A bitter aftertaste
It had been months since I had gone anywhere. Was I afraid? Perhaps. I had stayed far away from people, from the outside world, from everyone. The boat dropped us off. It was only five of us, and I only spoke to one of them—Dean. Dean was sexually introverted, regimented in his every belief, and unbending in his morals—Dean had no place on that boat and much less its final destination. The other people were a couple, a man and a woman. The couple seemed both the unlikeliest of pairings and also picture-perfect—I couldn’t explain it. The last, he was good looking, no doubt about that, but he too had no place on that island. Unlike Dean, he was sexually liberated, careless about political sensitivities, and amoral about the social constructs surrounding sexuality—I thought of him as Dean’s polar opposite.
As for me. I was figuring that out. I was figuring everything out as best as I could. I hadn’t taken a trip in over two years, almost three. I couldn’t believe I had managed to secure that trip. I never won things like that. I never won anything. I wasn’t used to winning. I was on a streak as I ate a peanut butter cup from a candy bag I had won during a raffle while waiting for the boat to arrive at the dock.
We arrived after a forty-five minute boat ride We got off the boat, I could feel the warm sand despite wearing sneakers. It was a nice sunny day—not too warm, and definitely not remotely chilly. The helmsman, a small man who mumbled most of his words, led us towards the cabins we’d be staying at. It occurred to me that I hadn’t thought to ask him his name during the entire boat ride over. At that point, it no longer matter. He had served his purpose.
I was curious about who I’d be sharing a cabin with. It obviously wasn’t going to be the couple, so I only had two other options; Dean or his polar opposite. I was strongly considering asking if the sand was a hosting alternative.
“You two will stay there,” the helmsman said to my surprise. He put them in the same cabin. It seemed my winning streak refused to end as I won a ticket out of the most dreadful rooming situation I imagined the entire boat ride to the tropical island. But as the couple, Dean, and his polar opposite walked over to their respective cabins, I thought to myself again,” Where will I be staying?” The helmsman just pointed for me to follow him, so I did without asking any questions.
We walked for what seemed like an hour but in reality ten to twelve minutes, then I saw it. Another cabin only a few feet away from the waves. I continued to win. “This is where you’ll be staying,” said the helmsman. “You’ll be rooming with someone from an earlier boat,” the helmsman finished explaining my arrangement before giving me a faint smile and starting to march back to the small boat, as if this was a simple mail delivery instead of a two-hour dispatch from the dock to the tropical island. “Thanks,” I said, staring at my new home for the next week. Just like the helmsman that was quickly disappearing from view, the cabin was small, tan, and had puzzled me for no good reason aside from its foreign state of being. I walked up to it, the brown wooden door ajar. I pushed it, and then I saw him. Again.
“Hi,” I said. I had to make sure. I had to make sure I wasn’t imagining him. Part of me wanted to be imagining. From all places, to see him again in that cabin, after three years of not texting and eight years of not seeing each other. I wanted to believe this was once again wishful thinking manifested in human form.
“I’m Andy, your….roommate for the trip,” I said. I didn’t think roommate was the right word for what we were, but I also couldn’t think of a better word. We certainly weren’t friends anymore. “Hi,” he said, with only his back facing me. I was used to that. Even eight years later. He still didn’t face to look me in the eyes. I walked a little closer. “Hi, I’m…” I started speaking but stopped when a cold breeze touched my neck. I felt a feeling in my stomach that wasn’t anything like the butterflies talking to this man produced in me.
“It’s nice to hear your voice again,” he said, turning to look at me, but still sitting in place. Some things would never change with Derek. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t and instead put down my bags. I was standing over Derek and for the first time since knowing him, it seemed like I was the one with the power. For once.
We talked for about an hour. Derek had no real reason for having ghosted me aside from…life. He had a boyfriend at some point during the time we hadn’t spoken. I hadn’t. They had broken up and apparently the guy got over Derek quickly. I hadn’t.
“Want to go see what they’re serving for dinner?” Derek asked me as I noticed time had gotten away from us, again. I put down the candy bag I compulsively kept snacking on and followed Derek out of the cabin. It was a nice, orange hue in the sky. The waves were serene, but not particularly welcoming. If anything, they sent a violent warning.
