Then they were off once again. And it was easier going this time; though he was a still a little sore, yesterday’s exercise and last night’s rest had done Max a world of good. This morning he was fired up and ready for anything.
He walked around a couple more bends in the beach, and what he saw puzzled him for a moment. For it was the very spot where he first washed up; he recognized the large rock thrusting out of the sand near the water from the morning before. His long journey was abruptly at an end.
The cub looked up at him, just as puzzled, seeming almost to chide Max for leading him in circles.
For his part, Max plunked down on the sand and stared ahead, dumbfounded, at the morning sky. This most recent development completely canceled out his inner debate about whether or not to turn back. All I had to do was just walk a little farther…
And then what?
Now he knew for sure that he was on an island, though there had been little doubt in his mind to begin with. He even had a vague idea of its size now. That just left the question of what to do next. He had been so focused on the present that he had given little thought to the future.
Now was the time to think ahead.
Though he still wasn’t one-hundred-percent sure of it, he was beginning to suspect that there was no one else on the island. Nowhere along the way had he encountered even the slightest sign of habitation. No boats or docks, no buildings or ruins, no campfires, no tracks or trails. Nothing.
It seemed as if no one else had ever been here before.
A real desert isle…
The thought thrilled Max— and scared him. He found himself living in one of his father’s adventures, but he was all on his own. He had only two or three days worth of rations left, and less than a third of a canteen of water— though he at least knew a solution to that problem, if he had enough junk parts to work with. He had no shelter, and only a handful of supplies.
And no one to turn to but himself.
It still took him by surprise to have to think in these terms. This place seemed to empty without any docks, any buildings, and not even a single ship hovering off the shore. Not just here, but everywhere he went.
As Max came and stood before the wreckage of the boat once more, he knew he was on his own. The shadow of fear rose up inside him once again, threatening to break him down as it had the night before. He knew he had to do something.
All he could think of was to explore further inland. As long as he could keep thinking and keep doing, he could keep from falling apart. He simply told himself that it would be good to find out more about the island.
He knew he had no choice. He had to know what was in there.