A few miles up sea, James stopped the boat, set over the floats and started to fish but yet again there was no fish. Not even one single little bite. James knew that there was something wrong which was scaring them. He wanted to go back home but he had to carry on. He couldn't go home without any fish or everyone would laugh, point and stare. He had to go on. It was a risk he was willing to take.The weather man had said there was going to be serious gales and winds but James hadn't heard a gust of wind or felt a raindrop yet. Maybe out in the open you might not get affected so badly. He started to worry not only about the weather but also about his family. Will they be ok?. Usually when a storm came he was there to protect them and calm them down, but not out here. The only thing he could do is pray to god. James loved sitting out at sea. He enjoyed watching the seagulls flying and the pretty views but nothing could beat being at home with his nice family. He wished they could be here and see what he was seeing right now. He would put Max to bed early and then share a nice bottle of bubbly right out at the sea front, and drink it listening to the peaceful sounds. But he would only accomplish this if he caught some fish and got the hell out of here. Tomorrow will be a good day for fish thought James but he needed to get some sleep as he had an early morning rise. That night he slept like a baby on board. He usually would have trouble sleeping if his wife and son weren't there but tonight he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. The next morning, James got straight into fishing and started to cut the bait. He had his first catch within minutes. He was so happy as he had not caught in a long time, but his happiness didn't last long. As he was pulling the fish up, it got away. He was not happy as this was the first bite in days, but it was still early and there was plenty more of the day to fill in with fish. Hours passed and the sun was going down, but still no bites. James was definately bored and the weather was getting worse and worse every single day. He couldn't go back home because the sea would be unsafe and the boat could capsize. He started the engine and went further up north. He saw a faded glimour just about half a mile up sea. When he got a bit closer he saw a person staring right at him. The man was about 5 feet tall and had cuts and bruises all over him. It looked liked he had been in a bad fight or even worse, got attacked. When James stopped and tied up the boat to an old wrecked pier, the man had disapeared. James wanted to find out where he was. He wanted to find out if there was a radio on the island because he could contact his family to tell them that he was okay. There was a hill which he started to climb. At the top he saw the whole island. It looked like it had been bombed because there was a lot of fire and smoke. Then he saw the most amazing thing. In the distance a large black gate appeared and started to move. Shaking and terrified, James started to move closer to the gate to get a better view but as he was coming to the bottom of the hill, a big firery machine apperared. It looked like a machine from the army. It had writing on it but James wasn't close enough to make out what it said.
There were 2 men guarding it with two machine guns. One was tall and had a big black scary beard and the other was a small man smoking a cigar. One of the men had pretty big muscles which James wished he had. Who where these people? What do they want? James did not want to get involved and he had to get out of there quickly and quietly. But as soon as he turned around there was yet another man who was about the same height as him pointing a gun straight at him. The man didn't speak English but was pointing to a truck with metal bars and looked like a prison on wheels. James didn't know what to do. If he made a break for it he would probably get shot and he did not want that! When he got into the truck there were two other men also in the truck. One was badly injured and the other was just staring at James. James asked the men if they spoke English. One of them did. The man told James everything which was happening on the island, and who the men and machines belonged to. The man told him that there was a ruler in town who wanted to take over. The ruler was taking over everything and everyone. He lived at the top of a hill behind a big forest and said that they would be taken to work there. If they disagreed, they would be shot or tortured. After a long drive, one of the men chained them together and dragged them to a castle. There were a lot of human bones scattered about and a horrible smell coming from two pipes leading out from the castle. There was a huge gateway leading into the castle which was surrounded by guards. Each and everyone with guns. When they got in, there were yet more men walking back and forth surrounding a door. There was a lot of screaming and yelling coming through the door. A tall man came up behind James and put a blind fold over his face. He was being dragged but could hear a lot of noise and movement coming from right beside him. His blindfold was removed and an angry man started speaking in an unknown launguage. There was a really tall and scary looking man staring straight at him. There was yet another man who spoke English and told James to bow. The scary man said that he was the chief and he should listen and do every chore he may ask him to do. James nodded his head and then got manhandled into a celler. There were about 25 other terrified men in the celler and only 2 spoke English.
