“You killed him,” I state.
I don’t know what gets into me. I walk up to Stoney and I push him as hard as I possibly can. He falls into some moss below him, thrashing out his arms in an upset way. I am ready to straight up punch Stoney in the next couple of minutes but he gets back up and tackles me to the ground before I can get over him. Before I know it we are rolling around in the dirt wrestling to get control of one another.
“No. Fuck you. You killed Syx!”
“I killed him because he tried to kill you,” Stoney replies.
His reply is blunt and clear. I know it should make sense. He has resolved this all in his brain as something so simple but I don’t think it’s nearly that simple. Something was happening on this island and it was affecting Syx Valentine. The fact that he just killed him before we figured it out blew my mind.
“GUYS STOP!” Billy calls out, “Over here…”
Billy calls for our attention. He looks on the ground where there is a heap of clothes that Syx left. He has dug through them and pulled something out. It’s a piece of paper. I’m so mad at Stoney that I don’t even let him up before Billy walks over to us. He hands me the paper and I’m still damn near on top of Stoney when he does it.
I look at the drawings of the paper. It’s handwritten and a bit sloppy but I can make it out as soon as I look at it.
“It’s a map,” I state.
“A map of what?” Stoney asks.
Sure enough in my hands is a map of the entire island. Stoney and Billy surround me. I study the map. The title of the map is Antillia. It’s the name of the phantom island just like Syx says. The long stream that flows through the island is highlighted. Billy notices something on the map and points at it.
“Look. He marked out where the crash was. He marked out where the treehouse was,” Billy notices.
There is an X on the stream that says “Crash” and another that says “Treehouse”. There is a sick feeling that I get in my stomach looking down at this map. The sick feeling just builds in me. I don’t get it. Syx had this map on him the whole fucking time and I was too stupid to even realize it. I stare down at the map and just shake my head. It’s unbelievable.
I know Stoney is going to say what he’s going to say before he opens his mouth. When he does open his mouth he just spits the words out so aggressively they moisten the map.
“Your boyfriend had a map of this island this whole time,” Stoney tells me, “He’s knows exactly where we are. Look. He has this WHOLE fucking island mapped out! How do you feel now? How dumb do you fucking feel Jurnee?”
He’s was shoving it my face. He slaps the map hard, gets away from me and thrashes about. As if that isn’t bad enough he goes over to Syx’s corpse and KICKS it. A part of me wants to just beat Stoney’s ass for being so disrespectful, but then I think that maybe he is right. Syx said he ‘might’ know where we are. Having a map of the island is a lot different from possibly knowing where we were.
Syx must have helped his sister plan this crash on the Phantom Island. He must have known where we were and why we were here.
Billy seems like the calm one. He is the only one still studying the map after a while. I have taken residence next to rock and I’m just staring at the grass. I can’t even look at Syx’s body.
“We should bury him,” I say.
“Fuck him,” Stoney replies.
“He wasn’t always like this.”
“Guys do you hear that?” Billy asks us.
At first I think Billy is just being a bit dramatic. It would be a perfect time. He wasn’t though. There were footsteps. Footsteps from everywhere. They echoed throughout the trees. We weren’t alone out here.
“Move…” Stoney tells me, “Let’s go. We’re getting out of here…”
“To go where? Let’s find out who it is….” I start out.
I’m met by emptiness. Stoney takes off first down the bank following the stream before I can argue with him. Billy isn’t far behind him. I look around. There is movement in the trees. Someone is coming. They were right. We weren’t alone on this island. I look back at Syx. I can’t even bury him. I can’t even fucking bury the guy.
We follow the stream south for a while and set up a fire when things get silent. Before we know it, it’s nighttime. We aren’t sure where we are going. We are just trying to get away from the sounds in the forest. We can’t get caught by those sounds.
There is a nervous tension among the three of us. Stoney keeps disappearing to the stream to gather water. Honestly I know he is just attempting to avoid me. It’s clear he’s pissed at me. He won’t even look at me. Truth is…I won’t even look at him either. Luckily Billy is still studying the map. He looks down at it trying to find anything that stands out. He’s been doing the same thing for almost an hour.
“With this map at least we’ll never get lost out here,” he tells me.
