The sun was close to the horizon when the island came into view; its shadow reaching out towards them as if in welcome.
Rickie pushed the wallowing boat as best he could, and prayed they would be able to reach it before the engine quit. Already, it was struggling as water pooled around the inboard mechanics. Meaghan's attempt to keep the water out of the engine compartment was only delaying the inevitable, but he wanted every possible second.
Meaghan's arms and wrists ached with the effort to keep the manual pump working. She paused for a second when, with a gurgling cough, the engine finally died. She wiped her forehead and squinted through the cabin door at Rickie, who grimly measured the distance still to go.
Rick felt a moment of panic overcome the throbbing in his belly, and tasted fear when he thought about what they must do. He took in a breath, ignoring both the pain and the terror.
"Well, Meggie, we're within the surf line, but it will still be a bit of a swim. Are you ready?"
He turned and looked at her; even disheveled and battered, she snapped a saucy salute and said, "Aye aye, Captain." Rickie smiled as his moment of panic receded, proud of her attitude.
Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
"That's my girl." He reached into the hold and pulled her out.
They both stood by the wheel and looked at the green and grey outcropping rising up from the water. They were close enough to see individual features, but they were still many meters away from the shoreline.
Rickie placed a bright orange life vest on Meaghan, making sure all the straps fit snugly, before he strapped on his own.
By then the forward motion of the boat ceased; it now wallowed between the waves, directionless and still sinking. Rickie grabbed up the remaining life vests and what useful equipment he could find, and roped it together. He reached out his hand and linked the two of them. Pulling her into his arms, he kissed her gently on the lips as she molded herself against him.
"Are we ready?" He asked as he leaned his forehead against hers.
Meaghan cupped his cheek by way of a reply, and then squared her shoulders.
"Let's do this."
Rickie nodded, and using a piece of the rope, tied it around Meaghan's waist, playing out approximately three meters before securing the other end around to himself.
By now the vessel was low in the water, and rapidly filling up influx of seawater through the cracks in the hull. It was only a matter of minutes before it was gone, and Rickie wanted to be away before then.
He lifted Meaghan into the water, handed her the precious package of belongings, and slipped into the water. They both began paddling towards the shore, and neither noticed when the Bayliner and its grim cargo finally disappeared under the waves behind them.
What seemed like hours later, they finally found footing in the white coral sand and all but crawled until they reached the warm dry sand above the tide line. Taking a moment, Rickie untied them and put the rope with the packet of possessions.
"Let's go see if we can find some shelter for the night. It's already close to sunset."
Somehow they managed to stagger to a small cave in the rocky cliff a short distance from the water. It offered little comfort, but was better than spending the night exposed on the beach. Rickie sat down and leaned against the cave wall, and motioned Meaghan to join him.
As she approached him, Meaghan glanced down at Rickie and her eyes widened in alarm. The spreading stain on Rickie's shirt appeared like a black abscess on his abdomen in the fading light. She dropped down to the cave floor and focused on the injury.
"What did you do?" She demanded, and Rickie stood still as his Meaghan reached out and touched the stain; she pulled her hand away and saw the smear of fresh blood.
"Sit here, and don't move," Meaghan ordered Rickie before going back outside and looking around the area for useful items.
An overwhelming weariness invaded his limbs, and he could only comply.