Snakes and Pills

176 - lifeline

The sail finally caught wind, and the boat roared into motion. Savannah still had no idea what she was doing, but somehow she felt her abilities were improving. Someone in mankind's history was the first to learn how to sail, and Savannah could now commiserate with him or her.

Learn or die, an educational imperative that was as deeply engrained in her DNA as fight or flight. And she had done a decent job of not dying so far, though she had her fair share of touch-and-go moments.

A few short weeks ago, she couldn't have envisioned any of this. In a sense, she was proud. A different kind of proud. Her career as a reporter was young, but she had already covered a few important events and individuals.

The assignment to do a story on local millionaire and philanthropist Reginald Cuomo probably wouldn't win her any awards, but it came with the perk of rubbing elbows with the highest society in town.

The chance to network with these people who could aid her in the future was too great to pass up. Now, Reginald was dead. And Savannah's only thoughts about her future were how many days she had left.

Her investigative mind ran over the events so many times, but she still couldn't make any sense of it. She had been shadowing the socialite for a few days when he invited her to tag along on an intimate dinner outing at sea with some of his close friends.

Savannah would usually rebuff such a request, but it was a relatively well-known secret around town that Mr. Cuomo did not have interest in her kind, and the trip could provide a unique perspective of the man.

Plus, it was a free meal on a luxury sailboat.

The evening had been pleasant, she was a fly on the wall at a hearty dinner among friends. Nothing appeared amiss to Savannah. She had excused herself to use the restroom. Other than spending a few extra moments marveling at how the yacht's bathroom was furnished nicer than her own apartment's, she hadn't been gone for long.

She thought the scene she returned to was some sort of cruel joke. Actually, she still wasn't wholly convinced otherwise. But if it was a joke, it had definitely grown into an extensively elaborate and depraved one.

Savannah found the other five people on the boat slumped over in their chairs at the dinner table. Still warm, but lifeless. Death had taken them without leaving the slightest of clues.

As distressing as stumbling across five dead bodies was, Savannah kept her wits about her. She tried to contact someone for help. She then discovered something much more frightening: none of the boat's electrical systems were functioning. Even the backups powered by batteries and gas were non-functional.

None of the equipment showed any signs of tampering or damage.

She kept the bodies onboard for two days, but their decomposition made burials at sea a necessity. Try as she might, Savannah couldn't get anything on the boat working. She resorted at last to using the wind, but she had no idea where it carried her each day.

The provisions onboard were for six people, and she rationed as much as she could. But the supplies were nearly exhausted. She remained clueless about how she ended up in this situation, even after examining every nook and cranny of the vessel.

All day, she kept an eye out for any sign of land, another boat, an airplane, anything. Even if she spotted something, she had no idea how she would get to it or raise its attention. But she had made it this far.

Savannah sailed on.


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