah looked thoroughly to be sure and she only saw some discoloring.

"I don't feel bad, my backs better. See Sarah, I was sick but it wasn't too sick, it wasn't real bad, only, all the blood, it shoulda been. But we're okay I think. I'm okay Sarah, I'm not gonna??..we're still together."

She held Sarah as the tears of relief fell. And in the days that followed Sarah was almost always hugging her and kissing her cheek and never leaving her side.

Being in the middle of the storm season now, they retreated to their cave as the horizon was extremely dark and the wind was beginning to truly howl. It was a bad one, a hurricane once again. The waves where hurled upon the beach and the wind and water ripped their shelter apart. They looked out of their little cave frightened that the waters were now threatening to reach even the cave.

"Sarah, we, we have to go higher, I think it's coming in," Megan spoke loudly over the howling wind.

"We can sit on the shelf."

"No Sar, no, we gotta leave, we gotta go high, it's bad. Come on, we're taking the tools and the first aid and the fishing stuff if we can."

They gathered the supplies and braved the wind sloshing through water; they were knocked off their feet so many times and lost the fishing supplies. When they got to the mountain top they had to crawl and found as much protection as they could on the south side trail behind some rocks. The waves crashed harshly below erasing the beach, but their refuge was high enough away from the angry ocean waters and they clung to each other. Sarah's back was against the rock and protected the supplies and Megan's body protected Sarah her back partially exposed to the rage of the wind and rain.

Megan was wearing as many clothes as she could as was Sarah. But still the tall stronger girl felt rocks and debris sometimes hit her back. They kissed each other proclaiming love in their desperation and held on for dear life, not knowing if they would make it through. But the storm blew out finally and they were still breathing.

Megan's back was on fire and a quick investigation revealed bruises and two large pieces of wood sticking through her clothes.

Sarah pulled the pieces free to Megan's sharp intake of breath and expression of pain, while Sarah used the disinfectant from the first aid kit and some of the last bandages they had. One of the wounds bled quite a bit taking constant pressure from the blonde. But exhausted, they climbed up to the mountain top, lay down on soggy, soggy ground and fell into slumber that had eluded them for more than 24 hours while the storm had raged.

When they woke to sunshine, now only an hour from setting, they looked upon the lagoon and felt their heart sink seeing no sign of their shelter.

A sharp intake of breath preceded her exclamation, "Megan, Megan look, look, it's gone."

She followed Sarah's shocked stare to see the ship no longer resting upon any rocks, it was gone. She couldn't imagine a storm worse than the one that had stranded them but the water hadn't been as high in her recollection, it hadn't reached their alcove that deeply if she remembered right.

"Sarah, when we got wrecked, the water wasn't chest deep, we, it wasn't this bad Sarah."

"I guess not, I don't remember, you're right I think. Dad laid down in water, but it wasn't too bad."

"Sarah, the food, the cave, it might????..come on!"

Her back still hurt but the anxiety was worse and as they made their way they saw some towels, stray containers and a few clothes. Sarah had put her mum's ring in the first aid kit so it was safe and she was glad because the cave was extremely wet and things were everywhere and they worked to recover all they could. There was one glass jar of pickles left all other glass jars had been busted, they ate the olives they found, the jelly was gone. They were grateful for 2 packages of tuna, some applesauce and 2 plastic jars of peanut butter. Many of the clothes were gone, though they did find several garments in the jungle even weeks after the storm. They still had the axe and the backpack with the hammer, screw drivers and silverware and a few containers. They also found more containers in the jungle along with odd things like the remainder of a pen, a few hair ribbons, two parts of two different combs, Tupperware lids, stray paper, a part of a belt, a couple backgammon pieces, and a few other odds and ends in the following weeks.

Extensive searching found some of the shelter poles, but they had a lot of work ahead of them and the storm season wasn't over. So they trekked to the other side and found their lean to gone and the pond over flowing. The ground was very soggy here as well, it was wet everywhere for weeks and then another tropical storm came and made them retreat to a still soggy cave. They took inventory and were thankful that they had been able to retain all the things that were most important except the fishing gear. Megan spent time making several sturdy fishing spears and Sarah organized the remaining supplies.

And then Megan was bleeding again, from the same place. They worried but not as much as before. And after a dream of home long ago in Lake Hopatcong, Megan made a suggestion, "Maybe I'm supposed to bleed. I think mum did, she washed blood out of her panties I think. Its hard to remember, but I think she said that women had blood come out sometimes and I would understand when I was older."

When this happened the third time with no tragedy they were both satisfied that Megan had remembered correctly.

It was a miserable soggy existence more than any season before and they huddled together staying upon the mountain top during most nights, if there were no storm, since it was the driest place except for the sand of the beach. The wet had them cooped up in the cave quite a bit so when November came and went they began relishing the drier weather again. Many, many, many hours were spent making a new shelter at their alcove. It wasn't as big or as well built as Matthew's, but held up to some strong wind.

There were yet more changes to their bodies, as their 13th and 14th years approached in about 3 months. Sarah had the bleeding come too and sometimes her stomach really hurt. But it would always pass. The stormy season had forced closeness and Sarah definitely noticed that soft mounds were forming on both of them, this time the development being fairly close together.

One day she noticed Megan quickly look away from having stared at her chest.

"Mine are bigger I know, yours aren't as much right now. But they're bigger than after Christmas. And mine are softer, here, feel," she closed the gap.

Megan backed away, "Ah okay, I?.I believe you."

"They don't hurt, do yours?"

"No, not really," Megan looked at the girls chest freely with a bit of a puzzle on her face.

"I want you to feel em; I felt yours while you slept again, sorry. Its just mine are bigger even though you started to grow before me and I wondered how yours felt," Sarah took Megan's hand and placed it on her breast.

Megan felt Sarah's and at the same time her own, and she was right, they were softer," You're mummie had those and so does mine. Hey I remember one time; I saw a mummie feeding a baby with em. My mum said that's how it works, when mummies have babies their boobies have milk in em and it feeds the baby."

Sarah's eyes got wide, "Do you think we'll have babies now?"

Megan's eyes matched Sarah's incredulous look for a moment," Sarah we can't, I hope not. We can't have a baby, how would it be okay, it's too hard here. We'd have to always carry it. I hope we don't, I don't want one."

"Yeah me either, it'd be too hard. Maybe God won't let that happen, we can pray he doesn't K," Sarah suggested that as a solution.

"Right, lets pray a lot."


When June and Sarah's 13th birthday came they decided to have fun at the pond sloshing through some mud puddles after a rain. The first thing they did was to boil the crabs they'd captured. While it was on cooking they played tag in the pond then hunger overwhelmed them and on her way to the small lean to, Sarah slipped and fell smack in the middle of a mud puddle. Megan just laughed and went to check on their meal. When Sarah didn't quickly follow her, Megan thought she was cleaning off in the pond. She had finished cutting up some bananas and coconut when she realize Sarah still wasn't here and she hadn't heard or seen her in the pond.

Megan went in search of the missing girl and was only slightly worried when she heard, "Looking for me?"

Turning around Megan was faced with a still muddy blonde holding a very big mud pie in her hand with a wicked smirk on her face.

"I made us a birthday cake," Sarah said teasingly while smacking her tall friend square in the face.

"Ahhhh," she screamed as Megan launched after her and they wound up wrestling in the mud.

As they rolled around giggling, Sarah found herself lying on her back in the middle of a puddle with a muddy companion sitting on top of her, "Megan, you started it, you just laughed when I tripped. You like the cake," Sarah found a very vulnerable ticklish spot making them trade positions.

Sarah looked down at the girl and they shared an awkward moment of silence each breathing heavily looking intently at each other. Then Megan suddenly called a truce and they washed their mud caked bodies in the pond then quenched their hunger with dinner and headed up to the mountain top to watch the sunset.

"I scratched you sorry," Sarah brushed her friend's cheek and gave her a kiss that lingered a little followed by a sweet smile at the friend who meant more than anything.

Night came and Sarah placed her head on soft mounds that were still not as big as hers but they had both grown and were now looking much less like little girls.

It got rather hot in the days that followed and when Sarah sought her normal sleeping position Megan said, "Sar, its hot, lets not sleep touching much tonight, here hold my hand okay."

It seemed reasonable so they spent a few nights just holding hands. When Sarah resumed her normal sleeping position, Megan had a hard time going to sleep; she also didn't wrap her arm around Sarah though the girl snuggled just as close as always.

A few nights later Sarah awoke and didn't see her friend, but thinking Megan had gone to the bathroom she got up to do the same.

It was dark and she called out to her friend, "Meggie, Meggie?.."

When there was no answer she relieved herself near the edge of the vegetation by the beach. Megan was back in the shelter curled up on her side when she returned and Sarah curled up behind her putting a loving arm around her friend and was asleep again.

Megan was lying on her back floating in the lagoon when she felt something grab her from underneath. It was playful not threatening and a water fight ensued. But when Sarah began tickling her friend Megan called it quits saying she needed to fish. It was harder to do so now that there was no fishing equipment, it was strictly spear fishing, so there was less meat and they had both dropped a few pounds. Sarah stayed, watching her friend as much as watching out for unfriendlies.

She admired the well muscled girl who was so much better at spearing fish than she would ever be. And she briefly let her mind bare the fear of what would happen if her friend died first. It pained her heart, it hurt and she was careful to not allow the intent girl to see her misery. They dined on three fish that night Megan had been so determined to eat meat again.

Sarah yawned and held out her hand to the fisherman, "Come on Meggie I'm tired."

And when Megan got up Sarah reached out for her friend giving the girl a big hug not wanting the embrace to end, she was still brewing about the inevitability of what could happen. She sighed deeply and Megan would have normally been concerned, but she had been feeling kind of moody herself. Noticing her breath would come more rapidly the closer Sarah snuggled. She didn't understand that, it was weird. Their closeness somehow felt different and she wasn't sure what it was. With Sarah in her arms all she could think of was a night of more deep breathing and having a hard time sleeping, especially since they'd washed their hair today even though they'd only found one bottle left.

"You know, I'm not as tired Sar. I ah, I'm not going to bed yet, okay. I'm gonna stay up a little bit and watch the fire."

"Oh," disappointed eyes looked at her and made her heart melt.

"Um I can, I'll rub your back a while, here you lay down and I'll just sit here and rub."

Sarah's skin was smooth to touch; only that's what Megan didn't get, her skin was always smooth and soft, but she'd never really wanted to kiss it before, why did she now. After the girl went to sleep she curled up with her back against Sarah's though not touching and sleep finally took her.

The next day Sarah said she wanted to find more logs and Megan, though puzzled, followed her friend helping in the search and cautious to look out for creepy crawlies.

"Sarah what're we doing? These are too big for firewood."

"Well if we cut big ones then we can make em smaller for wood and not have to gather all the time."

"You know its better not too, the wood is too green."

"It'll dry in the sun," Sarah persisted even though Megan rolled her eyes and they brought back at least five logs.

A few days passed and they didn't break up the logs, instead Sarah wanted to find more.

"What are we doing it for Sarah, why are we getting these, we got enough already and we didn't break em yet."

"Megan I just want to okay, please, I um, I think we should make a raft you know. Not for using in deep water right now, just to have. We could test it in the lagoon. I think it can be fun we can pretend, maybe like pirates again. We don't pretend much now. I know we can do it, we did the shelter. Come on," she was trying to keep it light hearted.

So Megan helped her friend.

They spent many hours, mostly Sarah who was determined to make it happen. Megan did a lot of fishing and gathering water and collecting food and firewood, kind of relieved to have a little distance between them though she didn't understand why.

Sarah was working on the finishing touches when Megan announced she was going to the other side to look for more fruit. Sarah looked reluctant to leave her task but dropped her hammer as she rolled her eyes knowing she needed to pitch in.

"I can go, you finish, its just fruit, the cocos are more over there right now."

"Nah, I'll come you shouldn't go alone."

"Okay mummie," Megan said perturbed.

"Mummie, hey, I just know we do stuff together and I haven't been as much."

"We don't need a raft Sarah, we can't use it??.unless. You stay and I'll go, its just fruit stupid."

"I'm not stupid, this raft isn't stupid. What's wrong with you?"

"I don't wanna pretend about pirates that's silly. We need food and I'm going to get it, like always," she began stomping off.

"Well I need to get it too, even if you don't like it."

"Fine, stay here, there's fruit here, or you can try and fish, you haven't in a while. I'm going."

"So you don't want me to go cause you think I'm stupid and you're better than me. I'm not stupid, I help too, and I'm just being ready, we have to be ready, I hate it, I hate this whole thing."

"How come you wanna be so ready, we're careful. I'm always watching out for you. I know it can happen but I try, I try hard and I don't like it either but I still get food, its harder now, bloody storm, we don't have time for a stupid bloody raft," Megan sprinted away like the wind.

She left Sarah crying, who was feeling guilty for not helping as much, feeling terrible for even thinking about dying while Megan was trying so hard to give them food. But she couldn't do anything without Megan, she wouldn't want to live without the girl and she didn't like that they weren't as close. Maybe Megan was mad at her for thinking it, for thinking about the worst. The girl didn't cuddle as much and probably thought Sarah should do more, be a better fisherman or stronger. Everything was always so hard, she hated it all. In her anger, she did catch a fish and it didn't even take long. But the sun was dangerously close to setting and Megan hadn't returned. When she cast a concerned eye at the mountain top she saw Megan bending over like she was winded and she took off in a heartbeat.

The girl was walking slowly down the path by the time Sarah reached her.

"What's wrong Meggie, you're, it's late, what happened, Meggie, Megan?"

She was truly alarmed at the deep breathing.

"Just get me back, we have to go slow, I ah, I got bit."

"What!? What do you mean, what happened, where is it, what is it?"

"Let's go Sar, just get me to the shelter. Come on."

"They took it slow and Megan leaned heavily on her friend, while Sarah tried not to panic and increase the pace too much. They made it back and Megan was still almost out of breath."

Fear etched her face and tears sprang to hazel eyes, "Meggie, what, you have to tell me what!?"

"I was stupid; I was so stupid Sar, Sarah, I, it's my fault. I was mad, I don't know, I don't know, not at you, more at me. I didn't get out of the way, they bit me, one here and here an on my back I think???Sarah, Sarah, I love you. I, I never, I'm so bloody STUPID, STUPID STUPID!!!!!"

Sarah looked at Megan's neck, at her left under arm and her back, there were three bites, and they were already a little hot. Her face was absolutely stunned for a moment.

"No, No Nooooooooooo, Meggie what happened, what, why, how Meggie!!!!!!!"

Tears were flowing though she was telling herself to calm down, getting excited didn't help, "Bananas I was getting em and they came out, I shouldn't have climbed the tree, but I knew we needed em. I'm just stupid Sarah, I'm so stupid, I was wrong, I didn't think, I hate it. Sarah, I should never have??."

A fearful Sarah was flying around camp, she gave Megan water, lots of water, an anti-biotic, she gathered drinking water, all the containers they had, stashed firewood and cooked the fish. She made Megan eat it all and fruit and coconuts as much as the girl could hold.

Finally she crashed to her knees in front of poor Megan shaking her head fighting the tears, "I made it, you are too. The snakes are worse probably, you know. I made it Megan, you have to, you???.I'm giving you another biotic before you go to sleep. I've got water, you'll be cool Meggie. You lay on this, cause I'm pulling you to the water on it when I have to."

Her face was pinched, "Sarah, its my fault, its??.I'm??, I just, I was so stupid, I forgot, I shouldn't have, but I do love you, I love you more and more and I just don't???.know??.you're right, I won't leave. You did it, and I'll do it Sarah, I don't wanna leave you??., God Sarah, I'm so sorry, I'm so??????. I hate myself, I hate it?.." she began hitting her head and Sarah took her hands kissing them.

"Stop, stop, you have to be quiet. You know you do, we have to be slow and quiet. I love you Meggie, I always love you too. We can do it; let's pray Meggie, let's pray."

She held Megan close to her chest and pleaded with God while Megan tried not to sob. Megan looked at the beautiful girl she loved more than she understood, grabbing her face, "I love you, I??I don't wanna go, I don't??.I, I won't go?no way?.."

Megan kissed the girl deeply on the lips, they shared several. The emotion was real, the desperation overwhelming and they clung to each other. Feeling sleep threaten, her heart rate thundered in her neck, she looked deeply into beautiful hazel eyes, "I'm stupid, but I do love you Sarah???." The tears were profuse, "I'm sorry Sarah, please???I, I'm soooory Sarah, Sarah??."

Megan shook her head in so much anguish, knowing she had just likely killed them both. It was suppose to be the other way. It was suppose to be Sarah first, so she wouldn't feel this. Megan remembered the snake bite, and as bad as that was, the pain of this somehow was even worse. She couldn't believe what she had done to the one person she loved more than anything in the world no matter where the world was.

"I'll fight, Sarah, I will??" Megan's breathing was already labored and she was struggling to remain wakeful.

"Come on Meggie, don't??.I love you, it's gonna be okay, it has to be okay????." Sarah was fighting the fear as the tears rolled, "Just be strong, be strong like fighting Meggie, fight please, I need y???I want you okay Meggie," she kissed her friend deeply and held her close.

But no matter how hard she tried Megan felt herself slipping. Looking deep into pain filled eyes, "Sarah, I always love you?..Sar?swwee?.Sarah?.won't, I won't??.leave??..y?.y."

As she felt herself lose to darkness Megan prayed that she would fight, that God would help her fight, that if he needed to take one of them that it be Sarah first, let her live now, and take Sarah first.

Sarah never stopped praying, pleading, promising anything, as the night wore on and Megan got hotter and hotter. They were lying on the palm leaf makeshift stretcher she'd made and before dawn she had struggled without faltering, though the girl was heavier than she, and they were now in the cool waters, Sarah continuing her barrage upon heaven to bring Megan through this crisis.

She held the girl's head above water but keeping all of Megan submerged as best she could, "I love you Meggie, my Meggie, you fight, you have to hear me, I'm right here, feel me Megan, feel me," she kissed the face lovingly alarmed at the heat of fever.

She splashed water on the tanned face she loved and knew so well. The sun was well into the sky and she had to retreat for a while. She struggled to get Megan back on the stretcher, but it was too hard for a body deprived of food and sleep and she couldn't manage to do anything more as they lay on the beach with there legs still in the water. She had stopped just to rest but though she strived to remain watchful of the girl's breathing she finally lost to weariness.

It was the water to wake her, the tide having risen and lapping up to her waist. Megan's breathing was shallow and she tried desperately to get water into the girl with a modest amount of success. Taking to the lagoon again, they remained there well into the evening Sarah pleading with her best friend to fight, "I know you can hear me, you have to hear me Meggie, I'm here. I love you??..please?..please, I need you Meggie??.please stay. I know it's not fun, it's hard, and I make it harder, I'm stupid??.I needed to be there Meggie. I shoulda been there. I wouldn't let you climb, I coulda watched???..coulda helped, its my fault too???I, I'm stupid??.Meggie?I, I love you Megan, please????please?..I love??.you??.." the sobs racked her body.

Sarah was soooo tired, she couldn't even cry anymore. But in the silence she worried and sometimes pleaded with God in her mind, "If she dies I will too???.I've got the raft. Why does everyone have to be gone, die??.all of em, but not Meggie, not??.please God, don't be mad, I'll be good, I'll sing more songs about you and say more prayers and stuff?????please!!!!! Meggie's the best part God, the most fun, the best one to be here with too, don't let her die, please not Meggie she's nice and she's good and she's strong and helps me all the time????.please. What can I do please, please, I'll do anything???please!!!!!!!!!!"