“Who gives a fuck if we get lost out here?” I ask shaking my head, “We’re never leaving this fucking place. We’re all going to die here. And you know the sad thing? It isn’t even the island that is killing us. We’re killing each other…”
I throw some branches into the fire. Stoney said it wasn’t a good idea to build a fire. He’s scared someone might find us. I build it anyway. I just don’t give a fuck if someone finds us. I don’t give a fuck about much of anything anymore. I didn’t know Syx’s death would affect me like this. I just look at my hands. They are shaking for a few minutes.
“Stoney was just trying to protect you man. When he was looking for you and Syx…he told me how he felt. He blames himself for this entire crash.”
“Is it? He distracted us. Remember? The whole bathroom incident.”
“I’m sure you found that real funny then.”
“There’s a lot of shit that I found funny back then. A lot of shit isn’t funny anymore though. This island has changed everyone. Some people for the better. And some people for the worse. Syx tried to kill you. Don’t forget about that.”
He had a point. I look down at the fire.
“You think I’ve been too tough on him, don’t you?”
“I think he did what he had to do.”
“Syx wasn’t like that.”
“The Valentines have a way of changing,” Billy tells me, “Remember Sevyn. Before she got really sick she was the nicest girl I’d ever met. She came back as a raging bitch. Syx clearly is the same way.”
“That just proves my point. Why kill Syx? Maybe he has some sort of mental disorder. Maybe he has split personalities or something like that.”
“It was your life or his,” Billy explains to me, “You’re a nice guy. It’s clear you liked Syx. But no. I don’t blame Stoney. If he hadn’t had killed Syx then I would have.”
I look over at Billy. He’s serious. He doesn’t even hesitate to say it. It’s kind of crazy how much people are changed. We were a bunch of teenagers flinging around murder like it was nothing. Had things become so fucking crazy out here? Billy argues that some people changed for the better out here but honestly I just keep seeing the very worse of us come out each day.
“Is that supposed to be a good thing?”
“Sometimes you have to do bad things to protect good people,” Billy says, “And I think you’re a good person. Matter of fact I think you’re the best person…”
I don’t see it coming when Billy leans over and kisses me. His tongue goes into my mouth smoothly but has all of this passion like he’s been waiting to do this for a long time. He pulls me close to him. His chest presses up against my chest. We feel this deep trance form between the two of us. I’m kissing him back slowly letting his body warm mine up.
I need this, I think. I need to feel this comfort in any form and the fact that Billy is giving it to me is all that matters right now.
Billy slowly takes my dick out of my pants and whispers a comforting, “Relax. I’ll take care of everything from now on.”
His deep voice is comforting as I lean back on the log I’m sitting against. A part of me is scared that Stoney is going to come back but when I feel the warmth of Billy’s mouth up against my dick I completely forget about Stoney all together.
Billy seems nervous at first. I can tell that he’s never done this. At first he bites on my dick a few times as though getting his bearing. After I jerk, he seems to notice that teeth aren’t really a very good thing. He covers his teeth with his lips and starts attempting to suck my dick again. This time he is slower and much clearer with the way he does it. He sucks slowly and carefully going up and down my shaft with clear purpose. His lips feel so good. They are soft and wet. His pink tongue slurps spit and my precum up and down my shaft. He is bent over in this sexy position, attempting not to poke his ass out. He’s trying to turn sucking dick into some sort of masculine trade.
“We should stop……” Billy.”
I don’t know why I feel guilty. Syx just died. We weren’t in a relationship or anything but still…I cared about him probably way more than I should have. For some stupid reason I feel like I’m betraying him. I attempt to pull back but Billy has his hands wrapped around my hips. He keeps me steady.
“Syx wanted to kill you. I just want to make you feel better,” he explains to me, “I care about you man. Seriously. Let me take care of you.”
Billy is almost begging me. Looking up from my crotch he is so fucking sexy. His deep eyes are just glaring at me. His skin is like sand. I nod…slowly.
I shudder, “Ok.”
Billy goes back down. His mouth sucks harder this time at the skin of my dick. He’s trying to draw out an orgasm I believe. It’s working. I watch Billy the whole time practicing how to suck dick on me and hoping that it feels good. Sooner or later I realize that I’m going to nut.
The warning goes unanswered. He continues to suck. I feel the tightness at the base of my dick. I feel the surging liquids through my shaft. They come out of the hole and his tongue tickles out every last drop of nut into his mouth. Billy sloppily slurps it up like he’s eating ice cream on a hot summer day. It goes all over his face, all over his lips and into his mouth. He swallows what he can and the rest is just left on him. He looks up, covered in me.
