My name is Alexander Falchion. I am a teenager and I have amnesia. Yesterday, I woke up on an island with eight other people. Today, that number is seven.
“Oh my god!” screamed a woman, clutching a dead body. The woman’s name was Ashley Courtain, she was in her late 40’s and was a housewife. The body she clutched was her mother, Deborah Galatine. Deborah’s head was punctured violently on the left side, congealed blood matting her white hair, and dried blood streams running through her wrinkles. The blood pool reached down to her collar, leaving stains colored richly like sangria wine. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the gore.
Around me, the other six either stared in silent horror or attempted to console Ashley. She reeled in anguish and threw off sympathetic hands. She spat curses and screamed incoherently, unwilling to resign to calm. Her rage roared, hissed, whimpered, and finally subsided to quiet sorrow. Sylvia Almacia, a college student, quietly led her away to camp. Following her was Noelle Harpe, who stole a glance in my direction. The silence lasted for a long moment.
“…who could have done this?” asked a man with red hair. His name was Arthur Ridill; he was a postman. His voice was filled with fear. Another silence followed. We were all thinking the same thing, but no one wanted to say it. Eyes began to wander. Another man spoke up.
“I’d like to think that this wasn’t one of us… and from the looks of it, I’m sure you all agree,” said a man with dark skin. He was Michael Clarent, a surgeon. “Could it have been something like a tribe? Or maybe whoever brought us here?”
His question alleviated some of the tension. Everyone began to think that there must be some outside danger; no one of the group was this cruel. The men broke into chatter as we returned to camp, bringing Deborah’s body with us. When we returned, she was buried in the forest to the north of camp. We sat around in a circle, quiet and solemn. The dead must be mourned.
Soon, the day slipped into night. No one talked much; it was too uncomfortable. As night sank in, so did sleep. Soundlessly, we fell into the blackness of sleep.
The next morning, we broke the silence by planning for the day’s survival. Someone needed to look for food and water; the lifeboat we found with us had only meager amounts. The lifeboat offered very little; something Sylvia thought strange. She had recently written a paper on maritime search and rescue, and told us that these bright orange boats usually contained far more resources to aid in rescue and survival. She thought the boat must’ve been placed there on purpose.
We picked a group to head out into the forest. I was the first to be chosen. Next was a man named Guy Murgleys, an unemployed office worker, and Evan Gram, another college student. Sylvia offered to come, but we told her to look after Ashley, who was still shaken by her mother’s death. After grabbing whatever equipment we could use, we headed off into the hot forest. We left a trail of sand behind us as we progressed. We had been walking for a few hours when suddenly, everything faded to black.
I awoke at camp again, more bandages around my head. My clothes were soaked with blood, and my head was throbbing. In my scrambled thoughts, I wondered if the blood was my own. Michael was sitting across from me, and soon noticed my consciousness.
“Alex! Alex, what happened?” he asked me. My vision was blurry.
“I’m not sure… all I remember is blacking out…” I muttered in a slow voice.
“Evan’s dead. Guy vanished. We found Evan’s corpse on top of you, slashed with a machete. That’s gone too,” he told me with a frown on his face. I was shocked. “If that wasn’t enough, Ashley tried to kill herself.”
Unsure of how to respond, I laid in silence. He seemed to understand.
“Michael… my head’s throbbing,” I said uncomfortably.
“I think someone hit you in the head. You don’t have any other damage that I know of…” he said, trailing off. Reluctantly, he added, “It had to have been Evan or Guy. They would’ve known you already had a head injury and might have thought they could kill you with just that.”
Michael walked away, leaving me to my thoughts. I sighed, and sat up, leaning against a rock. It was awful. Why is it that… no matter what strides we make as humans, we still remain so feral in danger? My brain didn’t want to accept it. I looked around camp, trying to distract my thoughts. Arthur was sitting quietly near the fire, looking confused. Sylvia was with Ashley, who seemed just as upset as yesterday. Noelle sat next to the two women, looking in my direction. She seemed worried.
Noelle looked like she was my age. I remember her saying she was in high school. I waved to her, and beckoned for her to come over. She seemed a bit taken aback by it, but soon came over.
“Hey,” I said to her. She sat down, but didn’t respond.
“Are you afraid?” I asked her. She nodded her head, opened her mouth to speak, but stopped. She seemed to decide what she was going to say.
“I’ve… never seen a dead person before,” she whispered. “I don’t know why I’m here or how I got here… I miss my family and friends.”
“I wish I knew who to miss,” I said, half joking and half serious. She took it the wrong way.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean-”
“No, it’s okay, I was just making conversation.”
We hit an awkward lull.
“You know… I feel like I’ve met you before,” Noelle said.
Morning came again. Spirits were low, and Ashley wasn’t doing very well. We were all growing weaker from our meager intake. Stress weaved through us like a python, the fangs eager to grab the throat. Too much needed to be done.
“Alright… I’m going to look for Guy,” Michael announced. “We have to find him. He could be a danger. If not, then we can get the real story from him.”
