Ghost Isles

Chapters 1-3

Ghost Isles
Photo by MICHAEL CHIARA on Unsplash

1

I grabbed my bag, ready for the job ahead of me. I opened the door and stepped beyond the threshold of my apartment. At my door was a pile of newspapers. one I clearly could read was an article about a scientist named Lych Nyte who "accidently" died.

I was there. It wasn't an accident.

It was a murder.

It was revenge.

Ignoring this fact, I started to walk the couple of blocks to where my destination was. It was an airfield that contained an airplane this scientist developed. It was supposed to be undetectable and extremely fast. It was usually carrying different goods or, in today's case, passengers. It would also be carrying a stowaway.

I snuck around to the back of the plane where the cargo was usually put. as one of the staff exited the plane, I whipped around the corner and into the cabin where I knew nobody would check.

A few hours later, I was trying to sleep. All I knew was we were above an unexplored section of the ocean. I just had this uneasy feeling about this flight, though.

Suddenly the cabin rocked. Even in this model, there was turbulence, so I tried to ignore it until one of the onboard engineers rushed in and checked someone's ticket. I knew this meant we were going down, which also means, since the plane's escape pods only held eight, only the highest paying would make it. Since I didn't pay, I wouldn't make get in. unless I did it myself. I saw the designs for this model, so I knew there was a secret escape pod down a passage right behind my seat. When nobody was looking, I snuck through.

The pod was cramped, considering this pod was made just for Lych in scenarios like this. It didn't matter. These pods were stocked to be able to support life anywhere for a small amount of time. It wouldn't matter. My dad taught me how to survive in any situation and gave me supplies to aid me that I take everywhere.

I knew I didn't have much time because this aircraft would crash in a couple minutes, so I slammed my hand down on the button that would launch the craft down towards the water.

2

I felt the craft slam into the water and bounce back up. I knew it would have a second impact, so I didn't open up the hatch until I felt it crash down again. These pods only hit twice from the height they were dropped from, so all I had to do was wait for the bobbing to stop. Then, the pod rocked.

What was that? I wondered. I waited a little before opening the hatch, just so it doesn't flood. Right outside was... a beach? I was mostly surprised about the fact that nobody found this small bit of land. I at least assumed it was small.

A little bit shaky from the massive fall I just had, I carefully stepped out and looked under the seat. Just like I suspected, it was fully stocked for a couple of days. good thing I had my bag. I thought to myself. Inside was a small set of weapons that I was given for my 17th birthday. Thanks, dad. I complained to myself. You would rather give me this than stick around. There was also a package that I still haven't opened.

I took everything from my craft and started to head inward toward what looked like a mountain at the top of the island. My reasoning was I'd be able to know where the best chance of survival would be. In the distance of what I guessed to be the other side of the island, I saw another one of the escape pods. The only other possibility was it was the larger one since Lych only made one of my type. That meant other survivors were on this island as well.

I better head over to them. I decided quickly. I didn't know if any of them knew what to do. Deciding my path, I started jogging.

It took a while, but I got over there. The pod was still closed, so, either they were in trouble or they didn't know how to open it, which still meant trouble.

I reached into the little hole that would allow me to open it manually from the outside. It hissed open, so I glanced in.

All eight seats were filled. only seven were alive, though. One if the boys were laying with his neck snapped in his seat. The only possibility was the chains around his neck were actual gold, so the weight just broke it. One less mouth to feed. I thought to myself. At least it was a rich guy. I didn't have anything against the rich. It's just a lot of them seem egotistical.

I did a quick analysis of the craft. Two were unconscious and the other five were acting like they never had a freefall in an escape pod before.

"You two," I said, pointing to the boy and girl sitting next to the knocked out people. "grab them." They looked where I was pointing. I knew neither one had experience with the dead. I picked up the dead kid and threw him over my shoulder. No wonder his neck broke. I thought. It weighs a ton. probably literally. I guided the group to the forest entrance. there, I threw the body on the ground while the others caught up.

"Will you go out with me?" I slightly heard from the boy carrying the body. I turned around as he carefully set the body down. The girl who was carrying the other body looked at him angrily.

"I don't even know who you are!" she exclaimed in frustration. I figured he was hitting on her the whole ride.

The kid stuck out his hand. "I'm Altair. And you are...?"

She turned away from him. "uninterested." Poor kid. I thought. I already knew I was going to have to take the first shift. It was going to be a long night.

"First thing's first." I announced to the group. "We need to figure out what's for dinner." I glanced over to the teenager that looked nervously at the dead man. "And, no, we will not defile this boy." I looked over at the boy, Altair. "What can you do?"

"I used to hunt." He said proudly, looking at the girl. I knew this strategy. I've used it before.

