Days nine through twelve have proven increasingly difficult. For the first time since crashing here, I felt like I didn’t have it in me to survive.
After killing the two natives, I set their camp on fire in hopes that their huts would burn down and the rest would move to the northern end of the island and leave me alone out of fear for what I’d do next. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only did their huts not fully burn down, but within ten minutes of returning to my tree lodge to rest for the night, I heard swarming all around me. I wasn’t sure if they saw me or not, but I believe they tracked me back to the general area.
This was the first time I heard them communicate amongst themselves. It was mostly a combination of hissing and clicking their mouths, but certainly enough for them to respond and act on. When I could sneak peaks between the boarded base frame of my lodge, I saw them divide and search the area around me, sniffing the leaves and grass I had brushed by several times. I thought for sure they’d simply look up, and that would be the end of me. Truthfully, I somewhat longed for it, not for the idea of dying, but more so the idea of not having to worry about keeping from thirst, starvation, being poisoned, or worst of all, hunted… but… they never found me.
I watched them scurry back to wherever they came from and I stared up at the moon for what felt like hours. I thought about how no matter where anyone was, there were people out there looking at the same moon I was. People off in a distant safe place far from this nightmare. It made me feel less alone.
When I woke in the morning, I decided I needed to abandon my tree lodge for a while. Once again, I packed up all of my weapons and rations and traveled up the west side of the island in search for Timmy. Rather than uncover new ground, I thought it best to retrace the area I was familiar with, then explore new places from there.
After reaching the huts I tried to burn down, I pressed further up the coast into uncharted territory. That’s when I found the oddest thing. Laying dead in the sand for a stretch of 25 to 30 yards or so were sharks. Dozens of sharks.
There was no sign of a wound on any of them. No harvesting of their carcasses. The birds didn’t even take interest in them. This made me wonder what was responsible for their deaths, and furthermore, why have they remained untouched?
I continued to press down the beach when I discovered the first glimpse of true hope, a boat!
I knew I had to get closer for an inspection, so I carefully worked my way down the cliff, all the while being chased by daylight. As I got to the beach parallel with the boat, I was able to see the front end was badly damaged, but the boat was still mostly intact. I decided to swim out to it and sneak up to peak inside, verses announcing myself to who could be a potential threat. I made my way onto the main deck of the boat, couldn’t see any sign of activity inside the cabin, and decided to enter at my own risk.
At first glance, things seemed mostly normal inside. I found an adorable unicorn picture made by one “Megan Cross” and it made me think of Timmy and how he used to draw me pictures like that and beg me to hang them around the house to show off to company.
I rummaged through some cabinets where I found first aid supplies, a tennis ball, and a yacht magazine from 1981. Is that how long this boat has been stuck on this island!? Hopefully its captain simply collected old boat magazines.
I made my way to the bed at the back and was incredibly seduced by the idea of simply lying down and going to sleep… but I couldn’t do it. The boat was in the middle of the open, its captain and potential family missing, and who knows if anyone was watching it or expected to return. I’d be like Goldie-locks, waking up to the three bears wondering why I’ve touched all their stuff and slept in their bed. But dang, it really did look comfortable. I snapped a picture to look at later when I was ready to go to sleep in some sort of cold, wet, makeshift sleeping arrangement I’m sure I’d be crafting soon.
I came out of the bedroom and turned to the other side of the cabin, only to feel my heart double its beats per minute. In the kitchen was a massacre of blood, guts, and a skull.
On the table was a severed head, couldn’t have been more than a few days old.
Last, and nearly as unsettling was a milk carton with Zachary, a missing child’s picture posted on the side.
Was the captain searching for this lost child on the island? Did he ever find him? Was I staring at what could potentially be my future if I wasn’t careful? If anything, the mess that was made and the questions that raced through my head helped bring to light the brutal reality of the situation, and ease my feelings about my killing from the days before. These island people can’t be thought of as people at all. They’re monsters, plain and simple, and I must fight them as such. It’s me or them, Timmy or them. I can live with what I’ve done, knowing how evil these things truly are.
As darkness crept up on me, I decided to swim back to shore and setup a hidden sleeping area close to the boat, but far enough out of sight to help me remain unseen. I stayed awake as long as I could, but never spotted any activity near the boat or the beach I was on. I must have been exhausted, because amidst the terror of what I had seen moments earlier, I dozed off.
When I came to, I stretched my legs, looked around and spotted a cross in the sand close by. Once I got closer, I realized it was marking a grave. The grave had photos of the boat scattered around it, and even a tent with s’mores sticks in the sand. Now I was convinced a child was on the island, but I wasn’t sure if they were who was buried, and I wasn’t about to dig up the grave to find out.
I decided to continue exploring down the beach. About an hour later, I came across more dead sharks on the shore. As I got closer to inspect them, I heard a rapid pitter patter getting louder and coming up closer behind me, so I spun around.
A native sprinted up to me on all fours, and as I prepped to give him a bash with my club, he stopped 10 feet short, stood up on his hind legs, and simply stared at me. Then he sprinted back into the forest, only to come back and do the same strange thing all over again. He did this three times, probably hoping I’d let my guard down, but I didn’t. On his fourth return, I sensed he was going to make his attack, and sure enough, he sprinted all the way up to me this time while making an attempt to tackle me. I was able to jump to the side of him and connect with a blow to his head with the edge of my club. I stood over him and violently crushed his skull with my club until I knew he was dead. Just killing a monster, have to keep telling myself. Just killing a monster…
I dragged said monster’s body over to my make shift overnight area, built a fire, and lit it all up. I wanted lots of smoke and the disgusting smell of burning flesh to get the native tribe’s attention, in hopes their fear would make them back off. Again, lots of risk this would backfire, but I had to keep trying…
I decided to continue exploring down the shore while the fire consumed everything around it. As I wound around the rocky border to the shore, I saw another native, only this one was sprinting full speed away from me, turned right and vanished into thin air!
That’s when it hit me… the natives lived in caves built into the massive ledge. I walked up to where the tribesman disappeared, and sure enough, there was a cave opening in front of me. As I stepped inside, I saw a light coming from around the corner, bouncing around the cave interior. I quietly pursued the source of the light, and that’s where I found a fire burning next to a tent. Survivor’s! I knew it! Maybe I could band together with them to fight this mess! Only, where were they? If the fire was fresh, but no one was around, and shortly before a native ran inside the very area I’m standing in now, did they scare the survivor? Did they kill them? Were they chasing them right now?! I wanted to find out, and potentially help the best I could, but I was simply exhausted and needed to set up a camp to rest.
I went outside, setup a hidden sleeping area in a bush, and convinced myself a tired me would only lead to my death, but a rested me would be effective towards whatever was in there. Tomorrow is a new day, and I planned to explore every inch of that cave and hopefully find Timmy and other survivors… and put down any enemy standing in my way…