“Just then an announcement came over the loudspeaker. ‘We have hit an iceberg and we are going down. Families should proceed to the exit where a life raft will be taking them to the closest land possible.’ I was scared. It was the Titanic all over again.”
It all was fine until an hour ago. On January 27th, 2028, my younger brother, my parents, and I departed from New York City and headed for the Bahamas on the Anthem of the Seas. When I got on board my mind could not decide on what to do. There were many activities to please everybody. There was a zoo, many different restaurants, a spa, 23 pools, 17 water slides, a water park, a hockey rink, a separate skating rink, a basketball court, a baseball field, and a skate park. I felt I was in an alternate universe before reality set in. It was almost too good too be true. The thing that appealed to me most was the hockey rink. There were bleachers and the rink was modeled after the rink of the New York Rangers. Each team could select their own goal horn and uniforms for the game. My parents forced me to stay with my brother so that I could watch him. The only problem was we had conflicting wants; he wanted to explore the zoo and I wanted to play sports and explore the cruise ship. “I want to play sports and you want to explore the zoo, is there anything I can do for you?” I asked my brother.
“I might want to go back, but I might want to go to the zoo.”
I figured out his bargain and jumped at the opportunity. “I have 20 extra dollars. Will that do the job?”
“How did you manage to obtain these $20?”
“We had a short week, so it’s extra lunch money. Remember, we have open campus lunch.”
“You only spent $20 on lunch this week. That’s an all time low.”
“I only spent half of my money this week, honestly and truly.”
“We have ourselves a deal,” he replied.
I took him to our room, plopped him in front of the TV and set off on my own adventure.
I never wanted the day to end, there were so many activities that I could participate in. In the end, my final order was an hour of baseball, an hour of hockey, and then I would retrieve my brother and we could explore the zoo and visit the water park. I found out that we were on a ship with very athletic people. I was the youngest and probably the least skilled of all the people at the field. I was satisfied because they went easy on the worst players, so I had the top stat line of everyone there. I was so caught up in the action I realized that I had spent an extra hour on the baseball diamond. I had to rush to get my brother, so we could get to the zoo. The second I walked into the room my brother was giving me the evil eye. “What took you so long?”
“I got caught up in a baseball game, but now we can go to the zoo.”
“Fine, we should leave now.”
When we got to the zoo, the first thing we saw was the African part of the zoo. My brother marveled at the sights of every animal. A gazelle that could be seen anywhere, in any zoo was special to my brother. Going through the zoo was torture because I had seen all the animals ten trillion times. My brother and I don’t see eye to eye on zoos literally and figuratively. First he is shorter than me so our eyes don’t ever meet unless I’m kneeling. He also finds pleasure in staring at the same animals over and over at every zoo. He accuses me of being a hypocrite because I watch Sportscenter on the weekends over and over again. “Can we leave now?” I ask my brother.
“It will be a good 10 more minutes.”
“Great, another hour of this torture.”
“Why do you dislike zoos?” he asks me.
Fortunately I was prepared for the question. “The reason zoos don’t appeal to me is because they are stuck in captivity. I see no difference between photos and seeing an animal in captivity except that one is moving. Seeing an animal in the wild has a different feeling because it is more special because you are there seeing an animal that is in its home which makes it seem like a one time moment instead of an artificial feeling from captivity.”
“I understand your point, but it is still great to see animals that you might have not seen in the wild.”
“Fine, let’s get this over with.”
I realized my phone was buzzing in my pocket. I picked it up and answered it, my mom was on the other line.
“It’s time for dinner, so you need to wrap up and meet us at the room.”
“Okay, we will be there in 10 minutes.”
I turned off my phone and reported the “bad” news to my brother. We left the zoo and headed back to the room. When we got there our parents were waiting for us. My dad spoke first. “Kids, you have to make the most of your opportunities because this isn’t 2015, this ship moves pretty fast.”
Just then an announcement came over the loudspeaker. “We have hit an iceberg and we are going down. Families should proceed to the exit where a life raft will be taking them to the closest land possible.”
I was scared. It was the Titanic all over again. My brother and I were really scared, but our parents were comforting us. They kept telling us everything would be okay. I could tell from their facial expressions that they were not confident about our chances about getting back to New York City. We rushed to the exit and found that the captain wasn’t lying. There were members of the crew already lifting families into lifeboats. When everyone in my family was safely in the lifeboat I took a sigh of relief. I also made a promise never to go on a cruise ship again. Once we were safely on the lifeboat we were following the lifeboats ahead of us. After what felt like hours we finally reached a block of land that no one could figure out. My family went to explore the island while other people used whatever they salvaged from the wreck to make a makeshift campsite. My first impression of the island was that I could really enjoy this vacation. As we journeyed through the island we came across many fruits like coconuts and bananas. There were also birds, many lizards, and many unexpected inhabitants of the island. We spied on a family of jaguars. The second we saw them my brother understood my hatred for zoos. “You are definitely right about this — zoos take away the special feeling of actually seeing an animal in its natural habitat,” he told me.