“Is that it?” I thought to myself as I saw two long, wooden tables set in the middle of the shore. My group was sitting at one table. We were group A. Derek’s party was sitting in the other. They were group B. The food was decent, better than I expected. It was a combination of Mexican, sliced pineapple, papaya, and Mediterranean food such as hummus, pita, and olives. An unexpected but delectable feast.
I couldn’t help but turn to look at Derek during it. I couldn’t help myself. It had been so long since being able to just look at him, and I could tell his appetite was as ravenous as ever. He bit into the tacos, and then grabbed hummus, and put it on the tacos, which was weird but I didn’t question it because he had always had weird taste.
“What’s for dessert?” the man asked the woman. I sat, looking at my empty plate. I had three of them. I wasn’t one to overeat. Ever. I was rarely ever hungry. But on that trip, I had become ravenous. Just like Derek. Just like everyone around me.
“Dessert is this way,” said the tall, lanky, tan guide—Lena—as she directed us into the innards of the island. Everyone got up to follow her without question, myself included. We walked and walked, the tall palm trees looking down at us. We walked for what seemed like an hour but was probably more like fifteen minutes. Then we stopped. At the center. I looked at Dean, then at his polar opposite, then at the couple, then Lena, and lastly, at Derek and his group. I didn’t understand. No one did. Almost no one.
“So what’s going on? Dean finally asked the question that we were all thinking. Well, most of us. No one said a word, though I could see than man whisper into the woman’s ear. I would have done the same, if I had someone next to me to whisper into. Derek and Lena were the only ones who seemed unaffected. There was silence for a good minute or two before Derek started moving to the center. Then, Derek did something I had only seen him do once before. First, his shirt came off; his hairy chest revealed. He didn’t have defined abs, but it was nevertheless a beautiful sight. Second, came his belt; it was a brown, leather belt, nothing fancy, just like Derek. Third, came his shoes. Green sneakers that complimented his colorful nature. And fourth, came his blue jeans; Derek was wearing grey boxer briefs which outlined his penis. And lastly, because Derek wasn’t going to stop there—it would have been completely out of character, came his boxer briefs. He was completely exposed once again.
“What the actual heck…” Dean asked as he looked at Derek’s naked body. A look of contempt washed over Dean’s face—it was the only look I had seen Dean’s face during the few hours I had known him. The couple was mesmerized and speechless, I could tell the man’s interest was piqued. Dean’s polar opposite was unimpressed—Derek wasn’t his type. And the five other people in group B just looked, unblinking, inhuman.
I looked at him from head to toe; his 6’3 height was overpowering, but so was the rest of him. His hairy chest, his wavy, brunette hair, his slender body, yet Derek somehow had thick calves. And then, his penis. His penis covered by a hairy bush, but I could still make out its sight. Circumcised, and dripping. I had seen it before but for some reason, it felt like the first time.
The man’s interest got the best of him as he left the woman, making his way almost hypnotically to Derek. He felt Derek’s chest first, his fingers making their way through it. The man did this for only a few seconds before burying his face in it, smelling it. I could hear him sniffing it—and I started the remember its pleasant must. The man relished in the smell of Derek’s chest. It was silent otherwise.
Next, the woman joined them, she went from behind. Feeling her way through Derek’s wavy, brown hair, her red nails getting lightly tangled in it. She played with the brown locks before moving onto his broad shoulders, touching them with her hands, then her lips. Lastly, she moved to his buttocks. I could see Derek relishing himself as a finger proceeded to make its way between his buttocks and into him. Derek’s eyes widened, the blue becoming as vivid as the clouds above him. The man and the woman were exploring Derek, exploring his body in a way that I would assume they never explored each other.
Next, a man from Derek’s group joined. He stood next to the man, and politely touched his shoulder to prompt him to move aside, only so slightly, leaving enough room for this man to get on his knees and start fiddling with Derek’s penis. First with his fingers, and then with his tongue, the tip of it licking every bit of precum dripping from Derek’s penis. Then, he went all the way, putting it inside his mouth. He devoured it. Derek was getting devoured like the sweetest and most tantalizing dessert in the world.