Michael was met with much protest, people asking him not to leave or telling him he’d be killed. Part of me felt guilty. If I hadn’t let my guard down, then maybe things would have turned out differently.
“I’ll go too,” I said, “We have a better chance with two of us.”
“Look, you’re young. You have a long life ahead of you, if you can get off this island. But, me… I’m old.”
“I’m going,” I repeated, firmly. Michael stared for a moment, and sighed.
Sometime past noon, guessing from the sun, we were heading out of the forest when I caught sight of someone. I whispered to Michael, and he nodded. Carefully, we emerged onto the beach. Guy was sitting, facing the water, with the machete plunged into the sand. Michael approaching him.
“Guy. Are you okay? What happened?” he asked as calmly as he could. “We’ve been looking for you. Everyone’s worried.”
Guy whirled his head around, and his eyes widened.
“You! You!” he shouted, raising quickly to his feet and tearing the machete from the ground. He began to approach us.
“What are you doing?!” Michael shouted back.
“It’s him, Michael! It’s his fault!” he yelled, pointing the machete at me. “He killed Evan! He tried to kill me, too!”
“Are you insane?! He’s only a kid! He was knocked out!”
“He tricked you! I don’t know how, but he tricked you!” Guy exclaimed. He began to run for me, blade first. In a matter of seconds, I was knocked out of the way. I fell face-first into the sand, and quickly turned around. Guy had stabbed Michael in the side, and Michael was trying to take control of the sword. With great force, Michael managed to knock back Guy, and withdrew the blade from his hip, cringing in pain. Blood gushed from the wound as he ran at Guy, finally plunging the sword into its former bearer. Guy stumbled backward and fell into the sand. Michael stood panting, his shirt and pants soaked red. He approached Guy’s body and withdrew the machete. He closed his eyes, trying to fight off pain, shock, horror, and exhaustion.
“Michael…” I said weakly. Michael glanced at me and beckoned. I came over, and he instructed me to help lift Guy’s body. He squinted his eyes from pain as we heaved the man’s body.
“I can carry him… you just worry about your wound.”
We reached camp soon, and Michael finally collapsed. He lay down on a blanket from the lifeboat as Sylvia tried to help him. She frantically raided the first aid kit, using whatever she thought would help. Only a few minutes later, Michael died. Sylvia began to cry helplessly.
The next morning was just as bad as the others. We awoke to find that Ashley committed suicide in the night. There were only four of us left, now. Sylvia could only cry, and Arthur barely talked. Myself and Noelle weren’t very talkative, either. That day, we did the bare minimum to get by. Arthur spent a lot of his time staring into the empty fire pit, looking broken.
“I’m going for a walk,” Noelle meekly declared. As she turned to leave, I got up.
“I’ll come with you,” I said, following her.
We walked along the beach for a while, saying nothing. The sun seemed to move with us, watching us. It felt as if we were at the end of the world. Nothing seemed real, anymore. As mute as before, we began to head back to the camp. We couldn’t believe what we saw when we returned.
“Alex, Noelle…” Arthur muttered in a rough tone. His clothes were splattered with blood, and Sylvia’s corpse lay in front of him, her body torn with gashes. She was flooded with blood, and it seeped into the sand below her. “…I couldn’t trust her. Deborah and Ashley- it must’ve been her fault. I’m sure she did it. I had to kill her. We weren’t safe anymore, you know.”
He stared into his muddled reflection in the blood-covered machete. Too many times had that blade seen blood. He seemed to be searching for something in the crude mirror.
“Oh my god, you monster!” screamed Noelle. She was horrified. I was more shocked than anything. I couldn’t believe that the once timid Arthur was now such a beast. My mind couldn’t get around it.
“What…” I managed to get out.
“But, now, there’s a problem. Neither of you are going to trust me anymore, are you? I guess I can understand that, but I can’t have you two trying to kill me. I’m sorry. I’m sure you understand, too, right?” Arthur spoke, as if he were playing some sort of game. He walked slowly towards me, the machete dripping with Sylvia’s blood. Noelle and I both backed away. He then rushed for me; I was reminded of Guy. This time, I focused.
“No!” screamed Noelle, leaping for Arthur. She grabbed at his hand, and he tried to throw her off. I was stunned. Bursting with a sudden surge of power, Noelle ripped the machete from his hands and stabbed him. She immediately lost her grip of the blade, and looked at Arthur in horror. I couldn’t be sure if I was more terrified or relieved. Finally, I said, “Thank you” in a hushed voice. Everything was slipping out of view and faded to black again.
For the last time, I awoke. At first, no one was around. I was on the beach, a little ways off from camp. I got to my feet wearily, and walked towards camp. I stopped in place.
Everyone was dead. Everyone but me.
I panicked, and lost control of my thoughts. How? Why?
A voice in my head whispered, “Me.”
Wayward Twitter sketches - Collecting some of the rough sketches I've shared on Twitter for Wayward(Ongoing personal project)
1 week ago