“I can’t believe I just sucked dick. Swear to God, I never even considered doing that until I came here and really started spending time with you. I never even thought I wanted to.”
I laugh, “Like you said. This island changes some people for the better.”
We sleep through the night. I wake up wrapped in Billy’s arms. He attempts to pull me back down when he realizes I’m up he pulls me back down. I laugh at it annoyed that Billy is being so silly with this.
“Let’s sleep in,” he whispers softly.
“You do realize we’re in a jungle sleeping on the ground right?” I ask.
Billy laughs back, “It doesn’t matter. Sleeping with you last night felt like I was a California King Size bed with some Egyptian silk.”
He pulls me back over to him and he’s kissing me. Our bodies are tied together. You can’t see where he starts and when I begin. I’m kissing him back. A part of me feels so comforted by him. It’s so weird that this is probably the last boy in the world I ever thought I’d end up with but here we were finding some strange kind of comfort in one another. The way his mouth intertwines with mine makes me feel like I want every last bit of him.
That’s when I notice someone standing over us.
“Stoney,” I recognize.
Stoney is watching us kissing and holding one another. At first I think he’s mad, but I’m not completely sure. Billy shakes his head.
“I’ll go eh…brush my teeth and wash up in the stream,” Billy says to me.
It’s clear he’s letting us talk. The look on Stoney’s face right now is priceless to say the least. A part of me wants to follow behind Billy and go clean up at the stream with him. Instead I just sit there and allow Stoney to look down at me.
“It’s OK. I trust the guy. Unlike Syx I actually trust him. And it’s clear that the two of you have a real chemistry. So I’m OK with it.”
Stoney smiles a little bit. He pulls me over and gives me a hug. For the first time in a long time I feel like I’ve gotten my best friend back. It’s clear that Syx has been the one that was keeping us apart for so long. It’s clear that all the tension was coming from Syx. Stoney just didn’t trust him.
“Listen. While you guys were cuddled up…I was studying the map.”
“Did you find anything?”
“He notated something on the island with the words HOME on it. It’s not too far from here. A few miles at that most. Every part of me is saying that we should head back to the others but I don’t know…I feel like you were right. There’s something going on here.”
“And that’s where we start,” I tell him.
My stomach gets turned when I realize my friend is thinking the same thing as I am. We join Billy by the water and explain what we want to do. Billy seems OK with it. He suggests going to get the others as well but honestly these are the only two people on this whole fucking island that I completely trust.
“Just us three. We find out what HOME is and we get the fuck out of there as soon as we can,” I tell them.
Billy nods. He leans over and he grabs my hand, “I’ll follow you wherever.”
It’s awkward having Billy hold my hand. Even when we start following the map he grabs my hand and holds it. I realize he never really did that with Sevyn. I wonder if he did that with Sevyn before her personality changed.
The path through the forest is deep and seems to get darker even though we are travelling in the day time. The trees are getting taller. They spread out like a canopy casting a dark shadow all over the floor of the island.
“This shit is creepy.”
Stoney is the one who says it. He’s close to Billy and I. I’m pretty sure he’s scared. He has every reason to be. We walk for miles and the forest gets so dark that we need to build a torch to start seeing our way through. The stream ends soon. There is nothing on this part of the island but deep darkness it seems. Billy is the one who is looking at the map. He’s pretty good at it. Every once in a while he turns and smiles at me as though letting me know he’s still leading us down the right path. Even as awkward as it is holding his hands I feel relieved that I don’t have to worry about him like I had to worry about Syx. I didn’t have to question Billy’s motives all the time or question what he really wanted. There was a slight comfort about that fact.
I squeeze his fingers a little harder.
“You OK?” he asks me.
“What happens when we get off this island?” I ask him.
“What do you mean?” Billy asks me.
“I don’t know. You’re so popular off of this island. Will you still be holding my hand everywhere we go?” I ask him, “You said this island changed us for the better. What happens when we get back off this island though? Do we go back to how we were before?”
“That’s a weird question.”
Billy seems confused about it. He looks down at our hands. The Phantom Island is amazing. It’s brought two people who never would have been together closer than ever.