I was next, I couldn’t help myself. I started to unbutton my jeans, feeling them fall to my feet. Next came my shirt, a white t-shirt easy to take off. And then came my boxers. I was naked myself. Derek and I were both naked and once again felt like one and the same. There was no room between the devourers. But that didn’t matter, I grabbed my own penis and started to stroke it, back and forth as my foreskin slipped through my fingers—wet, dripping, similarly to Derek’s own appendage. I kept stroking and going just like the man did with Derek’s chest and the woman did as she went in and out inside Derek with her middle finger. The man from Derek’s group continued to take in Derek’s penis, his tongue was having the time of its life playing with Derek’s tip. And then the two women from ground B joined, getting on their knees—they took Derek’s toes. One woman sucked the five on one side while the other woman took the five on the other. They sucked and explored inside and outside Derek. Derek’s eyes glistened with blue ecstasy, his pupils dilating, connecting with mine as I kept stroking. More precum kept infusing with my fingers and my slippery foreskin. Dean’s polar opposite looked, unimpressed, but he still looked because its what he did. I kept stroking as the they kept feasting on their dessert. Derek’s eyes became the widest I had ever seen them as he himself widen. I could feel every bit of my own body feel wider—open—welcoming. And suddenly, I let it out in unison with Derek. Our loud moans synced once again. But also for another, first time.
I looked at Derek sleep that night. He slept so soundly, naked. I looked at him, occasionally reaching inside the candy bag. I needed something sweet to replace Derek’s lack of sweetness. There wasn’t trace of sweetness left in Derek after dessert. Looking at him, I thought, “Did that even happen?” I sat and wondered. Then I looked outside, into the ocean. I could hear the waves, but they weren’t comforting. They weren’t comforting because of the sight that accompanied them: Dean. Dean stood in front of them, and then, almost like an act of magic, stood only a few feet away outside my shared cabin with Derek. Looking. Dean looked at me as he stood a few feet away from the doorstep. A dead, accusatory look in his piercing green eyes. Snake eyes. But, above all, accusatory eyes. Dean accused me of everything.
We had a late lunch the next day. Everyone seemed fine. No one from either group mentioned dessert. We ate a combination of pineapple, mangos, ceviche, and chocolate. It was a light lunch, but everyone ate just as ravenously as the meal from the previous evening. As everyone gorged, I continued contemplating that maybe I had imagined dessert.
Lena came a second time. She was wearing a long, black dress, she wore a smile as she said, “Dessert is this way.” Everyone stood up again. The man and woman, and Dean’s Polar Opposite, everyone from group B. Everyone but Dean. Dean had not shown up for lunch.
We walked with her through the island once again, it was just as quiet as the evening before, aside from our footsteps. We arrived at the center. Derek once again moved to the center of the center, but he just stood there. Derek didn’t remove any piece of clothing. He stood in place. Everyone did. I also just stood there. Waiting. Thinking to myself, “Was everything I saw the night before a figment of my imagination?” “Did I imagine everything?”
I couldn’t stop myself, I couldn’t. I made my way to Derek, and I removed his shirt. I removed his pants next. I removed his black boxer briefs. I removed everything. Then Derek did the same to me. First my red button up, then my blue jeans, because I hadn’t brought appropriate clothing for the trip. Then he removed my blue boxer briefs. Then, we didn’t pause. Derek’s hands made their way through my body, down my back and down my buttocks and he felt them. I wanted him to keep going. I didn’t want Derek to stop. Because I wasn’t going to.
I kissed his neck, I devoured it with my lips and teeth and Derek made his way between my buttocks and into me with his middle finger. It was longer, slender, and felt absolutely amazing inside me. I felt nothing short of ecstasy as Derek slipped in and out. In and out. In and out inside me and I wanted Derek to continue forever.
Derek knew what I wanted, he knew it because he could feel it as he made his way inside me. And Lena knew it as well, as she made her way over to us and handed Derek an aloe vera leaf. Derek proceeded to grab it from her—or at least, he tried, but I beat him to the punch, snatching it from her hand to rip it open. It was ripe, wet, sticky. I opened it with my teeth and removed my fingers from Derek’s hair to grab the liquid substance oozing from it. Then, I used my free hand to remove Derek’s finger, just briefly. I used my own middle finger to enter myself, rubbing and lubricating myself with the aloe vera. It was a wet but welcomed feeling. Derek played with my neck as I did this, slightly tightening his grip. I loved the feeling. I wasn’t into sexual violence, at all. But with him, it wasn’t violence. It was freedom. Derek freed a part of me I had no idea was locked up.
