Authors: Todd Russell
Tags: #fiction, #thriller, #horror, #suspense, #supernatural, #novel, #evil, #psychological thriller, #island, #forbidden, #ocean, #scary, #debut novel, #nightmare, #shipwrecked, #ocean beach, #banished, #romance at sea
He had no idea how wrong he was.
Kyle Roberts didn't like anybody he couldn't
understand. English was the only language he wanted spoken by
others and the only language he knew. The group's dominant language
would be among the first of many battles. Several in the group
wanted the language to be Spanish while the majority favored
English. One couldn't speak any other language than Japanese.
His name was Saruwatari Naoki, age 54. They
knew he was 54 because several times he had drawn the number in the
dirt and pointed to his chest. It was one of the few things he
could write in English. He was the oldest in the group.
He was about to do something unusual that
would make him a folk hero in the group.
Saruwatari first discovered the clearing on
the west side of the island.
They called him Sar for short. He had grown
up on the volcanic Izu islands in Japan. The group leader, Kyle
Roberts, had learned this from Seth Everson, a newbie who rambled
about his eyes having special powers. Seth was the only one who
knew enough Japanese to interpret.
"A clearing?" Kyle said. "So what, there are
Seth said something in Japanese and Sar
grabbed a stick and started drawing symbols in the dirt.
"Well?" Kyle's impatience grew. He'd
considered gutting the Japanese farmer on several occasions. Sar
had been saved by Seth's half-assed translating.
Sar's anxious eyes bothered Kyle.
"Something about the ground and farming. I
don't quite understand, sorry." Seth shrugged.
"Show me this place," Kyle said.
Sar led Kyle and Seth across the island. They
talked back and forth in Japanese, further annoying Kyle.
"What are you talking about?"
"He's talking about the dirt on the Izu
Islands. He loves talking about dirt."
Kyle grunted. "Big surprise. A dirt-loving
The sun bore down on the trio as they made it
to a 75'x75' clearing. Sar bent down and ran his fingers through
the dirt. He looked up and rattled off more Japanese.
"Sar says vegetables will grow here."
"Without any seeds? Yeah, right."
Kyle munched on the berries. Gigantic-sized,
Several butterflies fluttered across the
clearing. Kyle stopped and admired them.
"I think he's saying something about the
seeds already being here," Seth said. "He says this summer we'll
have vegetables to eat."
"These are the best berries anywhere on the
island," Kyle replied. "Tell him I said: 'nice find, Sar.'" Kyle
was disappointed that he hadn't found this place first. Having not
been here a full year there were bound to be some useful spots he
hadn't found first. And the butterflies seemed to like this place
Sar bowed at Kyle, smiling.
Kyle was sitting on the beach when Sar and
Seth approached him. They showed him long, bright orange carrots.
The carrots had grown in the clearing on the west side of the
island that Sar had discovered.
"Sar was right," Seth said, offering Kyle a
carrot. Kyle chomped on it and, like the berries that grew around
the clearing, the carrot was very tasty. Best carrot he'd had in
years. The only carrot he'd had in years.
Kyle was impressed and a bit surprised by
Sar's discovery. Sar was proving to be more useful. And Everson,
ranting about his eyes aside, wasn't half-bad either. Before summer
was out, Sar also shared potatoes and tomatoes grown in the
clearing with the group.
The happiness of having something to eat
besides berries, coconuts and fish would soon end. They were not
allowed to be happy here for long.
After twenty-six years in San Quentin for the
brutal murder of his mother and wife, and eighteen months before
Jessica Stanton washed ashore the island, the state of California
decided to let Torque walk. And it was no longer than five minutes
after he passed the gate, smiling, waving goodbye to the guards,
that he smelled the coppery scent of blood.
They let me out
, he thought, whistling
the Marine song,
and on such a glorious day
A sunny, hot Valentine's Day. He could
already see the pitiful young lovers, gathering like moss under the
shade of towering oaks, playing pussy-pussy, kissy-kissy games.
