Gonzalo threw his few belongings, the sharpened rocks and wooden tools he had made with his own hands, into the cave entrance and hurried inside the safety of his hidden cavern.

Lying on the floor he peered back out through the opening. With his telescope, cobbled together with the glass frontispiece of his watch,  a clear stone it had taken him a week to file down and leaves from the native trees, he looked out to sea. The picture was blurry but he could make out the red, white and yellow Spanish Naval ensign flag flying from the topmast.

Surely Magellan hadn’t turned around and come to find him. He had lost track of the number of days since he had been cast ashore on the small island. Magellan and his expedition may well have circumnavigated the entire globe by now. Gonzalo had seen no soul since he had been marooned, it had been the happiest of times.

Here he could look ahead to a life on his own terms, with only the rules and order that nature supplied as his limitations. What awaited him if he returned to his homeland apart from living in a state of penury and hardship, toiling in servitude.

Here he had an infinite supply of food whenever he desired it, his time was his own to do with as he pleased and the company of fellow man, which he had come to revile on the close, cramped ships, was hardly missed.

If the ship was to weigh anchor and send a landing party ashore he would be discovered. The wooden shack, balanced against solid tree trunks, in which he slept and ate was invisible from the sea, but if invaders walked up the sandy beach they would be sure to see it.

He prayed to God, although he had found it was quite possible to exist without God when one was left on their own away from the domineering presence of the Catholic church, that the ship would carry on past the island. Perhaps Magellan had succeeded and this ship was the first on a trading route opened up between Spain and the Far East. Gonzalo’s heart sank as he imagined the stream of ships that would now pass close to his land. All he wanted was to be left alone.

His spirits rose as the ship kept crossing the horizon in front of him. There may be trouble ahead, but for now he could enjoy his solitude.


ahead
Copyright Sue Vincent

This is a response to the Thursday Photo Prompt – Ahead curated over at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click on the link to read other stories inspired by the image.

More about Ferdinand Magellan and his attempt to be the first circumnavigate the globe: Wikipedia.

25 thoughts on “TROUBLE AHEAD

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