The pleading continued as Megan's breath became shorter and shorter. She was pleaded with the girl to fight and took her back upon the beach and stroked the girls face weeping. The fever was raging and Megan was shivering her fists clenched. It broke her heart, Megan had been through this, and she had almost lost Sarah. She'd dreaded being in these shoes, but if it had to happen to one of them, Megan didn't deserve to feel this again. As long as they were there, it was always gonna happen. Someday, one day, the raft was built because she knew that. And maybe it was time, Megan was so hot, and she was now convulsing, bile came out of her mouth and Sarah couldn't believe it but she knew, she knew it had finally come. And she had to tell the girl her before she died, "I love you Megan, I love you sooooooo much, you're my Meggie, my best, better than me. Its okay Meggie, you're tired, you tried, I know. But I made the raft. We'll go out far both of us, I'll not leave you Meggie. We'll both die. If you have to go now??.you, ???you can??..go Meggie. I love you, I do??..and maybe God will let us be friends in heaven too?..??. If you go, I'll come too, I??will??..I promise Meggieee."

Sarah's heart skipped, she couldn't breathe herself cause she knew it was coming and as she watched her heart thundered in her ears, then Megan took one last breath and she was gone.

Even though she'd told the girl to go Sarah couldn't help the scream that ripped from the deepest part of her, "MEGGIE NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, MEGGIE NOOOOOOO, GOD, GOD????NO PLEASE???MEGAN SARAH O'MALLEY DON'T LEAVE ME DON'T NOOOOOOOO????"

When she looked at the pain frozen on Megan's face Sarah hit the girl's chest in her grief, not wanting to give up, though she knew it was already done, she hated this, she hated it all and she wanted it to end. Sarah clutched the girl in her grief and fainted lying limply over Megan's body.

It was the water again, it was lapping at her heals and she came too, lying on top of her precious Megan. The girl was still warm, she looked into a face she'd known forever and touched it lovingly kissing lips that were absent of the friend she wanted, she needed. And she jerked back when she heard a moan. The girl was still here, no, Sarah couldn't believe it. She tested the pulse, it was barely there, she felt the shallow breath, but it was a breath.

She was incredulous, "Megan, Meggie, Meggie, I'm here Meggie, I'm still here, I love you, I love you honey."

She didn't understand, she had seen it, no more breath, she felt it, Megan was dead, she'd maybe, maybe, CPR, yeah, CPR. If Megan wanted to fight, and Sarah knew she was fighting, she wasn't gonna stop her. She remembered, she had fought, she felt it, it was hard in the dark and it was spinning, and there was light in the distance too, but she kept going back to the dark. If Megan was fighting, she'd give her all the encouragement she needed. Mouth to Mouth was after they stopped breathing, but Megan was hardly breathing, so she did Mouth to Mouth anyway. Megan coughed, so she stopped a while, and then did it again, another cough. She repeated it several times, always speaking to her friend in between times, telling her to fight, to stay in the dark, to hear her voice, to feel her. She kissed the girl, held her close and finally took her back in the water in relief of the sun that was now climbing the sky.

Sarah was so tired, though she had to keep the girl cool; she was startled awake by sputtering, because she had drifted off allowing Megan's head and hers to dip into cool waters. So she wrestled to get them back to the beach, she even got the girl on the stretcher and tugged and pulled and strained to get the girl back to the shelter out of the heat of the day, which was still in full bloom.

Before she collapsed she drank as much water as she could, gave Megan what her unconscious reflexes would take and filled the containers with water. Then laying down beside her precious friend, she put her hand on Megan's chest and pleaded with the girl to keep fighting, keep reaching for the dark not the light, keep breathing until Sarah fell into slumber herself.

When Sarah woke she looked anxiously at her tall companion to see eyelids striving to come open.

"Megan sweet, Meggie, I'm here, keep coming back, you can do it Meggie, you can do it."

The eyelids never opened though she bathed the girl in as many containers of water as she could manage back and forth in the hot sun with a wearied body and a barely hopeful spirit.

She had fallen asleep yet again, still exhausted, when the coughing brought her back. The eyelids opened this time barely, "Here??.Sar?.."

And though it was so brief Sarah's heart melted and gripped with pain and fear all over again. She wept, not believing one more tear was possible, but her gut was on fire and she was rocking back and forth holding her hand over Megan's heart while the other was on hers as she pleaded with God once again.

It was after sunset when she wrestled her tall friend into the cool waters and watched the stars glitter in the sky. She even saw a shooting star this night making a wish for her Meggie's return. At some point she had to drag them out, she couldn't keep them afloat anymore, but she thought maybe, just maybe Megan's breath was longer, maybe even more frequent. As she drifted into merciful slumber again, she still wondered, what would happen would God let Meggie die too, her Meggie, the one she loved more than anything. And how much she loved she couldn't even fathom; it was too much, too deep for her to even know. She just knew it was Meggie or death those were the only choices.

"Sa?.Sar??.." the voice made her eyes jerk open finding blue eyes fading almost immediately in the early morning light.

She kissed the girl, "I'm here, don't go, I love you, you can do it Meggie, you can."

She brought more water to the lips and bathed the body. Not wanting to believe it, it was too much to hope, but the breath was less labored and the fever perhaps not so fierce. Sarah stroked matted hair and took the hair brush they had recovered all the way on the other side of the island and brushed the black dirty locks, kissing the forehead and feeling her eyes droop. She had fallen asleep sitting up with the girl's head in her lap but was awake instantly when she heard, "Sar??.I??love??you?.Sarah???"

A ragged breath was taken and another, "Wa?water, I?."

Sarah quickly supplied much needed liquid tears falling from one beautiful face onto another. She brushed the tears as they splashed, "Sorry, I?..take another breath sweetie, you can do it Meggie, I see you, you're beautiful."

The girl's lips tried to curl in a smile but she was out again. So it was the retreat that they had to keep taking, she panted and moaned and groaned in straining to get them to the lagoon. This aroused the girl, "Oh?..woe?..ahhhh."

"Meggie, did I hurt you, we can go in the lagoon, it feels good okay?"

The tired eyes said yes and Sarah pulled them in only this time the body wasn't as limp, tired but not lifeless. Megan rested her head on Sarah's shoulder straddling her body as they had done when Sarah was recovering only this time it was Sarah holding Megan up. They both coughed having dipped into the water too far again when sleep threatened the exhausted smaller girl.

This time Sarah held up the taller girl trying to walk on the sand, Sarah bearing as much weight as she could, they collapsed back on the floor of the shelter immediately curling up and slept again.

"I need water Sar, I'm real thirsty," a sleepy voice broke through the fog.

Sarah found water and Megan drank as much as possible before coughing, she sat up with Sarah's help and drank more. Sarah moved to the back of the tall girl and wrapped arms and legs both around Megan. She finally lay back with Megan on her chest and they slept well into sunny morning hours shaded by the shelter and yet too exhausted to care that it was so incredibly humid, they slept and sweated.

Megan was still gripping a water bottle that toppled over waking only her. She looked up at poor sweet Sarah. She didn't know how many days, but the girl was utterly spent, she didn't stir. Megan was a bit dizzy so she crawled not far and relieved herself though they seldom did so near to the shelter. She found Sarah's embrace again and listened to a heart beat thinking of what she'd been through, it had been a fight, the light had kept pulling her, and she kept shrinking from its touch. Megan sat up and felt her neck, her arm, and back. They were all itchy, itchy was good, itchy was great, itchy was life, she'd made it. She was back, back with Sarah, somehow it hadn't happened this time. But she had almost killed them. The thought ripped at her heart and she wept, knowing she would never forgive her carelessness. When she was a bit more controlled she lay back on the soft mounds and clung to her sweet Sarah, feeling she couldn't get close enough to the girl regardless of the heat.

They woke to the sounds of splashing. Looking curious to each other Sarah bolted out to the lagoon and gasped in delight. It was dolphins; dolphins were playing in the lagoon. They were reluctant to betray the waters but they couldn't help it, Sarah helped a slow moving Megan and very slowly crept in. But the dolphins were quickly gone and the girls just stayed in the coolness for a time.

"I'm here, with you?????.." Megan's gaze was intense and the pause long, "Not ever Sarah, it won't be cause I'm stupid, never, I'm so sorry??.." Megan squeezed her eyes aching at what she'd done.

There was so much pain on Sarah's face, and happiness too, relief, Megan knew it all, she knew how it felt.

Sarah whispered, "Shhhhh??..I love you, don't, its okay????" and they both cried.

But this time the tears weren't as lengthy, their friends had returned and they marveled in the feel of dolphins swimming by their legs remaining still, trying not to giggle. But Sarah's tummy was persistent since they hadn't eaten in days, though Sarah had force down some fruit occasionally, they were both in need of nourishment. They dragged themselves out arm in arm and Sarah made as quick a meal as possible while they sat and marveled that the fin gang was back and were treated to some flips and jumps and dolphin chatter. It was absolutely amazing, this had never happened, never, and they looked at each other and their entertainment in wonder and pleasure.

It was hard to believe but the rest of the day found Sarah spear fishing with a watchful friend and they dined on two fish that night and some muscles replenishing their weakened state. It was a quiet day both not knowing what to say, not wanting more tears, but the physical contact was almost constant. When night finally came they made a fire and watched the flickering in silence holding each other. They slept on the sand that night looking up at the stars and playing their favorite star gazing game. Sarah outlined a fish and Megan, try as she might, could not get Sarah to see the dog.

The season of rain caused them to return to chores and the business of hard living, but there was an intensity they both didn't like. Doom was present, not easily shelved. The looks they gave each other were intensely loving and yet awkward at the same time. It was okay to hug each other in the water, on the beach, to sit hand in hand on the mountain top and watch the sunset. Kisses were plentiful but had returned to quick short reassurances and at night, they held hands more often than snuggling close.

Sarah was the more affectionate still and noticed Megan's body stiffen when she did cuddle against the girl or kissed the lips not quick enough. She wondered if Megan was afraid, afraid to be as close. Though sometimes she got a huge hug she wasn't expecting or tickled mercilessly until Megan would turn to something else abruptly like going fishing or playing tag or suggesting diving for clams. At night sometimes she felt Megan stroke her hair or her back, knowing the girl thought she was asleep and finding it hard to keep up the pretense and breathe normally, her stomach kind of feeling funny, it was a bit confusing.

It was a hot day; they hadn't had fish, though a few muscles had supplied a little protein in the last 6 days. After spearing to no avail Megan yelled out frustrated into the air, "Ahhhh, we need food!!!!!!!!!"

"Why don't we eat some peanuts, I'll go get it."

"No Sar, we can't, what if we have another bad storm. I'm going for clams, I want ta swim Sarah, I'm mad," and Megan took off before Sarah could express caution.

She decided to work on the spearing hoping she could succeed for Megan's sake especially, knowing the girl was taller, stronger and probably needed more food since she often complained about hunger. Though Sarah was intent on her task, her eyes looked out to the waters surface where Megan had been diving and surfacing. She hadn't seen the dark head in a while and was wondering if she had missed the girl; her looks became more frequent until she was no longer hunting for fish.

She peered out to the mouth of the lagoon, the separation in the rocks that protected the tranquil turquoise waters being only about 35 feet wide. Megan could hold her breath at least 3 and a half minutes, she was a very capable swimmer, but Sarah felt it had to have been that long by now. Her breathing became rapid and she dove under water herself looking as far as she could see but realizing she might miss Megan surfacing, so she came up. Still no Megan and now she was beginning to panic, she swam out to their diving rock never looking away from searching for Megan's head. When she got to the rock she climbed up giving her a better view and still no Megan.

She was ready to dive back in and go searching when Megan surfaced gasping for air. She was far, farther than they'd ever gone since they knew it wasn't as safe and the current was much stronger. Sarah had shouted her name to no avail as she watched the girl dive again. This time Megan's surfacing was much farther into the lagoon and Sarah was relieved enough to now get very angry. What was she thinking, she could get attacked by a shark or stung by a jelly fish, the water was often turbulent past where the ship had wrecked, it was harder to swim and you could get smashed into rocks whether you're a good swimmer or not. Megan wasn't being careful, she was taking too many chances and any chance you took was a chance that affected them both. Megan had promised to not be stupid, but here she was taking a risk that Sarah couldn't see was worth anything. If she had wanted to go so far, it shouldn't have been alone. Sarah dove back into the water, quickly scrambled onto the beach and paced in her frustration. Sarah wanted to shout out her anger at Megan but she waited, wondering what her tall friend would say.

Megan had a handful of clams and a fishing net with two fish in it, "Look, I found another net or maybe it's the one we had that got blown away. We've got food," Megan's face was beaming triumphantly.

Sarah was glad of the food but she was still very upset though she tried to keep in from surfacing just yet. She knew Megan had probably thought of the danger, but had felt it worth the value of much needed food. Sarah couldn't argue about the food, they needed it, but they wouldn't have starved. It had still been an unnecessary risk.

"Well, where did you find the net," Sarah's face wasn't hiding the scowl very well.

"Oh, it was kinda out by the ship rocks. Here lets make supper, I'm so hungry," Megan hurried along.

So supper was prepared in quiet as Sarah still brooded and Megan didn't look at her companion too often.

"We haven't had clams in a while; did you have to go real deep?"

"Oh ah?..yeah a little deeper, I ah?..reckon."

"The fish will be good tomorrow???.Are you tired?"

"Some??..I guess. I ah??I'm gonna go get more wood and go up to the top just to look out, wanna come," Megan's question was hesitant.

They gathered wood in silence, taking some with them to the mountain top.

"Sometimes I think we should just light the fire in case ya know. Maybe we don't see everything," Megan looked out onto empty horizons in all directions.

Sarah did the same knowing she could see better than her friend, "Maybe," she was doubtful and still angry and confused why she was so upset. Her feelings were very strong, she was disappointed in Megan and she didn't like it. And she sure didn't feel like chatting about normal things.

The weather had cooled dramatically and Megan wondered about a storm. It was cooler up top with the wind so they trekked back down to the shelter after sunset and made a fire. It wasn't long before Sarah stood and went to the shelter without a word. She curled up alone on her side and had trouble sleeping. So did Megan who eventually curled up with her back to her friend wishing they could snuggle for warmth, but still feeling awkward about it and wondering just how mad Sarah was.

The next day very little was spoken except where help or information was needed. Megan tried to draw Sarah out, but diving was turned down, so was racing, shampooing hair, playing tag, dancing and singing or finding pretend buried treasure.

Since fun wasn't working, she thought maybe chores would do it, "Um, let's go to the other side, we can look for crab and maybe go in the pond."

"Nah you can go if you want, you don't need me," Sarah didn't give Megan time to respond and took off to the diving rock, leaving Megan smarting at the abrupt dismissal.

Megan wouldn't go alone they had promised. The thought of promises stung and she didn't want to think too hard so Megan swam in the lagoon and kept watching her friend hating the separation, and knowing she'd blown it, but trying to argue with herself that it hadn't been so bad, she'd been careful and successful, they had food and a net now.

It was close to sunset when Sarah wondered up to the mountain top alone, not inviting her friend. She'd taken half a coconut and left Megan cooking fish, again without a word. Megan stared at the back of the small girl as she ascended to the top feeling the distance grow with each step and wondered what she could possibly do; she had never seen Sarah so removed from her.

The blonde looked at the beautiful fairly calm waters of the surrounding sea trying to figure out how she felt. Sarah knew Megan well and could tell the girl was bothered by her silence; it wasn't how she did things usually. Megan probably thought the risk was worth it cause it had got them food. They did need food but Sarah needed Megan more, she wanted the girl with her regardless of being hungry, they weren't starving. Sarah remembered Megan's reaction, she knew the spider bites had scared Megan and she had promised to not be stupid about stuff. Maybe she was being too cautious. But she was so scared now more than ever, things seemed different somehow. They needed food, they had to take some chances but Sarah felt left out and she wondered if Megan had been careful or just hungry and frustrated. She didn't like not knowing for sure.

Sarah didn't like being mad but the hurt was more since all they had gone through and Megan still went far and could have been hurt. She might have just disappeared, got taken by a shark or trapped and Sarah wouldn't have been able to even get her. That really, really hurt and the tears began falling. She would have felt so lost, so alone, never seeing the girl again, never being able to touch her or feel her again. She'd have been so alone on the raft, the thought of it made it hard to breathe, remembering how much it hurt to have almost lost the girl when she was holding her. To never see Megan ever again, that was too much, she couldn't deal with that and she buried her face in her hands and really cried.

Megan had cooked the fish almost burning it as she worried about the silence of her friend. Megan pondered what was going on with Sarah; it was probably her swimming so far that was it. But she'd been careful, always looking, and it maybe wasn't as far as Sarah thought. But Sarah had wanted to be with her probably, help her, watch out while she worked. She was always helping, always watching her. She would look up sometimes and see those sweet eyes on her and it was amazing how it made her feel, it was so warm, so good, so safe. Sarah was so sweet, she ate less, she watched more, always touching her friend with so much love and care, smiling at her as though she was proud of Megan, and she was always thinking. Megan knew why she'd made the raft and she hated it. At first she thought it was because Sarah didn't trust her, but that wasn't like the sweet blonde who seemed to have so much faith in her. She always felt like Sarah counted on her and waited for her and trusted her. Didn't Sarah know she wouldn't do something dumb. Maybe that was it; Sarah didn't trust her now cause she'd gone out too far.

Megan tried to excuse what she did, reasoning that it wasn't too far, but it was too far if she was honest with herself. She'd been so busy hunting and finding the clams, she could've missed a shark. But they didn't see sharks, not big ones. That one wave had been bad too when it pushed her against the rock and she lost the clams the first time. If Sarah had been with her she could have gotten hurt. Megan sighed, she had been mad and it had felt good to swim against the current. It was hard and it felt good to do it. Plus she had seen something in the distance, it was white and so she had swam out there farther than usual and realized it was the ship. She'd found it at the bottom a little farther away from where she found the net. Only, she hadn't gone out to it, it was just a little too dark and a little too far. She wouldn't have found the clams if she hadn't spotted the metal part of the net and she could barely see that cause it was so much darker down that deep. Her lungs had burned and she had almost lost the clams again when she surfaced. It had felt good to have gotten food against the odds, she was proud she'd done it. But what if something had happened, what if there had been a shark, Sarah would've been alone, she wouldn't even know what had happened, left without a word.

The dread spread through Megan, she could have done exactly what she'd promised not to do, she could have died because she was mad. The memory of the pain in Sarah's face just before she'd lost consciousness seized her. She wasn't very hungry anymore and had no idea how she'd face her friend, she was wrong and there wasn't anything she could do about it except to not be stupid again.

It was the burning smell that brought Megan to herself; the fish was a bit crisp, how appropriate. The sun was just setting so she decided to take the fish to Sarah and see what happened, what could she possibly say, nothing was adequate.

Sarah was breathing deeply, regaining composure. Maybe it was better this way, maybe it would be Megan first, and the girl wouldn't have to suffer her death, she would be the one to lose and feel the pain. The feeling of it was so intense; she didn't want that pain for Megan. She hadn't realized how bad it was, how devastating when she almost died. They were younger, but Megan had felt it, faced it alone first. Megan had also taken care of her dad; she had done something that Sarah could never have done if it had been Megan's dad. She'd done it alone and she'd tried to do it while Sarah was sleeping. Megan took the risks, Megan was scared of the feeling of loss, she didn't want anything to happen to her, Sarah understood, she knew. But Sarah was confused; she thought Megan knew losing her was worse than anything, somehow even worse than losing her parents. Sarah knew that was true but she was a little surprised by it, she wondered if it was because losing Megan was also dying herself, dying alone. She hated the inevitability and it would probably be something dumb, maybe it would be a stupid spider biting one of them while they slept, or while they pottied no matter how careful or how watchful. They could fall off the trail to the other side, it had almost happened once and was only prevented because Megan was so strong and caught her. She hadn't been as careful as she should that time either. Sarah didn't want to be mad anymore she shook herself and tried to focus on the fact they had food and believe in her friend. She didn't want to not trust Megan, it felt too bad, it felt separated more distance and it hurt.