After two minutes of lubricating myself, exploring myself, I turned. I turned and bent over, feeling the sand in my fingers. A rough feeling. A rough feeling to compliment what came next. I felt Derek start to enter me again, this time with a different body part. I loved the feeling. It scared me, and I loved that it did. It horrified me, and I loved that it did. It made me fear for my life and God was that something that made me feel, feel entirely. Feel freely.
I looked up, for the first time since Derek and I had undressed each other. I couldn’t believe what I saw next. The man and the woman were naked, feeling each other from head to toe before the woman bent the man over, and got on her knees to explore him with her tongue. The man loved it, his jaw dropped, open, drool escaping and touching the ground. It was a look of ecstasy that made me wonder about my own look. Was the man mirroring my expression?
I turned to group B as the two women made their way to Lena, undressing her, violently. Seductively. Freely. Lena welcomed this, her tan skin contrasting the paleness of the two women. Dean’s polar opposite looked. He looked at the women, and he looked at the married couple, the man drooling and loudly moaning as the woman’s tongue wrecked havoc on everything between his buttocks. Dean’s polar opposite just looked, because for all the sexual expression that Dean’s polar opposite had verbally expressed during the boat ride over, he didn’t dare engage us. He didn’t need it. Dean’s polar opposite was a sexual deviant long before our arrival.
Derek continued going, in and out inside me, I felt the wetness form his penis blending with the wetness from the aloe vera, and wetness exited from me as Derek’s hand dominated my penis. The precum made its way between his fingers. All of Derek’s fingers made me feel something different. I couldn’t hold it in, my own moans. But they weren’t moans—they were growls that went against the innate, medium-pitched sound of my voice. I had no idea I could produce that pitch from inside me. I had no idea of everything I could produce from inside me. But now that I did, I’d be damned if I allowed it to stop. Derek kept on going inside me and outside me, stroking my penis and stroking every wall inside me. He continued, and whimpered. Derek whimpered as I growled. The woman continued owning every bit of the man as he drooled more and more into the sand, looking at me, his eyes closed and that smiling widen as much as I was. The two women from group B explored every inch of Lena’s tan skin, frim her nipples down to her hairy bush and then between her lips. Lena was exploring her own self as well, her middle finger making its was between her buttcocks. I had never seen anything like it. Unlike the feeling I felt when forcing myself to watch similar content during my formative years, when trying to defy my innate sexuality, I wasn’t repulsed. I was amused. I couldn’t stop looking. So I didn’t. And Dean’s polar opposite didn’t. And Dean didn’t.
Dean appeared like a ghastly apparition. He looked at as with the same contempt he expressed the evening before. Dean looked at us with the same coldness he had expressed the night before, standing outside my shared cabin with Derek.
I sat in the cabin as Derek slept. He could just sleep things off. That hadn’t changed. I grabbed another candy—a chocolate heart—from the candy bag. I unwrapped it and put it in my mouth, melting as I looked at Derek’s nakedness. Yet, he felt fully clothed. I grabbed for another candy, but had nothing left to grab onto. I had finished every miniature dessert inside the candy bag. So I was forced to look at a fully clothed Derek. It was a bitter aftertaste.
I looked out the window. I looked and thought as I looked at the waves again, and again they didn’t make a comforting sound. I felt I needed comforting from this man I had just exposed myself to entirely. But, I didn’t regret it. Any of it. I looked back at Derek, laying there with his hairy chest, his hairy legs, his hairy calves, his entire hairy, slim torso. I looked at Derek. Entirely clothed.
I turned back to the ocean. The waves adamantly refused to comfort me, that wasn’t going to change. Then I saw him, Dean’s polar opposite, making his way towards the ocean. He stopped. He stopped and turned to look at me. He had a blank look. Dean’s polar opposite wore the same expression, regardless of who he was looking at. Or what he was looking at. I looked at him, afraid. This man produced a level of fear in me every time I looked at him. Then my fear intensified.
Dean came out of nowhere, another act of unexplainable magic. He approached his polar opposite, and they started speaking inaudible words. I should have turned away, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t scared anymore—I was horrified. Dean and his polar opposite looked at each other, they were symmetrical in their height, their average-weight, their average enthusiasm. I couldn’t look away. Dean’s polar opposite started reaching for Dean’s face, grabbing it. Touching it softly, I couldn’t look away, but it made sense. I had figured out Dean’s polar opposite only a few minutes into the boat. He had spent its entirety looking at Dean as he talked, craving Dean. Dean had a boyish face, he looked like a young, prepubescent boy and he dressed the part, and spoke the part with his high-pitched voice. Dean wasn’t only his polar opposite’s type—Dean was that man’s only type.
