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And now, without any further ado...
By: Roman Genesis
His Unwanted Return
I woke up and realized that the shelter Jack and I had built the day before had become no less than a wet, uncomfortable blanket. I pushed the thing off me and sat up to find that Jack was not under the tarp with me. I looked across the beach and saw most of the boys swimming either to or from the sailboat that was sticking out of the water.
I stood up and began to walk to the water's edge to find out what was going on, but I realized I was only in my boxers. I quickly grabbed my shorts and continued out to the water. Austin was just coming up to the shore caring what appeared to be a giant piece of the sail.
"What's going on?" I asked him, not taking my eyes off the sailboat. I could almost see a tiny figure climbing up the main mast that was jutting out of the water like an arrow pointing to heaven.
"Jack's cutting the sail up so we can make tents with it. Those tarps we were using weren't stable enough he said." That answered the question as to why our makeshift shelter had become a blanket by morning.
I walked out into the water as Austin ran up
the beach to deposit the cloth. I stopped when the water was at my knees
because I didn't want to get my shorts wet. "Hey, Jack," I screamed. Some
of the boys who were at varying distances between the boat and the shore
instantly spun around in the water and began waving. The tiny figure on
the mast didn't respond.
I walked back up onto the shore to see Austin running back down, probably to get another piece of the sail from Jack. "Did the adults come back?" I asked him as he ran by.
He screeched to a halt and turned to me. I was pretty sure they wouldn't be coming back, but I just wanted to verify that my horrible premonition was in fact true. He shook his head slowly and I replied with a slight nod and walked further up the beach.
I sat down in the shade to rummage through the food that was there and found half a bag of bread so I began munching on that. Most of the chips and crackers were gone and I could see that there were even bags of spoiled meat. I grabbed them and threw them in the sand.
Two more sets of boys came up to deposit their cloth and I decided Jack wasn't going to be coming back anytime soon, so I walked back out to the water and, tearing my shorts off, began swimming the distance to the boat.
Shawn saw me coming and quickly rushed over and helped me onto the deck. I got up and was surprised that most of the boys were out here wearing nothing except their underwear. "What an adventure," Shawn said, looking up at Jack who was pretty high up, cutting the sail with a huge fishing knife. Shawn was wearing nothing but briefs and I tried not to stare.
"He's going to hurt himself," I said.
"Come on," Shawn said. "Don't be a baby." He walked off further down the deck and starting folding the pieces of sail that Jack was throwing down. I watched him a while as he bent over and grabbed more fabric. Shawn really had a nice ass. I shook the thought out of my head and went over to the stairs that led down into the cabin. I walked down the steps and found that the water was up to my waist in the cabin. The whole boat was also at an awkward angel and made it difficult to move around.
I looked around and realized that the inside of this boat was a lot like our boat had been. For some reason, I began to think about Henry and Dennis and how they must have been trying desperately to get to the stairs as the violent water swelled up around them.
I waded out to the center of the cabin and looked at the far wall. The radio was hanging there and I suddenly got an idea. I went over to it and pulled the receiver off the wall.
"Don't bother," a voice said from behind me. I spun around in the water and saw Jack standing on the stairs looking down at me. He was in his boxers and standing there with the light from outside shining all around him, he looked like a god. "I already tested it."
I hung the thing back up and went over to him. "I like the sail idea you had. You think of that all by yourself?" I stood at the bottom of the steps and looked up at him. There was something in his demeanor that conveyed power and responsibility.
"As a matter of fact I did." He stood there looking down at me as an awkward silence filled the air. He seemed to be challenging me the way he was staring and I couldn't figure out why he was doing it. Only yesterday he had been nothing but a scared child. Today he was attempting to circumvent the authority I had set up. He was the one giving the orders now and I didn't like it one bit.
I began to walk up the steps and he politely moved out of the way. "We have a lot of work to do today," I said, attempting to reinstate my authority. Shawn was on the deck with his hands full of sail fabric. He was about to jump in when I called out, "Hold on a minute Shawn."
He turned around and spotted me. "I want you to lead a search party into the woods today," I said to him.
He didn't seem so sure, but it was only after Jack had come up behind me that he spoke. "Jack already put me in charge of getting the new tents set up." I turned around and looked at Jack. He had no intention of withdrawing his order.
"Is there a problem?" Jack asked me. I eyed him carefully for a moment before speaking.
"No. There's no problem." I jumped into the water and began my swim to the shore. I was going to have to lead the search party to look for the adults even if it did mean leaving Jack in charge here. I didn't want there to be a problem, but Jack was starting to change that.
"Oh my god," one of the younger kids, Bobby, yelled from the boat. I stopped where I was in the water and turned around. "Look," he said, pointing out into the ocean. I strained to see what he was pointing to, but I couldn't make out a thing from my vantage point. I swam back over to the boat and hoisted myself out.
Jack was already climbing up the mast to get a better view. "What is it?" I asked Bobby, climbing to the highest part of the deck.
