Authors: kevin caruso
Books in the Sparks Series
By Kevin Caruso
Book 1 Sparks of Chaos
Book 2 Sparks of Genius
Book 3 Sparks of Conflict
Book 4 Sparks of Wonder
Sparks of Chaos
is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2014 by Kevin Caruso
All rights reserved
Read more about the Sparks Series at http://www.kevincarusobooks.com
Sparks of Chaos
By Kevin Caruso
So thirsty, he was so very thirsty. He wasn’t even sure how long he had been floating in the small yellow lifeboat. The daytime heat of the Pacific Ocean was unrelenting and there was simply nowhere to hide. Even his clothes which provided
only a little protection from the glaring rays caused agony wherever they touched his skin. Making more of an effort than he thought possible, he poked his head up and saw nothing but unending ocean water unbroken by any sign of land at all. He doubted that most people ever realized how incredibly empty the Pacific really was.
So thirsty, back to that thought again. No matter how hard he tried, it never left him. His mind was drifting. There was nothing to do and he was so weak that he couldn’t do much but lie there anyways. As his thoughts drifted, much as his small boat, he kept coming back to how surprised he was to be in this situation. He always believed he had led a bit of a charmed life. Even when it seemed like he would lose, something would almost magically happen to save the situation and turn it to his advantage.
He thought back to the time he was passed over for the varsity baseball team and one of the boys broke their arm,
giving him the last slot after all. His parents had always had money, not rich certainly but enough that they never worried about it. So when he was accepted into an Ivy League school he knew they would pay for it, that is until his father suffered some fin
ancial setbacks and told him he’d need to go somewhere more affordable and help pay for it. Of course a scholarship became available at the last minute allowing him to go where he wanted without worrying about how to pay for it. Chase Riley was nothing if not lucky; some of his friends even called him Lucky as a nickname.
Even with his lifetime passion of sailing he’d been lucky. His parents had argued hard with him about taking a year off from school to sail around the world alone, but he had insisted. They even refused to pay for the trip even though his father’s financial situation had improved during the past year. Again, almost magically a sponsor came forward to finance his trip after reading about his story in a local newspaper. Of course now that same luck had also led him to this. Had he used it all up? Pretty sad to think that by age nineteen he’d already used his lifetime’s supply but it sure looked that way now. If he had known that, he would have used it a bit more sparingly.
He really was a good sailor; he hadn’t even been that nervous about sailing alone. After all, even a fourteen year old Dutch girl had accomplished it. The trip had required a lot of hard work but he had really enjoyed it. What he hadn’t been prepared for though was a killer storm that came out of nowhere during the middle of the night while he had been sleeping. He had barely escaped with his life; somehow he had managed to get to the plastic inflatable lifeboat in time but nothing else. His food, communications equipment and supplies were all gone, lost probably on the bottom of the ocean along with his boat.
He’d prayed someone would come looking for him in time but there was no way to know how far off course he’d been blown and he was an extremely small blip in a very big sea. Being realistic with himself he knew he wouldn’t be able to survive much longer as he was getting weaker by the hour. The only question was whether the thirst or heat would kill him first. It was right about then that he drifted out of consciousness and into some form of sleep.
It was getting closer to dusk when he awoke and he felt even worse than before. He poked his head up again to see if there was any change. Off in the distance he thought he saw something,
but he wasn’t sure. Were his eyes failing him now or was this some type of a mirage like people experienced in the desert, was his mind playing tricks on him? Did he so desperately want to believe that he was imagining it or was it truly there?
Now he had a decision to make and it would be getting dark soon. This was one of those life and death decisions you read about and never think you’ll have to make yourself. He could try to use the last bit of his remaining strength to try and paddle to what he hoped was some form of land or conserve what little life he had left in hopes that someone was looking for and would eventually spot him. The only problem was you couldn’t know which decision was best until it was too late to change it.
Maybe it was his youth but he liked the idea of dying while trying rather than just lying there waiting for it to happen. Although he was so weak that the idea of lying there was pretty appealing too. Rubbing some of the seawater on his cracked and blistered lips was both cooling and painful at the same time. He avoided getting any on his swollen tongue for fear that he would no longer be able to avoid drinking the saltwater. Any relief would be short lived and ultimately make things worse but just try telling that to his unending thirst. Oh well, maybe the activity of paddling would at least take his mind off of it for a little while.
The ocean seemed to be relatively calm but there did seem to be some type of drift or current that was drawing him inexorably toward the direction of the land in the distance. Dipping his weakened arms into the water as he had no oars, he began a repetitive paddling motion to bring him agonizingly closer. A small smile crossed his blood dried lips as he realized that it was definitely an island ahead of him and not a figment of his imagination. This made him paddle a little faster although it really wasn’t much of an improvement over his weak efforts.
After what seemed like hours but was certainly something less than that, he was close enough to see some details of the island itself. It looked large and high to him, although not large enough to show up on any map. Under any other circumstances it would look rather dark and foreboding but seeing as it was both a goal to be reached and a potential lifeline he drove those thoughts from his mind. As he got closer and his arms grew ever more leaden he observed that the island seemed to be almost completely fashioned out of dark rock
with high sheer sides and no apparent vegetation. This wasn’t what he hoped for at all, in his mind he had pictured a lush tropical island filled with swaying palm trees, sweet fresh water, bountiful fruit and maybe even beautiful native girls.