Husbands forced into buying chocolate sweets and long stem roses
(which died after two weeks anyway, so what was the fucking
purpose?). Wives acting phony when their surprise came or cuntish
when it didn't. Little boys and girls barely acquainted with the
birds and bees, passing out nonsensical Will You Be Mine cards.
Torque just couldn't understand the fascination. He knew the only
good thing about Valentine's Day was the color: red.
The same color as blood.
Torque sighed wistfully, looking across the
jammed parking lot for Baby Blue, his pick-up truck. It had to be
there somewhere, he knew, because Uncle Sal told him it was in his
last letter. Uncle Sal said he parked it and left sweet Sally under
the seat. Uncle Sal was a swell guy, he kept Sally all these years,
and took care of her like she was one of his own. Uncle Sal knew
Sally would be put to good use again someday. If not by Torque, by
him; Uncle Sal said his wife was getting too big for her britches.
If that came down, Sally would be pleased. She loved blood.
But not more than Torque.
There she was: Baby Blue, sitting next to
some red foreign piece of shit; what a disgrace. Uncle Sal must
have missed it, Torque was disappointed, and decided that as a
good, upstanding citizen of the United States he would slash the
tires and steal the stereo. The least he could do.
Torque's birth name was Wally Adamson, but
those who knew that were either the law, dead, or as crazy as him
(Uncle Sal, for example). He'd gotten the nickname by the way he
torqued his mother and ex-wife's heads with his monstrous hands
until they snapped. After he torqued their heads, he let Sally do
It took him three minutes to reach Baby Blue.
Four more to fix the foreign jobby. It would have taken less time,
but he was a little rusty, and he would have felt wrong not slicing
the leather upholstery to ribbons.
He climbed into the pick-up and looked
underneath the seat. The keys were waiting on Sally's sleek body.
He took them, jammed them into the ignition and let her rip. She
fired like she'd never gone cold. Now
Looking back at San Quentin, his home since
he was eighteen, he felt a little sad to be leaving. He took a
moment and studied its beautiful figure. The cold, unforgiving
concrete and you're-never-going-to-leave-here barbed wire fences.
He couldn't have asked for a nicer prison home. He loved it and it
Before tearing out of the parking lot, he
opened the window and spit on the foreign jobby. It would never
park next to Baby Blue again. The road opened up, and Satan led
Torque's nose to the overwhelming scent.
"Speak to me," he said crazily. "Tell me what
I must do. Tell me how I can join you."
The wind brought him an answer. Another
smell. It was a weird, succinct odor that, at first, stupefied him.
He hadn't come upon that odor for quite some time.
And then he recognized it was fried
Southern Fried Chicken.
"Wonderful." He laughed happy as the day was
bright, driving toward the smell of chicken.
On the way a few cars passed him too close on
the two-lane road. He could tell Sally was getting nervous and it
started bothering him.
, he gave them all dirty,
hateful stares. They obeyed and gave Baby Blue breathing room.
The power of Satan. I have the power of
It took about five minutes to trace the smell
down. Torque was right, it was emitting from a Southern Fried
Chicken fast food restaurant. He pulled into the barely-filled
parking lot, passing the slowly revolving chicken logo. It was
their knockoff of Kentucky Fried Chicken's spinning bucket of
chicken. Everybody ripped off everybody else on the outside. The
smell was unbearable.
Too much chicken. Not enough blood.
He turned off the engine and hugged Sally. In
the glove box, Uncle Sal had packed plenty of ammo. He cradled
Sally, the sawed-off double barrel pointing like eager fingers
toward blood. Sally could smell it a thousand miles away, something
Torque could never quite figure out. He wondered if a vampire could
smell it that far away. No, he decided, vampires are pussies. They
can only kill after daylight, at night. Sally never slept; she was
ready for blood 24/7, 365.
And boy was she ready now. She was trembling
in his hands.
He got out of Baby Blue and, in broad
daylight, walked across the parking lot with Sally ready at his
Valentine's Day. Cupid had his bow and arrow.
Torque had Sally.
A starry-eyed college kid waltzed out of the
front door, a bucket of chicken in his hands, a small grin on his
"First blood," Torque laughed, aiming.