“Let’s not think about it,” he explains.
It doesn’t go down well when Billy says that to me. The way he just attempts to look away at that moment just makes me feel a little awkward to say the least.
“When we get off this island people are going to want to know our story. What will we tell them?”
“Let’s focus on finding this place,” he explains, “Honestly I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but who knows if we ever get off of this island?
He was probably right. It still didn’t sit well with me that he was avoiding the question though. I shake off the idea though. I know that sooner or later this is going to have to be a conversation that Billy and I have. Billy was a jock. He was the star jewel of the school. He had his whole life in front of him. Being gay changed that completely.
“Through here I think,” Stoney says.
Stoney pulls us through some vines.
“Holy shit…” Billy says.
Holy shit was right! We are all looking at something that blows our mind at that moment. There is a building right there. The building wasn’t made of sticks and shit like that. No. This was a FUCKING building. It looked like some sort of medical building or maybe even a hospital. It’s just sitting in the middle of this fucking cleared out block. The foundation is paved underneath the hospital. My mouth drops open when I see certain things.
“Yo---they have electricity…” I state.
“They might have running water. I swear to God I’d kill for a hot bath right now,” Stoney says.
“Stop, “Billy says.
Billy grabs Stoney just in time for Stoney to go pummeling towards the place like a fucking idiot. Stoney turns confused but Billy is pointing down at the ground. There are bear traps all around this place. It’s booby trapped out the ass.
Whoever lived here didn’t want to be bothered.
“Careful. We need to be safe about this,” Billy explains, “Follow me.”
Billy was taking his usual role as leader. He’s crouches low to the ground and starts leading us down a path towards the building. The building has lights. It is actually illuminated. Instead of going to the front door Billy leads us to the side window. He breaks it open with a lock and unlocks it. We sneak into the window.
“They have a fridge!” Stoney shouts.
“Stoney shut the fuck up!” Billy argues with him.
“Look around. We’re alone,” Stoney tells him, “Relax.”
Stoney runs off at that moment. We are in a kitchen area right now. Stoney immediately goes straight for the food. I look around. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. Billy wants to be cautious and Stoney just wants to explore.
My weakness is when Stoney goes in the fridge and pulls out a tub of peanut butter. He slams it on the table as though he’s discovered gold or something.
“Oh my god…” I state.
I grab the peanut butter at that moment and I just start eating it. It’s fresh. It’s really fucking peanut butter.
“How did this shit get here?” Billy asks.
“Who gives a fuck?” is Stoney’s reply.
I want to question things but right now I’m just enjoying the peanut butter. We split up for a while with Stoney grabbing more food out of the cabinets and fridge. For some reason he fills his mouth with a bunch of fucking ice cubes. I guess it’s weird the things that you miss when you don’t have them. I go for the food instead. Everything that Stoney pulls out of the fridge is tested for freshness by me. Sardines, canned beans, canned corn, tuna, pickles, fruit preserves are all out on the table in a matter of minutes.
“We should fill up our bags. Take this shit back.”
“Why steal it?” he asks me, “Why not bring the others here? Why not stay here?”
He had a point. I look over at the counter at that moment. There is something unsettling. There is an opened can of tomato soup there. It’s in a bowl underneath a microwave. I look at the tomato soup and stare at it for a few minutes.
“Did you just warm this up, Stoney?”
I touch the soup. It burns me, “It’s still hot.”
He walks over to the soup and examines it as though not believing what I’m saying. Stoney stares down at it.
“Someone heated this up not too long ago,” he explains.
“You said we were alone…”
“The amount of noise we’ve been making if anyone was here they would have found us by now,” he says.
He has a point.
I look around.
“I don’t know. Isn’t that your guy now?” he asks me.
Stoney returns to the food but I grab his arm and pull him after me. He manages to grab some pickles and a bottle of water before leaving the kitchen. We walk down the hallway looking for Billy. I scream out Billy’s name a few times. The halls are plain. The only way I could describe it is walking through the hallways of a hospital. There are all these rooms on each side of the hall. When I open the doors to the rooms there are nothing but cots in there.
There is a room at the end of the plain hallway. The lights flicker. My heart races as I approach. I’m a little scared and I’m not the only one. Stoney is walking so close to me that our shoulders are bumping into one another as we go.
“This place has been here this whole time…” he realizes, “How weird is this?”