Megan found Sarah's eyes closed as she faced the western fading sunset colors. The golden sky seemed to highlight the golden haired girl, she looked so like an angel, and Megan felt tears in her eyes. She stood silently and her heart clenched, the stabbing came again, the thought that she could have been close to leaving Sarah alone, lost and alone for stupid food. She looked down at the fish and it made her stomach turn.

Sarah looked up at her and she almost fainted from the sight of a sweet smile and Sarah's loving eyes, because she was feeling so undeserving and yet wanting Sarah's love so badly. Megan couldn't say anything, she just stood there stricken.

Sarah sniffed and kind of smirked, "Ahhhh, I thought I smelled burning."

She got up and looked at the blackened fish, "We can still eat it I reckon. But maybe we should share one. That way we'll have protein longer and you won't have to, well we can find a crab or muscles maybe."

Megan nodded and held out the fish for Sarah to take still saying nothing.

Sarah pinched off a bite, "It should be good for a few days this way."

She looked up to see another nod by her quiet companion suspecting something wasn't right, "Some burin ain't keeping you from eating, come on."

"I'm ah??not too hungry?..right???now??maybe later," Megan was struggling to keep the tears away, she felt so guilty.

"Have you eaten anything," Sarah's question was full of concern and she squeezed her arm lovingly.

Megan shook her head, "I can't, I just, I don't want to????"

Sarah reached up and wiped away a tear and Megan trembled, it hurt so bad, she had failed so badly. The hurt was etched on her face.

Sarah's voice was very concerned, "Meggie, Meggie did something, are you??."

Megan shook her head vigorously, "No, I??I'm fine, I mean, I'm not hurt like sick????."

She looked into relieved hazel eyes and fell to her knees, "Sarah, Sarah," she rasped, "I?I can't believe I?I was stupid again. I shouldn't have even?I was mad, again, mad?but that's what's so bad I did it again. I said??.I wouldn't but???..I did, I?.I did and I hate it Sarah, I hate me. I?I did it AGAIN?" her words had turned into a sob.

"Meggie, no Meggie, its okay, every things okay now, and you got food and a net and we??"

This only made it worse; Sarah excusing it, it made her angry.

"NO??.NO Sarah! No it's not OKAY! I said??.I said I love you, and??.and I do, God I do??.but then I'm stupid AGAIN, Sarah, AGAIN, ITS NOT OKAY, NO!"

Sarah's eyes were wide and alarmed at how desperate the girl was, she didn't want Megan to feel like this. She didn't want her poor friend to be this mad at herself, she'd never seen her like this and it was a little scary.

"Okay, Okay Meggie, okay, but you don't need to be so mad. We're okay now and you don't have to be this way Meggie, I make mistakes too??."

"Don't you be nice, don't??..I hurt you Sarah, I??..ahhhhhhhhh??.I hurt you. I know, that's why you're quiet, that's why you won't say anything. You know it, I went out too far, I didn't tell you??.I just did it. I was mad and it?..it felt good to swim and I didn't think. I didn't think of telling you, I just swam cause it was hard, and I went deep and it was darker and the water was harder and I got knocked into a rock once. And I didn't think Sarah, I didn't think of YOU, my Sarah, my friend????I love you, I do, even though I'm stupid???." Megan's face looked desperate at Sarah searching pleading and it tore at Sarah's heart.

Megan's shoulders shuttered and she gripped her head with both hands in dismay, "I???.I don't know how come??I'm sooooo stupid AGAIN! I'm sorry Sarah????I do love you, I do, I do???." Megan looked at Sarah in anguish and she crumpled on the ground covering her head in shame and anger at herself.

Sarah went to her friend and held her as best as she could since Megan was all curled up in a ball. She didn't say anything, Megan didn't want her to, and so she just held the girl.

The next morning just before the sun dawned a sleepy Sarah led a sleepy Megan to the waste hole for relief. Due to an unusually cool morning, they found clothes and made a fire in silence. Megan was sitting on the log and Sarah gently sat beside the girl, when there was no protest she held Megan's hand and they watched the flames without words.

But Sarah did have to do some talking to get Megan to eat the fish, "You know I need you to eat it Meggie, I do??.please for me," she didn't like to say for her, but it was the only way she could get Megan to cave in on this.

"How bout looking for crabs on the other side and we can get water too," Sarah didn't know what to do with poor Megan and she thought staying busy was best.

So the rest of the day was consumed with chores and as many smiles and hugs as Sarah was allowed to give her sweet friend who still hadn't said a word.


The next day wasn't much better and finally Sarah couldn't take it anymore, "Okay, fine Meggie. You can be mad at you, okay. But I'm not, you can't make me. And if you don't talk to me I'm just gonna have to talk to myself and that's kinda dumb but its too quiet my silly husby. I reckon we should go on a picnic or something, swimming or diving, or maybe we can see if this raft floats out on the lagoon. I made the dumb thing and we don't even know if its gonna work."

She reached out to take the girls hand and dragged her along. They wrestled the small craft into the waters and Sarah looked up in delight at her friend, "I can't believe it works, it works Meggie, look??.ha ha, I thought it'd sink straight away. It probably does if we sit on it, let's try."

She hopped up on the bound wood, "Look Meggie, come on, get on the other side and see if it holds."

"We need a paddle," Sarah jumped off and it dumped Megan on the other side and she hit her head on the way down.

Sarah went to her friend quickly and saw some blood in the water, "Meggie, Meggie!!!"

Megan saw the alarm in her friends face, "I'm okay, I just fell when you got off is all."

Sarah's face was still very troubled, "You're bleeding Meggie, let me see."

It was a scrape on her neck only but Sarah wanted to treat it, "Come on, let's put some disinfectant on it sweetie."

"Sar, lets just use water, its okay," Megan's protest was ignored.

The blue eyed girl hissed at the sting, "I'm sorry Meggie, I'm just stupid. I jumped off too quick," she blew on the girl's neck which made the girl hunch her shoulders.

"Ooooo, sorry, does it hurt bad?"

"Just with the disinfectant, and it felt funny when you blew on it, I'm okay Arfy," Megan affectionately rolled her eyes with a smile looking up at her friend since she was sitting on the log.

Sarah looked down at her friend lovingly and smiled back, "Cross your heart?"

Megan reached up with her free hand and crossed Sarah's heart with her finger and nodded warmly. Sarah caught Megan's hand and pulled it to her lips for a kiss. Megan felt her heart skip and looked down kind of embarrassed.

"Here let me see," Sarah gently pulled away the cloth and dabbed a little.

"There, we should put on a bandage??"

"Nah, Sar, it doesn't feel that bad, and it'll just come off in the water, and ah we need to get the raft before it floats away I reckon," Megan nodded to the bobbing craft which was farther out than they left it.

"You stay put, I'll get it," and Sarah plunged after the errant raft.

Sarah pulled on the small raft to a safe distance from the water and stood back to survey the thing.

"You reckon I should build a place for the oars, I thought of it, but I don't know."

"We can, if you want, but you did a good job Sarah, you really??did," Megan looked at her friend with obvious approval.

Sarah just beamed with a silly delighted grin that made Megan's heart skip a beat again and she looked down at the ground not really knowing how come her stomach was doing flip flops. Breathing was kind of hard at night again until she reminded herself of how she'd really blown it and then it was just an ache, though she held Sarah closer and felt the girl snuggle into her and her heart beat faster.

The next few days were spent making adjustments to the raft and playing backgammon and cards.

Sarah wouldn't let the girl in the water for two days until Megan pleaded, "Arfy pleeeeeeease, please I'm so hot and it's just a scrape silly."

"Let me look first, see if it's scabby," Sarah lifted Megan's ponytail and touched it gently.

"Does it hurt?"

"Like I said only the disinfectant, that's all," she hunched her shoulders and took in her breath a little as she felt a kiss on her neck.

"Stop Sarah, that tickles."

It wasn't even a split second before she realized her mistake; the girl was grabbing her ribs and tickling in earnest. So Megan whirled around picking up the happy blonde, which got a delighted scream, and she ran to the lagoon plunging them both in. Sarah was quick to strike again when they came up for air lunging after a surprised Megan who was desperately trying to escape those wickedly talented fingers. She finally caught the girl from the back and wrapped her up in her arms holding on firmly but trying not to be too rough.

"Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam, Sarah???" Megan's breath came rapidly as she breathed in and out near Sarah's neck.

So Sarah went absolutely limp and it caught her friend off guard, Megan released her hold thinking something had happened and Sarah was quick to take advantage reaching out to strike again. Megan decided she had to fight back and began her own tickling, which Sarah quickly ran away from retreating back to the beach with Megan in hot pursuit. She caught the smaller one and they fell to the sand wrestling.

Sarah was giggling helplessly as Megan was straddling the girl tickling away until she could hardly breathe, "Uncle?..Sa??Uncle Sam??.sto?..no?.Meggie."

Megan had the girls arms pinned down above her head and was looking at the tricky girl untrustingly.

Sarah smiled with true pleasure and joy putting as honest a face on as she could, "Please, you're kind heavy."

This totally worked as Megan immediately released her hold again and Sarah turned the tables and was now on top, she pronounced gleefully, "Ha, I gotcha. I win."

But Megan's eyes narrowed and she chased a delighted friend into the water again for more warfare until Sarah had wrapped her legs around Megan's waste and Megan was holding the girl in a bear hug, trapping those arms at the girl's sides, keeping those hands from her ribs. They were both out of breath and not trusting of one another.

"Okay, let go and I will."

"Nah huh, not this time Sar, you got me before twice, not this time."

"Okay, so how long like this silly. We're gonna get pruney??.."

But Megan didn't budge, "HMMMM, s'okay, I like you hugging me, its nice," Sarah kissed Megan's neck, "But its better when I get to hug you back, my arms are gonna get tingles," she planted another kiss and felt Megan stiffen.

Megan didn't want to let go for many reasons the chief among them being that she still didn't trust her tricky playmate.

"You, ah, you put your legs down and then, I'll let you go."

"Hmmmm," Sarah contemplated and kissed the neck again with the same response.

She almost fell back when Megan released her suddenly and Sarah and Megan both clutched to prevent the fall.

"See that's better," Sarah looked directly into the blue eyes partly obscured by bangs and smiled genuinely, "Only," Sarah reached up and ran her fingers through Megan's bangs so she could see the girl better.

Megan's breath was short and rapid; she was trapped with Sarah's legs still wrapped around her. Sarah was smiling lovingly at her and Megan's heart was beating harder than ever.

Still holding Megan's face, "I love it when we have fun Meggie. I hope you feel better; it really hurts when you feel so bad and I can't make it stop. I don't want it to feel that bad, its not suppose to. It's suppose to feel good like today. I love you."

She hugged the girl and felt Megan squeeze back just barely.

Sarah pulled back slightly and kissed her friend gently on the lips once and then twice a little longer then hugged her again.

This time Megan held her close too then said suddenly, "I have to ah, I'm thirsty, let's go get water."

Sarah felt so happy they'd had a good day and Megan's mood was lifting but the blonde got a little concerned that her tall companion had become silent again after they got water.

After dinner she inquired, "Meggie, did I make you feel bad with what I said in the lagoon?"

"No, I just, I'm sorry to feel so bad?????I have to just not get mad and do things cause I am. I want you to??.to trust me, so you feel like you can I mean. You'll see, I won't forget. But it'll take a while for you to see, only I'll do it right next time."

Sarah saw a deep determination in Megan's blue eyes and she couldn't help but reach out and stroke the beautiful face and hug her tall friend. That night was hard for Megan thinking about when it would happen, when would she get mad, would she do something stupid without being mad. And she felt her heart turn cold with grit in her resolve to never be guilty of such stupidity that could have been prevented. Keeping herself safe was as important if not more so than Sarah's safety. She even prayed hoping against hope that this time God would grant her prayer that He would take Sarah before her.

Before it stormed again they decided to wash their hair and took the remaining bottle out to the shipwreck rock. Sarah loved feeling clean and usually liked wash days, but she noticed Megan didn't seem to enjoy it as much this time. She was stiff when Sarah lathered her back, like she was stiff when Sarah kissed her neck. She wondered if it hurt somehow. It didn't hurt her, she liked it when Megan helped her, only it tingled more than she remembered especially when Megan touched her sides some. She even asked Megan to scrub her hair, it always felt so good and it tingled too.

"Does it tingle here," Sarah put her hands in the curve of the small of Megan's back, "or does it hurt?"

"Um it doesn't hurt. You done, we can get the suds off."

"No we can't look."

Some jelly fish swam by and they were stuck for a while so they splashed themselves as best they could but by the time it was safe the soap had dried on their bodies. They had to scrub each other some when they got back into shallower waters.


"I'm sorry Sar. Did I scratch you sweetie?"

Sarah smiled at her friend, "No, you're just strong. Let me see."

She put her smaller hand up to the longer fingers and looked up at the girl.

"I think you grew more again. Here," Sarah moved into the girl, her head almost fitting under Megan's chin but not quite.

"Yeah, I was at your lips last time," Sarah shook her head in defeat after she traced her fingers over Megan's lips.

"We're not done growing, you'll grow too. You grew more than me last time. You'll see," Megan rubbed Sarah's shoulder.

But Sarah's face was a pout as she looked down at the water.

So Megan shrunk down and looked up into hazel eyes, "See told ya you'd grow," she teased warmly wanting to see that beautiful smile.

"If you don't smile you know what happens," Megan looked at her mischievously.

Sarah's smile was crooked, "No you better not."

"Then smile for me and you're safe," Megan wiggled her eyebrows.

Sarah mugged for her.

Megan poised her hands where Sarah could see, "A real smile or I'll make one."

Sarah mugged again and Megan had to attack. Sarah screamed with laughter and the war raged only a little while before Megan yelled out in pain, "Ow, oooo it stings, ahhhh, Sarah watch out, get out honey out, go??." and Megan pulled the girl out with her.

"What, What Meggie?.."

"A jelly fish, it's my leg; you gotta get off anything there with a stick then pee on it, like I did your dad, member."

Sarah didn't need any encouragement and after being sure there were no stingers left she peed as much as possible right where they were.

"Come on, lets go to the shelter and you lay down and I'll get you water."

"Sarah, there's no water out here; we have to go to the cave."

"Okay I'll go," Sarah started to take off and Megan caught her arm.

"No, no we have to do it together Sarah?..Calm down, its okay, your dad was okay and I will be too."

Sarah threw her arms around Megan's neck and squeezed, then she let go slowly, and kissed the girl soundly. Sarah looked directly into surprised blue eyes and nodded affirmatively, "K, sorry. Let's go get water."

Sarah snuggled close that night and looked up in a few minutes at her companion, "What's wrong, does it hurt; your heart is beating a lot. Can you breathe okay; you look like its heavy?"

"I'm ahhhhh, a little warm, and it's swelling some, like your dads. It's okay though, we just need to sleep. Maybe, you know, maybe we can just hold hands though. I'm warm but I don't feel bad really."

Sarah looked downcast and nodded holding the girl's hand but not laying down.

"Sar honey, I can't sleep if you don't, I'm OKAY. I promise."

Sarah nodded again, "I'm just gonna watch a while."

Megan sighed deeply looking at the forlorn face, she couldn't handle it.

"Come here Sarah. Come on," Megan motioned her back.

"No you're hot."

She pulled the girl close, "Just let me breathe heavy and when I go to sleep my heart won't be as bad. I'm okay, I promise everything is fine," she kissed the top of Sarah's head.

And Sarah kissed Megan's neck a few times which she noticed caused a heavy sigh and more heart beats, but they finally went to sleep.

Megan woke up and her leg was a bit warm but she felt okay, it wasn't a bad sting. She didn't want to wake the girl but she had to go pee. She rubbed Sarah's back gently, stroked her nice smelling hair and kissed the girl's head listening to a moan.

"I like it when you rub my back, oh, are you okay, how's it feel," Sarah suddenly realized the events of yesterday.

The concern was plain on Sarah's face and Megan's heart just melted, she forgot herself and kissed Sarah sweetly but covered with, "I'm fine, but gotta pee."

Sarah insisted that Megan sit down and let her make breakfast, which she did while humming and often looked at her blue eyed companion with a smile and quite a few I love yous.

They had planned to cut off split ends the previous day but hadn't gotten to it, so it was today.

"I love how shinny it is when we wash it and it smells good too, it's so pretty," Sarah kissed Megan's head a few times lovingly and noticed her stomach feeling fluttery again.

Megan was patient trying to breathe normally as Sarah brushed her hair but when she blew on her neck and brushed away the lingering hair, then kissed her neck where that scrape from the raft had been Megan jumped up and said she was going in the water.

But before she could do it, and before Sarah said anything, she sighed deeply feeling like she was on the brink of doing something rash again, "Sarah, um, it'll get the hair off and it'll feel good on my leg. But you can come and we can be careful together okay."

Sarah's smile light her face and Megan was amazed at the back flips her heart and stomach seemed to be constantly doing these last few days.

"But can we do mine first please."

"Oh, stupid me, yeah. Here," she took the brush and stroked through golden sun baked hair loving how it felt and running it through her fingers.

She noticed Sarah's shoulders hunch up a little and it struck her that maybe Sarah felt weird too. She cut the split ends and tried to brush away the hair gently. Megan couldn't help but stroke the girl's hair again and breathed in the aroma noticing the girl's shoulders hunch again and decided to put the shoe on the other foot so she kissed an exposed neck softly as Sarah had done to her so often. Sarah was very still and didn't move for a moment so she stroked the hair again and kissed the back of the neck in a different spot and Sarah still didn't move but there were goose pimples on her skin.

She was dying to know how many kisses she could impart but she felt self conscious and her heart was working overtime so as she put the brush aside and the scissors down she asked, "Are you ready for the water?"

Sarah didn't look directly at Megan but nodded, "Oh??yeah."

Megan noticed Sarah's face was red and she hadn't even offered to help Megan, give her a shoulder to lean on or anything. Megan didn't need it, but Sarah was so concerned for her friend she had usually insisted on it. Before they went into the water Sarah reached out and took her hand looking dubiously into the lagoon.

"I don't see any honey, I think we're okay."

They looked for muscles, "See, we just had to wait," Megan said triumphantly beaming at her sweet friend and Sarah's face flushed a little red again as she nodded and began swimming back.

Sarah was a bit quiet the rest of the day and not as often touching Megan. It made the tall girl wonder if she had made a big mistake. That night they held hands but it didn't help their heart rate.

"The cocos are probably more over there now, we should go today," Megan suggested waiting for Sarah's approval.

"Yeah, maybe a crab I hope. It looks like it might be a storm later," she looked at the horizon hoping she and Megan weren't in for a huge one, yet it was only August an they had a lot more rain coming their way she knew.

They weren't successful with crab hunting, though the cocos and the citrus were more plentiful on this side since they hadn't been there in several days. Megan looked at the gathering storm and felt like it would be a pretty big one, so she took Sarah's hand and pulled her over to a rock motioning for the girl to sit on her lap, which she did curiously.

"K, it looks like its coming and we don't have meat. We um, I think we should maybe try, you know, some, some bananas."

Sarah scowled, "Meggie, I won't eat much, no. Please honey I just, I don't want to even try."

The strong girl reached up and cupped Sarah's face with a hand, "It's up to you. But sometime, sometime we have to try again. I know maybe not now, but we used to do it. When we do it together, it works better. I notice some are really ripe and I might not have to even climb. If it doesn't come down by the long branch I won't climb I won't. But can we try with a long branch?"

Sarah looked pained, she looked at the storm and back to her wonderful sweet Megan, the scowl still prominent.

"Its okay, we can maybe think of it next time. I might be able to fish before it comes."

Sarah was so relieved she quickly kissed her friend firmly on the lips then she held her close and Megan could hear the girl's heart racing believing it was because Sarah was upset and relieved.

