Marooned – 09

Marooned in Crater Lake by Alfred Powers

 Upon reflection, he was less disappointed about the matches. He had nothing to burn except a small pine board which he had found upon his little beach, the newspaper in which his sandwiches were wrapped, the stamps, and possibly his green alder fishing rod, if it were whittled into fine enough shavings. Such scant fuel would not produce a flame that would be discernible over the thousandfoot precipice that shut him in, nor produce a volume of smoke that would rise to such a height before dissolving into the air. With a match, however, and this meager supply of wood, he might have been able to cook one of his fish.

He realized he couldn’t give a signal, for he had nothing to give it with nothing that could remotely be worked into a signaling device of any kind. He would simply have to wait a week until his uncle began a search, and trust that meanwhile the Cascade storms would hold off.

His teeth chattered with the cold. The prospect of spending seven such nights as this was dismal enough.

His mind tired out with thoughts that got him nowhere, and his legs weary from pacing his small refuge, he sat down with his back against the wall, put his coat over his head, and attempted to get some sleep. He dozed fitfully. Frequently he would have to get up to exercise his cramped and chilled legs and to thaw out his congealed blood.

In the morning he ate one of his two jelly sandwiches. He would eat the second one the next day; after that, the raw fish.

He had no more idea of how he was going to get out of Crater Lake than he had had the night before. But he was more reconciled to his plight, and his mind, freed from panic, was clearer.

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