A piece of short fiction about superyachts and volcanos.
EXT. CARIBBEAN SEA - DAY
A sleek 100-meter superyacht cruises slowly in idyllic Caribbean seas. The boat name is displayed prominently on the side: THE CRUCIBLE’S SPIRIT. An extravagant lounge deck is at the back, complete with a swimming pool.
The yacht is nearing a volcanic island. Thin wisps of smoke hang over the peak. Crew members and guests are on the back deck, pointing at the island and viewing through binoculars.
INT. YACHT HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
A stewardess hurriedly drags a room cart into the hallway, frantically putting items back into their places. Her name tag says CALLIE.
That is amazing! The smoke! Is it erupting?
CALLIE (25) races with the cart to the end of the hall, rips a storage closet open and rams the cart inside. Down the hall, in a small private lounge, she begins changing out of her uniform.
EXT. YACHT DECK - DAY
CALLIE bursts from the stairwell onto the deck. She spots someone and weaves through the collected guests with a big smile on her face. She joins a woman, SAGE (25), at the railing and stares at the island with obvious excitement. SAGE is dressed in a deckhand uniform.
Hey, you. That was pretty fast. You weren’t kidding, were you?
I told you, this is what I live for! Look at that!
Well, I’ve seen it before, but I was sure you’d get a real kick out of this stuff.
Right? Where’s your sense of adventure? We have it so made here. All the travel you can stand and a party that never quits? And we get paid? Ha! Again, thank you so much for this gig. Really.
I wanted you to have an experience. Give it another year, though. Hopefully you’re still loving the wild life.
There’s no doubt. Sure as hell beats still working fast food!
A man, CAPT. CLINE (40), approaches. He is wearing a nautical uniform and captain’s hat. He clears his throat. CALLIE and SAGE turn their heads at the sound and then snap to attention.
SAGE / CALLIE
You ladies done lazing about?
Yes, sir! Sorry, sir-
I’m kidding, calm down. I don’t blame you. It’s really a spectacle, isn’t it?
He motions toward the island with his glass of champagne. There is a tattoo on the back of his hand - a stylized bonsai tree.
It- is- awesome!
Indeed. Anyway. Sage? Mrs. Eckhart over there has a new request. She would like some “fresh volcanic rocks” straight from the island. Think you can manage that?
Yes, sir. I’ll prep the tender and we can be on our way.
(puts up his hands)
No, no. I’m not going, if that’s what you’re thinking. And neither is Mrs. Eckhart. You can go ahead, though. And Sage? There’s no rush, but let’s not take all day, all right? Mrs. Eckhart has a lot of money, but not a lot of patience.
Of course, sir.
SAGE turns to CALLIE.
How about you? You said you wanted to see the world.
Are you kidding right now?
I’m serious. This is right up your alley. I’ve even heard these islands sometimes have gems just laying around for the taking. Captain, would that be all right?
Captain, can I go? Please? I’ve already finished prepping the cabins, and set the dining room, and I can freshen the flowers as soon as we get back, I promise. Please?
(rolls his eyes)
May as well. You two are always attached at the hip, it seems. Just don’t dawdle. This isn’t a vacation.
CALLIE squeals, jumping up and down. SAGE grins and pulls CALLIE along.
Come on, it’ll be great. I can show you the garage and maybe let you drive. Be glad the old lady didn’t want a live squid in the pool again.
EXT. ISLAND SHORE - DAY
Approaching the shore, the luxury speed boat slows as the motor is cut. Another motor kicks in as the anchor is lowered by a powered wench.
The two women hop into the water and splash toward the shore. CALLIE moves fast despite the small backpack she carries.
SAGE has changed tops and there is now matching stylized bonsai tree tattoo visible on her lower back.
(picking up black rocks)
They’re everywhere! Do you think I can keep some for myself?
(checking her watch)
Yeah, I think it would be all right.
Sage, look! You were right–there’s like, emeralds and stuff!
CALLIE collects a few scattered green gems and shows them briefly to SAGE. She takes off her backpack and unzips it, putting everything inside.
Told you. I knew you’d be the lucky girl.
CALLIE is ignoring her and continuing to hunt and peck, collecting more specimens.
Dude! Look at this.