"Its okay honey, we'll be fine. Let's go try for fish."

But before they got far Sarah halted the girl in front of her, "Only by the long branch, and if there's spiders we run and we don't worry bout getting em, right?"

"Nah, its okay, lets go fish," Megan took a reluctant hand and saw a much relieved face as she led the way.

They didn't catch any fish either and Megan hoped they could handle the meager food they'd be getting for who knew how long.

But the storm was only two days and one night, a night that began with higher heart rates that eventually gave way to sleep. The shelter was a bit battered but it had only been a tropical storm this time. They stayed by the fire that night Megan leaning against the log and Sarah against Megan. It was still months before Christmas time but Megan liked Sarah's voice and asked her to sing some Christmas carols and she wrapped her arms around the girl and swayed with the tune. The music had been so sweet and it felt so good to hold Sarah so close and feel the warmth of her, the smell of her while looking at the crackling fire. She sighed and assumed the still form in her arms had fallen asleep and without thinking she kissed the blonde by her ear tenderly twice and it made Sarah's body stiffen a little and she moaned pleasantly.

"Um sorry, go back to sleep."

Sarah didn't say anything and Megan kept her arms around the girl reluctant to let go though it was hard on her heart. She couldn't believe how much she loved Sarah.

Pretty soon she heard, "Does it tingle when I do that to you?"

There was a long pause before Megan answered, "Yeah."

"Does your stomach feel funny too?"


"When? Does it feel funny when I look at you sometimes and you look away?"

"Um, yeah."

"Mine doesn't feel bad just like butterflies, is it like that?"

"Uh Huh."

There was another long pause.

"Why do you kiss me there?"

"Ah, I'm sorry," Megan began releasing her friend.

Sarah turned around, "Meggie, I'm sorry did I??.I kissed you there cause I love you. I didn't know it was tingly till you did it and if you don't like it I won't. Please don't be mad."

"I'm not mad. I just don't know why, I mean I don't want to kiss you unless??..does it make you feel bad?"

"No, tingly like I said."

"Yeah tingly", Megan looked away from sweet hazel eyes.

"Is there butterflies other times, like when I kiss you on your lips," Sarah asked.

"Um, it's more my heart pounding."

"Like when we go to sleep," Sarah remembered many times she heard Megan's heart pounding.

Megan let out a deep sigh, "Yeah."

"Does it hurt your heart," Sarah wasn't sure.

"No, it's just that it pounds and makes me breathe hard. I like to hug you and hold??..you. But it's just different than before. We used to and it didn't make my heart pound and I didn't tingle, did you always," Megan questioned.

"No, it's mostly since you got sick."

"Oh, mine was a little before that, not a lot, but a little bit before," Megan admitted a bit self conscious.

"You don't have to stop hugging me do you? I like it, I sometimes want to hug you real close and not let you go and even ki??.." Sarah hesitated.

"You even what, please tell me, please," Megan encouraged.

"Well, I don't want you to feel like you have to let me kiss you but I like kissing you. Only it makes my stomach flop sometimes and my heart beats too."

"Me too," Megan looked relieved.

"You're stomach flops," Sarah was surprised.

"Yeah and my heart and I like??it?.too," Megan looked a little unsure if that was okay.

"You mean kissing," Sarah smiled shyly.

"Um, yeah."

"So we can still kiss and hug right," Sarah held her breath waiting for the response.

"Yeah, but sometimes I want to kiss you more than once I think," Megan was glad they were finally talking about this but still wasn't sure about everything.

"Me too, like when you didn't go get the bananas and when you didn't get the fish even though you tried and it wasn't your fault and I shoulda let you try for the bananas. I wanted to kiss you and tell you its okay and tell you I love you and sometimes???I just want to kiss you just???cause I do."

Megan smiled warmly.

Sarah crawled closer on her knees between Megan's legs as she was still sitting on the sand, "Can I kiss you now?"

Megan nodded and got a firm kiss. But she wanted another and she wanted it longer only she didn't want to scare Sarah.

"Can I kiss you and you tell me if it's okay? And if it's not okay you be honest and tell me, promise?"

"I promise," Sarah was honest.

Megan sat up straight now looking directly into pretty sparkling eyes, leaned forward and kissed Sarah gently lingering longer than she'd ever dared before.

Sarah responded tentatively enjoying the closeness and when they parted she said, "I like that."

Megan smiled warmly, "Can I again?"

Sarah nodded enthusiastically and she received another longer kiss, firm but not too hard, then another and another.

Megan softly stroked Sarah's face feeling the soft skin and kissed her cheeks gently, lovingly, "You're so?..soft, I love you?..I um, I watch you when you sleep sometimes and um?..touch your face like now???and I rub your back and I hold you close and you snuggle more, I like that. Well I liked it but didn't cause I didn't know why it felt good and I breathed hard. I thought something was wrong with me."

Sarah smiled knowingly, "I felt you sometimes, when you rubbed my back. Even once you rubbed my face and I almost opened my eyes but I was afraid you'd feel bad and that you'd stop, so I pretended to be sleeping. You kissed my cheek and I hugged you more, member."

Megan had a silly slightly self conscious grin, "I thought you were sleeping. I wanted to kiss you more."

Megan leaned in and kissed her sweet Sarah finding a welcoming embrace as Sarah's hands moved to the back of Megan's neck, making the kiss a bit more urgent and firm. They looked at each other a little surprised and delighted and Megan kissed the girl again softly twice.

Blue eyes looked adoringly into hazel, cupping the blonde's face Megan looked so deeply, "I will never hurt you cause of being stupid, not again Sarah???never," and Megan's kiss was firm, gentle, loving, longing.

Sarah was so happy there was no more distance, no more separation, not like before, and she knew the truth of what Megan said, she knew Megan loved her as much as she loved Megan, it felt safe again, even safer than ever.

Sarah's eyes reflected her thoughts and her love when she said, "I know??.I love you Meggie."

Sarah's kiss was also loving, firm, gentle and longing. They separated both breathing deeply. The hugs were many; the touches were gentle and warm as they explored the kissing of one another for quite a while.

"I'm glad this is okay, it feels so much better now," Megan's tone was clearly filled with relief.

"Did you feel bad honey, why?"

"I just didn't know it was okay. And I didn't know why I wanted to kiss you. Like once I wanted to kiss your back cause its soft and I don't know, but I didn't cause I didn't know why I wanted to. I didn't want to before."

"Is it like when I kissed your neck cause I love you and if feels so good to be close to you?"

Megan smiled softly glad Sarah understood and nodded.

They gazed into each others eyes feeling the mutual relief, love and joy and their kiss was sweet, loving and warm becoming a deeper kiss as their practicing was paying off and when they broke breathing deeply Megan buried her face close to Sarah's neck and kissed the girl's skin. Sarah's breath became more rapid as Megan trailed kisses up to her ear when she took in a deep breath and stiffened a little.

Megan looked at her a bit alarmed but Sarah reassured the girl with another firm kiss that had an urgency they hadn't had before. Megan's hands were stroking Sarah's back and Sarah's hands were sweetly and firmly gripping Megan's face as the kiss became harder yet still lacking the skill of seasoned lovers.

They were both breathing deeply when they broke and looked at each other in surprise, "Ah, ah, it really tingles when you rub my back when I'm kissing you," Sarah's voice was unsure.

"Oh I'm sorry, I won't."

"No, no its okay, it didn't hurt, it felt really good, but it's a lot, huh," Sarah expressed her wonder.

"I know, I know, its, well it's like I can't help but rub your back, and sometimes I???"

"What??, you what," Sarah looked intense.

"Well I don't know."

"Meggie, tell me, its okay. I like this. It feels good, it feels almost too good, like I never felt before, I mean, um, its okay right, or not," Sarah was still unsure of what all was happening.

"No it's good like you said it feels real good. Its just sometimes I want to hold you so close and squeeze you in a hug like I can't get you close enough and I'm afraid I could hurt you."

Sarah almost chuckled with love in her eyes, "Meggie, you'll never hurt me, you can't, you can't honey."

Megan's eyes were so earnest, "I wouldn't you know, I wouldn't, but I just don't want to touch you too much, if you don't want me to."

"I don't think you can, but it feels like a lot. Not bad, just really big, you know. Maybe we should kiss only for a little more and go to sleep. But I want you to hold me close Meggie I always do."

Megan smiled and kissed her sweet Sarah lovingly, gentle and reassuring. They explored kissing a little more but never let it get too intense and finally fell asleep in each others arms. It was almost 4 days since they had discovered this wonderful expression that made them both happier, providing more laughing, teasing and hugging and feeling close yet wanting more. But they were inexperienced and alone so it really amazed them how it felt.

The food caught and consumed, the chores done they settled next to the fire finding each others embrace. They had purposely not done a lot of kissing by the fire at night; most of it was expressed at different times in the day. But it had been an eventful day; they had taken the raft out of the lagoon today because of the waters calmness.

They had gone all the way to the south side of the island landing the craft on the beach which was harder because of the waves. Crab hunting hadn't been successful and Megan had asked and gained permission to hunt for fish on this side with the net. The waters weren't quite as clear on this side so Sarah got in the water with her sweetheart and kept a vigilant watch and Megan dove into the depths exploring where they hadn't dared go before. It was only successful when they got farther away from shore and the waves weren't stirring the waters. But it had been much harder here, requiring more diving and stronger swimming. Sarah had stayed with the raft, dipping under water often to look around peering in every direction. They knew it was riskier, especially carrying the more likely danger of sharks, but there hadn't been fish in a while and Megan wanted to try the net. They often had caught fish on this side with the fishing gear, but with no fishing line, the hunting was harder and the success less frequent.

So it was a full day, they snagged three fish and one was big enough to fill them both. They were happy to have fish for at least two more days.

Megan gathered her wonderful Sarah into her arms, "We had a feast honey. We've got breakfast tomorrow, no cutting or cooking even."

Sarah looked at the remainder of the big fish and the rest of the coconut.

She smiled proudly, "Cause you didn't give up, you're so strong, it was harder but you did it, cause you're my Meggie," she kissed Megan quickly then a little more firm.

Sarah felt Megan's arm muscles squeezing playfully and seeing a silly grin on Megan's face. She leaned over raising up the girls arm and kissed her muscle smiling charmingly at her friend.

And Megan gathered her in for a hug as Sarah laid her head on Megan's chest and they both sighed. She kissed her skin slowly working her way up Megan's neck feeling the girl's breath become more rapid and feeling the heart beat. Their look was pretty intense and Megan wanted to be careful, she hugged her sweet friend.

"I'm so glad you were there, I woulda been scared if you weren't, I knew you were looking, I felt it. It made me try harder and concentrate more."

This so excited Sarah she looked intently at the blue eyed girl and maneuvered quickly to straddle Megan's lap shaking her head with amazement, "That makes me so happy, so happy Meggie. Cause, cause I want to help you, I want to always help you."

"You do silly, you do. I'm really glad you do and we did it together, we took the raft and we got it over there and we got it back. We did good honey, real good. I'm happy too," Megan kissed the girl.

She pulled back and looked lovingly at the beautiful blonde. Her hair was highlighted by the flames and her skin was rich with the colors of gold orange fire, she was so pretty, and so sweet. Megan's heart clenched, she reached up and trailed her finger across the plains of the girls face tenderly leaning in and kissing the skin here and there finally reaching the lips and kissing gently. She opened her own lips wider for the first time and didn't purse them as much gently tasting the girl's sweet lips. The kisses increased as they explored this new method and Sarah moaned.

Megan looked concerned still desperately close to Sarah's lips she asked, "Is this okay?"

Sarah nodded sincerely her breath and heart picking up speed and placed one hand on the side of Megan's face and the other hand under the girls left arm on her side, while Megan began rubbing her back and in the curve of her hip. Sarah ran her hands through Megan's hair and heard a whimper and received the deepest kiss yet.

Sarah kissed the girl's neck longingly and Megan held her tightly but not too tight. Sarah could feel the girl's heart though she didn't know how because hers was beating so much. It was Megan's turn to kiss her neck and find her lips again, her right hand holding Sarah's side and her left hand tucked in the small of her back feeling the soft skin.

Megan broke first, almost panting, "I, God Sarah, we better, uh, I don't want to do anything you don't want, so let's not ah?..."

Sarah's index finger was placed gently on lips to silence the girl and take a minute, "Meggie, its okay. I like it. My heart is beating fast but it feels reeeeeally good and um, amazing, yeah like it's so big, feels big, but I like it, I mean if you do."

Megan's eyes widened in astonishment, "I, I do, I do, I really like it. But it gets harder to stop Sarah; I don't want to, well to touch you too much or kiss you too hard."

"Meggie, this doesn't hurt me, really and it's not too much, well maybe it's too much, amazing like I said, I think that's the word. But I like it. Are you scared?"

"Well um, yeah a little. Not scared of you, but, Gosh honey, I just, sometimes I, you just feel amazing yeah like you said, AMAZING Sarah and I????"

Sarah smiled but was silent looking at Megan encouragingly, waiting.

"I, um sometimes I want to rub your arms and your back and I don't want to go too far down so I have to stop."

Sarah smiled warmly a bit unsure but said, "You don't have to stop unless you want to. I told you I like it and it feels good. And I like touching you too Meggie. If I need to stop or you do, we just say so, okay. If you want to stop now we can," Sarah looked down trying to not show that she really didn't want to stop.

"Um, well can I kiss you a few more times and then we can go to sleep," Megan asked tentatively.

Sarah smiled nodding enthusiastically and there were more kisses which led to more touches. And this time Megan let her hands feel Sarah's bottom and her sides and when she got to the outside of the girls legs while Sarah was kissing her deeply she felt the goose pimples on the girl's flesh and Sarah moaned taking in her breath sharply her eyes a bit widened in surprise.

Megan froze, what had she done, she was scared she'd hurt Sarah.

Sarah swallowed hard and saw the terror on Megan's face, "No its okay. I'm okay, but maybe we should um, for now, we can stop a while."

Sarah kissed Megan quick and firm and got up from straddling the girl's lap.

Megan was scared she had done something wrong, "Did I??, did I do somethin wrong? Sarah I'm sorry, I shouldn't have, I didn't mean to hurt you."

Sarah held out her hand beckoning her friend to stand up to.

Megan took the hand and stood up and Sarah wrapped her in a big hug, her face on the girl's chest above her breast, "You didn't hurt me. You didn't do anything bad. But I just think its enough for now."

"Oh, okay, I'm sorry."

Sarah looked up and pulled Megan into a deep kiss, "I'm not sorry," and she burrowed back into the girl's chest this time a cheek on a breast.

It was soft and she knew she should stop but she couldn't help herself and rubbed the breast with her face and felt the heart beat and Megan take in her breath.

"You're soft and I like sleeping here, but I don't know if I can now cause??."

Megan took a chance, "Cause you want to kiss me there?"

And Sarah did, she placed many kisses there and it wasn't too long before she kissed Megan's stomach until Megan begged to sit down she couldn't stand. Sarah received the same treatment before long and then they discovered what French kissing was all about laughing when their teeth clicked but exploring all the more until they both stopped, staring at each other panting for air.

"I um, I, Sarah, I don't know. I'm never gonna go to sleep now."

Sarah nodded still staring at her wonderful Megan feeling things she hadn't mentioned and wondering if Megan felt the same.

Megan saw it on her face, "What, what's wrong?"

"I ah, do you have to go pee?"

Megan's brow furrowed, "No, but come on."

"No, I mean it just feels funny there."

"What feels funny?"

"Ah, never mind," Sarah's eyes were anywhere but on Megan.

"Honey, if I did something, what's wrong, do you feel bad?"

"It's just when we did all that and you liked it right?"

Megan rolled her eyes not believing Sarah could possibly think otherwise, "YEAH."

Sarah chuckled looking incredibly pleased at her sweetheart.

"Did you feel anything different that you didn't feel before maybe, like something somewhere you got surprised about?"

"Gah, Sarah, its all like that. I, I can't believe this, how it feels. Remember when we didn't like to be all mushy. Well, I don't know why, but I like it now. It never felt like this before and I never wanted to do all that stuff before but now, I just, I??"

"Yeah I know. I'm thirsty, here."

They shared some water and both watched the dying fire kind of relieved for a break in their new discoveries. They were silent but not uncomfortable when Megan yawned deeply and Sarah knew the night had been enough for both. The silence lengthened and when Megan's eyes were very droopy Sarah gently pulled them to the shelter. Curling up together was a little strained at first cause they were both feeling such new intense things. But sleep finally took them until nature called and then they returned to slumber once again.

They missed the sunrise though it was on the other side of the island, but the pink shadows were no where to be seen when Megan rubbed the back of her blonde haired sleeping buddy. Sarah sighed and lazily kissed Megan's neck while Megan stroked her hair. Though they were sleepy neither one was too far from the memory of the night before. Megan kissed a blonde head and got to look at sleepy eyes and a smile.

"I want a real one."

Megan obliged.

"Did you have dreams?"

"Yeah about fishing, but when I caught em they were play kinda fish. We couldn't eat em. And when I speared em the stick bounced off. Then the dolphins came and told me we had to go to the east side in the raft so we did and we caught fish a lot, cause there's a lot a lot over there, but the water is really deep, only the dolphins stayed and protected us."

Sarah chuckled, "That's funny, did the dolphins sound like Flipper?"

Megan was trailing her fingers across her sweetie's back, "Nah, it was cool, they talked in my head. The sound from their mouths were clicks like Flipper though. And they did summer salts and they were different colors, green and pink and purple, it was funny."

Megan hugged her friend lovingly and Sarah got another kiss.

Sarah was rubbing Megan's side and kissed the girls neck again, "I dreamed about being on the raft too but I don't really remember what, fish and waves and I think it was something hard. Yours was more fun."

Megan looked at beautiful eyes, "You know your eyes turn colors. Sometimes they're real blue, sometimes green, sometimes both. You're beautiful Sarah, I love you," she kissed the girl deeply.

Sarah kissed her neck and then down to her breast and Megan caught her breath, so Sarah looked up quickly, "What does that feel like, when I do that honey, do you feel anything funny somewhere else?"

Blue eyes widened in surprise and nodded hesitantly.

"But you don't have to go potty?"

Megan's mouth opened in further surprise, "Yeah but it feels funny, right?"

"You mean you have to potty but it feels funny," Sarah asked.

"No, I don't have to and it feels funny there."

"Yeah, but it, does it feel bad," Sarah hoped not.

"No, not bad, just different. Sarah we should eat breakfast and you know do other??stuff."

"Yeah, yeah."

They took the raft out again and caught a few more fish and were mad at themselves for not putting out many containers since it rained. They talked about the possibility of going to the east side on the raft, they didn't have to get in the water, just see if they could make it, but it wasn't decided upon. They gathered wood and ate, played cards, and hang man in the sand.

It was another night by the fire this time on their only blanket up on the mountain top; they looked at stars and stoked the fire. Their distance from each other physically had been noticeable but not mentioned. Trying to go to sleep Sarah finally got up and walked out to the point of the V feeling the cooling air comforting.

Megan watched the girl and didn't like how close she was to the edge but made her voice soft so not to startle the girl, "Sarah come back please, not that far."

She felt a twinge of guilt and carefully stepped back but didn't go to where Megan was sitting she stayed looking out upon the waters glistening in the moonlight.

Megan watched the girl wishing for the closeness again, looking at her outline and wanting to touch the girl, she walked over to Sarah and was silent.

Sarah turned slightly and said, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have gone so far."

Megan gently rubbed her shoulder, "Its okay."

Sarah came over for a hug and pretty soon there were kisses and they were hugging closely.

"I love you Sarah, but we can sleep, we don't have to do all that stuff all the time."

They lay down holding hands. After a time Sarah got up again and Megan was quick to say, "What's wrong honey. I thought you were asleep."

"I thought you were, I, I'm not as sleepy, you go ahead," Sarah started to walk away but Megan held her hand and pulled her back down to her.