"Good." I replied. "You'll look for materials." I saw his spirits crash faster than we did. I looked at the girl. "How about you, child." I saw she was about the same age as me, but I needed to establish authority if I'm going to keep everyone else alive. The only way to do that was act like I don't care about their status in the old world.

"I have a name!" She shouted. Not what I expected. If anything, I thought she was going to say something like how she was more "mature" than I was. "It's Nyrae. Nyrae And..."

"I don't care." I cut her off. She was trying to regain her lost status. Apparently, she thought her name carried weight here. "If you don't answer, I'll make you join the other kid."

"I've hunted, but I..."

"You're with me." I knew this response too. She was going to say something to bring herself down, but she actually thought she was good, but didn't want to be judged. So far, she was the best. "You, the kid who think's he's sponsored by Mountain Dew."

Apparently, none of them understood, but they saw I was talking to the kid who was wearing an extremely bright green suit. He seemed to be fishing something out of the bottom of a thermos. I could already tell. "You'll cook." I said. I didn't know what would be on the island, but I knew it wouldn't be pleasant if I cooked it.

I turned to the final four, who were a group of girls who were huddled together like I had the reaper on speed dial. Before I said a word, one of them said, "I'll build!" I glanced her general direction and she shrank back.

"What makes you think... I didn't get to finish that. She pulled something out from behind the log they sat on and handed it to me. It was a small structure made of sticks, but it looked sturdy. She watched as I set it down and stomped on it. It held. I nodded with my head and turned to the rest as she scurried off.

"And you?" She seemed strong, so I figured I'd put her as a helper for when it was needed. She didn't respond. The one who offered to build hesitantly walked up behind me.

"Sir?" She began. "Lily doesn't talk much.

I crouched down beside her. "Lily, would you like to help everyone?" I asked gently. she nodded, so I directed her to Altair. Then, for everyone to hear, I said, "Also, don't call me 'sir'. Either call me Hunter or don't address me at all." Everyone went off to do their tasks.

"Nyrae?" She stopped in her tracks. "You don't have a weapon." I reached inside of my bag and pulled out a bow that was given to me by my dad. She took it hesitantly. I handed it to her and started to walk toward the woods.

3

The day was very productive. By the time the sun set, we had enough rabbit stew to feed the entire camp and shelter for everyone. One of the two unconscious people woke up. She was extremely shaken up, so I didn't question her or put her to work. She did what she could to take care of the other, who I figured was someone really close to her.

"Thanks for the stew, Jake." The builder said. She still hasn't told us her name. Jake was the cook, though.

"I don't know..." He said, quickly glancing at me. I held it up and nodded.

"It's good." I admitted. I didn't want to admit I've spent the last four years living off of Ramen, beef jerky, and pb&js. I glanced into the shadows around the fire. I saw Nyrae sitting by herself. I stood up and brought a bowl to her.

"I'm vegan." She said when I sat next to her.

"It'll be a rough life if you don't eat." I told her. I knew she was hungry, so I said, "It's also pretty good."

she turned her back to me, so I set the food on the log next to her and joined the rest by the fire.

We were all laughing by the fire when she joined us. Nyrae held out an empty bowl and asked Jake, "Can I have more?" She looked stunned.

"When was the last time you had meat?" I asked. She shook her head, so I left the topic alone.

All the sudden, Altair jogged over to her and said, "You know, if we're stuck here, we'll need to pair up..."

He never got to finish that sentence. Nyrae jerked up and the stew went flying. Shoving him, she yelled, "YOU'RE NOT MY DAD!"

Altair pushed back and screamed, "YOUR DAD IS DEAD! MY MOM IS DEAD! MY SISTER IS DEAD!" I saw Nyrae pull an arrow out and knew she was about to stab him. I pulled them apart. He pushed me away and turned around, saying, "Everyone copes differently. This is my way."

I grabbed the arrow and the quiver from Nyrae and chased after him. I caught up with him at the edge of a cliff. Altair, I understand." He turned around to look at me. "Everyone grieves differently. I..." I pulled out the package in my bag. "When my dad died, I got this in the mail. I never opened it because I was angry. You want to help me?" He nodded, so I set it down and we both sat down next to it. together, we opened the package. Inside was two blade handles and what looked like a whip with a sword hilt. It also contained two gauntlets and two axes with instructions. Altair looked at the instructions, at me, then back at the instructions.

"Is your dad..."

"Yes." I interrupted him. "Lych was my dad." he started to get excited, but I stopped him. "Don't tell anyone." He nodded and stopped struggling. We both non-verbally agreed to head back to the camp.

science fiction
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Benjamin McIntosh
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