James hated this place. He had been here for 2 months now and was starving and filthy. If he was lucky, he would get scraps. Other times he would get nothing. He had done every chore he got set - cleaning boots. polishing shoes, cleaning the rooms, washing dishes, polishing the silver and not once had he been rewarded or told how well he did everything. He never got a decent sleep as the only thing he could think of was his family. Were they well? What did they think when he didn't come back to them? What about poor Max. He missed them so much. He needed to get out of here quickly and quietly. He must get prepared and think of a plan. Over the weeks James thought and thought but one night a plan struck to him. He would sneek out through the toilet window, he had to do it when everyone was sleeping. He was going to take jake with him the one who speaks english. Jake was an expert at sneeking around. He had escaped 23 times but always got brought back in this hell hole. But his time they would do a real good runner and not get caught . The night came fast and they were just about prepared, all they had to do is get out the toilet window and get past 2 armned guards and over a 15 foot wall , it was a risk they were both willing to take. It was time they had to nail this with perfection, James went first he slowly opened the bathroom window it was quite hard to open because it had a loud squeek. Finally 10 mins later he had got it open. He got through and keeped the cosed cear. After they both got out they heared 2 guards speeking to one another.
They had to wait a few minutes for the guards to leave. They were talking very loudly and Jake could easily translate into English what they both were saying. It was about something they had planned about killing all the slaves and servants. James thought about escaping tonight because if they stayed any longer they would both be dead. When the guards went away, James and Jake both got over the wall but James had cut his arm coming over the barbed wire. He kept his mouth shut as he didn't want to spook Jake. When they got past all the traps, James could see his boat. It looked like it had been tampered with but hopefully it could be fixed in no time. Luckily, Jake had brought a map which showed all of the islands and after doing a quick repair to the boat, James set sail straight for home. He had to warn everyone that the island is unsafe and crazy things were happening. People were dying. The wind was getting very strong and the boat was going all kind of directions left right fowards backwards it was crazy and no one was going to get any were iin this weather.
They had to find a boat dock or something because in this weather they could tip or capsize. Jake told james there was an island with a dock and coatcard station. The weather was getting worse and they needed to get to land or god knows what would happen. James spotted something in the distance but it wasen't an island it was something heading straight fot them it was the men from the castle. There was 4 boats which seemed to be going way faster that james had ever seen going. The boats were about a few hundred meters away and one looked like had had a gun pointing straight for them and the others had smaller weapons but could still blow the boat into thousands of pieces.
James had to think of something fast or they would both be mince meat. Jake thought of something they had a couple of dummies in the back of the boat because james was going to teach his son how to save people out at sea because he wanted to be a fisher man. They both took of their clothes and dressed the dummies so that it looked just like them the next round they shot they would predend to be injured and both threw each of there dummies so that it looked like they were drowning. The plan was genius but would it work or not. They were fireing the next round but every bullet was no were near them, they had an awful aim James had thrown his dummie over board and it worked the soilders were celebrating, now it was jakes turn. He had managed it too it was a succesful result the boat had turned round now and everything was back to normal for about 5 mins when they had relised there was a big hole in the left side of the boat.
What where they going to do the engine was dying down to they would have to row to the misterious bit of land they could just see. It took them quite a while to paddle their but they made it in one piece luckily. The island looked like it had been an old fishing village not any more though, their was lots of boats and nets etc James reckond he could fix and drive one of the old boat recks. The old village was quiet their was a few peope walking around but looked like they where all in their own worlds. Jake spotted the coastcard centre and started to walk slowly towards it. It looked like it was an old light house and had alot of work done to it.
Feedback for JLC
JLC captures our interest from the beginning. We are struck by the vulnerability of his character out in the open sea. JLC presents us with his character’s dilemma: he needs to catch some fish and while they are strangely not biting he is also facing an imminent storm. From the start we have questions. Why are the fish not biting? Why despite the worrying forecast has he seen no signs of dangerous weather? What will happen to his family if anything happens to him? We want to read on because of these questions and because we like James already. JLC tells us of James’s love for the sea and how he wishes his family could share its beauty.
JLC could have kept his story a simple story of survival against the elements, perhaps adding in some sharks for good measure. There would have been lots of opportunities in a story of this kind to describe the waves, sea creatures, his hopes and fears, his triumph. Perhaps there could have been radio problems, engine trouble too.
However JLC must have worried that his story would not be exciting enough. So he jazzed it up with mysterious chiefs, soldiers and slaves who were taken prisoner and forced to do chores for these bandits. James was among their prisoners. While this was undoubtedly an exciting story, it was really two stories joined together. And as a reader I was left with questions that JLC did not answer for me. I wondered why these dangerous men were on the island and why they were capturing people and enslaving them.
But you will be relieved to know that James daringly and cleverly escapes the clutches of these desperadoes with the help of another prisoner.
Tips for next time:
At times he attempts to use language creatively.
He varies the length of his sentences, using short sentences well for dramatic effect.
He lists the reactions of others in James’s imagination to emphasise just how great his humiliation would be if he returned home without fish:
‘He couldn't go home without any fish or everyone would laugh, point and stare.’
JLC’s vocabulary was interesting at times too. Here is an example of his poetic word choice:
‘He saw a faded glimmer just about half a mile up sea.’
Nice work JLC!