She was hoping Sarah wanted to kiss too and wrapped her in a hug rubbing her back and pretty soon there were kisses and touches and the same feelings that were there the night before and the morning.

As the desire increased so did the funny feelings. They stopped and looked at each other confirming they were feeling the same.

Sarah offered, "Mine feels like a heart beat maybe like it moves inside."

"Yeah I know me too," Megan's voice was thick and her breath rapid.

Exploring each other with as much caution as new urgent feelings allowed, there were more kisses and more touches and finally more exploring the funny feeling. The exploration was honest, curious, surprising and even pure. The sensations amazed them, made them breathless and even slightly scared them in moments of extreme sensations, but they were very sweet, sensitive and gentle to each other when their touches, desire and passion finally became that of true and first time lovers. Wrapped up in each others arms finally experiencing what their hearts and bodies had been building to, they slept deeply as one.

The morning brought a storm and they scurried around to get enough food to last them a few days and spent those days in the cave exploring each other and discovering the amazement, wonder and joy of this new way of expressing their feelings.

The new lovers emerged to a slightly battered shelter and busied themselves with repairs and hunting for protein. Working side by side was punctuated with periods of kisses and hugs that sometimes blossomed into much, much more.


"How's this one sweetie, its long, can we try," Megan waited for Sarah's decision.

"Okay, maybe it'll work, but is it thick so it won't break?"

"I'm sure I can make it work honey, just watch for me okay, I'll be busy with it, so yell out when you need to," Megan smiled and kissed her sweet lover.

Sarah looked up then touched her sweethearts arm softly, "I need you to go slow honey, it'll make me feel better, and be sure to touch it in different places before the big one okay."

"I promise sweet Sarah, thanks for letting us try this. I'm proud of you," Megan kissed the blonde deeply and stroked her face looking lovingly into hazel eyes.

"I know honey, just take it slow."

Megan nodded reassuringly and lifted the long object to her objective probing softly, then waited holding her breath. She put more strength into the next movement but Sarah still hadn't said anything, nor had she seen any sign she should stop. So the next thrust was much more forceful and she heard Sarah's sharp intake of breath so she stopped.

"What, what did you???. "

"No, but it was harder so I thought we might. You can keep going," Sarah looked up again anxiously.

Megan probed again slightly, then took a deep breath, "Are you ready honey?"

Sarah nodded so Megan gripped the long tree limb and put all her strength into striking the ripe banana bunch hanging from the tree. It swayed but nothing fell nor were there any creepy creatures emerging from their home. Megan did it again and again and became more and more aggressive with each attempt. Still the banana's remained attached to the tree though nothing had vacated the fruit cluster.

"I don't think they're any inside sweetie, I shook it hard enough like your dad did and still nothing. Will you let me climb up and cut it down?"

Sarah's face displayed the war that went on in her mind, "Let's look all around the tree first."

They investigated and Megan even used the long limb to scrap the sides of the tree.

Sarah looked appreciatively at the careful Megan, "Shake it one more time hard."

Megan did so, then received reluctant permission to climb up and cut down the stubborn bananas. Sarah watched carefully and nodded approval when Megan looked down before delivering the cutting stroke that brought the bunch down with a thud and still there were no creatures forthcoming. They picked at the bunch carefully and were delighted that nothing seemed to have made this particular bunch its home.

After dinner had been made and consumed, Megan took Sarah's hand and kissed it lovingly, "These will last at least a week, a break from cocos Sarah, you did good sweetie, thank you."

"You weren't scared?"

"I don't think as much as you, plus I was mad last time and not careful. We used to do it with your dad and even when there's spiders you can see em and I jump out of the way. So I knew we were doing it right today. Thank you Sar."

"You keep saying that, but its better not being so scared now. It feels good," she looked relieved at her love, "Thanks for waiting so long. You still had to climb up the tree. But I made you wait till now and we had to go through a storm with not much food. I'm sorry for that," the regret was clear in her voice and hazel eyes.

"Sarah, no, we're fine, you did great. Don't be sad about anything, you did good. If it rains this week we'll have enough," she cupped the face of the sweet blonde and kissed her deeply.

"I don't want you hungry cause of me Meggie. I hated hearing your tummy growl, I'm sorry," her face was a pout remembering their days in the cave with little food.

"Sarah it's just, just, if we eat the same amounts and we're both still hungry it doesn't feel so bad. But if you ask me to eat more than you even though I know you're hungry, I can't Sar. So we won't do that again honey okay, it hurts too much," Megan placed her hand on Sarah's tummy as her mind returned to the recent 5 days they'd spent in the cave with only three cocos and one fruit while it stormed and stormed outside??..

Sarah had been too scared to let Megan get any bananas before the coming storm which Megan had judged rightly that it would be a bad one. They did eat meat the day before, but as the storm approached there was no fish to be found, no crabs and they were left to only the cocos and citrus. Sarah felt so bad and no matter how much Megan attempted to make her feel better Sarah moped. She also insisted that Megan eat more, to which Megan finally relented but really hated and she cried while finishing their last coco. She looked at Sarah with tears streaming down her face and pleaded that she never be asked to do so again.

They're affections for each other that night were fueled with deep emotion, the desperation of being indelibly connected to each other with every action affecting the other. It was now more important than ever and new lovers loved one another out of need and growing, maturing passion leaving both amazed at the depth of feeling that filled their hearts.

It had been four months of new curious feelings and now no longer was touching one another new or just a fun thing to do, it didn't just feel good. In fact, it almost hurt they're hearts because for the first time as Megan and Sarah came together while the storm raged and their log fire dimmed, they actually made love looking into each others eyes, the looks were deeper, the caresses more needful, the feelings more moving, their hearts more aching.

As tears had fallen from both the words uttered were rich with love, "Sarah, God Sarah, I love you. When we, this, I love you Sarah, every time I kiss you and feel you I love you. Holding you, I just, I just, Sarah its cause I love you. I always do, but when I hold you like this, Sarah, thank you, thank you for???letting me, giving??.." the words had failed Megan.

Sarah made love to the only person that mattered. Hoping desperately and voicing it that Megan could feel how deeply she loved the beautiful wonderful girl, how much she needed Megan, that loving Megan was all that mattered to her.

As Megan was recovering her breath from the deepest loving she'd ever known Sarah's eyes looked through blue penetrating Megan's soul, "I love you Meggie, more than anything more than I know even. I'm sorry honey. Please forgive me, I just, I'm, I get scared Meggie. If something happens, it's just so hard. I want you here so bad, I want it to be like now and not stop. I want to??..to??to love you like this right now when you feel me Meggie inside of you, how you feel inside, I hope you know its cause I love you Meggie, cause I do, I really do more than anything, ???.."

Sarah's words had been lost to more kisses and love making while the storm began to lose its power and the light had begun to dawn. In the later part of the day they seemed to have shared words without speaking as they went out to their day hoping to catch the sun before it set. It was only a few days after the storm had blown out that they came to the banana tree and accomplished the chore that Sarah had been too scared to try before the storm and had left them with too little food.

And now Megan came back from her memory, her hand on Sarah's stomach, the fire crackling illuminating them in golden orange light. Megan looked deeply, longingly into pretty hazel eyes that were looking back at her with unlimited love and they shared another night of rich emotion filled lovemaking and care of one another.

The drier season and Christmas approached bringing with it the shoring up of the shelter that had thankfully not been lost during the storms. The shelter was repaired and they enjoyed going about the daily work of survival, always close to one another in body and in spirit. Both girls enjoying the presence of the other more than ever before, instead of desperate need for survival it was a growing soulful need of love and hope and joy.

When Christmas came they danced upon the mountain top under the stars with a huge fire glowing in the night.

"What do you remember about the stories for Christmas Meggie? Did your mummie read to you? Mine did. And we went to church, it was more fun than the other times we went, cause we got to do more stuff. I liked the singing a lot and I was in a play once. I was an angel that told Joseph Mary was having a baby."

"We went to church to see the baby Jesus story, but it wasn't on Christmas Eve. You went on Christmas Eve right," Megan was trying to remember long ago.

"I liked Christmas Eve cause that's when we sang and stuff, then on Christmas day we went too but it was like normal church," Sarah explained.

"You went to church more than me. We went at Christmas, just me and mum, and we went at Easter to see Jesus come out of the grave. That was cool, cause everyone was real happy that he wasn't dead. I liked the movie about the little drummer boy. He was a nice boy, a lot nicer than most boys. And I always thought it'd be way neat to have a camel and sit up there on its humps," Megan grinned.

"I wish we had some animals here. Maybe a pet dolphin like Flipper. It'd be fun to go swimming with them huh," Sarah new how much they both liked swimming and missed having Scooter or a pet.

"Oh like in my dream but they were different colors, that was funny. But it was fun to swim with them, you swam with one and I swam with two of them. I had that dream again, did I tell you?"

"No, over on the other side of the island where we found that sand bar with daddy and the water was so dark?"

"Yeah," Megan didn't want to talk too much about that so it wouldn't hurt Sarah remembering her father.

"Meggie, it's a little scary over there. Cause you can't see the bottom like here and it's so dark down in the water. Are we going over there again?"

"We don't have to. But let's go to the small cove and fish now that it's not gonna rain so much, is that okay?"

Sarah smiled lovingly into beautiful blue eyes, put her arms around Megan's neck and said, "As long as I'm with you, I'll go anywhere you want."

They shared and deep kiss.

"Meggie lets pray to God since its Christmas K."

"You pray, I'm right here, but you say it for us both please."

Megan held the smaller girl close; she fit just right under her chin standing under the stars.

"Hi God, it's me and Meggie. Its Christmas and we don't have a church but we thought of the baby Jesus and when He lived here. Thank you for helping us stay alive God. Help us keep being careful when we get food and go in the jungle and all the stuff we have to do, like fishing and digging waste holes. Help Meggie cause she's strong and she always gets us food, she swims far and hard and climbs and stuff. Thank you for giving me Meggie God, thank you for letting us have each other, and if that's why you let us be here then that's okay. Cause nothing is as good as Meggie and me, please keep both of us safe. And when we die, if it's okay, can we please die together. Don't let it hurt her when it happens please and me too. Tell mummie and daddy hi for me and Meggie. Thanks God. Amen."

Megan held Sarah for a moment longer praying silently for herself that God would let them die together instead of apart. And then it overcame them both and they spent the night loving one another until sleep took them.

The drier season always provided an easier time of fishing and gathering food. It was more plentiful and not quite as stressful since they knew they didn't have to prepare for days in the cave. It provided for more days of calm waters and this found them a few times taking the raft they'd built and sailing to the northeast side lagoon to fish and swim in different waters. It was a few months before Sarah's birthday; they were swimming and exploring the rocks and waters of this lagoon on a sunny day.

Did you see that darker part Sar? I think it's like a cave. Can I go and find out? I won't go in, just see if it's an opening, is that okay," Megan sought permission.

The tall strong girl really loved exploring, but would never let it make her take enough of a chance to be in danger.

"Are you sure its not too far honey, you can make it to the opening and back no problem?"

"Oh Yeah, I reckon, it's not that much farther. I won't go in, promise."

Sarah tried not to make a face, "K, be careful Meggie."

"That's okay, I don't need to. Come on lets look for more of those fish on the other side of this rock farther in."

"Meggie, you go ahead. We'll look for the fish when you get back," Sarah encourage from her sitting position on a low lying rock.

The tide was coming in and the water was beginning to break over her rock but she sat tight.

Meggie smiled and kissed her lover before diving in to explore, wanting to see all she could see, but she was cautious not swimming too fast yet also not too slow due to the need of oxygen. The water became a lot cooler and then it began getting darker than Megan expected, she was about to turn around when a rush of water made her bump into a rock she didn't even know was there. A bit disoriented, she looked for the light and was suddenly slammed into a rock hitting her head almost loosing her breath. She pushed off the rock in the direction she thought she needed to go feeling her head throbbing and her lungs beginning to burn. Though she pushed off, it was so dark she thought maybe she'd gone into the cave rather than having turned around, another rush of water and she hit a rock again. She was loosing ground and her lungs were on fire.

Sarah's eyes never left the waters surface where she had lost the sight of Megan. She was worried and hadn't wanted to say yes to Megan, but she knew the girl was a strong swimmer and trusted what she'd said. Sarah knew Megan loved swimming and exploring new things, so she'd tried to have faith and not be such a worry wart preventing her wonderful lover some excitement. Looking at the waters surface waiting for the girl's return she began to feel her chest tighten but told herself not to panic. Finally she couldn't stand it, Megan had been gone too long and she dove into the water.

Swimming in the direction she prayed her Sarah was, Megan felt the skin of a creature brush up against her. She froze, scared it was a shark. Suddenly she was being propelled forward by whatever it was. As the light began returning she realized it was a dolphin and she grabbed onto its fin and surfaced as soon as she was able gasping for breath. She swallowed water and held on to the dolphin hearing Sarah scream her name. Then both girls were being assisted by the friendliest of ocean creatures. Their ride lasted until they came to where they'd tied up the raft and each girl let go of their free transportation. Sarah grabbed Megan who was sputtering and pulled the girl up with her to the safety of their raft.

Megan coughed and clung to Sarah trying to say the word sorry.

"Meggie, shhhhhhh. Take a breath honey, come on," Sarah made Megan kneel on the raft and rubbed her back.

Megan continued to cough and take some deep breaths, then as the world was returning to her she began to cry, coughing periodically and tried to talk, "Sar??I, it??..the water, hit my head. Tried?..turn around??????.before?.. hit a rock??.I'm sorry. It was more dark and I started turn??then I??got shoved to the rock?..by strong waves. I couldn't find the light honey??.I was trying so hard Sarah. I was turning around cause it was too dark more than I thought so I wasn't gonna go as far as I wanted, too dangerous. Sarah??." Megan looked pained at her Sarah feeling so guilty.

Sarah held her sweetheart, "Its okay Meggie, you didn't know, it's not your fault. You were trying to come back, like you said. It was the water honey. You're here Meggie. It's okay."

Megan was still crying, "I love you Sarah, I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have ever done it. I'm sorry honey. I love you, please forgive me."

Just then two dolphins leapt into the air with summer salts and dove back into the water. They did it again and swam close to the raft, splashed with their tales and took off.

Both girls were amazed and thankful, Sarah giggled. She looked at the surprised face of Megan and saw the tears still streaming.

She kissed Megan deeply and held her tight, "You reckon maybe God is keeping us safe like we asked at Christmas, huh?"

She felt Megan crying harder and took the girls face in her hands, "Megan, Megan look. Don't feel bad. You didn't do anything bad Meggie. You asked me and I thought it was okay too. It's not our fault. You're here with me. We're okay and we just won't do that again. We know now, its okay and you didn't do anything wrong! I know you didn't. Come on, we got 4 fish, that's great! Let's go back sweetie. Untie us. You'll feel better when we're back."

Megan was sullen and silent as they journeyed back to their lagoon.

"It was like your dream except we were at the alcove and they weren't purple and green, ha ha," Sarah chuckled but got nothing from her lover.

"I guess maybe, well, ya reckon they're like guardian angels? And with how high they can jump its almost like they can fly????????????????????.I hope we see them again sometime. Maybe at the lagoon," Sarah sounded hopeful and still light hearted.

There was still silence as they rounded the corner and began rowing into the lagoon.

"I'm hungry, did you hear my tummy, you hungry sweetie?"

Megan nodded.

They pulled the raft up onto the beach to a safe distance.

"I'll wash em hon, watch for me K," Megan took the fish.

Sarah watched for unfriendlies as Megan cleaned the fish for their dinner, then she put the fish on a rock near the fire pit.

Sarah said forlornly, "There's no embers huh? Ahhhhhh, I hate doing it from sticks, no sun, nothing."

"I'll do it Sar. Let's get what we need," Megan's voice still held a sadness but they went about their chore picking up some coconuts as well and returned.

Megan was intent on their task, not looking at Sarah who put down her part of the wood. Regarding her beautiful blued eyed lover and feeling the waves of guilt she knew Megan was mentally using to club herself she just had to do something to stop the poor girl. It wasn't her fault and she didn't want it to continue so without warning she attacked with tickle fingers.

"No more long faces, you're in for it," Sarah giggled and enjoyed attacking the ribs of her beautiful tall companion.

Megan tried escaping and not encouraging her attacker, also trying not to laugh, but it was useless, Sarah was on a mission. She ran away from her, Sarah chasing closely after and it became a game of tag, Sarah trying to out smart the faster girl and finally dove after a retreating form barely catching Megan's ankle and getting a face full of sand for her effort.

"Ahhhhh, I give up, you're too fast," Sarah panted and turned in the sand to face up to the sky spitting out the part of the beach that was in her mouth.

"Yuck, I need water, ahhhhh," she was tired and stayed prone for a few moments.

Within what might have been 30 seconds Megan was on her knees beside the blonde helping her to a sitting position and placing a cup of water to the sweet lips smiling a little and shaking her head softly making black locks fall forward into her eyes. Sarah drank and spit out the sand she'd unwillingly consumed in her fall.

Then she looked in the beautiful eyes squinting with her own, "Are you gonna stop being mad at yourself or am I gonna have to chase you more, please come on, I'm tired," Sarah's eyes pleaded.

Megan sighed deeply looked down at the sand and began, "I'm sor?" Sarah placed and finger on her lips stopping the girl.

Sarah shook her head and leaned over to kiss pouting lips. This turned a bit more urgent for both and despite a long day and the fire making task before dinner could even begin, they were occupied for a few more minutes until Megan's stomach gave a huge growl. They both laughed and turned their attention to making dinner. And after dinner, though the day had made for a deep weariness, their need to love and care for each other was deeper and before slumber could be found they fell into each other with a soulful passion that only two people who's every breath depended on one another could share.

When Sarah's birthday arrived it was the calm before the storm. They could tell it was brewing though they saw no clouds gather on the horizon yet. Megan thought perhaps it would arrive the next day, but they spent much of the day working hard to reinforce the shelter, gather a good amount of wood to store in the cave as well as a good supply of food. And after safely securing a bunch of bananas they went fishing on the south side. Sarah clung to the raft and watched the love of her heart swim against the current to net some much needed fish. It took a long while and a lot of effort. Every time Megan surfaced so did Sarah, she saw the blonde head bob up by the raft and felt good that they were a team. Megan knew she could fish without Sarah, but never as well and the days of needing to do so alone were long gone. She needed to feel those eyes upon her as she worked; it was for them, not just her own hunger. It finally paid off as she snagged two. She wanted more, but though she tried, it wasn't to be. So she and Sarah rowed back to the lagoon.

As Sarah retrieved some things from the shelter Megan looked out to the distance feeling the storm just beyond her sight. She hadn't wanted to spend this birthday busy with survival. She'd wanted to play, to be free to enjoy the heart of the soul who looked into her own heart with beauty and love and feel the joy and peace that belonged to only them. She wanted to make Sarah laugh and feel her own heart fill with unspeakable joy at the sound of their freedom and happiness. She knew that it was a place of beauty only they could be together because of one another. It was more feeling than she understood, something that could only be experienced, never described, there seemed to be no words for it. But instead today had been spent in the tasks of survival against the coming of more of nature's fury. It never ended and she wanted a break, especially today. This storm was such an intrusion somehow.

"You need to get the axe and could you bring the blanket, my hands are full," Sarah waited with her load and then they both walked to the cave after the sun had just disappeared for the day.

Sarah had wanted to stay on the beach since the winds weren't more than a breeze yet. But Megan didn't want to take the chance that the storm would come upon them faster than they anticipated, though still no clouds. Megan's sense told her it was coming, that it was a big storm, perhaps a hurricane again and Sarah relented a bit sadly. She trusted Megan's sense of storms; it seemed to often be so accurate.