She walks over with a small piece of wood in her palm. It looks like a miniaturized totem pole, carved with faces.
Do think there are people on this island? Someone made this, right? Doesn’t it look like that statue in the sky lounge?
I don’t know. Maybe.
Weird. I gotta get some pictures.
CALLIE starts posing for selfies with her souvenirs.
Hey, do you think we can explore a little? Like really quick?
(checking her watch again)
Let’s hope your luck holds out. The island seems to like you so far.
They start walking to the tree line.
EXT. ISLAND FOREST - DAY
CALLIE leads the way, stay close to the tree line and constantly taking pictures and collecting more wooden totems.
My friends back home are not going to believe this. This is the life, right?
(checking the sky)
They find a glade covered in soft moss with a bonsai tree in the center.
Wow, that is beautiful. How is it even growing here? It’s one of those Japanese whatsit trees…I don’t know what they’re called.
There is a distant rumble. The ground shakes and a few small boulders tumble down the mountainside. Looking up, they see the smoke has darkened the sky.
All right. Time to go.
Are you kidding? I gotta take a video.
CALLIE starts her phone camera app and records the top of the volcano where oozing lava has become visible.
Really, CALLIE. We have to get out of here. The island doesn’t like you after all.
What’s that supposed to mean?
Doesn’t matter. Now stop screwing around and let’s go.
Hang on, would you? How often do you a chance like this? This is gonna go viral.
CALLIE starts narrating like she is filming a documentary. She announces her name and describes where they are and what is happening.
Damn it, Callie.
SAGE grabs her by the arm and starts pulling her toward the boat.
An explosion rocks the whole island and tons of stone are hurled high in the sky. Both women are thrown to the ground. Rocks and hot magma begin raining down around them.
CALLIE gets back to her feet and whoops loudly, obviously thrilled. She gets hit in the shoulder by a rock.
Ow! All right, time to go.
They hurriedly get the boat turned around and up to speed as the volcanic debris continues raining on them.
EXT. CARIBBEAN SEA - DAY
They bounce across the waves in the speed boat. The sky is blackened with smoke and ash, visibility is poor. With some distance, CALLIE is feeling safe again.
Oh man, that was amazing! And I was recording the whole time, and plus we’re going to be rich!
A flaming boulder strikes the boat, sending them flying into the sea.
Resurfacing, they grab onto floating chunks of the boat. CALLIE is still wearing her backpack with her collection of souvenirs and smartphone.
Oh my god. Sage, are you all right?
SAGE’s face has several cuts and her head is bleeding.
(groaning in pain)
No, I think my arm is broken.
Shit. What do we do?
We need to get to the liferaft. It should have deployed when it went in the water. Where the hell is it?
They look for a few seconds and finally it surfaces, but its far away. They continue treading water while hanging on to the wreckage. It’s noticeably lower in the water.
Damn it. I can’t swim that far. Not with a broken arm.
Well, won’t the captain come find us?
They can’t see the yacht anymore because of the smoke and raining ash.
He’s gonna have a hell of a time finding us. See if there’s a flare gun in that pack.
CALLIE struggles to get her backpack off, flops it onto the wreckage and digs inside. A stream of gems pour out and disappear into the water.
(awkwardly trying to stop them)
The wreckage continues sinking and SAGE is having trouble staying above water with her broken arm.
(gagging on water)
Forget the damn trinkets, Callie. Find the flare gun or we’re going to die out here-
She starts drowning and CALLIE abandons her backpack and rushes to help SAGE. She begins lifeguard swimming with her, dragging her to the liferaft, nearly drowning as well.
They reach the raft and hang onto the side in exhaustion.
EXT. LIFE RAFT - DUSK
Hours later, the yacht shows up and the rescue effort is quick and efficient.
EXT. YACHT DECK - CONTINUOUS
The two women sprawl on the deck, wiped out. The yacht is already speeding away from the active volcano.
Okay, Sage. You win. No more adventure. Back to fast food it is.
They share a tired smile and a chuckle.
The captain leans over them, clucking his tongue.
(shaking his head)
I’m so sorry about that, Sage. We all really thought that Callie would be the one this time.
CALLIE is very confused now and looks to SAGE for answers.
SAGE looks back, embarrassed and apologetic.
FADE TO BLACK: