This is an epic story of three people, a mother, father, and son, stranded on a deserted island. It is loosely based on a movie from 1974 stared in and directed by George C. Scott, named "The Savage is Loose." Gary
Part 1: The Shipwreck: Turn of the 19th Century, Somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean.
It was the early 1900's and sea travel was dangerous and reserved for the wealthiest individuals, business trade, or the very brave. Danger came in many forms, not the least of which was the unpredictable weather. Reporting of weather was crude or nonexistent and there was rarely any warning when tropical storms formed.
The Tern Schooner, Pacific Trader, had been thrashed for hours by the extreme waves brought on by a deadly typhoon. No one had predicted the storm before the ship left the port of San Francisco ten days earlier. So large and fierce was the storm that even if the captain had received a telegraph it would have been too late for the doomed ship, crew, and its three civilian passengers. The Pacific Trader was a thousand miles from the nearest deep water port, sailing on the wide open Pacific Ocean, headed for the Philippine Islands. While it was a fast vessel, it was no match for the huge and fast moving storm.
Walter Anderson, his wife, Grace, and their son, Thomas, were preparing to undress for the night when they began to hear screams of terror from the main deck outside their cabin. Peering out into the black night Walter saw a flash of lightning which highlighted a giant wave thundering onto the deck. The brief moment of light enabled him to witness the crew struggling hopelessly to free lifeboats. Then another flash of light and another wave crashed across the deck. One moment the crew was there and the next the deck was a mass of turbulent water washing away the six poor souls.
Walter rushed his family onto the deck in a desperate attempt to find a life boat, but they had all been ripped from their moorings and torn to shreds by the angry sea. Seconds later Walter and his family were clinging to the railing for their lives. Salt water stung their skin as the hurricane force winds whipped the salty spray across the deck. Chairs, ship parts, deck equipment, and anything not tied down thrashed too and fro on the swaying deck. Loud crashes echoed from stem to stern of the doomed vessel.
Suddenly a giant lookout tower snapped and crashed just feet from the three desperate family members. Walter screamed for his wife to jump into the water. Grace grabbed Thomas and they jumped over the side, plunging into the dark, churning water and quickly sinking under the thirty foot waves. Mother and son clung together as they somehow pulled themselves to the surface. Now they were above the swirling waves and saw Walter jump over the side and disappear into the murky water as they had done moments earlier.
After a few tense moments Walter surfaced and swam to them, helping Grace and Thomas onto a large plank of wood torn from the rapidly submerging ship. Seconds later the ship moaned like a beached whale and then snapped into two pieces. A loud groan screeched above the screaming wind and thundering sea and suddenly most of the ship disappeared under the breaking waves.
The three survivors clung to each other for their lives as the storm tossed their makeshift raft without mercy. Hours passed as the three lay on their stomach gripping pieces of rope tied to the wood beneath them as the storm raged into the night. Near dawn the sea suddenly lost it's fury, the rain ceased, and wind abated. Somehow the Anderson family had survived the night.
When dawn finally arrived the sun was shining brightly and a gentle breeze belied what had happened hours before. On the surface lay what remained of the once proud Pacific Trader. Pieces of the ship, equipment, and personal remains of the crew floated on the now tranquil sea. Walter, Grace, and Thomas were the only survivors.
Just before dawn, as the storm had begun to ease, the three had fallen into a deep sleep. Grace was the first to awaken. When she opened her eyes she thought it had been a terrible dream, but the sound of waves lapping at the raft quickly reminded her that it was only too real. She shook Walter and he opened his eyes and briefly smiled before he too realized what he thought was a nightmare was in fact true.
The two stared out at the vast ocean and could see the debris of the ship they had been aboard just hours earlier. Despair overcame them as violently as the storm that had overcome the ship. With nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs they were doomed to die of thirst or be eaten by sharks.
A few minutes later Thomas awaken and sat up, rubbing his eyes. When he saw the fear on his mother and father's face he knew something was seriously wrong. "What happened?" he asked. Looking around he could see nothing but ocean. His eyes grew wide with fright and he said, "Are we going to die?"
Grace reached to comfort him. "It will be okay. They will be searching for us. There are lots of ships in this area and we will be rescued soon."
Unfortunately the odds were against them ever being found. They were the only civilian passengers on the ship and, while the company would certainly search for them, there were thousands and thousands of square miles to search. The storm had pushed them hundreds of miles from their original route and now they were a thousand miles from the nearest inhabited land in an area known as a graveyard for wayward ships. Dozens of ships had been lost in this area over the decades and none had ever been found.
Walter cleared his throat so that Grace would look over at him. She saw him nodding for her to look down. She almost gasped when she realized that her shirt had been torn to shreds and her breasts were totally exposed. She tried to pull her jacket closed but it was in tatters as well. She looked at Walter and he shrugged. Her face turned red and she covered her exposed breasts with her arms.
The three of them floated aimless on the wayward currents for several days, without food, water, or the ability to catch fish. Grace, a modest woman, was mortified that she could not properly cover herself, not to mention the embarrassment of having to perform bodily function just feet away from not only her husband but also her son.