The cave was not air tight, the smoke from the fire disappeared instead of filling the cave, though there seemed to be only rocks above them. Megan was tall enough now, even taller than Matthew had been, to reach the ceiling without stretching and if she kept growing she might even become too tall for the cave. They dumped their loads and Megan arranged a fire putting the warm embers to the wood, seeing it smolder knowing it would eventually catch. She took Sarah's hand and they went back out to the beach.

Megan looked into pretty hazel eyes and said softly, "Dance with me birthday girl," she put her arms around the smaller form and Sarah began humming a melody that her mother used to play on the piano. Neither girl knew the words but it was soft and pretty and they swayed with one another, Sarah kissing Megan's neck periodically. Megan just smiled; enjoying the feel of the beautiful person in her arms, there was nothing like holding Sarah.

Megan pulled away a bit, took the lovely face in her hand softly and kissed sweet lips with love and happiness.

Megan buried her face into the girl's neck and said in a whisper, "Close your eyes Sarah. Keep them tight, promise, don't look. And don't open them till I say, okay?"

Sarah nodded and felt Megan release her. She waited secure that Megan had something lovely planned. Without words Megan took her hands and placed them palms up in front of her. She felt something almost heavy placed in her hands and felt Megan's hands hold hers underneath.

"Okay, open."

The light was fading, but there was enough to see that many bamboo branches had been cut short and placed together, some mud had been smeared across the branches and in the middle of this were imbedded pretty shells and a few pretty colored rocks in the shape of a heart. Extremely tiny pebbles where in the middle spelling out, My Heart My Love My Sarah.

She looked up at a smiling face not knowing what to say and Megan offered, "It's your birthday card."

Sarah's face screwed up a bit puzzled, this was so much more than a birthday card; it was a beautiful birthday gift. Now she knew why Megan had shooed her away from the shelter for several weeks, or she'd find the girl up in the middle of the night by the fire, but Megan had never let her see what she was so earnestly working on.

"Meggie, it's beautiful, it must have taken a long time, where did you find the pebbles, and why didn't I ever see."

Megan wiggled her eyebrows, "Huh Uh, it's a secret."

Sarah squinted her eyes but smiled, "Hmmmmmmm, I'm gonna find out. You know I will."

Eyebrows raised above blue eyes, "We'll see," Megan looked a bit smug.

And Sarah smirked but her face relaxed quickly looking lovingly at the person who could just make her insides melt.

Megan took the card and placed it gently on the ground, saying, "Okay, close again."

Sarah's eyes were perplexed and she looked questioningly at the tall one.

Megan smiled warmly and rather pleased then bent her knees to come face to face with the smaller girl and smiled saying, "Trust me, close your beautiful eyes Arfy."

Sarah returned the smile intently curious that more was to come. She felt her hands taken again and something small placed there. A kiss gently graced her lips and Megan breathed, "Open."

Sarah did so and Megan who was still extremely close kissed her once again then backed away.

She looked down and found a beautiful necklace. It seemed to be many threads of different colors. They were threaded through a heart shaped rock that seemed to be green though she couldn't truly tell in the fading light, it had swirls perhaps running through it and it was shinny. She looked up to see a smiling face and Megan stepped around her taking the necklace and placed it around her neck tying it securely in the back. For a moment Sarah held it pressed against her chest and Megan put arms around her from the back and they stood there quietly watching the last colors of the sunset fade with a few tears streaming down Sarah's face. The storm didn't matter, the island didn't matter, the danger seemed untouchable, everything except Megan faded away.

Sarah turned around and looked up at a loss for words, a few tears fell from her eyes, she opened her mouth but nothing came. Megan put a loving finger to her lips, she traced them seeming to memorize every pour of her face and she kissed Sarah softly. Then she picked up the small form Sarah drawing in close and Megan slowly walked back to the cave.

The fire was burning now and Megan put her down but Sarah didn't let go. There was no urgency in the kisses just a softness and an aching tenderness. Sarah saw such depth of emotion in Megan's eyes and felt so deeply loved as Megan tenderly kissed her lips, her face, her neck and whispered her name in her ear.

After more tender kisses Megan looked deeply into Sarah's eyes holding her close and softly breathed as a tear fell from her eye, "There are just no words my sweet Sarah, no words."

They lay upon the blanket never breaking an embrace. Megan kissed her still so tenderly, so loving, Sarah hurt somehow, it was so much. They had shared all things, every moment, terror, heart break, anger, despair, loneliness, loss, hard work, death, understanding, sympathy, wrongness, forgiveness, growing, sores, hope, surprise, questions, adventure, love, passion and every breath. Megan seemed to be in every corner of her life, her mind, her experience and knowing. And all she wanted was Megan. It didn't matter where they were but that they were. They existed together, survived together, knew together, felt together, worried together, breathed together. Sarah looked into the blue eyes that knew her so deeply and saw more than she understood and all that she needed, everything she wanted and Megan loved her, deeply, passionately, longingly, lovingly and completely. She caressed every inch of her body and kissed her soul. There was no time in this place they shared, no geographic location, no peril, nothing but one another. She felt every sensation with all of her heart, all of her mind, all of her. And when she screamed Megan's name it was with the core of her, believing that somehow the force of it reached even heaven itself.

Never ceasing, never saying a word that wasn't an utterance except of physical passion, she loved Megan as Megan had loved her. Sarah felt Megan melt in her arms and looked deeply into those beautiful eyes to see that Megan felt every inch of everything inside her. Sarah felt the tremble of the strong lean body that Megan's eyes told her she felt deep inside. No words could possibly say what lived in their hearts, it was beyond understanding, beyond knowing, especially for two young girls, yet they felt one another so deeply. Sarah felt the screams rip through Megan and knew that surely it must have startled the stars above. And then, though the fast moving storm howled upon the little island there was nothing but the two of them in silence and a place that only belonged to Megan and Sarah as they clung together lost in one another until finally they fell into slumber while the hurricane raged.

It was cold and Megan awoke from it seeing the fire had burned to almost nothing. Sarah was lying on top of her completely so there was no way she could keep from disturbing the blonde. Sleeping eyes barely opened and Megan whispered to her to sleep rolling her over gently.

She put more logs on the fire and stoked it to flame. She quietly walked to the mouth of the cave hearing the treacherous winds and feeling them even inside the shelter of the cave from both the cave entrance and somewhere unseen above. It made the fire threaten to be a bit wild and Megan went back to lessen the fuel carefully. Sarah seemed to be waking as she took a flaming branch for light to the cave entrance and saw that the water was beginning to come close to the cave again. It wasn't as bad as the one that forced them out of the cave, not yet, but the howling increased and she knew there was no more shelter, feeling Sarah's arms around her waist.

"So we need to leave Meggie," Sarah sounded weary.

"No my sweet Sarah, not yet, but I have to watch???????day is coming, I don't know how long the storm will last."

They stood for a while, Megan eyeing the level of the water that was about 5 feet from the cave. It would have to storm quiet a bit more and dump and lot of rain for it to drive them to higher ground, but it was possible. They put on many clothes which helped with the cold and huddled together watchful, though Sarah did dosed off in her arms. Finally there was dim light beginning to penetrate from outside and it seemed the wind had lessened, though the rain continued. Megan tried to lay Sarah down though she woke and they walked to the opening again, the water had reached the entrance but hadn't come into the cave because it wasn't deep enough since the cave was 3 feet above the sand below. The rain had lessened and the hurricane was dying.

"It'll be a mess," Megan said feeling tired.

"We'll be okay for a few days honey. We have enough food. Let's sleep."

They did and the waters receded, sunshine came and they finally emerged after another day and a half. Each saw pieces of the shelter here and there as they walked to the beach. The normal debris was everywhere except for one rather odd offering of the storm's might sitting near some rocks in the shallower part of the north side of the lagoon, their wrecked yacht.

They were a bit startled at first both staring at the thing then slowly looking at each other they laughed. The lagoon wasn't yet calm and it was higher than normal, the waters coming almost to the edge of the jungle leaving little beach. So they decided to go up to the V and take a look at the ocean. It was still a bit choppy, many white caps and the steady wind brushed freely through their hair.

Sarah looked at her beautiful strong Megan and asked, "Will we have another storm soon or do you think it's good for now?"

"I don't know. I can't tell, but there could be more rain, only I don't really think it will be much. I hope not. I want the water to go down and have our beach back."

Megan gathered Sarah into her arms and held her for a while. Neither had said much about their night that had meant so much to each of them. Sarah started to speak of it once, but it just turned into a long deep stare and more loving of one another.

"I wonder how many storms we'll see Sarah. They come and go. I was worried this time, but not afraid, were you?"

"No???..not afraid. I didn't want to have to leave the cave. But I wasn't really afraid. More like dread. I didn't want to face it again you know. I'm really tired of it."

"Yeah, I know. Every year and beginning on your birthday or close to it, every time. I wish it could wait till after yours at least."

"It kinda makes me wish my birthday wouldn't come ya know."

There was a long pause.

"Hey, I like your birthday, doesn't matter about stupid storms. I just wish we didn't have to worry about em and could just have fun instead though."

Sarah looked into pretty blue eyes deeply and placed her hand over the heart of the necklace, "I think this birthday will always be the best my Meggie love," she stroked Megan's face lovingly never losing the blue depths, "Always."

"And forever," Megan kissed her richly and they stood on the mountain top for a while.

Later that day they swam out to the yacht and for the first time looked at the whole in the middle of the ship without a rock stuck up through the floor. It was full sunshine now and they just stood in the master bedroom in knee deep water and stared down through the ship to the sand below. Megan looked at Sarah for a long moment with a face that spoke volumes. It was as if they were remembering every thing that had happened without words. She blew out a breath and shook her head.

"Humph," came from a very tired looking Sarah but that was all.

The poor ship was more tattered than ever, partly crushed in on the side that faced the waters of the lagoon. The deck was warped and the front of the ship was now crumpled. Some of the wood splinters amazingly still dangled and they both thought to use what wood and materials they could for the building of the new shelter once the stormy season was behind them.

"Tomorrow maybe we'll try and get some of this free. I can use the axe. We'll store it in the cave till December," Megan looked at the blonde beauty, "Sound good?"

Sarah smiled confidently at her counterpart.

The rest of the day was spent gathering wood to put on the mountain top even though Sarah wasn't very willing, it's seemed so futile despite the dying wind today, but she followed her love. When they were done Megan stood looking out to sea for a long while and Sarah just watched the back of the girl as she was sitting by the fire stack they'd built.

Without turning around Megan said, "Its stupid probly. Sometimes, I said it before; its maybe there's something just a little more far than we can see. If we could walk from here to where we see the water stop right now, it feels like maybe there's a big City or something. Its weird and stupid cause its just more water."

She felt arms around her waist.

"Sorry Sar."

"No Meggie, don't be sorry."

Both wearing T-shirts and lying on their one blanket, they spent the night in the cave. They could both wear Coral's clothes now but they fit the taller 14 year old Megan better than the smaller 14 year old Sarah.

The waters had receded and the day was very, very warm and humid causing no more clothes, which was fine as they spent all morning and early afternoon in the water working on getting as much wood and materials off the crumpled ship as possible and storing it in the cave.

"I'm hungry and we need meat, lets see if the crabs have come out yet or maybe we can fish," was Megan's suggestion.

"The raft?"

"Reckon we can just walk?"

Sarah bobbed her head.

They made their way to the south side of the island and found no crabs so it was a long afternoon of fishing side by side. They only got one. Even though they were hungry they headed over to the pond that was incredibly full and swam leisurely in the coolness playing tag and having fun. Sarah laughed as Megan swam around her legs and tickled her feet under water. Hearing the laughter Megan so loved she surfaced and grabbed the girl twirling her around kissing and tickling her more.

There was so much feeling for both, but they couldn't speak of it. Each were filled with their own thoughts since leaving the cave. They went about the daily business of things. They had to be here, had to survive and do so together. Since the night in the cave the looks were long, the touches often, but not a lot of words spoken. Something had happened. Neither understood it but they felt it a sense of something deep and overwhelming, something essentially necessary. And it could be taken at any moment, even if they were careful. So their kissing in the pond that could turn into passion was short lived and they turned to the normal task of making dinner. The fish didn't fill them, but they supplemented with the rest of the banana's and a coco.

"We'll have to go for more banana's tomorrow," Megan looked at a sour face.

"Sarah, honey it'll be okay, just careful, we do good."

"I know sorry."

Megan held the girl even though it was still warm long after the sun had disappeared.

She kissed her for comfort and it got a little more than Megan expected, "Um, wait, are you okay?"

"Sorry I know it's hot, huh?"

"It can't ever be too hot to love you Sarah, but, are you scared?"

"No, like you said we are always careful. Its okay," Sarah elected to comment about the bananas instead of what Megan meant.

"Come on, lets take the blanket up top, its cooler," Megan allowed Sarah to lead.

After making a small fire just for light, they stood at the V side by side and let the slight breeze reach them. Then Megan put an arm around the small girl and Sarah leaned in. They shared a soft kiss. Then she picked Sarah up and walked to their blanket and began laying her down unsure if they would sleep or if their feelings would bind them together again.

"Meggie wait."

The blue eyes slightly lighted by the fire looked surprised and a little worried.

Sarah stroked the face reassuringly but looked down shaking her head slightly.

"I ah, in the cave, Meggie. It's so much. I love you but it feels bigger, more, I don't know."

Megan nodded but said nothing; still there seemed no words enough. She wished she could find words, thinking maybe if she was more of a grown up she could have more words, maybe understand better.

"Do you think grown ups feel like that," Sarah's question sounded like she was doubtful.

"I don't know. We don't even know grown ups Sarah. Just mums and dads."

"Daddy loved mummie. But is it like that with everyone, maybe if they get married," Sarah pondered.

"I don't know. Maybe, but my mum and dad, I don't know. I can't tell," Megan seemed truly sad at not knowing.

"Sarah, is it bad, are we, is it okay."

Sarah's face showed remorse, "Meggie, I just, its okay. I love you. I love you so much I don't know how much, it's so big. It feels soooo big. Like really deep in my heart and I can't breathe sometimes and I want to cry sometimes and??."

She seemed at a loss looking away and Megan was worried, she didn't know what to say or do.

Sarah had tears in her eyes, "Meggie, when you loved me, in the cave, it was never like that as much before. I love when you love me. But Meggie, it was so much more than ever. I can't even say how big, sooooooo much Meggie, so deep, so deep down but bigger than that. And I don't know what's coming. What's tomorrow, or later? I don't want to be here. Its okay, but only if we die together. And then what happens? Do I get to love you like this in heaven?"

Megan's heart was pounding and her own tears were falling, she knew. She knew how it felt, it was scary, it was more than they understood, and it felt sooooooo deep, it hurt even.

"Sarah??.I, I know. I love you. I can't love you enough. And I don't know what happens. I don't know about tomorrow or later. I don't want to stop loving you ever. I don't want to stop seeing you and holding you and everything, laughing and now, I????I'm scared. Not of you, of here I guess, of what happens, maybe."

There was silence and Megan looked out to the dark, Sarah looked up to heaven as if wishing the answers would come.

Megan was still looking toward the dark, her face slightly lighted by the flickering fire, "I will always love you Sarah as long as we can. I don't know if tomorrow comes. But maybe it does," she looked back into hazel eyes, "and maybe there's more seasons even and so I'll love you tomorrow and all the time. A long time I hope. I will always love you inside like I did in the cave. I just do, that's what's inside, I can't help it. I don't want to make you scared but??.."

"I'm not scared of you; I'm not scared of the cave. I know Meggie, its inside, it won't go away and I don't want it to, that's why I'm scared??..I don't want to lose you Meggie," Sarah was truly crying.

Megan took the face and looked deeply into watery eyes, "We'll die together Sarah. But maybe it won't be for a long time???.I hope Sarah. But we're okay right now. We're here, together. It's our island. We know it and we're okay."

She held the smaller girl close and soon their loving of each other became desperate, deep, passionate, and at times even fearful. They both cried afterward and finally Sarah drifted off to sleep. But Megan lay awake, a bit regretful their loving had been so forceful. She didn't want to be so afraid. They needed to laugh, to be happy not scared. She fell asleep wondering how to bring them laughter again.

When she opened her eyes a pretty blonde was sitting watching her. Megan was sleepy but smiled and closed her eyes as she yawned. She felt Sarah put her head on her chest and the warmth of her embrace. Listening to her breath for a moment, Megan opened her eyes and looked at the dim color of light that was before sunrise.

"Ahhhhh, I have ta??."

They found relief and walked back to the small part of the V but not too far enjoying the cooler morning breeze. Looking across the water Megan stretched and felt Sarah hug her around the waist. She kissed the top of a blonde head and led her back from the smaller part of the V. Then the tall girl pick up the smaller form, "Put your feet on mine."

Sarah complied.

She chuckled, "Now hold under my arms."

Sarah looked puzzled but did as requested.

"Hold on honey."

Megan began walking around carrying her small rider on her feet and it made the girl chuckle. She walked them over to the blanket and started tickling Sarah's neck with her fingers and got the giggles she was after, then began tickling in earnest and felt so warm when she heard the laughter.

Sarah was enjoying herself, Megan being careful not to tickle too hard and she slowly stopped.

"Today should be fun Sarah. It's okay to love like we do. It should be happy. And I think I'm gonna tickle all your freckles," she wiggled her fingers.

But Sarah got to her first and she wasn't as merciful.

Megan pleaded as a gasping, "st?stop??..ple, please, Uncle Sam! Unc??"

Sarah was on top of her at this point and Megan quickly turned the tables. She trapped Sarah's hands above her and wiggled her eyebrows saying, "Now its time to kiss the freckles."

Megan playfully began kissing freckles on the head, then on the belly, then on the neck, then on the arms and finally she couldn't resist and kissed her Sarah on the lips enjoying the feeling of the wonderful girl. The previous nights desperation was replaced by the mornings teasing and gentle sweet loving. Though the taste of her Sarah caused a deep burning desire in Megan, she was careful that she stayed gentle and soft in the taking of her love.

She even continued to tease the girl by not allowing Sarah to return the favor and playfully ran to the lagoon instead with the small form hot on her heals. Megan was the better swimmer and easily avoided the charges of her lovely pursuer. And Sarah finally stopped, taking a breath.

She looked at the dark haired blue eyed girl and nodded, "Okay, fine. I reckon we need to get breakfast, I'm hungry," she shook her head as if saying so there and casually walked out of the lagoon.

Megan wasn't sure if the girl was for real and stayed put.

Sarah turned around and offered, "I'll go to the cave and get the net. We might get some crabs."

She began walking toward the jungle and Megan walked after her saying nothing only they didn't exit the cave very quickly and were both rather hungry when the day finally found them delighted at the efforts of snagging some crab.

They held hands and walked on the rockier, wetter beach looking for pretty shells.

"Where'd you find those tiny pebbles Meggie, at the alcove lagoon?"

And Megan never disclosed where no matter how hard she pleaded.

"No, then I can surprise you again Sar."

"Okay then, I'm gonna surprise you too you wait," Sarah sounded as though she'd almost been dared.

They kept looking for shells and then without warning Sarah attacked Megan but before long the stronger girl escaped the merciless tickling and the chase ensued. Megan finally took refuge in the pond and Sarah followed. Megan held the girl and was preoccupied with kissing freckles for a few moments.

Sarah held the girls face and looked a long time into blue eyes, "I love you Meggie. Thank you for my birthday, I'm so glad you love me, like in the cave, it doesn't make me sorry."

That night after breathing the breath of lovers together they were wrapped up in each other with Megan looking deeply into Sarah's eyes. She seemed to be studying her face; Megan listened to Sarah's heart beat and caressed her body. There were no words, just soft touches, two people memorizing each other, enjoying the intimacy. And as they fell asleep Sarah looked up at the stars and thanked God for letting them be happy, for letting them belong to each other and prayed He would give them a long time to love each other.


