Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Island

The Island.
A. Octavia

The farthest back I can remember was the way the sea off of the deck railing looked so blue. Deep, soul-crushing blue. I remember thinking that if I stared too long, it was going to be impossible to pull away from. Nothing else existed before the blue: not the ship, not why I was there, not who I was... just the memory of my hands on the rail, watching the sea stretch all the way out to the horizon.

I've been able to pick up some clues from wreckage that washes up on shore. Usually after a good storm or a strong tide. It's only fragments-- bits and pieces that sheared away from the hull of the broken ship that hovered out past the breakers. Early on I was tempted chance swimming against the riptide, but just as I started to wade out, I saw a few bodies wash up on shore. Whatever lived in the water between me and the answers I craved didn't seem to have a discriminating palette. Needless to say, I never tried again.

I used to bury all the bodies after matching up the pieces as best I could. I’ve spent countless days digging up the loose interior sand until it turned into soil. In the end, it just took took too damn long. The tide would shift and the bodies I couldn't carry or drag up off the shoreline would wash out again. That's when I built the pyre. I recorded every detail I could into a kind of ledger I built. I still carry some of the flotsam, I still dig, but I save it for special occasions. It isn't favoritism, mind you-- it's weakness. I can't burn children. I just can't.

So far my ledger has three hundred seventy names, descriptions of clothing, marks, missing limbs… Details--as many as I can stomach. The graveyard has sixty four and every day I watch the horizon. I gave up on rescue a long time ago and settled in my heart that I was going to die here. Someday. Every morning when I wake up I tell myself it's not today. Never today. I won't stop saying it, and I won't make a mistake. When Death finally does get around to me, when my hourglass empties, He better bring friends. A lot of God-damned friends because I am not going quietly.

Anthropomorphic personification. It's a long-winded way of explaining how we as human beings make difficult concepts simple: a way to impart human traits so we can equalize ourselves. We call a storm ‘mean,’ or the tides ‘viscous,’ or like how I call the things swimming among the shoals ‘sinister.’ It's Death in a black robe tapping the sand out of my hourglass just so he doesn't have to wait quite so long. There are days when I swear I can hear his fingers, his bones tapping away at my time.

The island has its fair share of character flaws, too. It took a bit longer than the shoals or the weather to nail down, but I got there in the end. I antholomophicized it. See, its knocked me down, time and time again, just to see if I would decide to get back up. It’s testing me, but I refuse to give it any satisfaction. Whever it acts up, I just fix my hair and tell it it hits like a bitch. I should know-- it takes one to know one.

I've found quicksand, scattered pools of it. After one or two sand baths I started to scatter rocks wherever I went to mark my trails. I used to carry rope, but it was more of a pain that it was worth so I only do it now if I plan to branch out and explore new terrain. Among other amenities: I found a sulfur spring, a pool of what looks like boiling Mercury, and a bottomless pit big enough across to swallow a whale. Birds roost among the rocks around the edge, and I've seen bats fly out at dusk. It happens like clockwork every night, except when they feel a storm coming. They know, somehow. Atmospheric pressure, maybe. A subtle shifting of the wind...

For the record: I've developed a strong distaste for bananas and coconut. Even if I sprinkle in some crab or fish. Raw, roasted, sauteed soup, kababs-- I've eaten them in every conceivable way and after all this time, they just tastes like cardboard now. Sometimes it's refined cardboard, but still cardboard. That being said, I'm not fond of starving.

I'd really like to say my time on the Island has been a Disneyland experience. I’d practically kill for some whimsical jaunt where I crashed ashore, had a musically choreographed montage of struggling to cope, and then at the end of the song I’d flash forward to where I've overcome adversity, mastered the elements and befriended the local animals. I'd like to say that. I could so see myself as an uber-sarcastic Tarzan, or a less-than-kind Jane Goodall, but in case you missed it before-- that island hits like a bitch.

The monkey's were mean little shits, too. If you ever got between one of them and it's tribe, they'd scream, scratch, and bite like a pack of hyperactive little savages. They howled like wolves at every full moon-- I'm assuming because they're pissed off about the big nightlight in the sky. They're wicked fast, too, like flies you can't ever swat; and they’re smart little fuckers. I had to keep finding new and evermore innovative ways to lock up my food stores because they can problem-solve. The little bastards watch and learn.

I’m assuming life’s not all sunshine and roses here for them, though. Some kind of jaguar hunts them. Thankfully I've never had the occasion to see it in the flesh, but I have seen its spoor and the occasional faint tracks. The monkeys become communally silent whenever they feel it. This might land me on the bad karma list, but I'd be lying if I said those silent nights didn't make me smile a little bit.