On the fifth morning, Walter shook Grace to awaken her. "Look, look, is that land?" he asked excitedly, hoping it was not another mirage. They had begun to hallucinate from dehydration and believed they had seen land on numerous occasions.
"It looks like it," Grace answered, "But we have been mistaken before."
"No, no, I think it really is land this time."
Grace began to feel excitement building. She woke Thomas. "Look, Thomas, it's land."
The small dot appeared to be several miles away. Excitedly Walter pulled a piece of wood from their small raft and began to paddle frantically. When he grew tired, Thomas took over. As the land grew closer and closer they grew more excited. It took several long hours of fighting the outgoing tide and the treacherous currents before they eventually reached the island. Exhausted the three of them pulled themselves through the waist deep water and onto the beach before collapsing. They lay on their backs in the sand, gasping for breath, their hearts pounding, feeling exhausted but grateful to be alive.
"We made it," Grace exclaimed when she had caught enough breath to speak.
"I wouldn't get too excited yet," Walter cautioned as he pulled himself to his feet. "We are a thousand miles from nowhere and it is unlikely that this is an inhabited island."
"But there should be food and water here, right?"
Always the practical one, Walter said, "I hope so. We need to find some fresh water quickly."
They were extremely thirsty and hungry and the sun had toasted every exposed body part, but other than a few bruises they were okay.
Walter said to Grace, "You and Thomas get out of the sun and I will see what I can find."
Walter searched for only a few minutes before he found a fresh water spring not far from shore. He realized that this would be a good place for them to make a camp while he checked out the island and found them something to eat. The spring was surrounded by a stand of trees and would provide a modicum of protection from the elements. He hurried back to Grace and Thomas to tell them the good news.
After they were settled Walter explored the island for hours, making his way to the highest point. There he could survey the entire island. It was small, maybe three miles in length and about as wide, and he could see from one end to the other. He could see birds flying and small animals scurrying around in the forest. Although small, the island appeared to have enough wildlife and vegetation for them to survive for some time. Then he saw something on the rocks near the northern most point of the island. It appeared to be debris of some kind. He tried not to get too excited as he made his way down the slope and to the shore. When he was close he realized with growing excitement that it was debris from the ship. In fact an entire section of the ship was perched precariously on the wave beaten rocks.
Amazingly he found a suitcase of clothes belonging to Grace. It wasn't all of her clothes by any means and most of it was not appropriate for their environment, but it was far better than nothing. He also found various utensils for eating and cooking. They could use what was left of the ship to build a shelter. He knew he had to hurry and strip the remains of the ship before the tide carried the most valuable things away.
Over the next several days Walter found enough material to make a crude tree house in which they could live for the time being. He would have rather built something on the ground, but he didn't know if there were dangerous animals on the island and wasn't going to take a chance of being prey to a prowling cat. He used wood and other furnishings from the ship until it ran out. Then he constructed the rest with branches and vines from the island. Over time he added comforts to the house including a means to transport water from the pond up to the house with a lever system. Grace used fabric from sails to create curtains to give them some privacy and a bit of protection from the elements. The house was rustic but nice considering their environment and the lack of tools.
Walter's ability to build came naturally. Although he worked for an import/export company, his family had been carpenters and builders and he was an engineer by trade.
After several weeks they had established a routine of sorts. Walter and Thomas would gather fruit and editable plants as well as catch small fish with nets and crude spears. Grace made their meager surroundings as pleasant as possible with the limited materials she had found on the ship. She was not a great cook, but she knew enough to put together fairly nutritional meals with fruits and plants provided by Walter. Fortunately the weather was great and vegetation seemed plentiful. The island was beautiful and if they had not been stranded it would have seemed like a South Seas island vacation.
While Grace was happy to be alive and happy for the rustic and crude surroundings provided by Walter, she couldn't imagine living like this for months or even years. She had never been the outdoors type. Her family was well off and had been able to send her to the best private schools. She married young, and had given birth to Thomas when she was only eighteen. Walter was a good bit older then she was and had turned forty the year they were married. Because Walter worked for an import/export company, they had lived all over the world; some nice places, and some not so nice. At times she lived in places where she didn't speak a single word of the language. However, she was a dutiful wife and followed her husband wherever he went, never living in one place for more than a couple of years.
Nomad life had been hard on her, but she knew it was even harder on Thomas. They had the money to send him to the best private schools, or even a boarding school, but because they were rarely in one place for more than a year or two, she had taken him with them and had home schooled him. It was the best solution, she believed, under difficult circumstances. As a result Thomas went through his school years without ever experiencing the benefits of socialization that most kids received in public or even private schools. He never had a chance to date, pal around with friends, or even experience the life lessons learned from the mischief kids inevitably got into. More importantly he had missed the dating and courting process that schools facilitated and he had no opportunity to associate with kids his own age. It was something Grace regretted now.
Walter spent his days forging for food and fishing. Grace and Thomas were together much of the day and, while they were already closer than the typical mother and son, they grew even closer. Grace had tried to avoid being over protective but worried that Thomas' lack of social interaction, due to home schooling, would be a major issue if they were rescued. Thomas, at eighteen, was more immature than his age would suggest.
