It was the same routine every night. I would lie on the warm sand with the crashing waves of the ocean meeting the shore in the background. The sky was clear and provided me with a panoramic view of the stars. I would start to count, feeling the cool breeze of the ocean cool my skin. My finger would attempt to connect each shining star like a child connecting the dots with a pencil.
This was one of the only exercises that calmed me. A perfect distraction from the indescribable pain that consumed my body. I needed distractions to take me away from the burning sensation inside my stomach due to the lack of water and diet of wild berries. The headaches were minor at first, but now were intense and more frequent.
I would reach a higher count of the stars every night. It was becoming more difficult to close my mind to the fear. The alarming possibility that no one would find me. I was the only survivor of a doomed cruise and while I wrestled with the terrifying possibility of dying alone on a strange island my bridesmaids lied at the bottom of the ocean.
The fear lurked in the depths of my consciousness, waiting for me to relax. It desired me to sleep more than I did. Then it would awake in my nightmares filling my head with screaming of people trapped inside the vessel that had began to sink. It was the fear that would tell me I was going to die. It would whisper to me in my sleep that I would slowly forget my name and exhale my last breath lonely and deserted on the sand.
A trickle of tears escaped my eyes and travelled down my neck to rest behind my ears. With my eyes shut I let out a whisper. " Alice Baum."
My body relaxed and the sound of the waves became distant. The fear had awaken.