Don't Look At The Gold- Prompt #64

Finally, they reached the shore of that unknown island. Tired of rowing for nine hours, Rowen and Komu pulled the boat from the front onto the sand between the stones and tied it tightly to a big rock.

They saw the rocks and huge blocks of quartz piled up by earthquakes. It was a mountain range covered with snow. Behind the horizon, under a bright blue, perfectly clear sky, was the still ocean, and the water there was as smooth as blue glass.

The swollen, and tired faces of the sailors, their hazy eyes red with fever. Due to heat and dehydration, their lips were cracked, and blood was seeping from the corners of their mouths.

Skipper Beno drank the water bottle from his special locker at night. Their ship, sailing with a load of iron ore from Montana to Swara, was caught in a storm fifty nautical miles from the coast. When they started, their water supply had been sufficient for several days of travel in their store but was now too low to last for the rest of the journey. The ship has now remained still in the sea for the last eleven days after crashing into a rock.

No matter how Benno, the skipper, reduced the water quota per sailor, it was not enough for the rest of the journey. It was a little easier at night, but with sunrise, all sixty of the sailors, including Komu, his assistant, could hardly get out of the water, holding on to the ropes in case of sharks. The thirst was so intense that everyone stopped eating and was suffering from fever.

It all happened due to Beno's fault. He was waiting for the evening. If a boat had been sent ashore in time to bring barrels of two hundred liters of freshwater, the crew would no longer be suffering so hopelessly. Rowen and Komu were the most determined to sail to the shore and fetch water. But Beno stopped them.

Komu and Rowen drank a few sips of their daily quota of water after sunset, to reduce the day’s suffering, during which they bathed at least half the time and quenched their thirst by doing so. The other sailors drank a portion of the water during the day, losing this moisture as soon as they drank it because the sun was too harsh.

Rowan and Komu could sleep well at night, while others suffered from insomnia because they felt thirsty. There was a pain in their eyes. By the evening of the tenth day, the team was full of despair. Old Thompson, the cook, barely moved as he was dying of dysentery, lying near the toilet. He rarely regained consciousness and pleaded with everyone to end his agony.

The two sailors, Rowen and Komu, lay helplessly on their berths in wet clothes so that at least some of the moisture got absorbed into their skin. A sailor drank seawater mixed with vinegar now, half-mad with unbelievable pain. He wished to commit suicide but dared not.



One sailor sucked a piece of his own skin from dawn to dusk to extract saliva. to keep himself wet. Rowen and Komu were the only two who could walk normally on their feet. The skipper persuaded them to go ashore for water. They were given a bottle of water each from the last supply. In the evening, they set out with two one-hundred-liter barrels, two guns, a pack of tobacco, and three kilos of biscuits. In the morning, they landed on the shore, almost dying of thirst.

Shocked and collapsed from exhaustion, the sailors climbed the huge boulder barrier and entered a deep rift between the rocks, where the shadow and moisture smelled like water. Soon they heard the steady sound of running water, and almost blinded by the desire to drink, they began to run from the shore, seeing the water ten steps ahead of the rock.

Finally, Rowen saw the water. He ran to the cliff and stretched out his arms, lowering his face into the water stream. The more patient Komu filled the bucket and sat down on the rocks, holding the bucket between his knees.

Rowen drank the water, not noticing that he was crying out in relief, combined with nausea, because the stomach, having weaned from a large amount of cold liquid, resisted the excessive amount of water at first. Rowen vomited twice and eventually filled his stomach with water. Even after this, he felt that his thirst was not quenched yet. Taking a breath, the sailor, rising above the water on his hands, looked at him, and then, sighing with joy, fell back to the water source.

With the same objections, anguish, and euphoria, Rowen became intoxicated. He drank more than half a bucket. His strong stomach returned nothing to the stream. Water affects people like alcohol does. His senses were sharp, his heart was beating faster, and his head was on fire.

And was that all? Rowen cried. "I never thought I’d be saved."

Go man go, shouted Komu! Whoa, good! The water’s real! Wait, brothers, you’ll have few barrels of water! We’ll come in the evening. We just have to sleep."

His thirst was not quenched as quickly as one might imagine. It’s not just about filling your stomach with water. Time must elapse before moisture can enter the blood vessels through the body’s internal passages, where it dilutes blood that had thickened by prolonged dehydration.

Rowen tried to drink several times, but Komu stopped him.

"Don't, you can die if you drink so much water," he said.

Then both of them fell asleep.

While they were sleeping, the sun went down to the other side of the gorge and illuminated a large nugget on the lower surface of the rock, resembling a knot of gold roots carved out of quartz. Gold began to shine under the shining rays of the sun. Over an unknown stream, a nugget of gold that had been lying for a thousand years, with its soft light like a whirlpool of fine, golden dust.

When they woke up, the sailors were as strong and fresh as they were before the accident. They ate again, drank, and soon loaded the barrels in the boat with stream water. Having come to the stream for the last time besides the two barrels, they filled two more buckets full of water. Then the sailors sat on the rocks. Both were drenched in sweat. Suddenly, Rowen raised his head, and wiping his brow with his hand, looked at the cliffs around him.

Seeing the golden nuggets, he could not believe his eyes at first. He got up, took a step towards the cliff, and looked around eagerly. A minute later, he asked Komu, "Do you see anything on the rock?"

"Yes, I saw," said Komu, "I saw it, but it will not help our team escape the death. And if you remember your pain, you won’t think about it again. We should bring them water and give them life.

Rowen just sighed. He remembered his sufferings, he looked at Komu and took his eyes off the gold.

Their sailing boat headed towards the ship with barrels of water.

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