The morning found Sarah watching and Megan hunting on the south side. When Sarah came up for air her peripheral vision caught sight of something to the northeast in the water and when she focused on it she was shocked, it took a moment to register the reality that it appeared to be a ship. The island was blocking some of the view of it but it seemed like part of a ship. She went over to Megan and pulled the girl up abruptly.

"Meggie lets go up to the mountain top. I see something over there and I need a better look, quick," her voice was urgent.

"What is it sweetie?"

"I don't know, I think it could be a ship!"

Megan looked in the direction Sarah pointed and shook her head seeing something dark, "Are you sure?"

"No but just let's go!"

Megan's eyes were wide with unbelieving, "Okay yeah!"

They ascended the trail quickly leaving all things on the beach so as not to be hindered. When they got up to the V Sarah raised her hand to block the sun and her eyes were huge.

"Light the fire, Meggie, Light the fire, now! Hurry! Its close Meggie hurry!"

Sarah grabbed their one blanket and began waving it high," It's a ship, its, its there Meggie. I don't see all of it; it's going up by the black water, not away from the island!"

"I don't see it real good but its dark right," Megan was holding the mirror to aim the sun ray at the fire stack.

Her eyes looked at Sarah alarmed and back out to the horizon. She couldn't really make out the whole shape but that wasn't unusual, she didn't see things real far like that. Her heart was pounding unsure of what to do.

"It's close to the island Meggie and disappearing behind it! Like it's here on purpose, I don't know," Sarah was looking intently, "It has words I think but I can't read it."

They looked at each other amazed and Megan continued with the fire while Sarah kept a look out. The fire was blazing now and Megan was scrambling to get more wood.

"Meggie, be careful, I don't see it on the water, it has to be by the other part of the island. Don't get hurt honey, PLEASE," Sarah was still conscious that unfriendlies crawled everywhere.

"I know honey. You're right, sorry," Megan added damper fuel to make it smokier, her heart still pounding.

Sarah came over still looking at the water, her voice filled with concern, fear, "What should we do Meggie? The raft!!!?"

Sarah was still looking out and Megan stopped and wrapped an arm around her sweetheart looking in vain toward the ocean, "Its okay honey. I think we need to keep a look out, you can see it better from up here. We could go, but I don't want to leave the fire. I'll get more wood and go get some clothes; you stay here and yell if something happens, k?"

Sarah looked alarmed and Megan kissed the girl, which gave the younger more confidence and she gave Megan permission to do as she'd suggested.

It had been a few hours of looking and seeing nothing and they deliberated about using the raft, "If we do it now, we can get back and light the fire by sunset so it will show in the dark. But if the ship starts leaving, we won't know, cause we won't be able to see from on the water instead of being on the mountain up here. And it's better to see the fire from more far away from the island and if we're rafting the fire won't be bright enough," Megan was thinking out loud.

Sarah was silent and they looked at each other then she looked back out to the water and still saw no ship.

After a time Sarah asked, "I think we should go honey or should it be just one of us," she looked worried at her lover.

Megan looked pained, "I don't know sweetie. I don't want to be without you. I know we have to try, but????"

"I know, lets go together, we can come back in time for night," Sarah smiled and looked back to the water.

"I'm going to get the axe. I'll meet you on the beach."

Sarah got another quick kiss and returned to scanning the ocean.

When Megan walked onto the beach she saw Sarah was waving still on the mountain yelling to her, "Meggie hurry, come here."

As she ran she heard a weird noise and Megan racing to the top she charged up to her Sarah putting the girl behind her and raising the axe not even knowing what she was protecting against.

Sarah's arms wrapped around her waist with the blanket as she peered around the tall form, "Its okay honey, they waved at me."

Megan kept the axe in clear view grasping it firmly as she saw a distant motor boat coming toward the beach, "Stay behind me sweetie," her voice held great concern and weariness.

Sarah held tighter around the waist of her tall protector, "Okay, sweetie," her voice held the same concern perhaps even fear as they watched the men on the boat come to the south shore.

Sarah could feel the tense muscles of her sweetheart and kissed her back then peeked back around, "Maybe they're nice Meggie honey."

"Stay behind me Sarah and if they aren't nice run to the cave, there's more tools there, knives and stuff, take em and hide. I'll be okay, just don't let em find you," Megan's voice was stern and focused; she doubted Sarah would leave her but she had to try.

The big man just had shorts on and his dark skin glistened with the sweat of a humid day. The younger man had a loose sleeveless white T-shirt on over his shorts. The shirtless man walked cautiously forward leaving the other standing beside the boat looking up puzzled at the two standing on the mountain. The big man smiled. Standing not far from the trail leading up the Cliffside.

His voice was deep as he spoke almost yelling the cover the distance, "Hello, do you speak English," he kept his hands open and held his arm out wide staring up the mountainside.

Megan just nodded wearily gripping the axe.

"Our ship got stranded here in the big storm. We're repairing it and saw the smoke from your fire. We ah didn't know anyone was here," he gestured to the island and smiled.

"We made the fire. Where are you from," Megan's voice was deeper and not super friendly.

"We're from America, Los Angeles. We were headed to Hawaii but the storm really gave us trouble and we headed for the only land we could find. Do you live here," he sounded unsure but still smiled.

"Yeah, our family got stranded too," Megan was still being very cautious.

"Oh, it was a big storm. We had to wait for help from our company. Are you all okay; are you able to make repairs?"

"No, our ship is really wrecked."

"Do you need help," the man sounded genuine.

"We need to call home, for help," Megan still gave as little information as possible unsure.

"Our radio works, we can call the authorities, are you from England or Australia or somewhere like that," he had obviously picked up on her accent despite the distance between them.

"Ah, well I need to call America, I'm from there. And we could call Australia too."

"Let me radio our Captain," the man went over to the younger one who handed him a walkie talkie and in a moment he walked closer to the mountain, "There's information we'll need, may I come up there or do you want to come down here," the man smiled.

Megan shook her head and gripped her axe, "My name is Megan Sarah O'Malley and my dad's name is Devin Colin O'Malley, we live in Lake Hopatcong New Jersey."

The man looked a little disturbed but relayed the information to the Captain and got more instructions.

"How many of you are there?"

"Three," Megan lied.

"What are the other names?"

"Sarah Megan Sinclair and Matthew Sinclair from Perth Australia."

"Meggie tell em my grandfather's name, Charles Lawrence Sinclair," Sarah urged and Megan did so.

"Where was the ship coming from girls and what's the name of the ship?"

"We came from Perth and its called Coral on the Sea."

Duke nodded, "Roger that Captain," he looked back up the mountain, "Captain is making the calls. Where's your other person, Matthew?"

"We ah, he's fishing," Megan wasn't sure what to do.

"Okay, well Captain says you're welcome back to our ship. It's a cargo, but we can make room. We can't take a lot of things right now, but you can bring some stuff and we can come back for more later," the man smiled.

Megan didn't move or let go of the axe.

He looked back at his companion then up toward the girls, "That's BJ, I'm Duke. Is Matthew far away, do we need to wait or do you want to come with us now," Duke seemed unsure.

"Meggie, we have to tell em. You've got the axe so we should I guess. What else can we do," Sarah started tearing up.

Megan reached back with one hand to comfort her, "Okay honey, but be ready."

"Ah, it's just us really. We ah, Matthew is dead."

Duke looked alarmed, "Oh no, I'm sorry. Well, you can come with us, have you eaten anything?"

"Yeah, we're okay. We ah, we can wait to see if the Captain calls my dad, Mr. O'Malley," Megan still couldn't tell if they should trust the men.

"Can I ask how old you two are honey," Duke seemed to have a gentler voice though it was hard to tell since he was having to almost yell.

"I'm almost 15 and Sarah is 14.

"So, are either of you hurt," Duke smiled kindly.

"No, we're okay."

"Okay. Where were you going when the storm came," Duke smiled kindly.

Sarah piped up, "California."

"Were there other people too girls, more than Matthew," Duke's voice seemed concerned.

Sarah began crying quietly and Megan was worried, she held the girl with one arm and kept the axe ready with the other, "Mrs. Sinclair and the Captain aren't alive either cause a the storm. How long before they call my dad?"

"Well, um, I'm not sure how long it'll take honey. It could be till tomorrow before we hear from your dad, but the Captain called the authorities so he probably will hear from them soon. We can go back to our ship if you want. I know it might be kind of scary, but I promise, its okay. We can help you," Duke seemed sincere.

Sarah was still a bit emotional when she squeezed Megan a little and said, "I think we should go Meggie. We'll be careful, you've got the axe. Maybe we can talk to your dad."

"We're gonna go get some of our stuff, we'll be back," Megan spoke to the big man loud enough for him to hear, then more quietly addressed Sarah still looking down at the beach at the men, "Go on Sarah, go to the cave I'm gonna follow but watch them for a while."

Sarah took off and Megan slowly began walking backward after the retreating form. When she was out of sight of them she sprinted to catch up with her love while continuing to look over her shoulder.

"I don't think they're bad Meggie. I know we don't know, but you've got the axe and he didn't do anything bad. So I think it might be okay," Sarah suddenly wrapped herself around the tall girl, "I love you sweetie. Thank you, I know you're worried, but we might get rescued. You might see your dad and mom," Sarah's tears were flowing.

"I know sweetie, but I just don't want them to do anything bad. So stay close to me and don't let them touch you. I love you," Megan kissed the beautiful girl deeply.

Sarah was taking her dad's belt and his watch they'd found, her mom's necklace and the pretty card Megan had made. Megan pressed a knife into the girl's hand and added some pretty shells and rocks they'd collected. After they both dressed in a shirt and shorts they add two of Matthew's shirts and a water container to the backpack.

Megan came back up the trail first, looking wearily at the men who were still on the beach; she told Sarah to grab the mirror they used for starting fires and put it into the backpack. They descend the trail cautiously.

"Go ahead and get in girls, I've called the Captain to let him know we're coming. You ah travel light, is that all that's left from your wreck," Duke inquired mildly.

"Pretty much Megan was non committal," she was sitting beside Sarah who was holding onto her while Megan kept the axe in view.

Megan kept watching both the men wearily. So Duke just smiled but didn't question them further.

The motor boat got them to the huge cargo ship quickly which was anchored near the half moon crescent with another smaller boat beside it much like a tug boat. Sarah gasped at the size of it when they came into view. The hull was black and written on one end was the word Pacifica.

Megan's dilemma was whether she should climb the ladder first or Sarah, but deciding Sarah first was best they boarded the ship. Sarah was just as conscious of staying together and hardly allowed anytime to pass without touching on another, Megan still holding the axe.

Duke looked warmly at them both and sounded kind, "Okay girls, let's have you meet the Captain. Where his he John," he looked at one of the men.

Duke led them to meet the man with as many smiles and nods as possible.

A short stocky man wearing an Alabama University cap, a T-shirt and shorts was addressed by Duke as the Captain. The man looked surprisingly at the girls, especially the one holding the axe during the introduction, "This is Megan and Sarah. The others with them didn't make it through the storm and I think it's all been a bit much Captain," Duke smiled concern and sympathy at the girls.

"It was a bad storm. I'm Captain Max girls," he began to extend his hand but thought better of it as Megan's eyes narrowed and her grip got tighter.

"I've contacted America and they will contact Australia. They might need more information from you. But why don't we show you where you can stay girls and you can rest if you want. I'll show you if you can follow me," he smiled trying also to be reassuring.

Megan was still gripping the axe while her other arm was always touching Sarah and they followed.

"I ah, thought you'd probably be most comfortable in here. I'll bunk with my crew for now. It took a lot out of our old bucket but she's still afloat, so don't worry. Why don't you two rest for now, get settled. If you're hungry, we can get you something," he smiled.

He showed them the restrooms and how to use the intercom. Before he left he turned and looked at them kindly, "Girls I know this has probably been hard for you, but you'll be safe here. I've got a daughter of my own you know, he motioned to her picture. That's Jamie; she's younger than you about 11. I promise, you'll be fine. I can give you a tour of the ship later if you want. I've got some work to do. If I hear anything I'll make sure you know. You might want to not wander too far around, it's a big ship. But if you need anything or want to go for a walk or anything, you just use the intercom and we'll show you around or get you anything you need," he nodded with a smile and left.

Megan closed the door and turned around as they looked at each other for a moment stunned then Sarah threw her arms around Megan and held on tight.

"S'okay Sar. I think it might be okay," Megan stroked blonde hair and sounded unsure shocked.

"I can't believe it Meggie. I guess, ???they're gonna call your dad right?"

Megan held her love close, "I think so, probably. The captain is okay maybe. I hope," she sounded unsure.

"He has a little girl, maybe he's nice. It feels weird Meggie. I'm still scared some. I don't know what's gonna happen. I love you. Don't let me go," Sarah buried her face in Megan's neck.

"I love you too honey. We're okay. I've got the axe, but I think it'll be okay. I just want to talk to my dad or you talk to your granddad. We just have to wait a while I guess. I love you Arfy," Megan pulled Sarah's face to her gently and kissed the girl.

They cuddled and Megan soothed for a while then she suggested, "Sarah, its weird being in here, its small. I don't know. You want to go outside? I got the axe. Maybe we should ask about them calling my dad."

Sarah nodded so Megan used the intercom, "Hello, um, Captain Max. Hello?"

"Hello Megan, the Captain is working with someone right now, this is Duke, are you okay honey?"

"Oh, ah we want to go outside and I wanna talk to my dad."

"I'll come get you sweetie, be there in a jiff, hang tight."

"We stay together and I'm gonna take the axe. But I it'll be okay honey. It'll be good to be outside," Megan kissed Sarah deeply and held her tight.

After a few moments there was a knock at the door, "Its Duke Megan, you wanted me to come, I'm here."

Megan held onto her love and gripped the axe, "Can you open the door?"

Duke came in to see the two in the same protective posture, he looked kindly at them and smiled, "Hello you two. How ya doin? Would you like me to take you up top?"

Megan shrugged and nodded at the same time.

"Okay, follow me girls."

They came outside, climbed several steps and finally stood by some railing facing toward the island, there were a few chairs on the landing but the girls stood by the railing.

Megan had an arm around Sarah's shoulders and looked up at Duke, "Where is Captain Max?"

"He's supervising the repairs. We took a beating in that storm, some damage to the grain in hold 2, so he's busy with that. Are you two hungry or do you want some water or something to drink?"

"I'm thirsty Meggie."

"I can get you some bottled water or would you like some iced tea," Duke smiled.

"Can we have water please," Megan smiled.

"You bet, be right back. You can sit if you want."

Instead Megan and Sarah looked out from what appeared to be one of the top levels of the big ship they were on. There seemed to be a few levels below them and the rest of the big ship stretched out away from the tall tower like part of the ship they seemed to be standing on. There were two big crane like columns on the ship that protruded out from the raised platform that was about one story higher than what looked like the deck.

"It's so big Meggie. We're real high up huh?"

"Yeah, not as tall as the mountain top but almost," she hugged her sweetheart and they exchanged a kiss.

They ventured along the railing and got a much better view of the ship, one of the parts of the raised platform was opened but they couldn't see beyond the doors that were raised up on its hinge. There seemed to be some large tubing running from the hold out over the side of the ship. They could see that the bow was pointed toward the open waters while their section was closer to the island. They watched the comings and goings of the men at work and heard the sound of some kind of motor.

"What is the sound, its loud," Sarah was leaning over the railing a bit to get a view of all she could.

Megan's arm was around her waist, "It sounds like from where they're working I think. I wonder if that's where they're fixing stuff?"

Sarah was craning her neck up to see above them now, "It looks like there's lots more up there I think."

"Yeah, it's tall like bigger than our houses? I wonder what happened to it. It looks too big to get hurt by rocks huh?"

"Yeah I guess. Do you think it can sink," Sarah looked worried.

"I don't know. It's hurt now and it floats so I don't know, probly not. S'okay Sarah, we're okay honey," Megan kissed the girl for reassurance and Sarah returned the gesture deepening their exchange.

Duke cleared his throat, "Um, I ah, got you some water girls."

Megan's grip was a little tighter on the axe as they turned around to see Duke walking toward them. Sarah took both bottles and opened one giving Megan a drink first, then she partook.

"Thank you," Megan nodded to Duke.

"No problem. Do you want something to eat, are you hungry," Duke seemed eager to serve them.

Megan looked at Sarah who shook her head, "Ah no, I guess not. But I want to call my dad."

"The Captain has called our company and they are calling the authorities honey. We can call our company easily, but it's not quite like a phone honey, sorry. They'll call us as soon as they get hold of your dad I'm sure," Duke was smiling reassuringly.

"Oh, so how long do we have to wait," Megan's voice was uneasy.

"That's hard to say, they may call back today. Our repairs are almost done, so we should be able to get underway and get you back to America soon," Duke nodded positively.

Megan held Sarah closer and gripped the axe tighter, "So will my dad be able to call here by your company? I really need to talk to him."

"I'm sure he really needs to talk to you too sweetie. When the Captain gets back we can find out about what's happening okay," Duke seemed unsure.

"I want to talk to Captain Max please. I have to tell my dad I'm okay. He doesn't think so," Megan was determined.

"The Captain is pretty busy right now, how bout I show you some of the ship and we'll call him okay."

"Oh, um okay. Are we going where we can see the Captain," Megan persisted.

"Yeah, let's go up these stairs to the wheel house and we'll call him."

They followed Duke as he used his walkie talkie to get the Captain, "Cap, I'm with the girls, we're going to the wheel house. Do you have a minute?"

"Duke what's up?"

"The girls are needing to know about calling home. Can you ah break away for a few? I think that would help Cap."

"Anything Del," Duke looked over to the only man in the room sitting at a mutli-lighted console, "Any word from headquarters about these girls?"

"Nothing yet Duke," he looked apologetic at the girls.

"Not yet Cap."

"Bring em to me Duke."

"Roger that Cap."

"Well girls it looks like we're going to see the Captain. But first, this is the wheel house. Want to take the wheel Sarah, this is where we navigate from that's what a lot of this equipment is for," Duke motioned for Sarah to grab the wheel.

But she politely shook her head and stayed firmly in Megan's grasp, "Um that's okay."

He walked to the window, "See the hold that's opened, that's where the Captain is. Let's go down there okay," Duke could tell he had a very one track minded audience.

They followed the big man down to the deck.

He walked beside them and attempted to be informative, "This is the deck, the doors up there open up into the holding tanks. We have grain, like rice and wheat and things like that. When we're at the docks it gets unloaded and then we get filled up again with other cargo. Those two columns are sliding cranes that help with the loading and unloading."

"Everything is real big," Sarah offered.

"Well we carry a lot of stuff and its pretty heavy. The Captain is checking on the repairs to the damage. He's up here, come on girls."

They followed him up a flight of stairs and shortly came up to the Captain looking down into the hold talking to someone.

"Hello girls. What do you think," the Captain motioned to the hold filled with golden looking grain.

"It's a lot."

The Captain looked at the closely connected girls and the axe still gripped by the tall one, "Well girls, we're close to being done with repairs and we should be able to leave in a day or two. Have you been to Hawaii before?"

Sarah nodded, "I have, not Meggie."

"We want to see my parents and her granddad, when can we talk to my dad," Megan sounded rather serious.

"Well, Duke says we haven't heard back from anyone yet since we contacted our company. It may take a few more hours I'm afraid. But if they don't call I will call again okay. Would you like to have something to eat or can we get you anything?"

"If they called my dad, he'd call right back. He doesn't think we're okay and we need to tell em. It's real important; he doesn't even know we can call. He doesn't think we will," Megan's voice betrayed worry, fear, hope, and urgency.

The Captain looked a long while at the girls as if assessing something, "Tell you what, give me just a minute, wait right here and then we'll go find out."

He turned to his crew and gave some instructions then they all walked back to the huge white tower that looked like it had at least 5 levels to it, "We're going back to the bridge to see what's up, follow me," he said as he took the stairs which led to the top level.