Dean’s polar opposite moved in for the prowl, his lips touching Dean’s, again, softly. I would have never imagined such a softness could come from him. Dean stood still. Frozen. He didn’t react as this man touched his face with his lips. Dean’s polar opposite then did something completely unexpected, almost out of character since I really didn’t know the man too well. He moved his lips away and simply laid on Dean’s chest. That’s all. No movement. No sound aside from the waves and their lack of comfort. They did this for an unspecified amount of time. I couldn’t look away. I wish I had.
Dean jolted back, but his polar opposite couldn’t bare for them to part ways, his hands clasped onto Dean’s. Dean transitioned from jolting to violently jerking; Dean jerked as his polar opposite stood in place. Dean’s polar opposite refused to let go of Dean. Dean jerked and jerked and his polar opposite just clasped onto him. Clasped onto him as if clasping onto dear life. I couldn’t look away. This continued for another amount of unspecified time. I couldn’t look away but I also couldn’t move to try and help Dean. I wish I had. Then, in an unexpected transition that my eyes were completely unprepared for, Dean bit into his polar opposite’s nose. He bit it and clasped onto it. His polar opposite finally let go of Dean’s shoulder, but Dean didn’t. Dean continued biting on it, his polar opposite tried jerking away, but Dean refused to let go. The struggle continued as I watched. I couldn’t stop watching. Finally, I saw it. Another horrific feeling overcame me as I saw the polar opposite’s nose detach from his body. The man ran around, screaming as blood squirted from where his nose once was and onto the sand. Dean stood there, the nose in his mouth as he looked at his polar opposite running around, blood gushing and arms up in the arm. Dean wasn’t done, he ran up to his polar opposite, pouncing on top of him as he grabbed his neck, the polar opposite tried starting a scuffle, but the impact of his gushing nose was too great for him to muster the energy to do anything but focus on the pain. A greater pain came as Dean tightened his grip, tighter, the tightest I had seen anyone grab someone. Then, it happened. The snap I could only imagine I saw it happen from my shared cabin window. Dean’s polar opposite fell to the ground, jerking for a few seconds before stopping. Dead.
Dean stood over him, looking down at him. But not too long. Dean quickly changed his sights in a different direction. Me. He looked at me with the same contempt as he had the evening before. The same contempt he looked at me with during dessert earlier that day. I was horrified but couldn’t look away. Dean and I locked eyes longer than we had during that entire trip. Dean and I locked eyes longer than I had with any man during my entire life. But it didn’t last much longer, Dean kneeled down and started searching through his polar opposite’s pockets, pulling out something that even from a distance, I recognized. I had seen Dean’s polar opposite play with it the entire boat ride over and even at one point during our first dinner. I remembered its sharp, jagged blade—threatening us. Dean started moving. Moving, but not towards me. Dean had his sights fixed on the innards of the island.
I stood still for an unspecified amount of time as Dean quickly disappeared from sight. I stood still, maybe two minutes, maybe ten, maybe more. I couldn’t move. Horror kept me in place as the waves went from no comfort to ear-shattering. They were shrieking like I should have been. I looked at Dean’s polar opposite. Unmoving. Lifeless. Dead.
“Derek,” I finally managed to let out a low whimper. Nothing. “Derek,” I repeated again, my dry lips barely moving. “Derek!” I managed to finally let out my own shriek. I could hear Derek rustle behind me as I continued to look at the dead. “What…”Derek said in a groggy voice. Somehow, I managed to regain control over my legs as I moved backwards a few steps, then stopped. After another minute of motionlessness, I regained control of my hips, turning to Derek. “We need to get out of here,” I said as Derek looked up at me, his eyes half-shut. “Why?” Derek asked in an equally groggy voice.