"I think I see a boat out there." Sure enough, I could see a tiny dot on the horizon that could have been a boat if you used your imagination.
Jack was suddenly waving his arms and yelling at the top of the mast. "We're over here," he screamed. To be honest, I didn't know what I was feeling when I saw the dark object moving toward us. I didn't know if I was supposed to be relieved of upset. If we were rescued, it was all over. We would go back home and continue living our lives the way we had before we ever went of this trip. The adventure was over and I found myself wishing the dark object was nothing more than a passing hallucination.
I once again ran and jumped in the water, swimming back to the shore as fast as I could. Me and Jack's developing power struggle was only a memory now and I stepped up onto the shore and began getting everything packed.
"What are you doing?" Austin asked when he saw me.
"There's a boat coming," I said vacantly. Austin immediately began cheering and running around.
"We're saved, we're saved," he cried. I lost my will to continue packing and sat down in the sand. I didn't want to go back home. The rest of the summer was going to be monotonous and boring. Some part of me had wanted this tiny little game to go on forever. I had nothing to go back to like the rest of these kids did.
I sat there on the beach for a long time just staring out at the water, my hopes slowly sinking. The kids had looked up to me here. I had never felt that kind of power before in my whole life, and now I would never feel it again.
I heard loud splashing noises and I turned to see most of the kids running up out of the water. It looked like everyone had abandoned the boat except for Jack. There they were, a handful of practically naked, wet boys I would never get to touch. One more thing to be disappointed about.
As they got closer I could see that they didn't look happy at all. "What's going on?" I asked Shawn as he came up. He looked almost as upset as I had been earlier.
"That's no rescue boat," he said, panting for breath.
"What are you talking about?"
"Look for yourself." I stood up and went over to the water's edge. The dark object we had seen coming was at the half sunken sailboat and I could now see that the object was some sort of inflatable raft.
"What the hell is that?" I looked at the sailboat and I saw about six people moving all around the deck. I squinted into the sunlight to try and make out who they were.
"Looks like the party's over," Shawn said from his spot next to me.
Just as he said it I was able to make out one of the people on the boat and I suddenly gasped. Standing there, moving over to the mast to inspect the pile of cut cloth was none other than Randy. "This can't be happening," I muttered. After I recognized him, the others were quickly identifiable. There as Kevin and Travis, and there, standing over the others, looming like giants taking control were the brothers, Kyle and Philip Marlock. "Fuck," I said, taking a step back without even realizing it.
"The adults aren't with them either," Shawn informed me.
"Oh fuck, oh fuck," I kept muttering. Shawn and the other kids on the beach were looking at me strangely. I don't think they realized how bad this was. I was completely horrified at the idea of being stranded on this island with them. Me and Jack had been battling for power, but that was nothing compared to what these boys were capable of.
I continued watching in horror as they jumped in the water and began swimming towards us. They must have been on that raft for more than a day and I knew they weren't going to be in a good mood. I wanted to run off into the woods and if I had been smart I would have.
The five giants trotted up to us, with Jack not far behind them. They were all shirtless and the sunburns were visible from here. Kyle was in front like always and he stopped right in front of me. The look in his eye was hollow and terrifying. "I'll take over from here," he said and walked right past me, the rest following closely. Philip had time to push Mark out of his way as he followed his brother up the beach toward the supplies.
"I can't believe this," Jack said, coming up next to me. The silent battle between us was over now seeing as though we had new enemies on the island. The older boys quickly began consuming everything we had left, throwing scraps that would have been salvageable into the sand when they were done. The rest of us just stood there watching as they indulged themselves.
"We have to do something," Jack said, once again depending on me to save them. I couldn't though. I was petrified and my legs would not let me move.
When they were done, Kyle got us all lined up and explained that we were going to have to work together to get through this. The rest of the giants stood there next to him, enforcing his will at his command. "For those of you who can't follow directions," he paused a second as he took a moment to look each and every one of us in the eye. "You will be punished until you learn to follow directions." His words sent shivers down my spine. I looked at each of them, catching their eyes only for a moment before moving on to the next one.
My eyes stopped on Randy as I let them travel over his body. His burn was not as bad as the other boys because he was so tan. He was shirtless and his sweaty, well defined muscles glistened in the afternoon sun. Through it all, he still had his hat and he wore it backwards. I had never seen him look better, but at the same time I had never seen him look more terrifying. He was one of them and as much as I longed for him, I knew that my dreams were as close as I would ever get.
Later in the afternoon, Kyle went off on his own and left his brother Philip in charge of us. We set up the new tents as the giants sat around watching, occasionally making some comment on how we were doing it wrong. So much for working together, I thought.
By the time we had finished it was getting dark and Kyle was back. He said he had walked around the entire island and had not spotted the adults that had left to find help. It turned out that the adults that had been on their boat had been missing ever since the storm and we assumed that they too were dead. Yes, we were alone on that island and it scared me to death.
