Step to the Star

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Illya Krasylnykov

Laura found herself on board of the boat alone, She overcame the fear to kill the phobia.




by  Illya Krasylnykov



Laura woke up in the stuffy cabin and came on deck.

“Wow, such big bright stars! Sandra, Nick, where are you?” She called her sister and the sister’s boyfriend.

Without waiting for reply Laura came closer to the cabin hatch and called them again. Nobody replied. She went down into the dimmed accommodation signing with “EMERGENCY LIGHT IS ON” over each lamp sconces.

Laura looked for Sandra and Nick everywhere on the yacht even in the toilet and the engine room but in vain.

The last hope was the cockpit and the Dinghy boat which was tugged by the rope. The cockpit was empty and the Dinghy boat was berthed at the yacht’s starboard side.

“Alone?!” Blood started pulsing in Laura’s head with that thought the deck went under her feet…

Reaching her age of thirty two Laura, a single shy provincial librarian wearing a round glasses, had an open spaces phobia. She experienced that in her childhood losing her way in woods. Later she even used quiet lanes avoiding of noisy wide streets on her way to the work place or home.

Once in summer talkative Sandra, Laura’s sister, a young capital university student, persuaded to take three days sea trip on her boyfriend’s boat.

Laura resisted. Laura was scarred. Even a thought about open sea and sky around without shore line and feeling the sea bottom by feet caused terror.

“Look, it is so nice this summer. You stay in a stuffy library breathing stifled by books’ dust. Get some fresh sea breeze, clean your brain.” Sandra did not give up and added “Nick is an experienced skipper. Also Dolly, my lapdog will be with us. ”

Then after a long and persuading conversation by a telephone and in person as well as presenting the weather forecast with the calm sea, Laura took four days holiday.

Nick met girls on the jetty.

“Wow, nice yacht, Nick!” Laura exclaimed when she saw shining the motor boat ‘Lucky Day’.

“Thanks, Laura. That was a fishing boat built right after the World War II.

 I bought her from a fisherman four years ago and converted her into a recreation yacht adding the aft cabin. By the way, you occupy that cabin.” Nick said.

“Does boat roll? Does she reliable? Does she…?” Laura asked Nick.

“No worries we are not going to sink, hahaha.” Nick tried to joke seeing Laura’s fear…

…Laura woke from a stupor when her fingers were swollen of gripping the on-board rail. Big bright stars were reflecting on the sea surface making the yacht just like a spaceship floating in the infinitive Universe.  

Laura hardly unclenched her fingers and got up.

She walked braiding into accommodation and sat on the sofa in the messroom.

“I want to die, to disappear, to become a little girl. Why with me??? What sins I did?” Laura cried.

Oppressive silence answered her.

That moment the province library looked to Laura as the best place in the world. Even the frown neighbor in her hometown, a postman, a pizza deliverer, a street vendor would be the most welcomed to meet. The life value, people relationship, surrounding worries became sharper and important.

Many of those thoughts never came into her mind when she was digging inside herself and trying to get rid of phobia. Laura felt to be so selfish now. 

“God, forgive me!!! Give me a chance, please.” Laura prayed.

Her praying started as a low whisper then became as a loud appeal gradually. She merged with the Super Power by the pray. The soul started feeling warm and peace and Laura’s thoughts got in order.

Once Laura did a pause in praying she heard a low dog’s whining. Laura kept her ears open. The whining was heard again a little louder and it seemed as childish cry from Nick’s and Sandra’s cabin. Laura got up quickly, burst in the dimmed cabin.

“Is anybody here?” She asked.

Nobody replied.

“It seemed.” She said to herself and turned to go out.

Maybe I am getting mad here, she thought.

A distinct whining made her to turn back. Two big frightened eyes looked at Laura through the darkness of the cabin corner between the bed and the wardrobe.

“Dolly! Is that you, my little dog? What are you doing here? Where is Sandra? Where is Nick?” Laura could not believe it.

She was never happy in her life but now looking at that little lapdog shaking from fear Laura felt her great.

“Thanks, Father. You heard my pray. I’m not alone more.” Laura thanked the God. Then she took Dolly and came into the messroom.

“I will feed you, my little dog. Perhaps you didn’t eat for a long time. Don’t worry I will take care about you. We will find the way what to do. Firstly you should have some meal to be strong.” Laura talked to the dog as to a human.

She never felt before such a strong desire to take care about somebody. Giving the tinned meal and feeding the dog Laura looked at the bookshelf. Among the books on navigation, ship structure and the engine maintenance she found the printed procedure to use a marine VHF radio.

She took it and looked through the text. The text was written by plane English and attached with standard marine radio communication phrases. 

“Why not to try to call somebody by radio, Dolly?” She asked the dog and came to the VHF radio ‘Sailor’ installed in the rack of the chart house.

Following the procedure Laura turned the radio on then adjusted Channel sixteen (Calling and Distress) on the front panel rotating wheel.

With the high heart rate she took microphone to her mouth and pressed ‘push-to-talk’ button on it.

“This is ‘Lucky day’, this is ‘Lucky day’. How do you read me? Over.” Laura called.

‘Lucky day’ this is ‘Mediterranean pride’. I read you loud and clear. What can I do for you?” A seaman replied.

“Sir, we are here at sea. Please help us.”

“Roger. Who, where and what kind of help do you need?”

“I’m Laura and dog Dolly onboard of yacht. We are alone. We don’t know what to do. Please help us.”