“Speaking of natural habitats, why are there jaguars on this island?” I asked.
“We should explore a little bit more and see what other surprises we can find,” my mom chimed in.
We walked around the island but came across nothing special, but then we heard a scream coming from our campsite. “Help,” screamed someone.
We rushed to our campsite and came across something we were not expecting. The jaguars we had seen earlier had cornered our peers from the cruise. Instinctively my dad threw a coconut in the general direction of one of the jaguars. Surprisingly, it greedily chased the coconut. So then my mom, my brother, and I all picked up coconuts and threw them in the general direction of the jaguars. They all chased the coconuts as our peers scrambled to safety. Once they reached the top of the hill where we were standing they all thanked us. My mom suggested we do a head count. After the final count there were 42 people including us. There were 27 adults and 15 kids. After the head count we established a campsite and split up into 3 groups of 14. Each group was assigned a different job. The first group was assigned to build the shelter. The second group had to gather food and try to find fresh water, and finally the third group had the job of making weapons for hunting. I never imagined having jaguar and coconut for dinner. My family and I were in the second group. As long as we get saved I would have bragging rights over all my friends back in New York City. This might not have been my dream vacation, but we have the ability to make a fun vacation and probably get a refund. We could invest that money into a new video game console or an upgrade for my iPhone 5S. For right now I could only dream, but I look forward to a good future. The most depressing part was that there happened to be no cell service on the island, so we couldn’t contact anyone for help.
Even though we had explored the island, we went off again in search of food and a resource that provided fresh water that would not leave a salty taste in our mouths. In 20 minutes we had collected 90 coconuts, 54 bananas, and 28 unidentified fruits. As we went farther into the forest we came across many different surprises. The first surprise was some unexpected inhabitants of this mysterious island. We found pigs, chickens, and goats. I was elated — we could have pork and chicken. The second were crops of vegetables that I would have never willingly ate until today. Then we found an actual cottage. We rushed inside to find the owner. When we went inside I was hit with a rancid smell. I predicted it was a dead body. I wasn’t wrong. The owner was lying on the floor. I was the only one who took this as a blessing. I ran upstairs and started shoveling all of his possessions into a pile. When I went into the kitchen my mom was holding up things I would have never considered as delicacies. She found flour and sugar and bread. After all the supplies were rounded up, we ransacked his crops, and we now had potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. We knew that with such a large group there was a high chance we would run out fast. When we got to the campsite, we divided up the loot equally. Since I was the one who discovered most of his inedible supplies I kept all the things from the upstairs to myself. I was surprised when the rest of the campsite awarded us the mattress that I had found. We were voted the leaders of the group for our bravery and our discoveries. Once the celebrations were over I realized we had forgot about the pigs, goats, and chickens that I had discovered earlier. I gathered my group from before and we went out to hunt these animals. When we got there we realized we had made a major mistake. The other animals around had gotten to the rest of the farm animals. It was finally night and we were ready to settle in for our first night in the mysterious island. Right before I dozed off I had an idea. I woke up my mom. “Mom, we should take the cabin for ourselves,” I said.
“We shouldn’t go alone. We should take other people who were in our group. We don’t want to be alone in case we get exiled. We don’t want this to be like Lord of the Flies where the numbers are disproportionately unfair to one side.”
We woke up the rest of our group, stole all of the weapons and all of the food. Once we were settled in, we actually had a good shot at surviving. We knew we were outnumbered, but we were athletic and we had the supplies. I created a nefarious plan for the next night that my peers agreed would definitely work. I finally fell asleep and when I woke up everyone was working hard outside. When I went outside my mom sent me to the other men to hunt. When I finally found them, they had a large amount of dead animals. I had seen the wrath of a tiger on my family vacation to India, but I had never seen a pile of all those exotic animals. I screamed, “What are those?”
One of the men responded, “Your food for the rest of your life.”
“I’m going to eat jaguar for the rest of my life?”
“Shut up, we’re about to get a wolf and her babies,” my brother said.
“Screw you,” I snapped.
“Ok, ok, I’m sorry.”
“I feel kind of stressed, this experience has been really tough on me. Can I talk to you in private?” I asked him.
When we walked over to the makeshift armory, I selected a wooden spear.
“Whatever you want, make it snappy,” he told me.
“Why am I the one taking charge if I’m only 13?” I asked him.
“You’re not, it’s just that you’ve just gotten lucky a couple of times.”
“Whatever you say, young child,” I said sarcastically.
“We should head back.”
“Ok,” I responded.
As we got back to the other men, I looked through the pile and I realized that we had good food and skilled hunters. They had goats and pigs, but also a tiger and giraffes. I decided to spy on the rest of the people who crash landed on the island. I didn’t want to go alone, so I fetched my brother. As we approached our old campsite we could hear faint voices to our left. I also heard faint voices to my right. We went to the right first. Fourteen people there were setting up a new campsite. On the left there were fourteen more people setting up a campsite. They were all preparing weapons for the war that was potentially coming in the future. I realized we had been spotted. Our cover was compromised. My brother and I had a huge advantage over everyone and we were armed. Everyone else had come nowhere close to finishing their weapons. We made it back way before anyone came close. I said to my brother, “When we get back home remind me to create a video game about our time on this island, this will make a lot of money.”