To my surprise, the older boys were good for something because where we had failed to get a fire going, they had one up in no time. I looked over at Shawn and he just shrugged his shoulders. The older boys decided to set up their own fire further down the beach and they set up boundaries where we couldn't come in unless we were invited. The whole thing was rather ridiculous, but I was just happy to get away from them.
"I guess it could have been worse," Jack said, the light of the fire playing across his face.
"Oh really?" Shawn said back. "How could it have been worse?"
"I don't know," Jack said back annoyed. "We could have been stranded on the island with a tribe of cannibals." Without thinking, we all turned and looked at the edge of the woods that was only about forty feet away. The adults had never come back from scouting the island and Jack had just said the worst thing possible.
"I want to go home," one of the younger kids, Tim, said softly.
"Way to go, Jack," I said. "Now you got them thinking there are cannibals on the island."
"Whatever," he said blowing me off. We all continued to stare into the fire. My back was to the woods and every once in a while I would look up at Shawn who was sitting across from me. He seemed to be thinking deeply about something as he stared into the flames. Suddenly though, he looked up behind me and a look of complete dread crossed his face. I spun around and saw a form moving out the woods and my heart skipped a beat.
The younger kids must have seen me because they were suddenly screaming and scrabbling to the other side of the fire. I was to terrified to move and suddenly, the thing jumped into the light and began screaming. "Got you," Philip said loudly, laughing his ass off.
"Fuck," I muttered, getting up and walking away. He had scared the shit out of me and my heart was still racing. I wanted to go over and kick Philip's fucking teeth in I was so pissed off.
Everyone started to complain, but Philip put his hand in the air and said, "Shut up." He waited for everyone to get quiet before he continued. "Kyle wants you all to get to bed now so we can get up early tomorrow and do a walk through the center of the island."
This was too much. Now they were giving us curfews! Philip began walking over to the older boys fire and I walked back over to the fire, staring down at it. "God, I hate that guy," Shawn said, coming back up to the fire. Before, I really didn't want to get rescued right away, now I just wanted to get off this fucking island. The food was all but gone now and we had eaten some sort of fruit we had found on the edge of the woods and it was making me feel slightly ill.
"What should we do?" Jack said, again looking to me for support. He always expected me to figure everything out when the goings were tough.
I kicked some sand on the fire and said, "We
go to bed." Everyone began kicking and soon the fire was out, leaving
only a plumb of black smoke drifting into the night sky.
We had made far to many shelters and I ended up with one all to myself. Before, I had wanted to stay in a tent with Jack, but now the idea just seemed foolish. There was no way anything was going to happen between us, and he was actually starting to get on my nerves. I still couldn't believe he had tried to wrestle power out of my hands before the older boys had arrived.
I laid there and stared up at the roof of my tent and listened to the bugs buzzing outside for what must have been only ten minutes when I heard a scratching at my tent door. I sat up quietly and grabbed the large stick I had brought in with me for protection. If it was Philip trying to scare me again I was going to knock the shit out of him, regardless of the consequences.
"Eric," I heard a soft voice whisper. I knew instantly that it was Austin. I pulled the makeshift door back and saw him crouching there outside.
"What's wrong?" I asked him.
He didn't say anything for a moment when he finally said, "Can I sleep in here tonight?" I could tell he was really scared about something.
"Sure," I said quickly, making room for him. He crawled in and I saw that he was wearing nothing but briefs. My mind instantly began to wander, but I forced myself to get it under control. "What happened to Tim? Weren't you in a tent with him?"
"He went to stay in Bobby's tent. I got kind of scared so I came over here. Is that okay?"
"That's fine," I said. He sat there, still crouched in a ball and I realized he didn't have anything to wrap up in. "Here, take this half of the blanket," I said. We had torn the thing off one of the sofas in the sailboat to make a blanket out of it. Austin crawled under the cover with me and put his head on the ground. He still looked very upset about something. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"Jack was just joking about the cannibals, right?"
I couldn't help but smile. "Yes, he was only joking," I said.
"Why haven't the adults come back yet?"
I didn't really know how to respond so I just laid there in silence for a while. "They'll come back Austin. Don't worry." I was lying and I think he realized that.
"Thanks," Austin said, and was soon fast asleep. I stayed up a while longer just thinking about the day we had arrived at the camp. I had looked at Austin and saw myself at a younger age. I was still like him in a lot of ways, I figured. I wasn't sure what scared me more. The dark mysterious woods only ten feet from the tent, or the older boys further down the beach. I let these things slip from my mind as I too slipped off to sleep.
I would like to think that things wouldn't have turned out the way they did if the older boys hadn't come to the island, but I know I would only be fooling myself. The way me and Jack were acting, it would have only been a matter of time before we had turned into the older boys and had begun to oppress and torment the younger. Like I said before, it was human nature.
I suppose it didn't matter though, because something happened that guaranteed that Jack and I would never have to become the overbearing children that we would soon grow to hate. It was that one thing that the other boys had not seen. I was the only one that knew the underlying truth of the older boys arrival.
The devil had come to the island.