Soraya Matthison's life had been fairly average before the outhbreak took place. She worked as a freelance photographer, taking pictures was a passion rooted deep within her. There was something about the way a photograph could capture and preserve special moments in time that just spoke to her. Thankfully, her fiancé's job as a surgeon allowed her the time and freedom to pursue her passion. He worked long hours and they hardly saw each other, but it was a compromise they both willingly accepted. That's when, even with the publicity about the spread of the outbreak, her fiancé surprised her with two tickets for a cruise set to sail in mid July of 2017. Soraya was both elated and terrified at the thought, but she happily accepted the gift. The day of the cruise, they (along with 3,000 other passengers) boarded the Costa Risacca and set sail on what would later become a harrowing journey.
One night during the cruise, Soraya was awoken to the feeling of the mattress shifting slightly as her fiancé got out of bed. She watched him hobble sleepily towards the bathroom, and could tell from his posture that he wasn't feeling well. 'He's probably sea sick.' She thought to herself as she allowed her legs to swing over the side of the bed. He'd always sworn that Spite Lemonade was the key to settling an upset stomach and with yawn, she heads out of their cabin in search of the vending machine she'd seen earlier.
It was as she closed the door behind her, that Soraya realized something was terribly wrong. The boat ungulated roughly, throwing her off balance and causing her to stumble several feet down the hall. Clinging to the wall as best as she could, She turns, desperately trying to make her way back to the cabin. Other passengers were scattering through the halls, many bumping into her in their panic. Water was beginning to swirl around her ankles as the ship began to sink. Terrified, she leaps forward, but the amount of people cramming into the hallway prevented her from getting very far. It seemed the more she fought to break through the crowd, the less ground she gained and despite her efforts, Soraya found herself being herded away from the cabin where her fiancé was.
Mere minutes seemed like hours, but soon Soraya was greeted by the sight of the inky black sky. A massive storm raged, churning the sea and turning its once soothing waves into fierce entities that tossed the cruise ship like a toddler in bathwater. A ship steward reached out, grabbing her arm. "This way! To the life boats!" He yelled, though his voice was nearly drowned out by the sound the storm. Soraya fought against him. She wasn't leaving without her fiancé! Her attempts were futile and with tears rolling down her face, she found herself being ushered onto one of the boats.
Clinging to the side of the life boat, Soraya fought to keep her balance as the waves aggressively tossed the vessel around. The Steward who had ushered her on to the life boat, shoved a life vest into her arms. With shaky hands she pulls the vest over her head, fighting to clip the belt around her. That's when a large wave crashes into the side of the life boat, capsizing it and throwing its frantic passengers into the inky black water. Fighting for her life, Soraya battles the waves, desperately searching for something to grab on to. With each reach, her hands find nothing but ocean.
For hours Soraya battled the waves, her muscles screaming for relief. She had no real way to tell how long she fought to stay afloat, but the moment her exhausted limbs felt sand she felt a surge of solace as she wearily crawled ashore. Absolutely exhausted, Soraya allows her body to collapse onto the sand, her breathing labored, but her heart thankful. She had made it. She survived. The thought causes her eyes to spring open. Where was her fiancé? Thinking of him breathes new life into her limbs and she quickly climbs to her feet. Surveying the land around her, she allows her blue-grey eyes to desperately begin searching for him. Had he made it? Had anyone made it? With the inky rays of dawn just barely beginning to light the sky, Soraya's heart sinks. For as far as she could see there was nothing but sand and ocean. Deflated, she turns and begins to walk down the beach, the water lapping at her feet. She had no idea how long she had walked, but soon she sees something in front of her. It was two life boats. Hope swelled in her chest as she makes her way towards it, though that hope she felt soon dwindles as she realizes no one is with the boats. Coming to a halt near the them, she allows her hands to gently run over the hull of the nearest one. With a defeated sigh, she sits on the boat, her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands. Tears spill down her cheeks and for a moment she cries, not knowing what to do. What would her fiancé do?
With steadying sigh, she stands, ignoring her muscles protest. She couldn't just sit around all day, she had to gather supplies and try to find help. Looking around once more that's when she sees it. Something green and shiny poking out of the sand. Reaching down she almost instantly recognizes the cool smooth surface of a soda can. Pulling the drink from its resting place, she can't help but allow more tears to spill down her face. It was a can of Spite Lemonade. Wiping the sand from its aluminum surface she turns her gaze backs to the ocean, slowly surveying the horizon. He had to have made it. Her fiancé was a fighter and she knew he wouldn't give up. Re-kindling the hope in her chest, she turns back to the life boats to set the can of Spite Lemonade down on the hull of the over turned boat. If he was alive, she would find him.