Marooned – 07

Marooned in Crater Lake by Alfred Powers

 He began to shout at the top of his voice, but he was more than two miles from the boat landing, and the near-by walls caught and returned his calls in echoes. He kept shouting until he was hoarse and his throat was sore. It did no good. Nobody heard him, nor was it possible for him to be heard.

The chance was no better that anybody would see him. The wall back of him went straight up for a hundred feet. From that point it slanted backward toward the rim. He had noticed this topography when he had approached it by boat in the morning. If the whole face of the wall had been perpendicular, there would have been more hope of attracting the attention of a possible observer from above. But the sloping upper part and the sheer drop at the bottom, put him in a concealed position. He could no more be seen than some one leaning close against the side of a house could be seen by a person sitting on the ridge of the roof. He was completely out of the line of sight.

Nobody knew that he was shut up in that great caldron. His aunt and uncle thought he was with the Smiths. The Smiths thought he was with his aunt and uncle. It would be a week before they would see each other in Portland and find out that he was missing.

The caretaker of the Lodge would not be coming back down to the lake. He had made his final visit. He would be working back at the Lodge. There was no way to attract his attention.

Could he survive until his uncle found out what had happened, or was he doomed to a grave in the lake he had so long looked forward to seeing? He had two jelly sandwiches and two raw fish. He would not starve, but if winter set in, scantily clad as he was, he could not live through the cold of seven autumn nights. His imagination took a tragic direction. Maybe his aunt and uncle would never find him. The next summer, boats would pass by the little beach where he stood. The deep snows in the meantime would have come and gone. The people in the boats would be startled by what they saw there. The world would know that a boy had been left to perish in that great abyss of the Cascades, giving fresh fears to the Indians, who refuse to look upon its enchanted waters.

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