We get closer to the door at the end of the hallway. With each step my heart beats a little more. I struggle to maintain myself as I put my ear next to the door at the end of the hallway. I listen in at that moment.
That’s when I feel something grab me from behind!
I scream out and push away from the person. I fall into the wall struggling to maintain my composure! I hit my head hard on the wall of the hospital.
“Relax. It’s just me,” Billy says.
“Where the fuck were you?” I ask him.
“I found something. Straight through here. Swear to god you won’t believe me if I explained what it is. Stay close Jurnee. Stoney stand by the door and keep look out. I don’t trust this place. Ok. Right through here. Now look at this shit. Please explain why the fuck a hospital would have this?”
The room we walk into is big. There are these holding tubes in there. They are full of water. They are lined up against the walls. The tubes are huge. They are so big that people would have no problem fitting in them. They are empty however…as though not used recently. Yet still they are full of water. I look over at the first tube.
Written on the base of the tube is the inscription, “Subject Number 1”
“I don’t think this is a hospital,” I tell the others, “I think this is some sort of lab.”
“In the middle of an abandoned island?” Billy asks me.
“Guys someone’s coming!”
Stoney runs into the room from the door. He has this look of horror on his face. I’m struggling to compose myself. I look around. We need to hide. That’s when I see these cots on the other side of the room. They have long sheets that drape down and touch the floor. I point that way towards the others but they are already headed behind them without me.
The three of us hide out behind the sheets. It isn’t until we get close to the cots that we realize there is someone underneath those sheets on the cots. The person is just lying there completely covered. It looks like…well…
“Please tell me those aren’t corpses on that table?” Stoney whispers.
“Shut up,” Billy responds.
He says it at the right time. Just at that moment there are footsteps that walk into the room. I look under the cot but can only see something that looks like some sort of lab coats or something like that. There seems to be a few of them. I count them as they walk in the room. There are five sets of feet all together. The five people have someone else with them.
“Wake him up,” a voice says.
The voice is so familiar. At first I find it hard to remember but then I look at Billy’s expression from behind the cot we are hiding. He recognizes the voice to.
There are a few slaps that are heard in the room. It seems like the five people have someone else with them. This person I think is on a wheelchair something like that. I hear grunting as though the person in the wheelchair is waking up. I’m so confused on what the fuck is going on. My heart is beating so fucking fast at this point.
“What’s going on here…” the person in the wheelchair says.
My heart beats harder when I recognize the person’s voice in the wheelchair. No. It can’t be! It can’t be who I think it is.
I hear Sevyn’s voice almost immediately, “It’s OK…little brother. You’re safe. We found you in the forest. Sorry we had to knock you out. We never wanted to hurt you. You’re safe little brother. You’re one of us..”
Little brother! Little brother? SYX WAS ALIVE!
I almost jump up at that moment but luckily Billy grabs me back down.
“Sevyn…what the fuck is happening?”
“I’ll explain everything.”
“We should explain nothing to him. He’s lived his whole life off of this island. He’s not one of us,” a third voice argues and immediately I recognize the voice as my sister Jolie.
“He’s one of us. He just doesn’t know it yet,” Sevyn argues.
“We don’t need him anymore. We need Jurnee,” Jolie argues.
“Eight, please don’t forget who is in charge here. You’re new. You don’t understand the world fully yet. Trust me.”
Why the fuck was Sevyn calling Jolie that?
That’s when I remember the infinity symbol.
My sister had been obsessed with drawing an infinity symbol. It wasn’t an infinity symbol after all.
It was the number 8.
I can’t take it anymore. I start crawling across the floor at that moment. I see Sevyn there. I see Syx sitting in the chair. I see Jolie standing right there at that moment. I sneak up behind a desk to get a closer view. I can see Billy and Stoney trying to get me to stop but I can’t right now. I’ve waited TOO fucking long to find out what was going on, on this island.
When I get a closer view what I see blows my fucking mind.
“Eight is right,” a boy says, “We should kill Syx. He’s not one of us. His friends killed Four.”
The boy looks right at Syx. My mouth drops open when I realize what I’m looking at. He has a patch on his right eye and he doesn’t have hair like Syx but this is someone who just looks like Syx. This person is an almost exact copy of Syx!
To read the next chapter in advance go to www.crushedcrown.com