Swylce

Musings and Writing of GG Alexander

Savage Writing: Kay, Eye, Ell, Ell.

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The theme was Savage Island. Apparently mine was the savagest of the night.

 

The blade penetrates my back, cutting two of my ribs on the way in, then breaking another as it splits out of my chest. The air rushes out of me and I hang like speared meat. Being stabbed itself doesn’t hurt so much, but when the blade is pulled out it scrapes against my organs and I would scream if I had any breath left in me. Yet that’s nothing compared to the throbbing agony that takes me once the knife and my attacker are gone: a pulse that shudders my entire torso. The blood floods down my body. I crumple to the forest floor.

But once again, I find I am unable to die.

I’m soon able to breathe again and the gaping hole in my chest is gone, leaving me as I was before, except with stickier clothes. I’ll put up with it until I can wash them – I don’t want to go to the crate. I grab my bag from where I dropped it, and check everything is still there: water, dried meat, some squashed bananas, an arm, a hunting knife and my prized kukri. My attacker definitely wasn’t Terri – the last time we fought, I chopped her arm off at the elbow and stole it so she couldn’t heal properly, and I’ve been carrying it around ever since. The limb is still as white and fleshy as it was when she had it, and it’s not gone stiff at all, so I can’t use it as a back-scratcher as much as I’d like to.

I take the kukri, wipe the sweat from my forehead, and set off. It’s a clammy day, and the blood on my t-shirt stinks. The first few times I bled to death, the smell of my own blood freaked me out, but now it’s another weary thing to put up with, like feeding myself and defending myself and sleeping. I think I must have been a scaredy-cat before I came here, unused to blood and death. Most of us were like that. We all woke up by the crate, and inside the crate there was food, water, clean clothes – and piles and piles of knives and other short bladed weapons, with one white cloth covering them all, and four rough capital letters etched on that cloth: K-I-L-L. Alan and I were the first to find the sea, on the south side; Katy and David found it in the north; there was no hint of land out there. Ever since then we’ve been stranded on this patch of floating forest that is far too small for the fifteen of us.

I reach my camp at the south beach, and I gladly wash my shirt and eat a banana. We tried making a raft but the current swept us straight back. We tried to ignore the knives, and what the cloth had told us to do. Nora cried and said we must be in purgatory; she went off to the north-east, sitting by herself for days, praying and crying and saying it couldn’t be true. Then Alan chopped her to pieces and she hardened up pretty fast.

Looking out at the sun on the water, I wonder about Alan again. Merciless Alan. He started it. He’s the one who discovered that we couldn’t die, who killed everyone first. I’d planned to stab him through the throat like he did to me, but one day he vanished. He’s the only one of us who’s gotten off the island so far.

A rustle nearby makes me jump. I grab my knife and throw it at the shadow in the trees, and there’s a grunt before Nora emerges, pulling the knife out of her ribs. She throws it into the sand at my feet and we stare each other down. Last time we met, she stabbed me through the back of my skull, and the explosion of sensations as my brain fell apart like wet paper was a new kind of horrendous. But then, I had broken each of her fingers so she’d give me her serrated knife the time before that.

‘Well,’ she says at last, ‘what are you waiting for?’

‘What do you want?’ I ask.

‘I want you to kill me.’

It’s a trap. I don’t reply.

‘Come on, kill me. Don’t you want revenge for being stabbed in the head?’

‘Why do you want to die?’

She keeps her eyes focused on mine. She’s a decent killer because she has eyes full of fervour: it all switched from God to murder once Alan got to her.

‘Because I want out of here.’

I laugh.

‘Alan got out,’ she says. ‘Why him over everyone? He was the worst one of us. It’s been driving me mad, thinking about it, but now I get it: he’s gone because he was the worst. This is purgatory, right? Then Alan was so evil here that he was sent to hell.’

I vaguely remember those terms. Nora has the best memory of the before-time than any of us.

‘So if I outlast everyone – if everyone kills me until they’re all taken to hell – then I’ll win, won’t I? I’ll be let out of here, for being better than everyone.’

Her hubris doesn’t even sicken me anymore.

‘You think I’ll play along with your plan to be the last one standing?’ I ask. She shrugs.

‘I think you’ll be happy to kill me indefinitely. You still have Terri’s arm, after all.’

I grab my kukri and I split her skull open. A few minutes later, her eyes burst back into life.

‘Ooh, that hurts,’ she says, laughing. ‘I –’

I don’t know whether she’s right, about me or Alan or the island. But she asked to be killed indefinitely, so that’s what I’m going to do. I cut her head off because it’s the fastest way, and when she comes back she smiles at me for that second before I decapitate her again…and again…and again…and again…

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Written by G.J.

26/07/2012 at 2:20 pm

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