Ellen opened her eyes to find a total stranger hovering over and examining her. She pushed him away and yelled. Her head throbbed and she had no idea where she was. The last thing she remembered was walking back toward her hotel and a man grabbing her from behind then covering her mouth before she could scream.
"Who the hell are you? And where have you taken me?"
"No time to explain right now. We've got to get away from here."
"I'm not going anywhere with you. Where the hell am I?" she demanded and scooted over the floor placing more distance between them.
She watched his lips tighten and sensed him bristling in anger. Flashbacks of her previous beatings by Mitch played through her mind. Ellen glanced around at the unfamiliar area and felt the metal floor beneath her.
The man spoke. "We were kidnapped. We're on a boat."
She processed this new information. "And for all I know you're one of the kidnappers."
"Fine, and I do mean fine with a capitol F. You can stay here if you want." He turned and headed through the open doorway. Partway into the corridor beyond he faced her once more. "Before I leave I just want to say. This boat is run aground, there's a gaping hole in it below. It may breakup any time but you're welcome to stay here if you wish." He vanished into the hall.
Ellen scrambled to her feet and dashed to the door. "I'll follow you. Just don't touch me."
Over his shoulder, he grumbled, "Fine. I wasn't looking forward to carrying you upstairs anyway."
Out on the deck, he wrestled a rubber raft to the boats edge and while holding an attached rope pushed it over the side. Without a further word he dove after it. She rushed over and watched him fight his way through the angry water and climb into the raft. After taking one more glance at the derelict boat she dove.
A strong swimmer, she quickly grasped the edge of the raft. He reached for her and she edged further away before scrambling over the side.
"Jesus lady, I was just trying to help you in."
Cold and shivering from her dip she looked up at him for a moment then averted her gaze to the floor.
"I know, I know, don't touch you." He grabbed the oars gave her one further look of disgust and started to row. Despite the rough water his powerful strokes brought the raft ever closer until with one final pull it surged up on the sand. He jumped over the side and she jumped over the other. Together they dragged the small boat up on the beach further.
She followed him to the trees where he sat. After moving away from him several yards she followed suit. Both of them panted from exertion. The trees they sat under helped cut down on the wind and protect them from the falling rain. Every time she cast a glance his way he was looking at her. She quickly ducked her head each time.
He struggled to his feet. "Just in case you're confused lady… I'm one of the good guys. The bad ones, like rats, abandoned ship long ago, leaving us both for dead."
She looked up at him but didn't answer.
"I'm going to walk a little ways and see if I can find help. You stay here out of the wind and rain. If I find assistance, I'll send someone here for you. If you're just by chance wondering, my name is Gene. Bye lady." He trudged away to the east over the sand."My name is Ellen," she whispered to his back but knew he wouldn't hear.