I unbuckled and went back to sit beside T.J. Not wanting to shout, I pulled him closer and said, “Listen, I’m pretty sure Mick’s having a heart attack. He has chest pains and he looks awful, but he’s blaming it on heartburn.”
“What! Are you serious?”
I nodded. “My dad survived a major heart attack last year, so I know what to watch for. I think he’s scared to admit there’s something wrong.”
“What about us? Can he still fly the plane?”
“I don’t know.”
T.J. and I approached the cockpit. Mick had both fists pressed against his chest and his eyes were closed. His headset sat askew and his face had taken on a grayish cast.
I crouched down next to his seat, fear rippling through me. “Mick.” My tone was urgent. “We need to call for help.”
He nodded. “I’m going to put us down on the water first and then one of you will have to get on the radio,” he gasped, trying to get the words out. “Put on life jackets. They’re in the storage compartment by the door. Then get in your seats and buckle in.” He grimaced in pain. “Go!”
My heart thundered in my chest and adrenaline flooded my body. We rushed to the storage compartment and rifled through it.
“Why do we have to put on life jackets, Anna? The plane has floats, right?”
Because he’s afraid he might not get us out of the air in time.
”I don’t know, maybe it’s standard operating procedure. We’re landing in the middle of the ocean.” I found the life jackets wedged between a cylinder-shaped container that said LIFE RAFT and several blankets. “Here,” I said, handing one to T.J. and putting mine on. We sat down and fastened our seatbelts, my hands shaking so badly it took me two tries.
“If he loses consciousness I’ll need to start CPR immediately. You’ll have to figure out the radio, T.J., okay?”
He nodded, his eyes wide. “I can do that.”
I gripped the armrests of my seat and watched out the window, the rolling surface of the ocean growing closer. But then instead of slowing we picked up speed, descending at a steep angle. I glanced toward the front of the plane. Mick was slumped over the yoke, not moving. I unbuckled my seat belt and lunged into the aisle.
“Anna,” T.J. yelled. The hem of my T-shirt slipped through his grasp.
When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.
Tracey is giving away a Print copy of On The Island to one lucky visitor.
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post.
- US ONLY
- Winner will be chosen at Random.
- Giveaway ends March 11th.
- Winner will be announced on our Facebook & Twitter page.