Marooned

John was the first to go. We were in the interior, exploring, collecting wood for the fire, and trying to find something, anything, we could eat, when it happened.

One little misstep and he was enveloped by a grey cloud. He screamed and he screamed and he thrashed and thrashed but there was nothing we could do to help him. Soon he lay dead on the dirt of the jungle floor, covered in thousands of tiny welts. Killer bees, just another thing to watch out for on this god-forsaken little island.

After he died we heard strange sounds coming from the jungle. Moaning, and sorrowful howling, like that of a lonesome wolf.

The next day the blond woman – Jenn – tripped and a machete came flying end-over-end out of the trees and caught her dead center in the forehead. At least she didn’t suffer. But when we looked down and saw the tripwire she’d sprung lying limply across the path our collective horror only grew.

There was something else out there besides us. Other intelligent life. And it wanted us dead.

We were demoralized, in shock, but we had to keep surviving. Two days with only the little water salvaged from the boat and already some of us were weakening. We headed further into the interior and the bodies mounted.

Armand fell through what looked to be a pile of palm leaves on the ground, into a pit of sharpened bamboo spikes. I’ll never forget the horrible twisted look on his bloody face staring up into the jungle canopy, his one eye pierced through from behind with one of those wretched spikes.

Alastair stepped into a snare and was yanked into coils of rusted barbed wire hidden in the underbrush. We found the sapling with the other end of the rope attached afterward, sprung by what foul mechanism we could not ascertain.

There’s just three of us left now. As we sit around the fire in the darkness of the beach, tired, hungry, thirsty, demoralized, I hear the howling, the inhuman cries coming from the all around us.

I look into the jungle and see them coming out – the skin on John’s face is porous like a wasp’s nest made of dried mud, thousands of the tiny creatures crawling on him and buzzing all around. The machete still juts from Jenn’s forehead as she lumbers toward us. Armand is already rotting away, the bamboo stakes still protruding from his torso and through his pierced eye. Alistair is falling apart, his entrails spilling out of him as he slowly shuffles forward. And there are others, others I don’t recognize: a man with a caved-in head, a woman with a giant jagged scar all down her body, children missing their arms.

I knew there was something else out there. I don’t know what kind of island this is we’ve run aground on. But now I know that even the dead get lonely.

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