Saturday, 17 December 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016 -

Punished by the Priest on Paradise Island

by W. Arthur
Published: Nov 25, 2016
Words: 31,916
Category: general, historical
Orientation: M/F
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Chapter One

When Rodrigo Cantrell opened his bloodshot eyes, the first thing he saw was the clear blue sky yawning above him like an immense and empty canyon, like Heaven was opening its pearl-studded gates just for him. Then, when a gush of cold sea water washed over his face, stinging his cracked skin, he knew he was still alive, that he wasn't gazing upward at Heaven. Slowly and painfully, he raised himself up into a sitting position and shifted his gaze to the horizon, now wondering what had awakened him and, more importantly, where exactly he was. The makeshift raft upon which he had been drifting was now banging against some rocks on a jagged, deserted coastline. He had been saved from the sea.

However, his jubilation over being alive was tempered as he realized he had no idea where he was or how long he had been drifting. He remembered that he had been a passenger aboard the Spanish barque, La Clava, out of Barcelona bound for Minorca in the Balearic Islands. He remembered that the small sailing vessel floundered in a sudden storm. He was washed overboard just as the ship was breaking apart and managed to climb onto a piece of the deck. He remembered very little after that.

Rodrigo gathered what little strength he had left and slid away from the planking that had served as his lifeboat. He staggered for a moment as his legs, already very weak, tried to remember what solid ground felt like. In the distance, perhaps fifty feet away was a stream bubbling over rocks - fresh water. His thirst was overwhelming and, like a desperate horse nearing a pool in the desert, he stumbled toward the stream, now oblivious to anything else around him. When he reached it, he kneeled down and stuck his whole face in the cool, running water. He drank steadily for nearly a minute.

Once his thirst was momentarily satisfied, his still disjointed thoughts turned again to where he was. They had been too far from the Spanish coast for him to have drifted back. Therefore, he reasoned, he must be on one of the many islands in the Balearic chain. But which one? It didn't look big enough to be Ibiza. To the north were only trees and small hills; to the south was the brilliant Mediterranean. A few birds flew overhead. He didn't recognize the species. Only one way to find out where I am, he told himself as he turned toward the north.

He walked slowly and wearily along the stream, heading progressively more inland; however, after less than fifty yards, fatigue and hunger began to overtake him. He stumbled over several rocks along the bank and fell on his side into a small grassy meadow. There he lost consciousness.

Rodrigo awoke to low voices around him and a soft hand upon his face. He opened his eyes and was immediately confronted by the sight of four young women clothed in ragged ankle length dresses standing over him, concerned looks etched on their unmarked faces.