When we reached the cottage we reported the news to the rest of our group. My mom announced to the rest of the group, “We are extremely well hidden. Thank god for this guy who left us all these pleasantries, but my husband and I have a surprise that will give us an advantage. We found 2 fully loaded rifles, 3 loaded pistols, 1 machine gun, and 15 rounds of ammo. This is going to put us over the top.”
“Let’s catch the other groups by surprise — we should spare no one,” one of the men suggested.
“Advance!” my dad screamed.
We strolled through the bushes with confidence because we had two advantages, weapons and the element of surprise. We started with the machine gun. It totally caught everyone by surprise, we first shot at the people on our left with the machine gun and pistols and the people on our right with the rifles. There was so much blood everywhere, I felt like throwing up. “From everything we’ve been through, this is by far the worst,” I said to my brother while regurgitating my lunch of pork and coconut.
“Don’t worry,” I heard my brother respond.
After I counted 28 casualties, we went in and ransacked their supplies. While we were on the beach I noticed a ship in the distance, it was another Anthem of the Seas ship. I ordered one of the men the shoot one of the rifles in the air. We emptied one magazine, but the ship failed to notice us. We were so close but the ship never came, after our failed attempt we sat down on the blood spattered beach. My mom had the idea of icebreakers so that we could get to know the rest of the group. The two rules were that you had to find someone who was within 3 years of your age and they couldn’t be related to you. I was paired up with another person my age who was very nice. Her name was Sharon and I really liked her. I think I was in love for the first time in my life. My brother was nodding and egging me on. I got to know her a little bit better over the time with this one icebreaker. I found out that we have a lot in common; we both love Law and Order SVU and Chicago PD. I revealed my deepest secret about my opinion of this whole experience.
“I want to be respected at home, so I am using this as a way to earn respect. Honestly, this experience has been stressful and tough and there are just times when I can’t handle it. I want to be viewed as a strong person, but there are times when the reality of what is happening gets to me and I think that this conversation has led me to a place where I can think about the true effect of this experience. It’s like a Law and Order mass shootout, I am here to experience it in the moment. At home when I’m watching an episode of Law and Order I cover my eyes and get scared, but here I’m not alone or in the confinement of my home, I can’t be the weak fragile person I truly am. I want to present myself in the best way possible.”
She said, “I think this is another way for us to bond. I think part of the reason I stayed in the shadows is because this experience has been terrible. It was supposed to be a fun vacation for my parents, my older sister, and I. But I got separated from them and I don’t know where they are. And then as I end up on this island it gets worse and worse, all the blood and gore, I experience on TV but being here, experiencing it, puts it in a whole new dimension. Just when I thought, life couldn’t get any worse I meet you.” She broke down into tears and I did my best to comfort her.
“You can live with us back in the city.”
We were so caught up in the conversation that everyone had switched partners and my mom had switched the game. “I’d like you to meet my brother,” I told her. “We fight a lot, but rely on each other in the darkest of times,” I added on.
As I took her to him I was starting to doubt that I had made the right decision, because he had a lot of information about me. He knew some of my worst secrets and knew a lot about some of the bad things I have done. He repeatedly has caught me live streaming New York Rangers games when I was supposed to be doing homework. He knew things about my life at school that my parents had no idea about. In the end, I ended up going with my original decision and let her meet my younger brother. After all, we had been through a lot. I seriously doubted that he was going to jeopardize the impeccable record I had with my parents. I put my trust in him. If he lost my trust there was a high chance he would never get it back.
My brother was actually very cordial with Sharon. He was very warm and forthcoming. The three of us talked until dinner time and for the first time since arriving on the island, we had a full out feast. We had chicken in a coconut sauce with bananas for dessert. It was a delicious meal for a mysterious island. After dinner, we settled in for the night. All the kids were in the bedroom of the cottage and the adults took the bottom floor of the cottage. There were only 4 kids so we had a substantial amount of space. We agreed on a plan to alternate the mattress and the floor. My brother and I agreed to take the floor the first night. In the middle of the night, I needed to use the bathroom. I took out my flashlight and went through the house to explore and see if there was a bathroom with indoor plumbing. To my surprise, I found it. I was astonished. I wanted to keep this bathroom a secret, but I knew that this was impossible. After I got back I dozed off again and it was morning in a snap.
In the morning the men set out to hunt and the women stayed back to fix up the home. At the time we went out, there were no animals in sight. It was a fail that left us very upset with ourselves. The island was a very suspicious place. The afternoon was spent playing games and hanging out. I spent time with my brother and Sharon. Being on this island opened up a whole new world for me. In the end I think that I’m starting to enjoy my life on the island.