She had seen Thomas begin to grow and mature while they were in San Francisco. Grace was growing comfortable there and had hoped that it was their last move. But, unfortunately, the Asian branch of Walter's business had begun to suffer under poor management. Walter knew they needed to take swift action if it was to survive. Grace hated moving again, and all the grief that came with it, but ultimately agreed that it was critical to the business. Thomas wasn't wild about moving either but he begrudgingly agreed, with the promise that they would send him back to live with relatives in the States if he didn't like it. So the family packed their possessions and hitched a ride on a company cargo ship bound for the Philippine Islands.
Grace had considered staying in the States with Thomas until Walter returned, but her family were traditionalists and all of her life she was told that a wife obeyed her husband and did as he asked; it was for the good of the family. More importantly she worried about the impact of separating him from his father. While Walter worked long hours he was nonetheless a male role model for his son.
Over the past several years Grace had become disillusioned with her marriage to Walter. The great difference in their ages had placed a strain on them from the very beginning. They were from very different generations, and while Walter had always treated her well, much of the time she felt isolated. Most of his friends and associates were older than she was and it was difficult for her to develop relationships. It was even more difficult for her to identify with Walter and his views of the world.
Her marriage was not exactly arranged but she never felt she had a choice. Her family's business was having financial difficulties and a union between her and Walter would bolster their prestige as well as their finances. Like a good daughter she obeyed her parents.
Walter was a good man and while she believed she loved him, she didn't really know what love was all about. She had never really experienced the kind of love she read about in classical novels and plays of the time; the kind where the damsel in distress was whisked away by a knight in shining armor. She knew that was mostly fantasy but wondered if something in between was possible.
Grace was a very tall and attractive woman with a great shape. Her breasts were larger than many of her female friends and stood up proudly with little or no support. Her skin was creamy brown and she had dark hair and gorgeous blue eyes. Her Eurasian heritage gave her a sultry look and at an early age she fantasized about being a model in the booming garment industry in New York or San Francisco. Her marriage had put an end to that dream. Now she found herself marooned on a deserted island with little possessions beyond the clothes on her back.
While she was ecstatic that Walter had found a suitcase with clothes, none of them were meant for wilderness living. The most protective clothing was a pair of riding pants and boots that she took everywhere she traveled; one of her first loves was horses and horseback riding. Also in the suitcase were three pair of shorts, some pants, which she would have never worn in public, several blouses and tops, and a few pair of panties. There were no dresses or support undergarments, like a corset or bras, and while the lack of dresses was not a problem, the lack of support undergarments could be. Her nipples had always been very sensitive and now, without protection from the fabric of her tops, they seemed to be perpetually hard. She knew that she would have to be careful around Thomas.
Grace had always been a highly sexual woman and at 36 was in her prime sexual peak. She worried that she was going to wear Walter out; now in his late 50's. He was not nearly as interested in sex as she was. Incredibly, in spite of their desperate situation, Grace found that her desires had not dwindled. She was a woman in her prime and, contrary to how women were supposed to feel, she had a fire inside that seemed to have grown hotter in the past couples of years. She had made several attempts since they reached the island to entice Walter into sex but it hadn't worked out. Unfortunately they had little or no privacy and had not been intimate since leaving San Francisco weeks ago. If they could get some private time maybe the two of them could slip off and ... well, she didn't want to get carried away with thinking sexual thoughts; she had Thomas to think about and he wouldn't understand.
Grace knew that Thomas, as a normal teenager, was very aware of her and had seen him studying her recently. Of course she wasn't surprised that he showed signs that he was aware of the female form; he was a normal teenager with raging hormones. In spite of her sexual desires she was a modest woman and did her best to avoid exposing herself unnecessarily. Unfortunately she had slipped several times and he had seen more than he should have. She was still embarrassed that he had seen her bare breasts while on the raft. Even in that difficult situation she could tell that he had been excited. What she couldn't admit, even to herself, was how his glances made her feel in her most private place.
When weeks turned into months and still there was no rescue, Grace and Walter began to give up hope. They kept it to themselves and tried to put on a brave front for Thomas. They were always positive saying that they were sure that many searchers were looking for them and it would only be a matter of time before they were found. They were not sure that Thomas believed them as he was an intelligent boy and could certainly comprehend their desperate situation on his own.
Unfortunately as time went on it became more and more difficult for Grace to keep a positive attitude. Her greatest concern was for Thomas. There was a pain and overwhelming sadness in her heart for him. It appeared that he might never experience all the things teenagers should experience: he would not go to college, learn a trade, or even find a girl to marry. Even worse, without doctors, hospitals, and medicine, his life could be cut short. It was almost too sad to think about.
In spite of her misgivings about being rescued, Grace continued Thomas's formal education as best she could. She was not college educated, having married so young, and she did not have the skills to go much further with his education, but she believed she could still teach him the more genteel things in life; like how a gentleman treated ladies, social graces, and of course manners. She prayed that he would actually need those skills one day.