“Roger. What is your position?”

“What do you mean?”

“I meant about your GPS position: latitude and longitude. Over.”

It took Laura several moment to explain her predicament and for the voice on the other end of the radio to talk her through checking her GPS position. But when she read out the figures, he growled: “ You’ve got it wrong or you’re trying to play some sort of joke on me.”

“A joke? What? Sorry I don’t understand…”

“That position is impossible,” he answered, irritation clear.

“You aren’t at sea. You’re on land.”


“I don’t know if you’re just stupid or trying to take the mikey out of me, but I’m not wasting any more time on you. If you’re in trouble call the police or the fire brigade. Just stay off the nautical airwaves.”

“Hold on! Hold on! Please.” Laura cried in the microphone but the ‘Mediterranean pride’ did not reply. She called someone by radio again switching channel by channel. All channels kept silence.

“Cellular phone? Let’s try, Dolly.” Laura told to the dog and went on deck with the phone.

Dolly finished with the meal and walked at Laura’s legs wagging its tail.

“SORRY, NO NETWORK.” It appeared on the phone display.

“Why it happened with me again?” She cried.

Meantime the sky clouded over and stars disappeared there and sky became dark. Wind blew and the yacht started rolling a little. Laura caught sight of a lonely star on the horizon. It was a big, shining brightly one. Laura looked closely at it. The star flickered and extinguished then lighted up in a while. Dolly looked at that light as well barking when it was flushing brightly.

“That’s not a star behavior. A star shines steady.” She said to the dog.

“If this light from a distance ship she will be far away if we just sit and wait for help and if the light from a lighthouse the yacht will drift away.” Laura explained to the dog.

“That’s our chance, Dolly,” Laura said then added. “No time to wait. Let’s do it! We’re heading to that light!”

With this words Laura took the dog and lowered into the Dinghy boat. Then she stepped there as well.

She immediately felt difference of being on the yacht and the small pitching and rolling of the boat. First Laura’s thoughts were to get back and wait for help.

“No! No way back! No wait! We are doing our step, Dolly, to the star. We are strong!” She cried.

“We are two the strongest girls in the whole world!” Laura cried it again.

She untied boats ropes took oars and started oaring towards the light. The boat was rolling and pitching which affected to keep the course. Laura rowed for the very first time in her life and got tired very quickly. She looked back at the yacht and then forward at the flickering light. The Dinghy boat was in almost a half distance between the yacht and the light. At that moment the yacht attracted Laura as the safer place to stay and she wanted to oar back there.

“I’m strong! Just do it! Just one more row…just one more step! Just forward! No way back!” Laura took the control of herself and went on with rowing towards the light. She smelt seaweed. That smell became more distinct with every oar.

Suddenly the boat bumped something and stopped. Dolly jumped into darkness. Laura heard it recessive barking.

The light was very close but the boat did not move. The oar touched something solid. Laura stepped down off the boat timidly.

“Land?!” She could not believe it.

The sand was warm and wet. Doing few steps Laura tripped. Her glasses fall down cracking a lens. She picked up and put them on. Coming closer Laura saw a camping light, the picnic basket, and opened bottle of wine. In a short distance of that place Sandra and Nick slept in sleeping bags. Dolly stayed near Sandra’s head wagging with tail.

“Why are you here? Wake up? Why did you leave me on 

the yacht?” Laura cried once she met Sandra and Nick.

Sandra woke up staring at Laura.

“How did you find us? Why your glasses are cracked? Are you O.K?” Sandra asked.

Then Nick woke up stretching.

“You are here ,Laura, well - done!” Nick exclaimed.

“What you mean, Nick?” Sandra interrupted him.

“Listen, Sandra, you told me about Laura’s phobia. I had the same one and overtook it myself.” Nick started explaining.

 “I created an unusual situation for you, Laura, which you have to solve yourself and yourself only.” He continued.

“You bastard! You could kill me!” Laura loudly said to him.

“No, never, haha.” Nick said laughing and added. “By all means you overtook your fears, about which you were thinking for ages. They became small and unimportant. Phobia likes an attention to be kept. Once one ignores it disappears like a soap bubble.”

“So simple?” Sandra asked.

“ Yes, haha, I found the place at shore without lighthouses and mobile phone towers …I invited you, Laura, to take a sea trip with us then anchored the yacht on the shoal head while you were in your cabin yesterday night. Then collected sleeping bags and food we left the yacht and reach the shore by the shoal head where depth is just about ten inches and the seabed is invisible from onboard.” Nick said then laughed. “Yes, I’m a bastard hahaha!”

“Why you didn’t tell me about your plan?” Sandra asked Nick holding his hand.

“Because everything should be natural.” Nick answered and continued. “The camping light was your star, Laura, which you seek to. Once stars on the sky were covered by clouds you have only our camping light.

I know that people at open sea coming across with danger try to survive themselves even with straw.” Nick told then added.

“Dolly also did a great job. Anyway, you overtook your fairs, Laura. You did it! “

“I love you. You did miracle.” Laura said and hugged Sandra and Nick then took Dolly on hands.

The dog licked Laura’s face as trying to say something.  

Then Laura looked at sea where the yacht stayed in early morning sunrise rays.

“I love you too, ‘Lucky Day’.” She said to the boat’s side and drank wine straight from the bottle. Infinitive, childish freedom filled in Laura’s soul.





Submitted: December 18, 2017

© Copyright 2021 illya. All rights reserved.

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