Why? How could I tell him, explain any of the horror I had just witnessed. So I didn’t try to, I instead kneeled down before him one more time that evening, grabbed his arm, and prompted his naked body to stand up. I dragged him to the window to look out into the ocean and the lack of peace it provided. Derek stood still, but unable to look away, just like me. Derek looked at the lifeless body of Dean’s polar opposite. Derek couldn’t make out every detail of the goriness left of that man, but he didn’t need to. Derek knew Dean’s polar opposite was dead.
“What happened to—” Derek started to move his lips again, but I couldn’t let him finish. We couldn’t waste anymore time. I started moving towards his bed, grabbed his jeans and t-shirt off the floor, and handed them to him. “We need to go!” I said. Derek didn’t object, putting on his clothes immediately. We started making our way to the door but stopped dead in our tracks. We were both frozen with horror once again.
One knock. Two knocks. Five knocks. We listened to the knocks. We couldn’t move. Horror was keeping us safe from whoever was on the other side of that door. Derek took the first step, he moved slowly, but moved. I moved with him because I had grabbed hold of his hand without realizing it. We moved. Closer. A loud knock, the loudest, came next as Derek reached for the door knob, testing it slowly.
Derek opened it only for a huge weight to follow, falling on Derek. It was Lena. Lena’s naked body fell on Derek, but refused to let go of him. Instead, I reached for her, sustaining her in my arms. Her hazel eyes looking into mine, filled with horror as she continued to cover her throat, blood gushing out of it.
“Give me a rag or something,” I said to Derek, who proceeded to take off his shirt and hand it to me. I wrapped it around her neck to try and stop the bleeding, but it was pointless. Lena stopped moving. She was dead. We both stood still. We were no longer horror. We were everything. Shaking, sweating profusely, and clueless as to what to do.
“What is going on?” Derek asked again. I wanted to answer, but not even I knew. So all I said was, “We need to get off this island.” I said what we needed to do, but had no clue how we were going to do it. Then I looked at the door, Lena had dropped something. I didn’t think twice before moving to grab it, bloodied, but it was our only way out.
“Hello, this is Andy Lester. I’m part of Group A. We need help, please send someone. One of the people in our party, they’ve…he killing people. Please send help,” I said, finally listening to the narration of the horrific events unfolding around us. I stood there. Derek stood there. We waited. We waited for no response.
“We need to warn everyone else,” I said to Derek, who stood there, staring at Lena’s bloody body. “Derek,” I said, firmly. An unexpected bravery had taken over me to contrast my horror. “We need to warn everyone else,” Derek simply kept staring at Lena’s bloody body, his blue eyes remained filled with horror. I had never seen horror in them, or any negative emotion for that matter, even when our first and only date ended eight years back with Derek saying he didn’t feel we were “sexually compatible.”
“We need to stay here,” Derek said. I waited. I waited for a few seconds, a whole minute. I waited for Derek to change his mind. “We need to stay here and wait for a response.” I heard the words come out of Derek’s mouth as he refused to look me in the eyes, he was too horrified to. Derek was horrified to expose himself as a coward.
I didn’t say a word, but instead made my way into the innards of that island. That tropical paradise I felt was going to revive my humanity after three years of me struggling to keep it alive. Alive as it stayed far away from the rest of humanity. I moved, driven by a horrific urgency. I didn’t know anyone in my group A or B outside that island, but, I couldn’t allow them to just die. Even if most of them had already been dead long before boarding the boat to the island.
After ten minutes of walking, I stopped in the center. I looked around, waiting. Was I awaiting death? Perhaps. Was I awaiting Dean to come and claim it? Perhaps? Was I awaiting for someone to come and save me instead of me saving them? Definitely. Instead, I stood. Stood and waited for death and everything that came with it.
“Anyone here?” I called out. Nothing. I stood. Stood and waited. Waited for a sign of life and not death. Then I heard them. Sandy footsteps. I was too afraid to turn and look. I didn’t know if I was prepared for another bloody sight. I felt the touch to my shoulder, it was a touch full of life.
“Shhh!” the woman said as she brought the acrylic nails up to my mouth. I didn’t say anything. I stood. Stood and waited. Waited for her to say something along the lines of salvation. “He killed my husband…” I knew that much without her having to tell me. She grabbed my hand and we proceed away from that spot where dessert had been served in its fleshy glory. “Where are we going” I asked her, as if she had a clue. The woman just kept walking, her stout body pushing me to follow, as if I was going to object.
