Over the next days we kept ourselves busy and the time went quickly. We built up our wood pile on top of the hill, but most of the branches we cut went to building shelters or rafts.
It was just as the routine was becoming monotonous that the thing we'd been waiting for arrived. A ship appeared on the horrizon. Gemma spotted it and yelled. Jack took off up the hill to start the fire, which is what we'd planned. The wood had been kept dry and it caught quickly. Smoke drifted lazily up into the still air. Meanwhile, down on the shore we were yelling as loud as we could.
Five minutes passed and the ship seemed not to have noticed but then sails began to be taken in and the bow turned towards us. We cheered and whooped.
'Quick,' I shouted, 'get the rafts into the water.'
Together we lifted our bulky structures into sea where they floated beautifully. The ship was nearer now and there could be no doubt they were heading for us.
'Wait, what about the men in the cave?' said Philippa.
'They left us, I reckon we leave them,' Peter responded.
'They must have heard us shouting,' said Jack, 'if they haven't bothered to come out by now to see what's going on then I don't think they will. I'm with Peter.'
'Still,' I said, 'we ought to let them know.'
Two older guys offered to go and we said we'd wait. They returned within half an hour.
'They think we're trying to trick them into coming out of the cave,' said Adam, as they came up, 'so they're not coming out.'
I nodded. 'Well, that's that then.'
There was a terrific splash and we saw the ship had lowered an anchor.
'On to the rafts everyone, let's go.'
We boarded our log vessels and slowly pushed off from the shore. We'd gone less than ten metres however, when there was a shout and a man came splashing towards us.
'Wait, for me,' he called.
'He's from the cave,' said Adam.
'I'm coming with you,' he said, as he reached the first raft.
'What about the others?' I asked.
'No, they're staying.'
We pulled him onto the raft and then continued paddling out towards the ship, thankful for the calm waters. Gradually we drifted closer until we came alongside. From above us a rope ladder was dropped. I grabbed it and started to climb.
I looked back towards the island, but it had gone.
'Guys,' I called down, 'where's the island?'
They looked back too.
'Wait,' said Philippa, 'what's that?' She pointed.
'It's a door,' I said, squinting, 'it must be the one we came through from the chest.'
'This just gets weirder and weirder,' said Adam, 'well, there's no going back. On to the ship everyone.'