As they came into the bridge they noticed it was the wheel house Duke had brought them to.

"Del how long has it been since we made the call?"

"About 2 hours Cap."

Captain Max nodded, "Let's get em on the horn and put it on speaker."

"Hi T, who did we contact about these girls we found?"

"We called the Coast Guard Max. They're contacting the authorities in the United States, but they said they'd need more info," the lady sounded friendly.

"Get em on the phone T. We've got the girls here now. Let's find out where we can go with this. They're parents have got to be worried sick," the Captain smiled at the girls.

"Hold a bit Max."

"Girls we've got to wait for the Coast Guard to call us. You left from Perth and you were going to where again," the Captain inquired.

Sarah volunteered, "California. We stopped at Hawaii first though."

"Okay, so when did you leave Perth about a week or so before you got to Hawaii?"

Megan looked at Sarah who shrugged her shoulders and looked self conscious. Sarah leaned into the girl more and whispered in her ear, "We should tell em Meggie."

Megan looked a while at Sarah then offered, "We um don't remember."

The Captain looked puzzled, "Well we've been here for about 5 days working pretty hard. So you wrecked about the same time. You were in Hawaii before that, did you stop anywhere before you got to Hawaii, or maybe not sail for a day?"

"We um didn't wreck when you did Captain. It was a long time ago?.."

The Captain looked even more puzzled, "What do you mean honey. Did you wreck in another storm? How long have you been here?"

"Sarah was 7 and I was almost 8, um we got wrecked a long time ago."

"What," Duke and the Captain said in unison, the Captain looking from one girl to the other shocked and disbelieving.

"We got wrecked when we were small, so??..my parents don't think I'm alive and neither does Sarah's granddad so we want to tell em its okay now," Megan looked a bit urgent.

"Wait, you??you what, you can't mean?.how old are you," the Captain still looked completely shocked.

"I'm almost 15 and Sarah just turned 14 on the day of the hurricane when your ship got hurt."

The Captain looked at Duke who looked just as unbelieving as he was feeling, shaking his head in dismay, "You're telling me that you've been here for 7 years???..But you were too small girls?..How??you couldn't???."

"Sarah's dad was with us at first till Sarah was 9. Then he got hurt and he??..well it's just me and Sarah now and we had lots of stuff to help us and Matthew taught us a lot before he, before."

Del piped up, "Captain, I've got the Coast Guard."

The Captain still looked shocked, "Okay, ah, okay just a minute."

"Megan, Sarah, you've been lost for 7 years. So you're telling me 7 years ago in June you wrecked right, are you serious, are you sure?"

"Yeah, we were here for almost 7 I guess. Sarah turned 7 and a few days after we left from Perth on the yacht, right it was just a few days after huh Sarah," Megan looked for agreement.

"Yeah cause I remember I begged daddy to buy you a bike too so we could ride together. And so he did, but made me promise to not complain about leaving and we got to ride for a few days. Member sweetie?"

"Okay, okay," he walked toward Del, "Are we still on speaker?"

Del nodded.

"This is Captain Maxwell Farmer of the Pacifica Dry Cargo ship. We're in the province of Kirbati on an uncharted island. We were force here by Hurricane Amber. We've found two young girls here who have been stranded here for an unbelievable time. Did Pacific Rim Shipping contact you about Megan Sarah O'Malley and Sarah Megan Sinclair?"

"Roger that Captain. The O'Malley girl is from America and Sinclair is from Australia. We've contacted the Australian authorities. The ship was the Coral on the Sea from Perth correct."

"Roger that. Who am I speaking to?"

"Ensign TTI Petry, Captain Sir," the female voice conveyed respect.

"Ensign Petry, I need to speak with the highest ranking officer immediately available to you right away please," Captain Max looked very concerned at the two girls.

"Ah, yes Captain, one moment please Captain."

Captain Max smiled at the girls, "Where are you from in America Megan?"

"Lake Hopatcong New Jersey, I think I remember my phone number," Megan sounded hopeful.

"This is Lieutenant Commander Grail. Captain?"

"Lt. Commander, has the Ensign briefed you?"

"Yes sir Captain."

"Well it appears we've found two teenage girls here that have been stranded for about 7 years. Their families undoubtedly think they're dead. The right authorities need to be contacted immediately. The O'Malley girl is or will be 15 soon and is from Lake Hopatcong New Jersey. Sinclair just turned 14 and is from Perth Australia. They really want to get in touch with their families Grail; can you do that for me?"

"We'll work on that right away Captain Sir. I'll have to refer to my Captain, but I know we'll be in touch soon Captain Farmer."

"Roger that, we'll be waiting Lt. Commander, out," Captain Max looked at Del, "As soon as we hear anything call me."

"Yes Captain."

The stout man looked at the girls still perplexed, took off his cap and ran his hand over his curly dark brown hair looking from Duke back to the teenagers, "Girls, lets go to the mess and have a chat."

The kitchen wasn't too big, but it had 4 tables that sat 6 people each. The Captain got some coffee and the girls some water. He also handed them some crackers and grabbed some packaged cookies for himself and Duke.

"Okay girls, you look healthy, are you both well, do you feel sick, do you have any injuries," the Captain looked concerned.

Megan put the axe next to her but kept her arm around Sarah, "We're okay. We're not sick."

He nodded still looking disbelieving, "Good. You know, I have to tell you its still hard to believe you've been here so long. Especially alone????"

Megan gripped the axe and he saw it so he hurried to reassure her kindly, "I mean it's great that you survived. And I'm glad we found you or you found us. But being here for so long??..it wouldn't be easy for anyone. Like me and Duke, it'd be hard on us to survive and we're grown ups and kinda strong men."

Sarah felt Megan's tense muscles so she stroked the girl's leg and smiled, "It was hard and we did get sick and stuff. But we were okay we had the biotic and Tylenol and the first aid kit. My dad taught us a lot and we had food from the ship and the axe and fishing gear and lots of stuff, clothes and stuff. So that helped."

"So the yacht didn't sink, you salvaged stuff from it?"

"It was wrecked on the rocks for a long time, then a hurricane took it away, then this hurricane brought it back up to the lagoon. But we already had got all the stuff. Now it's just sitting in the lagoon. It's pretty banged up and wrecked and stuff," Sarah felt Megan relax a little.

"I see, it's in the lagoon now? Wow, so would you mind telling us what happened," his smiled was kind of pleading.

Sarah looked at Megan who shrugged and she smiled at the girl lovingly and proceeded, "Me and my mummie and daddy, Megan and Captain Ray were all on the yacht and we went to Hawaii. We got off the boat only one day and went to the beach. Member Meggie, the waves were big and mummie didn't let us go in the water by ourselves," she looked at Megan who nodded fondly at her.

"When the storm came we stayed inside with mummie. It got real rough and then my daddy and Captain Ray were outside and then the Captain got thrown over and daddy kept screaming but couldn't get him. Mummie went to help and told us to stay inside. When she came back she put us on the floor by their bed and went to help daddy. Then after a while daddy yelled for mummie???????"

Megan held the girl close and Sarah whispered that she should finish.

"We didn't see Sarah's mummie after that. And then the rock came crashing up in the room. It was a tall, tall rock and it went up almost to the ceiling and the water came in and we went out to find Matthew, then we all got pushed in the water and it was dark but not night time yet and we swam and got to the lagoon. We stayed on the beach by some rocks and it helped make the wind not as bad. I hurt my arm and Matthew had a hurt leg and his head was hurt too and he couldn't stay awake so we stayed there. Then after some days Matthew was awake but he was hurt. So we went to find the yacht by the rocks. And we tried the radio and it didn't work and we got food and came back. After Matthew got better more, we went and got all the stuff off the ship we could and brought it back. We had some food. But we didn't eat it all cause Matthew said we had to save it for when we couldn't find food ourselves. He taught us how to make a fire and fish and get crabs and dive for calms. We ate the muscles from the tide pools and we got bananas and citrus and coconuts. We found water and he made us a shelter by the shelter rocks, a alcove he called it. It was two birthdays for us before he got hurt again. But he had showed us how to do all the stuff we had to do and so when he wasn't there we still knew how to do everything."

Sarah kissed Megan's cheek after the girl had completed the story. Megan cuddled her and kissed her lips lightly to be assured the girl was okay.

The Captain exchanged a questioning glance at Duke when they kissed, then the Captain shook his head in an amazement obviously shared by Duke.

"Its just so astounding that you girls are still here. So the ship got hung up on rocks then right?"

They nodded.

"It stayed there for a lot of wet seasons but then a storm made it sink."

More nodding.

He pondered it a moment, "Girls, I believe you, but would you mind showing me where you lived? The beach by a lagoon right," he looked hopeful

Megan shrugged, "Okay I guess, but what if my dad calls."

"We'll have the walkie talkies and Del will contact us to come back if he calls okay?"

The girls sat together in the motor boat as they came to the south side beach and they directed Duke to keep going around the rocks farther north. They rounded the bend where the girls had met Duke the first time and slowed down coming to the two large rocks at the mouth of the lagoon.

"That's where the yacht wrecked, see that long tall rock, that's what held the ship for a long time," Megan explained as the boat slowly passed into the lagoon.

They all crawled up onto the wrecked and battered yacht as the girls explained again what had happened during the wreck and then how the ship had been stripped, Duke and the Captain often shaking their heads in amazement during the tale. Then they made their way to the beach and the girls showed them the alcove where the shelter usually was though only a few pieces of it were still there after the storm.

Standing on the beach looking at all the surroundings the big man asked, "When the shelter blew away where did you weather the storm girls," Duke was curious.

Sarah said from Megan's side, "The cave."

"There's a cave," the Captain was intrigued.

"Yeah we found it with Matthew," Megan looked lovingly at Sarah.

"Oh, do you ah, could we see it," the Captain wasn't sure.

Sarah shrugged at Megan.

They led the way and came to a halt beside the stack of salvaged scraps from the shelter, "What's all this," the Captain pointed.

"That's from the shelter; we stacked all of it here for now. We were just gonna build a small one cause another storm might come again and blow it away. This is for the dry season," Megan explained matter of factly.

The Captain smiled and he and Duke looked inside the cave shaking their heads, "I ah expected a little more stuff, you said you got everything from the yacht."

Megan squinted her eyes a little still not completely trusting them, "A lot got taken by a really bad storm we had. We lost a lot."

The Captain nodded taking it all in, "Oh, so did you have a hurricane every year or???"

"Not all the time. But we had lots of storms in the wet seasons. The shelter doesn't blow away unless it's really bad like the hurricanes," Megan explained.

"So where are the banana trees I see the citrus," Duke was surveying the land.

Sarah offered, "They're on the other side, where you came the first time."

They made the trek over to the south side and the girls showed them the pond and where they hunted crabs and gathered muscles. Where they fished and how they gathered water and firewood. Both men were amazed. By this time it was late afternoon and Del called, so they returned to the big ship.

"Hello this is Captain Maxwell Farmer."

"Hello Captain, this is Captain Julie Culpepper. We've contacted the authorities in New Jersey. They of course are reluctant to contact the O'Malley's until the identity of Megan O'Malley can be better confirmed. Are you able to sail to Honolulu Harbor or are you making your way back to Los Angeles?"

"We've been directed to sail to Honolulu yes. It will take about 2 to 3 days given that we've made a patch to our starboard side hull. We'll be accompanied by a company ship."

"Are you able to get underway tomorrow?"

"Affirmative Captain Culpepper."

"We'll need you to fax your coordinance and course to us here. We'll meet you at sea and take on the survivors so we can get them to their families as soon as possible. Are they well," Captain Culpepper asked.

"Yes they seem healthy. Of course they are anxious to speak with their parents, especially Megan. Is there anyway that can be arranged," the Captain was squeezing Megan's shoulder for reassurance.

"Our goal is to get them back with their families forth width. But the identity has to be confirmed, they will have to be examined and cared for. We will have a doctor and a psychologist on board with us to speed the process along as much as possible. In fact Doctor Kamae wants to talk with the girls if possible," Captain Culpepper waited.

"They're right here Captain."

"Hello Megan and Sarah?"

"Yeah," the girls said in unison.

"Hi, I'm Doctor Lisa. I wanted to know how you're feeling. Does your stomach hurt or do you have a head ache?"

"No, we're feel good," Megan looked puzzled.

"You were on the island alone right?"


"Can you tell me what you usually ate?"

"Fish and crab and muscles and citrus and bananas. Sometimes the stuff from the ship if we couldn't catch other food," Megan answered.

"Oh, what kind of stuff from the ship?"

"Peanut butter and applesauce and stuff like that," Megan continued.

"Did you ever get sick when you ate the peanut butter or applesauce, did your stomach get upset?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Okay, well you need to keep eating the fish and crabs and citrus okay. It would be best if you didn't eat the same stuff that Captain Farmer and his crew eat. It could make you more sick, okay? Captain, the girls need the same diet if possible. Cook the fish and crab the way they are used to. Don't use any modern conveniences or foods okay. Just the same diet. And they probably need to stay away from the rest of the crew if possible. Their immune system may not be able to handle the normal contaminates of our society. Make them comfortable of course and keep their exposure limited to yourself and one other perhaps that they have already encountered," the doctor seemed like she was giving instructions to a nurse.

"Do you have a doctor or nurse aboard," she inquired.

"Afraid not doctor. But we'll do as you say. What do you think of them staying on the beach for the night where we found them?"

"Good idea Captain, keeping them in their normal environment is ideal until you get underway. Girls we are so happy the Captain found you and we will get you back with your families as soon as we can. We just have to be sure you are well and that we contact the correct parents about you," the doctor seemed kind.

Megan looked a little doubtful and Sarah looked a little sad but the Captain smiled warmly and finished up with Captain Culpepper, "We'll stay in radio contact Captain. We're faxing you the coordinance and course. We should get underway in the late morning tomorrow we'll radio you our departure."

"Roger that Captain. Look for us possibly as early as tomorrow, one of our clippers is preparing for departure before nightfall and we'll be underway all night."

"Roger that Captain, out."

Captain Max saw the disappointment in their eyes, "Girls, I'm sorry. But you know, I have a little girl, remember Jamie. If she had gotten lost and I thought I wouldn't see her again I can't imagine how bad that would feel. And Captain Culpepper and everyone, they don't want to call someone and tell them you've been found until they are sure they are calling the right people. Cause if someone called me and told me Jamie was found and then I came to Hawaii expecting to see my little girl and it wasn't her, but someone else's little girl, I would be sooooooo sad. I'd be happy for the other parents, but it would really hurt me that my Jamie wasn't found."

Both girls looked as though this was a new idea and Megan said, "Oh, so they don't want to call the wrong mum and dad huh? But I think I remember my phone number."

"That's good, next time we talk with them, we'll let them know that. But I still think they'll have to have the doctor look at you and maybe they'll ask more questions before they call. Just to be safe you know," the Captain's voice was kind.

They both nodded though looked a bit disappointed.

"How bout we go back to your beach and you can show me and Duke how you fish, and maybe we can get some crabs to take with us, what do you think?"

They were enthusiastic about that and it wasn't long before they were back on their beach by the lagoon.

Megan did some spear fishing and amazed the Captain and Duke with her success, "We can't get crabs till early tomorrow. That's the best time. But we can get muscles and fruit."

So the girls showed their company what it was like to gather firewood, food, water, clean and cook fish.

Before the light completely faded the Captain had to head out, "Wow, you two are amazing. Megan, after you are back with your mom and dad, if you want to visit me at my home in San Diego, maybe you could teach me and my Jamie how to fish like that, she'll think it's pretty neat. I bet Matthew would be real proud of you both. He taught you well. Thanks for dinner. Do you want one of us to stay with you tonight or do you want to stay here by yourselves one last time," he thought he knew they'd want to be alone.

"Um, we can stay here if that's okay. It'll be good I think," Sarah nodded a bit self consciously.

Megan put an arm around the girl and nodded. So the Captain and Duke gave them a walkie talkie and said goodbyes and the girls waved till the boat was out of sight.

Sarah wrapped herself around Megan and held on tight. They stayed that way for a long moment then went about cleaning up dinner. They decided to spend their last night on the mountain top. They moved in unison and kept looking at each other disbelievingly and they'd smile and sigh and shrug. They decided to make a really big fire that would burn a long while but didn't light it immediately. Instead they held each other and looked out upon the ocean as the last colors of their last sunset faded.

"Do you think they can find your dad and my granddad Meggie? Do you think we, I mean, are we gonna go home," Sarah looked searchingly at her lover.

Megan's eyes looked deeply into her sweetheart's as her face reflected the same unbelieving Sarah expressed, "I???don't know. I think so, but they aren't calling him yet. But I think so Sarah, I really do," Megan had a big grin and hope on her face as she looked and saw the same on Sarah's features.

Sarah squeezed Megan close, "I can't believe it Meggie. I didn't think, I mean I thought we'd, that we'd be here you know. For the rest of the time, did you?"

"I know, it's weird. Like maybe we'll be okay. Maybe we won't, you know, get sick and hurt. I'll see my mom and dad and you'll see your granddad and stuff. But it's weird huh?"

Sarah nodded and they were silent looking out to sea then up at the stars that began appearing in the sky.

After a time Sarah began crying and Megan was worried, "What's wrong Sar, what is it?"

"I just, what'll my granddad think Meggie? My mummie and daddy aren't coming back with us Meggie. I want to go see granddaddy but it's sad to leave. Its hard Meggie cause daddy isn't here to come with us. And my mummie, she never even got here," Sarah was now almost weeping and Megan had become emotional too.

"I know Sar??I know, I'm sorry honey, I'm sorry Sar??," Megan felt so badly that Sarah didn't have a mummie and daddy and now she was gonna get to see her own.

"I love you Sar. I love you, I'm sorry," and in comforting her sweetheart it was very natural that it caused them both the turn to each other in need and passion.

It was needful at first, urgent, filled with the pain of the past, the surprise of the present and the hope of the future as they clung to one another on their last night in the only home they had known for years.

But as the night continued the fire was lit and Megan caressed her lover looking deeply into Sarah's beautiful loving eyes, "I'm still here Sarah. We're together and I don't want anything else. I want to see my mummie and daddy, but not without you. I love you so much Sarah, more than anybody or anywhere. I love you Sarah, just you????..always you," and her love was both tender and passionate as she poured all of herself into the beautiful girl with all her heart and soul. Everything was forgotten but each other, nothing separated them and their exchange was almost as deeply emotional as they had been in the cave on Sarah's birthday.

Sarah was the first to open her eyes to the new day and she lay a long while with her head on Megan's chest listening to her lover's breath and heartbeat. She wasn't sure what the future would bring, but she knew it could only be with Megan. Sarah reveled in the feel of the girl under her and she could feel every inch of Megan in her heart. She thought of all they had been through briefly but most of her thoughts were filled with how deeply they seemed to love each other. They had loved again like they had in the cave, it was so big, so incredible, but this time it was comforting. This time it felt reassuring that they were so deeply connected. That no matter what happened when they saw their folks; it would be okay because they had each other.

And later as Duke's motor boat was making its way to the lagoon, they looked down from the mountain top into the beautiful waters of this lost paradise and laughed when they saw that the dolphins had come to say goodbye.

Sarah turned to Megan and looked fondly, lovingly, deeply into gorgeous blue eyes, "Some day Megan, some day maybe we can come back here in a really big ship, and we can swim again. Just you and me????and the dolphins."

Megan looked back with the same devotion on her face, "Yeah, you and me, always just you and me."

Duke looked up to the mountain top rounding the corner into the lagoon and saw to lovers kissing in a deep loving embrace and this time, he wasn't embarrassed or surprised that two people who had survived together against all odds would never survive anything again without one another.

To Be Continued in Book Two - Together Apart

A. Tietz (Birdee)'s Scrolls
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