He had to focus now and get practical, he was getting near enough to see that the edge of the island was nothing but vertical cliffs and dangerously sharp rocks with no apparent beach to land up
and weak as he was, he would need to try and paddle around the island in hopes of finding somewhere he could land. His hopes were fading quickly as he faced the danger of the current possibly dragging his boat away from the island and out to sea forever. It would mean almost certain death for him to try landing on this side of the island with its sharp rocks and nowhere to land even if he got through.
With the last of his strength he began paddling slowly until he spied in the darkening light what appeared to be a very small, narrow strip of beach-like sand along a tall rocky coast of the island. He decided this would be it. He had run out of options and there was nowhere else to go. It was almost dark and he was literally dead tired. He knew that even if he successfully reached the shore, he would be no better off but he paddled on regardless. Heading straight for the small beach he approached the island and was close enough to fall out of the lifeboat and on to the sand. As he fell out, the wind and water ripped the boat away from his hand and back out to the ocean. He was far too tired to even think of trying to retrieve it.
On the beach that measured maybe twenty five feet wide, he moved as far away from the water as he could, laid down and instantly fell asleep.
He awoke feeling absolutely incredible. The bed was large and snowy white and it felt like sleeping on a cloud and not just any cloud but the fluffiest baby cloud imaginable. He purred to himself, stretched out on the bed and just enjoyed that little moment between being asleep and awake. There was no dream that he could directly remember having but his mind was striving to remember something, he just couldn’t quite grasp what it could be. As he more fully awakened he knew something was not right. Opening his eyes, the thought struck him hard and fast.
Where was he?
Completely disoriented, he was waking up quickly now. He had no idea where he was or how he had gotten here. Not knowing where you were upon waking happened to everyone occasionally but doing a quick scan of the room made things even worse. T
here was nothing familiar at all. Wide awake now with rapidly rising panic, he knew with a sick certainty that he had never been in this room before. It looked something like an upscale hotel suite. It even reminded him of the time his parents had taken him
along with them on one his father’s business trips and they stayed at the Four Seasons in Toronto.
He decided to get out of the bed and go explore the room for some clues as to where he was. Stepping out of the bed he noticed he was wearing only a pair of green silk shorts that he definitely had no recollection of owning. Looking himself over, he appeared to be fine with no obvious bruises or any problems at all, if anything he looked and felt in better shape than ever before in his life.
The room was quite large, about forty or fifty feet long by thirty feet wide. The walls were a non-descript beige like color and made quite striking by the lack of any windows or pictures, yet felt open and airy with lighting that was bright and somehow pleasant. Looking a little closer, he noticed the light seemed to be coming directly from the walls and ceiling with no obvious light fixtures or lamps visible anywhere.
The carpeting was comfortable on his bare feet and had a nice design in blue, beige and brown that perfectly complimented the furniture in the room. In addition to the large sturdy bed that was against one wall, was a large brown sofa with two blue side chairs and a table and chairs in a dark wood. He frantically looked to see if there was a door anywhere in the room and turning to face the bed he saw an open doorway to the right of the bed.
Walking quickly to the arched doorway he noticed there was no door and it was dark ahead. As he stepped in,
the lighting went on and revealed a bathroom. It was large and had the same color scheme as the outer room and consisted of a large tiled area that he assumed was for showering but with no apparent fixtures or knobs to be found. Directly across from it was a long countertop with a sink and a full wall length mirror. On the countertop was a beautiful and expensive looking bottle that said Shampoo
& Body Wash, a hair brush and a brown towel. Noticeably absent was any deodorant, toothbrush or shaving cream and come to think of it there was no toilet either. It was a good thing he didn’t have to go right now; he decided to worry about that when the need arose.
Seeing his reflection, he was struck by the fact that except for it being a bit mussed from sleep his hair was stylishly cut and he was completely clean shaven with no stubble on his face. In fact all the acne and any traces of the red blotchy skin that sometimes afflicted his face were gone. With only a brush or two his hair fell perfectly into place. When he smiled at how good he looked, he noticed that his teeth were incredibly white and perfectly straight with even the small chip he had in one of his lower teeth no longer there. He looked anxiously at his shoulder for the quarter sized scar he received when he was nine years old. His neighbor Carl Taylor had pushed him out of the tree house onto a broken bottle and the resulting cut had required ten stitches. The scar
Since awakening, he had been totally distracted by his unfamiliar surroundings, so much that while he hadn’t lost his memory it was only now coming back to him. His recall of the whole experience of being stranded on the lifeboat, the cracked lips and unending thirst returned. His last thought was of landing on the deserted island with no way off and no hope. Given where he now found himself and his newfound perfect body, there was only one credible answer available.
He was dead.
Clearly, he must have died. What other explanation could there be? How else had his body not only magically healed but even been improved? There was no earthly way that he could imagine how he had gone from being sunburned, emaciated and weak to what he was seeing in the mirror. Not to mention the physical impossibility of going from a deserted island beach to this room he found himself in. He also had no knowledge of how he had gotten here.