Ten minutes into walking, I saw her cabin. “We can hide in here,” she said as she opened the door. I saw the disturbing sight. The man was on the floor, naked, his hands tied with grape vines, he was alive. And even though he was alive, this sight horrified equally to every other sight I had witnessed following the first death. I walked up to him. It was an intrinsic feeling, I couldn’t just leave him there. Why was he tied up? I could only fathom these questions for so long before I heard the woman speak again, “I brought him here,” she said, pleaded. Then I turned around, I knew he was there. Dean stood in front of the woman. The same look of contempt washed over his face. “I brought him to you,” the woman continued to say as Dean walked closer to her. He held the jagged, sharp object he had taken from his polar opposite’s pocket, blood dripping from it. “You…” the woman started again, unable to finish as the blade went right through her mouth and through her throat. Blood started pouring from it as she dropped to her knees. Then Dean turned to look at us, me and the man. Even though he was tied-up and on all four, naked, I felt like the easier prey. Because I now knew I was the intended pray. Dean moved slowly, he didn’t need to rush. I had no escape. I was his dessert after a bitter course disguised as a tropical paradise.
Dean grabbed the woman by her arm and dragged her over to her naked husband, he then removed the cloth keeping the man’s mouth shut. “Please, don’t—“ the man couldn’t finish his sentence as Dean proceeded to shove the woman’s bleeding face against the man’s, wrapping the cloth around the woman and man’s head, clasping them shut. Blood oozed from both the man and the woman’s connected mouths. The man jerked around on all fours, the motion causing the woman’s lifeless body to jerk as well. It was compulsory. She was dead and soon, he would be too.
I watched as Dean looked in contempt. The only expression I had seen on his face. The only expression his face could produce. Dean started moving towards me. I couldn’t move. Nothing. Nothing in my body could provide the momentum for me to move out of death’s path. Dean moved closer. Closer and I didn’t. Blackness took over.
I woke up. I was in the center. I looked around. Dean was nowhere to be seen. I felt the grapevines, tying my hands in place. I looked around, looking for a sign of life, any sign. Then. I saw it, it took me a while to make sense of what I was seeing. But I saw him, laying on the ground. He was still shirtless. His hairy chest covered in blood, his arms spread across the sand. Lifeless. Or not. I couldn’t tell if Derek was dead or alive. I could never tell with Derek. Then I saw him again as he walked past me, only his back facing me. It didn’t make a difference. I didn’t need to see Dean’s face to recognize his malevolence.
Dean stopped in front of Derek and kicked him. Derek didn’t move. Dean kicked him one more time. Nothing. Dean then kneeled down, grabbed a handful of sand, and shoved it over Derek’s mouth, smothering him with it until Derek finally gave a sign of life. Derek then grabbed him by the feet and started dragging him, Derek couldn’t position himself to stand up. I didn’t understand it, until I did. Derek’s back left a sandy blood trail as Dean dragged him.
Dean looked down at Derek, and then down at me. The contempt. The contempt was all there was. I used whatever remaining strength my fingers had to fiddle with the grapevines wrapped around my fingers, but it was useless. My nails weren’t long enough. After my first and only date with Derek, I made sure to always keep them at the shortest imaginable length before leaving my home.
After another couple of unspecified seconds of staring at us both, Dean finally spoke again since the first time we had been in that center. “Kill him,” Dean said as he extended the knife out to Derek. Derek looked at Dean, his eyes full of horror, a horror that hadn’t left since seeing Lena’s dead body. Derek nodded his head in contest. Dean proceeded to swiftly stab Derek in his right shoulder. Blood started gushing out, splashing the sand again. “Kill him,” Dean said,’ the knife dripping with blood as it presented itself as a salvation. Derek, unable to look at me, grabbed the knife. I laid on the sand, unmoving. I could see the horror in Derek’s blue eyes and they reconnected with mine. There was no ecstasy in them. Life itself was quickly fleeing to be replaced by the reflection of evil.
I didn’t know what prompted this move, perhaps divine intervention, but I rolled to my side, my back facing Derek. It was my only chance at avoiding death. I felt it, slide through my fingers and into my lower back, between my tail bone and the opening to my buttocks. The knife, though, had managed to become stuck between the grape vines tying my hands. My fingers got quick to work as it started to cut through them. Quickly. I wasn’t going to wait for Dean to finish the job.
