The welcoming committee awaited Roland as his jet ski roared up onto the white sand. Once on dry land, he’d planned to take out his binoculars and have a good look out to sea; with the noise and the spray, not to mention the panic at the thought of having left his friends somewhere out there in the Atlantic, it was impossible to concentrate and get his bearings.
'Hi there’ he decided to try and sound confident and put on his friendliest smile.
‘I’ve lost my friends. On jet skis, you know? Just wanted to take five minutes to try and work out what the hell has happened to them.’
Roland looked from the first man on the left then right along the line, trying to make eye contact with each of the eight figures in turn. Their eyes were directed at him but not registering his attempts to communicate let alone reciprocate. They were all tanned to the colour of Roland’s creosoted fence back home. Their clothes were faded and frayed at the hems, their colours dulled further by a coating of sand. They gazed through Roland towards the horizon, the tropical breeze blowing their unkempt, sun-scorched hair like windsocks.
Scattered around the foot of the trees lining the shore were broken coconut shells, interspersed with vacant tiny turtle shells. There were charred hollows in the sand surrounded by fish bones. There were some much bigger bones too, the shape of which Roland didn’t recognise.
He wondered what they were expecting of him. Entertainment? Enlightenment? Nourishment? He went cold at the thought, even though the late afternoon temperature was pushing one hundred degrees. He wondered who was in charge. He guessed that the population of such a small island may even have been limited to those who stood in front of him.
TO BE CONTINUED ........