It was about three weeks in that these five materials crates washed ashore. It was a bit of a shock because there wasn't any kind of storm the night before. The ‘crates’ were these kind of big, shiny, metallic tubs. It took me all day to drag them above the tide line, and then another two or three to figure out how to get them open. The keypads were toast but at least the seals looked intact.
In the end it was worth it. The first crate washed out of one of the shore-leave storerooms, or up from one of in the main holds of the ship: I managed to unpack a few spear guns, some fishing spears to go with them, a handful of face snorkeling masks, flippers, and my personal favorite: some knives in little rubber sheaths that I keep strapped to both my calf and my forearm now. (I broke three blades and dulled two more to the point of peanut butter spreaders before I figured out how to re-sharpen them.)
The second crate was full of canvas: lifeboat covers judging by the size and the shape. They had the massive ship logo all up front and center. They were the same off-white color as the hull with a blue, green, and red 'A L L' overlapping at the center. There were tie lines made of nylon cabling that came in really handy for collecting water and making tent canopies.

The last three crates were empty. I remember being so livid at first. All the time and effort spent getting them open, wasted-- and on what? Empty boxes? Big, metal, ...sturdy... empty...boxes. In hindsight ,it was probably the best damn thing that ever washed ashore. I turned them into multi-function toolboxes that alternated between rather-uncomfortable-storm-shelters, rainwater collection tanks, or food lockers that kept my spoils safe from the aforementioned little simian shits.

Primates aside, I try to view every day is a gift. Some days were easier than others, and I don't tend to dwell on the past much. I mean, sure I wander around from time to time, I take notes, and I accept clues as they appear, but I don't hunt backwards. I promised myself I wouldn't. I refused to waste time actively searching for answers that wouldn’t alter my current state. The future was something to plan for, to be prepared for: I could accept that. Looking for salvation, or some meaning to a life I don't have anymore…? That kind of thinking wasn't going to keep thirst at bay, or fill my stomach when I got hungry. I took my gift as graciously as I could, and I tried my hardest to enjoy my present.

There was an incredible amount of beauty on the island. It was really kind of hard to miss once I stepped back from the constant anxiety of life and death. My first weeks were chock-full of opening my eyes, and then opening my eyes again. I had to take in everything in that I could by mapping, scouting, not dying, and then remember to take it all in again. I marked trails and paths, I copied my notes onto some of the canvas with some volcanic rock I crushed up and mixed with coconut milk. I penned out everything with a little pointed stick and then stitched it all together afterwards like some kind of shipwrecked Mary Shelly.
I learned two lessons from that: the first was that the island wasn't nearly as small as I thought it was. It took me sixteen days to walk the perimeter. I mean, sure, I wasn't exactly trying to make good time, but that's still a lot of freaking coastline. I mapped three volcanic peaks, a few rolling hills that dotted the interior, and I found a handful of freshwater pools and springs. There didn't seem to be any shortage of low-hanging food in a few groves that I marked, and most of all: there was clean water. There was some wildlife like I mentioned before, but nothing on land looked predatory on a human level.
Honestly, the most disturbing thing I found were the rusted remains of human trespass. It littered the shoreline in fragments, odd-shaped memories half-buried every few miles. The evidence came and went at the mercy of the tides.
I think I mentioned this already, but the second big revelation I had was that the Island was a bitch. No, not A bitch. THE bitch. Bitch. Capital B. She didn't just live and breathe like any other fire-breathing, morphing landmass, oh no.... She defied time and space. She laughed in the face of sound physics and flipped it the bird before logic could collectively open its mouth to complain.
I've found gravity wells and time distortions littered all over the place like a minefield. Sunlight refracted through the air in places for no apparent reason. I found half of a banana rotted a day faster than the rest of it when I let it sit on the edge of a clearing once. The line of decay had a freaking scalpel's precision. So yeah, the island’s seriously got a few secrets it seems pretty insistent on taking to its grave. Or mine-- not sure if its decided yet.

Then there were the monkeys, again. To put it mildly, I wasn’t a fan. They were loud, they stole food, they pissed in your water and bathed in urine-- (I never actually saw them do it, but they certainly smelled like it.) They were damn clever, problem solved, and apparently, thanks to me-- they learned how to masturbate. I know! Shut up, humans have needs. So if you combined my pretty healthy libido with being stranded on a deserted island, well, shit happened...
Clothing came and went, it washed up on shore either on its own or attached to the backs of someone who was never going to need it again. Either way, it never held up very well. I was always in a constant shuffle of patchwork outfits, leaves, vines, and nudity. I think it’s fair to say that the wide leaves with the thick veins had this kind of sap that reminded me of aloe. It didn't soothe burns though. It tingled against the skin like some kind of schizophrenic electricity. It came and went, throbbed as if the tactile receptors were all confused. Too much did make me go numb for a bit, but the best part? When the numbness wore off, and by gods it took its sweet-ass time, it made my skin hyper-sensitive. Trust me, if Eve had this instead of a fig leaf in Eden, she wouldn't have given Adam the time of day.

try to imagine walking around with numb breasts and a numb crotch for two freaking days. Try peeing when you can't feel your vagina. Go ahead, try it, I'll wait. Feel that? The way the warmth just trickles down your leg? Yeah. It's fun, right? It gets better. Now go ahead and imagine needing to pee with hypersensitivity.

literally pissed myself to orgasm for a freaking week. I'd wake up in the morning, walk over to my latrine and squat over the wooden slats-- then fall over when my body convulsed. It was the most humiliating, and I'll admit, the most intense sexual feeling I'd ever known. And to answer the question before you ask, yes, I've done it on purpose from time to time since then.

By now you might be thinking to yourself 'what's any of that got to do with the monkeys' am I right? No, I didn't start seeing them wearing leaves. The leaves just reminded me that I had a source of entertainment every now and then. Remember how in addition to stealing my food and being a Goddamned nuisance, they liked to watch me from the canopy of trees? They’d usually only do it when I was storing food so they got a head start on how I secured the crates. They watched how I tied the damn knots and then they'd figure out how to untie them. They fucking problem-solved! I hooked up warning clacks once, these kind of wooden reeds that jangled whenever the monkey's would try to work the ropes loose. The monkeys muffled them with leaves. I knotted the crates with just impossible ties after that and they found my knives and cut them. They watched me, and they mimicked me. Sometimes they copied my every move.

So one day I was just off the shoreline, sitting in the shade, drowsy on crab and mango. I was two days off a leaf patch I used to cover my nipples from the sun and bored watching the shoals for wreckage, anything else that needed to be buried, burned, or collected. A soft breeze grazed my skin, warm and gentle, like steamy breath. My nipples stood straight up and I squeezed my thighs together before I even realized I'd done it. I trailed my hands up my leg, brushed off the sand near my knee and started to feel the skin of my outer thighs.

Once I closed my eyes, my imagination shot off like a rocket. It was my first intense, lucid daydream. I remember still feeling the warm air, I still heard the ocean lapping at the shore, but it steadily drifted further and further away until it barely existed. I remember silence swallowing over everything for a breath or two before the sound of city traffic slowly rose out of the waves like a sluggish leviathan. Car horns, the hiss of tires rolling across pavement. I heard the hum of delivery drones and a cool breeze washed over me.
The balcony of the Mirach building was forty floors up and overlooked the Chimera Peninsula. The cocktail lounge was slowly draining as the jazz band wrapped up the last notes of the evening. Two men were talking near at the bar and kept stealing glances at me, one at a time while the other wasn't looking. I wore some kind of black sequined cocktail dress, something so noir it made normal darkness wear sunglasses. I felt the breeze brush up against my skin again. It deftly parted the gap in my dress, it crawled up from my ankle to the middle of my pale thigh. I finished my drink and headed for the men at bar. When I set the empty glass in front of the barman between them, I smiled wickedly,so who wants to fill me up?”
The one on the right grinned like an evil genius and I felt the warmth of his hand press against the back of my thigh. He set his own empty glass next to mine and his friend's hand touched the small of my back. “I think the lady needs a double.”
My mind skipped ahead, and I found myself out on the balcony again with both men pressed in close to either side of me. They created an amazing tactile sensation: the night air fought against the heat that radiated from their bodies. The drinks were soon forgotten while I alternated between being warmed by one man, and kissed by the other.
They took turns flawlessly, their hands were a perfect contrast. One pair felt strong and powerful, while the other was delicate and precise. Their mouths were just as complimentary. The taller man's lips were fuller, his tongue more adventurous while his friend was full of hidden promises of how he'd feel with his head between my legs.
I felt him pull back just long enough to spin me around to face his friend. The moment my lips parted, I felt him press his body against my back. I felt both of their cocks pushing against me, both men were almost molten with raw energy. A hand reached around me to cup one of my breasts. Delicious heat found its way through my dress and seeped into my nipple a breath before his fingertips pressed it to rigid attention. His friend's hand gently touched my cheek before drifting to the back of my neck so he could pull me in closer. His tongue dueled with mine, darted between our mouths until I let him win. I sighed and groaned, the sounds intertwined, and I felt lighter than air.
The balcony melted away and we were all in a dark hotel room. A sliver of moonlight cut through the curtains, barely revealing our bodies. Both men were topless, their skin a rough patchwork of muscle and scars, gleaming skin and coarse hair. Lips found my own, darting and teasing, hands found the straps of my dress and the zipper on the back lowered soundlessly. Hot breath found the back of my neck and it traced the line of exposed skin. My dress pooled around my heels. I felt the powerful hands push against my hips, inching me forward just enough that my arms wrapped around the other man’s slender shoulders just to keep from falling over. That powerful mouth kissed the small of my back, then trailed lower, right over the curve of my ass before finding his way to the heated core of me. I felt the first thrust of his tongue and I gasped into his friend's mouth. His kisses turned primal, his hands cupped and kneaded my breasts. He only broke the kiss long enough to taste my nipples, one after the other, lavishing them with the same kind of predatory intent as he'd done with my mouth.
The hands on my hips pulled me back against his face. I felt his tongue reach even deeper into me from behind. I felt teeth grazed against my nipples. I almost collapsed between the two of them as my first orgasm ripped through me. They left me panting while an electric current ricocheted between their mouths. It felt so intense that I felt my muscles twitching.
The room swirled for a moment and I found myself laying on the bed. The men had switched positions and shed the last of their clothes. The new tongue kept darting in and out, kept teasing at my clit, it rimmed my ass. Slowly I started feeling his fingertips join the chorus of sensations he created. The man in front of me ran his fingers though my hair as I moaned against the side of his cock. I ran my hand up and down the shaft, felt the smooth texture, dragged the moisture from the head down his full length and waited for that first hiss of pleasure to escape his lips before I tasted him. Every sound in the room turned into a muted shuffling of bed springs and sheets being tangled. I heard choked-off moans and moisture that dripped over fingers. I felt warm soft skin on edge of turning damp with sweat. The whole room was a single breath from exploding into a frenzy.
The man behind me shifted. I felt his mouth start to trail a line of kisses that climbed over the curve of my hip. His fingers never stopped playing me like an instrument. I felt like I flooded his hand, dripping with anticipation. When I felt his weight settle onto the bed behind me, I stroked his friend harder, I swirled my tongue around the crown of his cock and waited for the orgasm building inside me to reach a fevered peak. I was so close, waiting for it for it to wash over me any second. My moans reverberated against the cock in my hand and he suddenly stopped. There was a moment where I felt empty, like I was being punished for some unspeakable crime, and then the head of his cock press firmly against my labia. I pulled the cock from between my lips and stroked him, my forehead resting against his hip.
The man behind me started running his hands up and down my back. I pressed back into him, desperate to feel him inside me, but he pulled away, teasing me again. I was about to say something, anything, I had the words on the back of my throat when he buried himself into me. I felt him spread me open, felt his hard cock fill me. The heat of his breath was against the back of my neck. He filled me to the point I thought I might explode, and then he pulled away slowly just to fill me again.
I lost track of everything. The orgasm I was waiting for hit me like a truck, and then another one I didn’t see coming followed right behind it. Fingertips found my nipples again, and it was just the spark of focus I needed to shake my head out of the fog I'd been in. My fist closed around the cock in my hand, my lips parted, and I let them set the pace. I pulled and squeezed, I groaned and came, over and over. When I felt like I couldn't take any more, they both slowed down, withdrawing in perfect unison. Their hands turned gentle and they caressed my skin, wiped the hair away from my eyes and laid me on my back between them.
The sliver of light just barely outlined their profiles, their cocks glistening. I reached out and touched them, wrapped my hands around them, stroked them together, one in each hand. I watched their shoulders arch, watched their chests heave and waited for them to shudder. I could feel them pulsing, I felt their heat, the way they swelled in my grip. I alternated, fast and slow, hard and then soft. When it felt like they were both ready, I matched the rhythm, I stroked and pumped them at the same time, and when they groaned it turned into one ragged, guttural release. They exploded over me, and I felt their droplets hit my skin like wax poured off a candle. They were hot, but instantly cooled-- and they just kept spilling out onto me, coating my fists. The sound of their wet skin was like heaven.
When I let go of them to start stroking my clitoris again, they both just seemed to melt away into the darkness. The light from the window brightened, and the waves came back. I clenched up on one last orgasm up and rolled onto my side, letting the world take its time coming back. My throat was so dry when I finally came up for air. I felt dehydrated from the flood that I released into the underbrush.

I felt good, really damn good. As I rolled back over and blinked the stupid out of my eyes, I saw one of the monkey's up in a tree. She wasn't even twenty yards from me and she had her furry little hand clenched between her legs. Her thighs were crushed together
around her wrist
while she shuddered and rolled over onto her side. She panted and twitched. One of the males approached her and the moment she saw him, she jumped up and tackled him. It was the most surreal-- utterly mind-boggling thing I'd ever seen. I felt so completely exposed; like I'd just been caught masturbating in front of a neighbor's special needs kid.

So I freaked out
a bit after that. It was enough to keep my legs closed for a long damn time. The truth was out though, because every other day I kept seeing those little bastards touching themselves every time I went out to get food or re-explore the island. It was one of the most disturbing events of me life, so yeah, if you ever see one of them jilling off, you're welcome. Trust me, I know it's something you just can't unsee...

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