"Jesus Christ." The kid dropped the bucket,
chicken spilling on the stone walkway.
"Wrong guess." Torque pulled Sally's trigger.
Only one barrel for the kid, his guess wasn't that far off.
Torque was a perfect shot. The bullet
attacked the kid's white shirt like a meat sauce covered fist,
opening a fleshy hole one foot in diameter. The force sent the kid
rocketing through the glass doors, and shards flew like shrapnel
every which way.
"Open says me!" Torque walked through the
shattered glass opening. The glass sounded like teeth crushing
beneath his footsteps.
People screamed at the sprawled dead body of
the college kid and at Sally. She loved to hear them shriek her
name. In the heart of every scream Torque could hear Sally's
"Who's next?" Torque played the gun from fool
to fool. From the bald-headed black guy in the referee suit to the
fat bitch with too many children (
, he deemed) to the
gray-suited man with a barbecue chicken face to the stoned-looking
kid in the corner (probably high on that crack shit) and his punk
rock buddy with multi-colored spiked hair.
The Southern Fried Chicken (SFC) employees,
all spiffed up in their blue and white outfits, stood terrified
behind the counter. They all looked the same to Torque (they either
had small tits or no tits). The boss probably wanted it that
Silence is perhaps the most deadly weapon of
all, especially in the hands of a maniac, and Torque worked the
silence (coupled with a few wicked stares that would have stoned
Medusa herself) for several long frightening minutes. Once
satisfied he switched targets, pointing Sally at a freckly teenage
employee who quickly pissed himself.
"Where's your manager, boy?"
He put Sally to the boy's throat. 'Do you
want to die?"
"Where's the fucking chief?" Torque screamed.
The boy squeezed his eyes, shuddering.
"BANG." Torque laughed as the freckled
employee fainted dead away.
"I'm here." An old man with a boy's face came
out from behind the chicken display. He was dressed in fine brown
slacks and a pressed blue shirt with a clip-on tie displaying the
SFC logo, another sight of ripping off a better known fast food
The manager trembled.
Someone moved behind Torque. He turned,
firing off a random shot. It was the punk rocker with the pink,
black and green spiked hair trying to run for it.
Only now he would never run again.
Sally had leveled him, and his head was a
caved-in pumpkin, oozing blood and brain out of a hole in the
skull. A lucky shot.
"NOBODY FUCKING MOVE!" Torque raged, spittle
flying from his mouth. The dining room was frozen with eyes
watching Torque in exquisite fear.
The weapon of silence was used for three more
minutes. This time the silence seemed much more eternal, for now it
was obvious that anyone who attempted escape would meet the same
unfortunate outcome. Torque was not a maniac searching for
attention; he was a puppet on Satan's strings, one of the ghastly
evils that had escaped from Pandora's Box.
Satan wanted Torque out and had told him
everything he needed to say and do to massage the parole board.
"What—what do you want?" the manager finally
asked, still shaking.
Torque swung around. "Dumb fucking question,
Chief! What the fuck do you think I want?"
"Money. You want the money?"
Torque laughed so hard he almost fell. "The
money. You think I want the fucking money?" He walked over to the
drug addict kid with an Iron Maiden concert shirt, and gestured to
the manager. "Do you think I want the fucking money?"
The kid answered fast: "No."
"So, what's your problem?"
"I'm tripping on two hits, man, and you just
killed my friend and I'm really, really freaking out."
"Tell me, why do you think I'm here?" Torque
asked the drug addict curiously. He reloaded Sally.
Silence. The boy struggled to think with his
poisoned head. After a moment he came up with: "Hell. Hell sent
"BIN-GO." Torque rushed back to the manager
and pointed Sally at him. "No, I didn't come here for your fucking
money. This is a game, Chief. You, me, the squaws." He kissed the
butt of the gun. "And Sally."
The manager gulped. His employees backed
against the back counter where they packed their chicken orders.
One of them knocked over a cardboard sign which read: SERVICE WITH
"Did you call the pigs yet?" Torque barked,
spitting a gigantic loogie on the cash register.