I felt the knife try and slip through my fingers, but I wasn’t going to let it. I gripped it, the jagged, sharp teeth cutting my cuticles, but the other teeth continued cutting through the grapevines. The struggle continued as my blood and sweat mixed with the the jagged teeth, but, after a few more seconds of pain, blood, and agony, I felt the grapevines come apart. My hands were free. I touched the ground, leaving my own sandy bloody trail as I got on my two feet.
I started running, my hands dripping with blood and sweat and more blood dripped from the moderate incision the knife had made on my lower back. But unlike Derek’s, my injury didn’t hinder my escape.
I ran through the pain as I heard footsteps behind me. But they weren’t coming towards me. I didn’t know what direction they were walking in and I couldn’t turn to find out. I kept running. I ran even after I heard the shriek from an all-too-familiar voice. Just like he had been given a life to death ultimatum where he had chosen himself, I couldn’t save Derek.
I stopped as I started to see the waves once again, they brought me comfort for the first time since arriving on the island. I couldn’t continue running. The incision and the pain and the agony of seeing so much death got the best of me. I collapsed on my knees. I collapsed and started to cry. I cried, not because of those that died, but because the sea was empty. The helmsman and the boat where nowhere to be seen. No one was going to save me.
I cried. I cried. I cried for an unspecified amount of time. Then, it was a compulsory response, I grabbed a fistful of sand just like Dean had, and turned around to throw it in his face. Dean grabbed his face as the sand got into his eyes, dropping his knife. I saw it, bloodied on the floor, surrounded by a trail of blood that I had left behind. I looked at it only for one or two more seconds before grabbing it, and without another moment of hesitation, I plunged it into Dean’s left eye, the gushing sound felt comforting. It was the most comforting sound I had heard since arriving on the island. Dean’s face was still full of contempt. Damn him, why couldn’t he have another expression. I pulled it out, the blood gushing out. And without any moment of hesitation, I stabbed Dean’s right eye. Again, the gushing sound was music to my ears.
Dean continued to walk behind me, blindly but notaimlessly. Even as I held onto his preferred weapon of choice, Dean was still devoted to his mission: kill me. It was no longer a horrific sight, though. It was comical. It was hilarious. Dean was walking around like a chicken running without his head, blood gushing onto everything, more and more sandy, bloody trails produced as Dean walked and walked, flinging his arms up in the air in an attempt to catch me. I laughed. I couldn’t hold it in. The sight of Dean was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I laughed and laughed and laughed and then flung his weapon of choice into the waves, which now made a sound mimicking clapping. Clapping. The waves clapped as Dean’s horror show came to its bittersweet finale. I myself started clapping, blood spashing into the air and down to the sand to crate more sandy, bloody trails. I laughed as I walked farther and farther away from Dean. I turned to look at him one last time in the distance. Dean was getting farther and father as he continued to wander, and wonder what direction his last prey had gone.
I continued to laugh and clap until the pain from my cuticles could no longer keep up with my remaining adrenaline. I stopped. Still laughing, and once again dropped to my knees. I looked into the sea once again. The waves were still clapping for me. For the greatest show they had ever witnessed. A feast for their otherwise starved eyes. Eventually my knees also gave up, so I laid on my back and looked into the sky. The clouds were just clouds. White. Unbothered. Unmoved. Then I tilted my head a little to my left, and I saw it from a distance, the tiny wooden boat my group had arrived in. And then I saw the tiny helmsman that had dropped us off.
Then I turned my head slightly towards the direction leading to the center. I saw them, running towards me. The man and two women from group B, from Derek’s group. The two women, pale and naked, identical with the exception of their red and blonde respective hair colors. And the man. The man, tan and naked, the man who resembled Derek so much, but not at all. The man who was one of my savior. Or not.
My head couldn’t sustain my sight anymore. It couldn’t sustain anything anymore. Anymore sightings. Anymore ecstasy or horror. My head laid down on the sand. And so did my eyelids, laying on my eyes as I laid in darkness. I heard footsteps getting closer. Familiar footsteps. I listened, and hoped that wherever I was being taken, I would be getting some dessert.
About the Creator
Greetings! My name is Andrew Judeus. I am an LA-based writer with a passion for creating romantic narratives. Hopefully my daily wanderings into the land of happily ever after will shed some light into your life. Enjoy!
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