The waves swept the battered little boat to shore. As soon as the keel touched the sand Daniel and Audrey jumped out. Audrey went the bow and Daniel waded to the stern. Together they pulled and pushed the boat higher up the beach to safety.
"We made it," Daniel said once they collapsed on the sand together in exhaustion.
"That was some storm," Audrey said. "I'm just happy we made landfall."
"Are you hungry or thirsty?" Daniel asked.
"Yes I am," Audrey said. "Do you think we can find food and drink here on the island?"
"It's not a tropical island so I doubt we'll find coconuts. But the rain of the storm means that we should be able to find drinkable water." Daniel said. He leaned down and picked up a piece of driftwood. "I'm going to take this stick in case we have to scare off a wild pig or dog."
Audrey picked up a much bigger stick. "I'm going to take this stick in case we run into giant spider or snake."
"Giant spider or snake!" Daniel laughed. "What do you think this is, one of our fantastical stories?"
"A good engineer is always prepared for the worst eventuality," Audrey recited in a solemn voice.
"Fair enough," Daniel said as he exchanged his stick for a bigger one. "Let's go explore the beach and see if we can find a stream or other water source."
Hand in hand, with sticks in the other, they walked down the deserted beach. To their left, the waves crashed onto the shore. To their right, a dark, ominous looking forest of oaks and elm trees pressed against the beach.
"Do you think we're safe?" Daniel asked, looking at the tree line with worry.
"I'm not sure," Audrey said, a worried look crossing her face. "The forest was just assigned the adjectives of 'dark and ominous'. That can't be a good thing."
"The prudent thing is for us to focus on freshwater and then food," Daniel said. "It's hard for us to deal with 'dark and ominous' if we're weak."
"Good point," Audrey said. "And look over there, there's a stream running from the woods down the beach over those rocks!"
They ran as a couple to the stream. Then both cupped their hands and drank from the cool, clear, clean water. After they had their fill, they looked around carefully.
"Those are raspberry and black bushes at the edge of the forest," Daniel said.
"Are they safe to eat?" Audrey asked.
"Absolutely!" Daniel said, leading Audrey to them. He took off his shirt. "We'll pick berries and use my shirt to hold them. Watch out for thorns and poison ivy."
For the first few minutes, they ate enough berries to take the edge off their hunger. Then they folded Daniel's shirt and used it as a sack to hold more. These they washed in the stream. Then they sat at the edge of the stream and ate the succulent, sweet berries, one by one.
"This isn't so bad," Daniel said, popping a fresh raspberry into his mouth. He lay back onto the ground and sighed in contentment.
"Did you ever watch nature documentaries?" Audrey asked. She had kept her guard up, never letting go of her giant-spider-or-snake whacking stick.
"Sure. Why do you ask?"
"From them, I learned fresh water sources are where animals collect," Audrey said. "Animals like deer and rabbits and bears and wolves."
"I haven't heard anything but bird calls so far," Daniel said.
"I think I heard a rabbit," Audrey said. "Can't you hear it?"
"What does a rabbit sound like?" Daniel asked.
"You know, it makes that rabbit sounds," Audrey said. "Wait, now I hear a deer."
"I don't see any deer. Also - what does a deer sound like?"
"That's a pig for certain," Audrey said.
"The pig I can hear," Daniel said. He stood up and grabbed his stick. He looked around warily. "Wild boars can be very dangerous."
Now they heard a wolf howl. Then another and another. They looked at each other in alarm. "Let's get back to the boat!" Daniel and Audrey shouted as one.
Hand-in-hand they ran across the beach back to the boat. As they made it, they heard the roar of a bear. Desperately they shoved the little boat back into the rough surf and climbed in. Then they used their driftwood sticks as makeshift oars and paddled away from the island.
"What now?" Daniel asked.
"We find a new island, once not covered with a dark and ominous forest and filled with dangerous animals," Audrey replied. Together they paddled toward the sunset.
"Grandma, my new whistle is great!" Uma said. "It makes any animal sound. Even rabbits and deer sounds!"
"It's lovely," Grandma said as they left the little copse of wood that lined the shore. "I still don't know what a rabbit or deer sounds like though."
"Look at the little boat on the water!" Uma said, pointing with her little hand at the couple paddling furiously away from the shoreline. "Why are they in such a hurry?"
"Who knows little one. Let's just enjoy the beach to ourselves."